Camera Install Height on New Construction?

IPCamDude

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Hi all,

Have a newly constructed house that I just got the keys to. I didn't get a chance to do anything while the house was being built by the builder so have to do all my wiring work now.

I want to setup approximately 10-12 IP PoE cameras using BlueIris but had a few questions regarding the install.

1) My walls are 10' tall. I have read advice suggesting to install at 8' or lower for cameras to have the best chance of ID'ing someone but I can't help but feel that it will look weird to have a camera not mounted at the top part of the wall and instead be 2' lower on the side of the wall. I live in an HOA and don't want to draw attention to the cameras -- would rather have them be a little more subtle. Has anyone installed their cameras at 10' high and been ok with them?

2) Are 2MP Starlights really the best camera to go with still or is this the recommended camera more because it fits most budgets? Are there any 4K cameras that will do decent low-light as well as the amazing picture during brightly lit days? I've read the wiki and lots of posts on the forum but it just seems strange to me that 2MP cameras are still being recommended in 2018. Surely there has to be something better, even if it is a little more expensive, that can do a better job at day and night.

Thank you for all your help!
 

mat200

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Hi IPCamDude,

Congratulations on getting a new home.

Do people install cameras too high? yes.
Should you also? no.

1) If you want a good chance to ID you need the cameras to get a good angle so that you have a better view of someone's face if they are wearing a hoodie and/or a baseball cap.

As a general rule, that means < 8 feet high.

Recommending picking up a camera and testing possible locations with a friend wearing a hoodie and a cap throughout both day time and night time to help determine best locations.

2) Dahua OEM 2MP starlight cameras are not recommended because of "fitting most budgets" - but are recommended for the best value in a low light camera.

Can you get something better?... yes, they have 8MP starlight cameras in box format.. iirc the camera + lens + box will be around $800-1000 each.
 

aristobrat

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it just seems strange to me that 2MP cameras are still being recommended in 2018.
To be fair, these aren't the same 2MP cameras that have been on the market for the last umpteen years.

These are 2MP cameras with tech in them (Sony's back-illuminated STARVIS image sensor) that is still new enough that it's only offered in professional-grade cameras. Consumer companies (Lorex, Q-See, Swann, etc) have no cameras with this tech yet.

Are 2MP Starlights really the best camera to go with still or is this the recommended camera more because it fits most budgets?
Well, that's a unique take... It's more usual to hear folks complain about how *expensive* the Starlights are, and try to make the case that the $70 Chinese market cameras (with the hacked firmware) will be good enough for them. :)
 
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tangent

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The higher you mount a camera the farther away it needs to look (with more zoom / narrower field of view) to be useful. A 10' mounting height could work, if you don't keep the 5-10 feet closest to the house in the frame. Hopefully this makes sense.

I'd suggest putting at least a couple cameras lower.
 

IPCamDude

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Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to reply!

I was really hoping there was a way to have an awesome 4K image during the day combined with a night time image as good as the Starlights and still be in a non-obtrusive turret format. I guess we just aren't there yet, but that's ok.

I am including a few pictures of the front and side of my house, with the first shot being from the start of the driveway. I'm also including a floorplan. I am thinking I will need 12 cameras minimum (would like to include one inside the garage) and want coverage inside the courtyard area as that has access to the master bathroom and the rest of the house also.

Would you guys recommend I just go with all DH-IPC-HDW5231R-ZE Starlights? Or would bullets be better suited for some locations? I would like to stay away from bullets if possible because aesthetically they don't look as nice as the turrets, but if there is a big upside to going bullets over turrets, I suppose I can go with bullets.

Also, are these cameras paintable?

Thanks again for all the help!

floorplan.jpg IMG-9612.JPG IMG-9613.JPG IMG-9614.JPG IMG-9615.JPG IMG-9617.JPG
 
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fenderman

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there is no upside to bullets, only downsides.
 

aristobrat

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Man, I love the layout/elevation of your house (and the lot that it's on)!!!

Does your house show up in Google maps yet? If so, I'd recommend you play around with IPVM Camera Calculator V3 This page will let you drop a simulated camera alongside the exterior of your house and see what kind of coverage (width) and image quality that you would get as you zoom it in/out. Even if your house doesn't show up, def. play around with the calculator so you get an idea of what a 5231 zoomed in 50% looks like in terms of image width/quality/etc.

