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muse_ee

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Hi, I've been browsing this forum and various other online resources trying to get a better sense on how to improve my security camera setup. My main goal at the moment is to improve monitoring of my front yard and in particular the region around our 2 cars that are parked on the street in front of the house (no garage unfortunately). At the moment I have a Eufy 2C aimed at my front yard from my front porch at just above eye level, and while this is definitely better than nothing I've been frustrated by the poor video quality esp. at night (LOTS of compression artifacts, clearly no dynamic range), and the inability to do 24/7 recording (many times the motion capture starts or stops at the wrong time to adequately capture an event, or more often than not it misses it entirely).

From what I can tell I'd be much better served by upgrading my camera to an IP camera that can monitor 24/7 and processing the video through Blue Iris where I'm excited about all the options it seems to have for optimizing the AI detection features for my specific scene and needs. However I'm really struggling with what I should do w.r.t. the camera(s) I use to monitor the front yard. I have the following (perhaps conflicting) requirements and constraints:
  • Fairly wide field of view to cover, I haven't measured this exactly yet but would WAG it at 100 degrees horizontal
  • I'd like to be able to do identification (yes I've read the materials on DORI and mean Identification in that specific sense) all the way up to the front curb by my cars (one thing I'm concerned about right now is a string of car break-ins that has been going on and if that happens I want to be able to give the police something usable). I estimate this is about 40-50' away from my front porch where I'd notionally mount the camera(s)
  • I have a pole light that turns on/off at dusk/dawn that I'd like to keep, but that being a bright light source in the middle of the FOV at night clearly creates some challenges for the camera system

For context, below is a snapshot from a night-time event notification I got from my current Eufy 2C setup that might help show the issues w/ my current setup and the challenges I'm grappling with as I think about how to upgrade. I'd like to get to the point where the video I get off the camera at night (with the pole light on) is clear and sufficiently high res to see faces at the curb (again about 40-50' away), while avoiding ghosting and other impairments I've been reading about on the forums. I'm open to using multiple cameras to do this.

Further background, I'm an electrical engineer with at least some background in and understanding of photography. I've tried doing my own research before posting (including reading through the wiki). It does seem to me that by moving from something like the Eufy to a pro-grade camera with true WDR that I'll be going in the right direction but I'm unsure that will really be enough to get me where I'm going, and I have a feeling that it's not enough to just buy "a nicer camera" as it seems like there's a lot of variation in the actual real world performance of different cameras in that space even from the same manufacturer (e.g. I've seen posts about how some Hikvision cameras are great while others not so much).

Does anyone have any advice for me on how to narrow in on what to buy? (feel free to tell me that what I'm trying to do isn't possible with today's technology, but if so I'd like to understand why and what areas might be best to give ground in to make something that I can actually implement).
IMG_5781.png
 

TVille

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:welcome:
Welcome! What you are asking is very doable. From your picture it looks like you had fog, or the lens is dirty. Regardless, the current crop of affordable cameras can do much, much better than that. Since you have red up on DORI, you should start with a Google Earth or aerial view of the property, and layout coverage. We like to use more magnification than the DORI tables show, so if it says ID to 30', that is the maximum, don't push it. Cameras will be POE, so you will need to run ethernet.

The "go to" camera will be the 5442 series, I like the turret style. Here is the Amazon link to EmpireTech's Amazon store which is where I get mine. Amazon.com No, I don't have any affilitation with him, except he is on here and provides excellent service. The 5442 series provides excellent night vision with IR.Yes they are 4 MP, but that is currently the best combination of price and night vision.

Take a look at the aerial layout and the angels of the cameras along with DORI and see what you come up with. Come back and ask questions!
 

wittaj

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My standard welcome!

Welcome!

Here are a few guidelines and considerations as you piece something together.

