Improving nighttime B/W recording. IPC-T5442TM-AS 2.8mm

astroshare

Getting the hang of it
Joined
Dec 18, 2020
Messages
65
Reaction score
28
Location
usa
Hello everyone. I've had a few of these cameras installed for a while. I was messing around with the settings yesterday, trying to improve the night time recording quality, and couldn't really figure out how to improve them.
I would really appreciate any feedback on some settings change. The camera I'm posting about is in a very dark area, and the only light is the IR from the camera.

Any input would be appreciated.

Night time settings:

settings1.png settings2.png settings3.png settings4.png settings5.png

Still shot:

IMG_0091.JPEG

Sample video:

View attachment southside.20220523_220000_2.mp4
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2019
Messages
9,805
Reaction score
22,720
Location
New Jersey
First thing is to get the soffit out of the frame. It's reflecting too much IR and partially blinding the camera.

Next, take it off of "shutter priority" and switch to manual. Then start with a shutter of 1/100 (10ms) and move up or down from there. You might want to switch back to 50 on brightness and contrast before starting with the shutter speeds.
 
Last edited:

wittaj

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
11,849
Reaction score
21,086
Location
USA
If you run 1/250 shutter and then crank everything up, it defeats the purpose. Better to run a slower shutter and keep the parameters below 60 if possible, especially that corridor where it is just people traffic.

Here is my standard post:

In my opinion, shutter (exposure) and gain are the two most important parameters and then base the others off of it. Shutter is more important than FPS. It is the shutter speed that prevents motion blur, not FPS. 15 FPS is more than enough for surveillance cameras as we are not producing Hollywood movies. Match iframes to FPS. 15FPS is all that is usually needed.

Many people do not realize there is manual shutter that lets you adjust shutter and gain and a shutter priority that only lets you adjust shutter speed but not gain. The higher the gain, the bigger the noise and see-through ghosting start to appear because the noise is amplified. Most people select shutter priority and run a faster shutter than they should because it is likely being done at 100 gain, so it is actually defeating their purpose of a faster shutter.

But first, run H264, smart codec off, CBR, and 8192 bitrate to start, along with 15 FPS and 15 i-frame.

Go into shutter settings and change to manual shutter and start with custom shutter as ms and change to 0-8.3ms and gain 0-50 (night) and 0-4ms exposure and 0-30 gain (day)for starters. Auto could have a shutter speed of 100ms or more with a gain at 100 and shutter priority could result in gain up at 100 which will contribute to significant ghosting and that blinding white you will get from the infrared.

Now what you will notice immediately at night is that your image gets A LOT darker. That faster the shutter, the more light that is needed. But it is a balance. The nice bright night static image results in Casper blur and ghost during motion LOL. What do we want, a nice static image or a clean image when there is motion introduced to the scene?

In the daytime, if it is still too bright, then drop the 4ms down to 3ms then 2ms, etc. You have to play with it for your field of view.

Then at night, if it is too dark, then start adding ms to the time. Go to 10ms, 12ms, etc. until you find what you feel is acceptable as an image. Then have someone walk around and see if you can get a clean shot. Try not to go above 16.67ms (but certainly not above 30ms) as that tends to be the point where blur starts to occur. Conversely, if it is still bright, then drop down in time to get a faster shutter.

You can also adjust brightness and contrast to improve the image.

You can also add some gain to brighten the image - but the higher the gain, the more ghosting you get. Some cameras can go to 70 or so before it is an issue and some can't go over 50.

But adjusting those two settings will have the biggest impact. The next one is noise reduction. Want to keep that as low as possible. Depending on the amount of light you have, you might be able to get down to 40 or so at night (again camera dependent) and 20-30 during the day, but take it as low as you can before it gets too noisy. Again this one is a balance as well. Too smooth and no noise can result in soft images and contribute to blur.

Do not use backlight features until you have exhausted every other parameter setting. And if you do have to use backlight, take it down as low as possible.

After every setting adjustment, have someone walk around outside and see if you can freeze-frame to get a clean image. If not, keep changing until you do. Clean motion pictures are what we are after, not a clean static image.
 

looney2ns

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Sep 25, 2016
Messages
12,936
Reaction score
16,302
Location
Evansville, In. USA
Getting the IR reflection out of the fov from the soffit is a biggie, before you attempt anything else.
You may need to move the camera out closer to the facia to accomplish that.