I've seen folks post pictures after painting 5231 turrets.

The only time I could see a bullet coming in handy (vs a turret) would be if you wanted to monitor the far end of your driveway from your house.. The 5231 Z12 bullet has amazing zoom (up to 64mm)... they haven't been able to fit that kind of zoom into a Starlight turret (that I've seen, anyway). And if turrets are too overt for areas like the front porch/courtyard area, you might consider the Starlight mini-dome wedge... Domes are usually avoided outside, but there have been some positive posts from folks using them in locations like that. Definitely takes more thought in placement.
 
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mat200

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Hi guys, thanks for taking the time to reply!

I was really hoping there was a way to have an awesome 4K image during the day combined with a night time image as good as the Starlights and still be in a non-obtrusive turret format. I guess we just aren't there yet, but that's ok.
..
Would you guys recommend I just go with all DH-IPC-HDW5231R-ZE Starlights? ..
Hi IPcamdude,

Yes go with the turrets, IPC-HDW5831xx or IPC-HDW48xx.

The cases can be painted to match your walls -> spray primer, then exterior paint to match wall. Works well enough.

The mickey mouse style of the IPC-HDW5231R-Z works better for painting the face than the IPC-HDW5231R-ZE, but I understand those are no longer being made per Andy's posts here, so limited remaining inventory is what is left.

..
These are 2MP cameras with tech in them (Sony's back-illuminated STARVIS image sensor) that is still new enough that it's only offered in professional-grade cameras. Consumer companies (Lorex, Q-See, Swann, etc) have no cameras with this tech yet.
..
FYI aristobrat - I've seen Lorex and Q-see picking up the STARVIS chipped models in 8MP, looks like they've avoiding the 2MP versions ( aka starlights ) - consumers probably hard to sell on less MP and starvis = better... unfortunately a lot of buyers know so little about this topic.
 

tangent

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mat200

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I would still mount about 6-8 feet high on the wall next to the top of the garage door on both sides, as it should be a fairly easy install work from the inside of the garage.

Here's a test rig
My test rig: rev.2
 

tangent

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I would still mount about 6-8 feet high on the wall next to the top of the garage door on both sides, as it should be a fairly easy install work from the inside of the garage.

Here's a test rig
My test rig: rev.2
Yeah, I think I would too. The asymmetry in my drawing was bothering me.
There are many parts of the house where a soffit mount will work just fine though.

You don't need to try to do it all at once, the house is already built. Build a test rig, try some locations. Install a camera or 4 in some of the locations that are a little easier. Use what you learned to improve your technique. Layout your wiring runs carefully, like branches on a tree that are at right angles. Make sure you pull the cables on the right side of all obstructions the first time. A small kids snow shovel can be helpful for moving blow in insulation out of the way.

@IPCamDude are you planning to do the install yourself or hire it out?
 

IPCamDude

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Man, I love the layout/elevation of your house (and the lot that it's on)!!!

Does your house show up in Google maps yet? If so, I'd recommend you play around with IPVM Camera Calculator V3 This page will let you drop a simulated camera alongside the exterior of your house and see what kind of coverage (width) and image quality that you would get as you zoom it in/out. Even if your house doesn't show up, def. play around with the calculator so you get an idea of what a 5231 zoomed in 50% looks like in terms of image width/quality/etc.

I've seen folks post pictures after painting 5231 turrets.

The only time I could see a bullet coming in handy (vs a turret) would be if you wanted to monitor the far end of your driveway from your house.. The 5231 Z12 turret has amazing zoom (up to 64mm)... they haven't been able to fit that kind of zoom into a Starlight turret (that I've seen, anyway). And if turrets are too overt for areas like the front porch/courtyard area, you might consider the Starlight mini-dome wedge... Domes are usually avoided outside, but there have been some positive posts from folks using them in locations like that. Definitely takes more thought in placement.
Doesn't show up on Google Maps yet, but will definitely take a look with that simulator. Thank you for all the suggestions! So just to clarify a 5231 Z12 is a turret, but not a Starlight turret? Is the 5231R-ZE the Starlight one?

Hi IPcamdude,

Yes go with the turrets, IPC-HDW5831xx or IPC-HDW48xx.
Do you have any info on the 5831xx and 48xx? I am having trouble finding information on those. Are they superior to the 5231R-ZE? Thank you!