It is simple LOL do not chase MP - do not buy a 4MP camera that is anything smaller than a 1/1.8" sensor. Do not buy a 2MP camera that is anything smaller than a 1/2.8" sensor. Do not buy a 4K (8MP) camera on anything smaller than a 1/1.2" sensor. Unfortunately, most 4k cams are on the same sensor as a 2MP and thus the 2MP will kick its butt all night long as the 4k will need 4 times the light than the 2MP... 4k will do very poor at night unless you have stadium quality lighting (well a lot of lighting LOL). Starlight, ColorVu, Full Color, etc. are simply marketing terms, so don't be sold on those names.

To identify someone with the wide-angle 2.8mm lens that most people opt for, someone would have to be within 13 feet of the camera, but realistically within 10 feet after you dial it in to your settings.

1631879988162.png


My neighbor was bragging to me how he only needed his four 2.8mm fixed lens 4k cams to see his entire property and the street and his whole backyard. His car was sitting in the driveway practically touching the garage door and his video quality was useless to ID the perp not even 10 feet away. Meanwhile my 2MP varifocal optically zoomed in to the public sidewalk provided the money shot to the police to get my neighbors all their stuff back. Nobody else had video that could provide anything useful, other than what time this motion blur ghost was at their car.

Here are my general distance recommendations, but switch out the Dahua 5442 series camera to the equivalent 2MP on the 1/2.8" sensor or equivalent Hikvision works as well.
  • 5442 fixed lens 2.8mm - anything within 10 feet of camera OR as an overview camera
  • 5442 ZE - varifocal - distances up to 40-50 feet (personally I wouldn't go past the 30 foot range but I like things closer)
  • 5442 Z4E - anything up to 80-100 feet (personally I wouldn't go past 60 feet but I like things closer)
  • 5241-Z12E - anything from 80 feet to almost 200 feet (personally I wouldn't go past 150 feet because I like things closer)
  • 5241-Z12E - for a license plate cam that you would angle up the street to get plates up to about 175 feet away, or up to 220 with additional IR.
  • 49225 PTZ - great PTZ and in conjunction with an NVR or Blue Iris and the cameras above that you can use as spotter cams to point the PTZ to the correct location to compliment the fixed cams.
You need to get the correct camera for the area trying to be covered. A wide angle 2.8mm to IDENTIFY someone 40 feet away is the wrong camera regardless of how good the camera is. A 2.8mm camera to IDENTIFY someone within 10 feet is a good choice OR it is an overview camera to see something happened but not be able to identify who.

One camera cannot be the be all, see all. Each one is selected for covering a specific area. Most of us here have different brands and types, from fixed cams, to varifocals, to PTZs, each one selected for it's primary purpose and to utilize the strength of that particular camera.

So you will need to identify the distance the camera would be from the activities you want to IDENTIFY on and purchase the correct camera for that distance as an optical zoom.

Main keys are you can't locate the camera too high (not on the 2nd story or above 7 feet high unless it is for overview and not Identification purposes) or chase MP and you need to get the correct camera for the area trying to be covered. A 2.8mm to IDENTIFY someone 40 feet away is the wrong camera regardless of how good the camera is. A 2.8mm camera to IDENTIFY someone within 10 feet is a good choice OR it is an overview camera to see something happened but not be able to identify who. Also, do not chase marketing phrases like ColorVu and Full Color and the like - all cameras need light - simple physics...

If you want to see things far away, you need optical zoom, digital zoom only works in the movies and TV...And the optical zoom is done real time - for a varifocal it is a set it and forget it. You cannot go to recorded video and optically zoom in later, at that point it is digital zoom, and the sensors on these cameras are so small which is why digital zoom doesn't work very well after the fact.
 

wittaj

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Once you get a real camera and take it off of auto/default settings, that street light becomes a benefit and not a hindrance like it is doing to you now. It is amazing what something like a 1/250 shutter can do to a streetlight flare at night!
 

muse_ee

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Thanks TVille and wittaj! The 5442 series looks great and what you're saying tracks well with and focuses what I've been reading (i.e. avoid marketing terms and focus on the hard numbers, pay attention to sensor size and optical zoom capabilities). In particular I wanted to dig into the point made that the camera you use for an overview of the scene as a whole is the wrong camera to be able to identify and get fine details at a longer range (40-50' for instance). That makes total sense, and it seems like the combination of a 5442-type camera with fixed 2.8mm lens to function as a spotter for a higher-zoom camera is the way to go. But to do that there needs to be a flow of information from the wide-FOV spotter camera to the higher-zoom (say the 49225 PTZ for argument's sake). In other words, how do I construct my system in a way that the 49225 PTZ gets reliable and timely information about where to point from the spotter cam?