Always test a proposed mounting location for a min of 24hrs to find this sort of issue's prior to permanent mounting.
Use a 2x4, 5gal bucket and rocks for ballast as a temp mounting rig.
 

astroshare

Getting the hang of it
Joined
Dec 18, 2020
Messages
65
Reaction score
28
Location
usa
Ended up using one of these: to lower the camera, and readjusted position.
Big improvement right off the bat.

Settings are now:
Shutter: 0-8.3ms
Gain 0-50
Exposure Comp: 50
SmartIR: Off
Backlight: Off
Illuminator: Auto

All picture settings like brightness and contrast are set to 50

I'll play with the shutter speeds a bit more tomorrow, but so far this is much better than the previous settings.

Thank you all for the guidance.

southside.20220524_215736142.12.jpg southside.20220524_215737110.13.jpg southside.20220524_215737558.10.jpg southside.20220524_215738332.11.jpg
 

wittaj

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
11,849
Reaction score
21,086
Location
USA
This will explain H264 versus H265 a little better.

H265 in theory provides more storage as it compresses differently, but part of that compression means it macro blocks big areas of the image that it thinks isn't moving. However, it also takes more processing power of the already small CPU in the camera and that can be problematic if someone is maxing out the camera and then it stutters.

In theory it is supposed to need 30% less storage than H264, but most of us have found it isn't that much. Mine was less than few minutes per day. And to my eye and others that I showed clips to and just said do you like video 1 or video 2 better, everyone thought the H264 provided a better image.

The left image is H264, so all the blocks are the same size corresponding to the resolution of the camera. H265 takes areas that it doesn't think has motion and makes them into bigger blocks and in doing so lessens the resolution yet increases the CPU demand to develop these larger blocks.

In theory H265 is supposed to need half the bitrate because of the macroblocking. But if there is a lot of motion in the image, then it becomes a pixelated mess. The only way to get around that is a higher bitrate. But if you need to run the same bitrate for H265 as you do H264, then the storage savings is zero. Storage is computed based on multiplying bitrate, FPS, and resolution.

1638584913822.png


In my testing I have one camera that sees a parked car in front of my house. H265 sees that the car isn't moving, so it macroblocks the whole car and surrounding area. Then the car owner walked up to the car and got in and the motion is missed because the macroblock being so large. Or if it catches it, because the bitrate is low, it is a pixelated mess during the critical capture point and by the time H265 adjusts to there is now motion, the ideal capture is missed.

In my case, the car is clear and defined in H264, but is blurry and soft edges in H265.

H265 is one of those theory things that sounds good, but reality use is much different.

As always, YMMV. But do not use Codec with BI or you may have trouble.
 

astroshare

Getting the hang of it
Joined
Dec 18, 2020
Messages
65
Reaction score
28
Location
usa
Thank you very much for that detailed explanation.

One more question, since I'm using the substream for capturing motion, should I bump the bitrate as well? Right now I have it at 1024Kb/s with H264 and 15 FPS. It looks like the camera can do up to 1724Kb/ss on sub1
 
Last edited:

astroshare

Getting the hang of it
Joined
Dec 18, 2020
Messages
65
Reaction score
28
Location
usa
Basically to save resources. Substream captures movement and then the main stream stars recording the event.
 

Pseudoreal

Young grasshopper
Joined
May 1, 2021
Messages
30
Reaction score
12
Location
Germany
it might be just me, but I am recording 24/7 to ensure, the camera does not miss anything by chance. Is it because of rewriting disk drive storage?
 

wittaj

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
11,849
Reaction score
21,086
Location
USA
it might be just me, but I am recording 24/7 to ensure, the camera does not miss anything by chance. Is it because of rewriting disk drive storage?
Most of us record 24/7, but we record substream until motion and then it goes to mainstream during the event and then back to substream after the trigger event.
 

lane777smith

Getting the hang of it
Joined
May 11, 2022
Messages
59
Reaction score
31
Location
texas
Most of us record 24/7, but we record substream until motion and then it goes to mainstream during the event and then back to substream after the trigger event.
How do you set that up? I have some 5442's i want to do that with.
 
Top