You can pull your blueprints into software like this if you want: IP Video System Design Tool | Intuitively Design Surveillance Systems with 2D/3D Views

You've got a lot of nice trees. Your trees could have some impact on the placement of a few cameras. The trees should also reduce the odds of anyone complaining to the HOA.

For the front of the house, I'd do something like this:
View attachment 29972
Thanks! This helps a lot! I am not too worried about the HOA as I am at the end of a long street in a cul-de-sac, but just more about keeping the boss happy. Thanks for the suggestion about the design tool. I will try my hand at that and see if I can figure it out.

I would still mount about 6-8 feet high on the wall next to the top of the garage door on both sides, as it should be a fairly easy install work from the inside of the garage.

Here's a test rig
My test rig: rev.2
Very cool test rig! Really surprised by the suggestion to go as low as 6' high for a camera install. Wouldn't that make it really easy for the camera to be vandalized or removed by someone wearing a hoodie? I'm a newbie so correct me if I am wrong, but I thought part of keeping them higher was so that someone can't easily mess with it without using a ladder and arousing suspicion. I need to see also how they will look at 6'-8' tall on the finish of the house. Worried that they will look like an amateur installed them versus them being installed near the eaves -- even though I know now that it is preferred to go lower for better DORI.

Thank you everyone!
 

tangent

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Z12 is a bullet not a turret, it has a lot more zoom.

It's fine to mix camera types. A mix of 2mp starlights and a few higher resolution cameras can work very well.
 

IPCamDude

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Yeah, I think I would too. The asymmetry in my drawing was bothering me.
There are parts of the house where a soffit mount will work just fine though.

You don't need to try to do it all at once, the house is already built. Build a test rig, try some locations. Install a camera or 4 in some of the locations that are a little easier. Use what you learned to improve your technique. Layout your wiring runs carefully, like branches on a tree that are at right angles. Make sure you pull the cables on the right side of all obstructions the first time. A small kids snow shovel can be helpful for moving blow in insulation out of the way.

@IPCamDude are you planning to do the install yourself or hire it out?
Hey @tangent, I am planning on hiring someone to help run the cables and do the camera mounting/install so am trying to get an idea of everything I need so I can just pay the guy once to come out and run everything. I am going to be building my own Blue Iris PC and handling all the software configuration on my own, but want to hire a low-voltage pro to actually do the cable runs and the drilling/mounting.
 

mat200

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@IPCamDude

Q: So just to clarify a 5231 Z12 is a turret, but not a Starlight turret? Is the 5231R-ZE the Starlight one?

A: z12 = lots of zoom,.. thus it is probably a IPC-HFW5231xx-Z12, the HFW = bullet model, and a starlight - 2MP after the 5 indicates that. Junction box for that would be PFA121 ( turrets have less room in the case for a higher level zoom lens - so you normally only see those on bullet form factor cameras )

Q: Do you have any info on the 5831xx and 48xx? I am having trouble finding information on those. Are they superior to the 5231R-ZE? Thank you!

A: Opps... I meant IPC-HDW5231xx and IPC-HDW42xx. IPC = IP Camera, HDW = Turret style. 4xxx = non-varifocal, 5xxx = varifocal. The 2 here = 2MP, and currently the res of the good starlight camera models we like here.

See the wiki notes on Dahua's naming conventions.

Look at Andy's Ali store or Dahua's international website for the exact model number.

Q: Really surprised by the suggestion to go as low as 6' high for a camera install. Wouldn't that make it really easy for the camera to be vandalized or removed by someone wearing a hoodie?

A: These are solid cameras which we are recommending with good metal cases, and if you install them properly it will be difficult to change their angle or remove them from the walls. Also, while not vandal proof - they are fairly strong and should survive longer than many of the plastic cameras sold.
 

mat200

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Hey @tangent, I am planning on hiring someone to help run the cables and do the camera mounting/install so am trying to get an idea of everything I need so I can just pay the guy once to come out and run everything. I am going to be building my own Blue Iris PC and handling all the software configuration on my own, but want to hire a low-voltage pro to actually do the cable runs and the drilling/mounting.
Remember to over cable, recommend N+1 cables per location ( so if you plan for one camera in a location, pull 2 cat5e/6 cables there )

This will give you flexibility in case you want to add another camera, test a cable run, add an IR illuminator,... etc.
 

aristobrat

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FYI aristobrat - I've seen Lorex and Q-see picking up the STARVIS chipped models in 8MP, looks like they've avoiding the 2MP versions ( aka starlights ) - consumers probably hard to sell on less MP and starvis = better... unfortunately a lot of buyers know so little about this topic.
Thanks, I hadn't noticed that yet!