Seems like there would be at least the following ways to pull this off which I've attempted to outline below (along with some areas where I'm confused about what capabilities actually exist):
  • Spotter cam --> Blue Iris --> Deepstack -- (object of interest detected, send command to PTZ to investigate)--> PTZ. I see how this could work and suspect this would result in the most reliable AI object detection (i.e. least false positives) but would also guess this is too slow to feed back that info to the PTZ
  • Spotter cam built-in AI --(magical network command to PTZ)--> PTZ positions then (maybe) auto tracks the object on its own at that point to hold in FOV?
  • PTZ auto track: From what I can tell this isn't really very reliable at least on the limited set of cameras I've been able to find reviews of tracking performance (admittedly mostly lower end stuff)
 
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The best approach, to me anyway, would be to start with one 5442T-ZE varifocal. By using a varifocal you can set the focal length to get the FOV and/or ID range you want as well as learn how each setting effects the video. Once you have the focal length dialed in you can use the focal length calculator to determine approximately what the focal length is for that particular location and replace it with a fixed focal length. Then move the varifocal to the next location and do it all over again. This takes all the guess work out and eliminates mistakes.
 

wittaj

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Now you are getting ahead of yourself LOL.

Get one good varifocal like the 5442T-ZE and figure out the cameras you need.

In Blue Iris (or an NVR), it is easy to use a fixed cam as a spotter cam to trigger the PTZ, but no sense writing down the steps here until you get the gear and are ready for that step. But basically you say when the fixed cam is triggered, it then also triggers the PTZ to a certain preset.

The 49225 is the best sub $400 PTZ with autotracking, but you have to purchase from @EMPIRETECANDY here or on his Amazon store as nobody else has it with autotrack. Plus you will not find it cheaper anywhere else (and if you do it won't have autotrack).

And the 5442 and 49225 series cameras have AI built into it, so you do not even need to add Deepstack into that equation...
 

muse_ee

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Thanks for the feedback. I definitely have a tendency to jump a couple of steps too far sometimes haha. Agree that it probably makes more sense to build things up incrementally (which is always better as long as choices made up front don't make things harder later). The 5442T-ZE looks like an awesome camera, and with 2.7mm as its widest zoom I like that I can use it either as a wide FOV camera to see the whole scene as well as zooming in to experiment on focusing on a specific part like one of the cars. That would be a nice building block to get up and running w/ Blue Iris and a real IP camera and all the different config settings. It's enough for me for now to know that Blue Iris or an NVR can indeed be programmed to trigger a PTZ and it does sound better to treat that as a 2nd step rather than to do everything at once.

Here's another question - right now on my front porch I have easy access to 120V power but do not currently have an ethernet port brought out (let alone PoE). I can see 2 potential ways to move forward:
  • Use a pair of power line ethernet modulators to create an ethernet connection between the NVR and the outdoor power outlet, then run the output of that plus power into a PoE injector, then run that into the PoE camera
  • Bite the bullet and run CAT5e from inside the house to the outdoor outlet, update outlet with an outdoor-rated plate that has ethernet jack in it. Drive this CAT5e run from a PoE injector inside the house
 

TVille

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Now you are getting ahead of yourself LOL.
THIS!!

While a PTZ with autotracking is a great toy, you need to work on the basic setup first. Figure out what YOU need. I have over an acre with four buildings and over 750 feet of street exposure on three sides. I only have 9 cameras outside, which includes one license plate reader. I don't cover it all, but it covers most of the area. Get BI demo up and running and it should hook into the cameras you have. Order the 5442 varifocus, and see what it can do. THEN decide how you want to cover it. And when you decide to buy a computer to run BI on, read the wiki and buy it from eBay - dirt cheap "refurbished" (used) computers there.
 

TVille

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I don't have any experience with powerline extenders, I run all ethernet. While a pain at first, it makes life much easier down the road as the ethernet does it all, no ugly cords to deal with, etc. It really depends on the house layout as to how to power the cameras. On my Frankenstein setup, I have three POE switches in different buildings, one POE injector in the garage, and one powered camera connected to an AP in the attic. Ideally you would homerun everything to a central wiring closet and run it from there. Just depends on your setup.
 

muse_ee

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Thanks. While I've since upgraded to mesh wifi I had about a year where I was running power line extenders in my house (which is very old + subject to historic district rules and basically impossible to run new cable directly through the interior walls). Somewhat to my surprise I was able to get performance that tracked a direct ethernet connection both in terms of uplink/downlink bandwidth as well as latency. I've heard that these systems can create extra noise in the house wiring which can then interfere with wifi or nearby radio but didn't find any issues in practice.
 

TVille

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My "compound" here is over 115 years old for the main house, and I understand the challenges of running ethernet. But, good electricians can run wire anywhere and you will never know it. In this old house, they ran a central vacuum system 30 years ago, from the attic to the basement, 1-1/2" pipe, never disturbing the walls. Experience counts!! I should add I do not have any rules to follow besides keeping the wife happy. :)
 

wittaj

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Powerline Adapters fill a niche and if you are not experiencing any trouble now, then go with it. I still have one in operation. Eventually I will finally POE to it, but it works and beats a wifi camera!!!
 

wittaj

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So you have it for future reference LOL, with Blue Iris, you can use any camera as a spotter camera

Just set up the triggers to trigger the other cam. Not hard to do in BI.

On the PTZ camera, set up a group containing the camera to move when that cam triggers - it should be the only camera in the group so call it PTZ for example.

In the camera GUI for the PTZ, make a preset for it to move to when triggered which gives the view you want.

On the Trigger tab for the fixed camera, under "When triggered" select "Move to preset" and select the preset number you just created for the PTZ.

Go back to the Trigger tab and key it in under the When Triggered area. This should be your fixed camera tabs not the PTZ tabs.

Check the Trigger camera group and hit select and pick the group name the PTZ is in.

Then check the Move to preset and change the number to the preset on the PTZ you want it to move to.

Then check the move camera groups and hit select and then the camera group.

Hit ok and then that fixed cam will call up the PTZ whenever the fixed cam sees motion.

1631884974549.png


Then when something triggers the fixed cam, it will move the PTZ to the assigned preset. You can use the "Trigger Now" to test.

There are a few other ways to do it as well.
 

Holbs

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As always... my 5 cents: is it possible to run a network data cable from the house to sidewalk area? Could be fake mailbox post, fake landscape rock, on that light itself (is that your like or city/county light?)
 

Teken

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Do it right the first time and invest the time and finances to run CAT-6 certified Ethernet cable. Anything less is wasting your time, resources, and money.

If you can’t do it hire it out . . .

Everything should be planned from the onset from location, power, ventilation. Where everything is home run to that designated area so long term maintenance and troubleshooting is easier on anyone.

Dedicated power outlets offering 20 amps is a must and essential. This is coupled with a properly sized pure sine wave UPS. Proper grounding and SPD’s should be implemented in key areas of the network. If you’re even remotely serious about true video security this network will operate on its own dedicated isolated network!

The major advantages is near zero possibility of a breach never mind zero impact on the regular network due to bandwidth issues.

Don’t waste your time buying 3rd tier POE switches and stay with 1st / 2nd tier as they offer UL / cUL safety and compliance. If you intend to run cable plan toward the future and install 22-4, 18-4, 16-2 CL3 / R cabling to power anything from IR, speakers, microphone, LED, etc.

Everything works as a integral system so don’t hobble yourself by using and installing the cheapest blue light special as it relates to the infrastructure.
 

Griswalduk

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Do it right the first time and invest the time and finances to run CAT-6 certified Ethernet cable. Anything less is wasting your time, resources, and money.

If you can’t do it hire it out . . .