I need to see also how they will look at 6'-8' tall on the finish of the house. Worried that they will look like an amateur installed them versus them being installed near the eaves
Check out the mount used in this post. IMO, they can make "lower" mounted cameras look pretty snazzy. Obviously your cable would be hidden. :)
#63

You might also want to start at the beginning of that thread and see what you think about that camera. It's also a Starlight, same cost as the 5231 turret, but this is a mini dome PTZ. I really enjoy mine on the front porch. It doesn't have intelligence to follow someone around as they walk, but I have mine set on a fairly wide angle (so it gets the porch and the approach to the porch), but when BI senses someone walking up, it will PTZ the camera on a much tighter shot of the porch. Camera holds that shot for a minute, then zooms back out to the wide shot. I use the BI iOS app to manually PTZ this camera around a lot when I'm not home and want to check up on stuff. It's also not as bulky as the turret, so I like the look better for the front porch.

Sorry about the confusion with the Z12. I mistakenly called it a turret, but as others noted, it's a bullet. I'm not generally a fan of the looks of bullets, but pointed to run parallel alongside my house, it doesn't draw my attention much.
 
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tangent

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Hey @tangent, I am planning on hiring someone to help run the cables and do the camera mounting/install so am trying to get an idea of everything I need so I can just pay the guy once to come out and run everything. I am going to be building my own Blue Iris PC and handling all the software configuration on my own, but want to hire a low-voltage pro to actually do the cable runs and the drilling/mounting.
That's probably the best option. If you weren't able to run any internal networking this would also be a good time to do a bit of that in key locations. If you were lucky enough to get some photos inside before the drywall went up they could be helpful to the installer.

I still wouldn't buy everything all at once, start with 5 or 6 cameras, play with them a bit. Test mount / experiment with locations, then order the rest making better informed decisions. In addition to mounting cameras too high, people also tend to go for lenses that are too wide trying to see everything with the fewest number of cameras. Zooming in is very helpful even if it means you can't see absolutely everything.
Very cool test rig! Really surprised by the suggestion to go as low as 6' high for a camera install. Wouldn't that make it really easy for the camera to be vandalized or removed by someone wearing a hoodie? I'm a newbie so correct me if I am wrong, but I thought part of keeping them higher was so that someone can't easily mess with it without using a ladder and arousing suspicion. I need to see also how they will look at 6'-8' tall on the finish of the house. Worried that they will look like an amateur installed them versus them being installed near the eaves -- even though I know now that it is preferred to go lower for better DORI.

Thank you everyone!
Pragmatically, the house is already built and the soffits will make for an easier installation, just angle them far enough away that they aren't bald spot cameras and zoom in enough to get plenty of detail. That said, I would certainly recommend putting a few cameras lower in the 5.5'-7.5' range, especially at the front door, outside the garage, and inside the garage (maybe a wedge (HDBW)). The cameras are pretty tough I doubt you need to be that worried about vandalism. In other areas make a point of covering choke points (like the walkway to the front door or the gate) well, this can be done with higher cameras that have a big enough lens or are zoomed in enough. Only varifocal cameras can zoom. Fixed focus cams cost less but you have to decide on the size lens ahead of time.
 

IPCamDude

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Thanks for the detailed reply.

I am planning on going varifocal on everything so that I have the flexibility and don't have to "get it right" in choosing a lens size.

For cable runs, if I install lower than the eaves, how does that happen exactly? The low-voltage guy I'm hiring is happy to do anything I would like him to do, but he has typically installed cameras up high also so I just want to be able to explain the process fully to him. For a 6' high install, do you drill a hole through the stucco into the wall, and then fish that cable up into attic space? Am I missing anything? Thanks!
 

tangent

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There are a few styles of camera that are only available in fixed focus models.
 
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