Everything should be planned from the onset from location, power, ventilation. Where everything is home run to that designated area so long term maintenance and troubleshooting is easier on anyone.

Dedicated power outlets offering 20 amps is a must and essential. This is coupled with a properly sized pure sine wave UPS. Proper grounding and SPD’s should be implemented in key areas of the network. If you’re even remotely serious about true video security this network will operate on its own dedicated isolated network!

The major advantages is near zero possibility of a breach never mind zero impact on the regular network due to bandwidth issues.

Don’t waste your time buying 3rd tier POE switches and stay with 1st / 2nd tier as they offer UL / cUL safety and compliance. If you intend to run cable plan toward the future and install 22-4, 18-4, 16-2 CL3 / R cabling to power anything from IR, speakers, microphone, LED, etc.

Everything works as a integral system so don’t hobble yourself by using and installing the cheapest blue light special as it relates to the infrastructure.
Health

Hi Teken

Your a man after my own heart lol.

I've been working on my property for a long time with this in mind. I always say once the "backend" infrastructure is ok then you can pretty up the "frontend". Im in the process of putting back together and making good.

The added benefits are that you know where every cable, pipe, duct run is and you've tried to make things easier for those coming behind you. Has anyone else tried to change a power socket only to find it will only come away from the wall a few inches because there's f@#£ all slack on the cable?

To the original poster if it's your forever house, remember you'll only have to do it once.

And that light can be changed or the side facing the camera can be blacked out if wittaj's simple shutter speed fix doesn't work

Griswald
 

Teken

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Health

Hi Teken

Your a man after my own heart lol.

I've been working on my property for a long time with this in mind. I always say once the "backend" infrastructure is ok then you can pretty up the "frontend". Im in the process of putting back together and making good.

The added benefits are that you know where every cable, pipe, duct run is and you've tried to make things easier for those coming behind you. Has anyone else tried to change a power socket only to find it will only come away from the wall a few inches because there's f@#£ all slack on the cable?

To the original poster if it's your forever house, remember you'll only have to do it once.

And that light can be changed or the side facing the camera can be blacked out if wittaj's simple shutter speed fix doesn't work

Griswald
If only one person uses the invaluable information provided by the forum members here to avoid mistakes, wasted time, and money.

That’s all I care about . . .

As it relates to the topic at hand if a conduit can be run to allow even more future proofing along with pull string - do it!

Normally this is done while construction is underway and walls are opened. But many homes offer great access after the fact from attic to the basement etc.

Obvious things to avoid doing is don’t install electronics in the attic. Every year thousands of people do so with no regards to service access, longevity, much less a fire hazard.

As it pertains to any wire being run don’t just leave the wires sitting on or under the attic insulation. Secure every 4-5 feet and avoid any electrical wiring. If wires must run in parallel try to keep them at least 18” apart or run perpendicular to 120 / 240 VAC.

Always leave plenty of service loop, drip leg, and use all water tight glands. Applying dielectric grease to the RJ45 will reduce corrosion while insuring long term conductivity.

Everyone should own a basic cable tester like these which is a 3rd tier unit but works great:

Super cheap and works:



A more advanced version but is well rated is this unit:


Want a name brand like Klein get this:


If you’re feeling spendy and want more consider this Klein:


Probably one of the best pass through RJ45 crimper:


If you don’t have a RJ45 wire cutter don’t waste your time buying the $0.99 specials as they will nick and cut your wires this won’t:

 

mat200

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Thanks. While I've since upgraded to mesh wifi I had about a year where I was running power line extenders in my house (which is very old + subject to historic district rules and basically impossible to run new cable directly through the interior walls). Somewhat to my surprise I was able to get performance that tracked a direct ethernet connection both in terms of uplink/downlink bandwidth as well as latency. I've heard that these systems can create extra noise in the house wiring which can then interfere with wifi or nearby radio but didn't find any issues in practice.
Welcome @muse_ee

Even with "historic district" rules there are ways to run new electrical, new plumbing, new data cables ...

In some ways older homes are easier, as many have basements or crawl spaces you can use for runs.

If a wood framed house, the outside walls may not even be insulated.
 
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