Please help me tweak night settings on 5321R-Z

Frankenscript

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Hi folks,

Despite being a "camera guy" for going on three years, I still feel like a novice when it comes to really dialing in settings for optimum performance.

I have a Dahua 5321 R-Z from Andy that gives me exactly what I want during the day, but at night I think I should be able to do better. This varifocal camera is purposefully zoomed way out to give a wide view; I have other cameras zoomed in to cover specific things like my mailbox.

But, it's campaign sign season, and my signs are going right smack in the middle of this camera's view. The area of interest is about 20 feet away from the camera, and from watching detailed videos many of you have posted, I think I have plenty of room for improvement.
Note: There's LOTS of IR lighting. In addition to another identical camera nearby (with IR on), there's a big IR blaster about 15 feet to the right of this thing, illuminating the whole area. Hence you can see stark shadows from that light source. This camera's IR is actually off in this video; I will test with it on but it doesn't make much difference because of the IR blaster nearby.

Anyway, in the following video I simulate the target: disrespectful teens out to collect signs.


I will post my settings in a reply in a few minutes.
 

Frankenscript

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OK, I don't look like a teen... maybe bigfoot loping along.

Anyway here are the BI settings:

FY Blue Iris Network record settigns.jpg

And the camera setup from the web interface:
FY Camera version.jpg
FY Camera Condition Picture.jpg

FY Camera Condition Exposure.jpg

I left 3DNR on but tuned way way down; it tends to look a bit better this way than all the way off.

I would be grateful for any hints on making a better set of settings. While I purposefully have this camera in wide angle mode, for the next six weeks I may zoom it in a bit to get more pixels on the area of interest. I have played around a bit with contrast and sharpness and such... the gamma is the one that I found worth tweaking so far.
 

bigredfish

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Two things come to mind without going all technical on ya ;)

More zoom & more light (IR or white close in) I’d turn the 5231 IR on and play with intensity.

Also try a fixed manual shutter at night. 1/60-1/120
A little more sharpness and contrast cant hurt. Try putting gamma back to 50 and play with those


*** Oh and nobody's going to steal your Biden sign ;)
 

Frankenscript

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Thanks @bigredfish !

When it gets dark in a little while I'll do what you recommend. On the shutter speed, going to 1/60 will double more or less the time of exposure at the risk of more blur. I'll see how those manual speeds work. Will zoom in and turn on the IR. Thanks again.

And: I have had such signs stolen before. I lost an Obama sign before getting cameras. I'm a blue fish in a red ocean, surrounded by lots of "wannabe sharks" who are actually punk guppies.
 

bigredfish

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Here's a few random snapshots of my buddies place using all 5231's and 2231's...

Pete_Flamingo Lake_main_20200924020223_@6.jpg Pete_Goat Playground_main_20200924012817_@6.jpg Pete_Driveway_main_20200924010631_@6.jpg Pete_Front Yard_main_20200924041011_@6.jpg

The light you see coming from the left on the two from the front of the house are from a Z12 being used for LPR
 

Frankenscript

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Here it is after I zoomed in about halfway (was fully unzoomed before), so approximately 4x pixels. Added the camera's own IR at 50% which did help for this use case (at 100%, it is too bright reflecting off people on the sidewalk close to the camera), and minor small tweaks to the gamma, contrast, etc. Definitely an improvement, mostly due to zoom plus a bit more light.


Regarding the pics above: I love anything with a "goat playground." :) I would love to get an LPR cam but am limited in placement due to HOA rules. I'm considering putting in some (easily approvable) hardscape that would have little slots in it to stash appropriate cameras.
 

Frankenscript

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Oh, and I've got it fixed at 9 msec exposure (was 7 before I think). So, right around 1/120 sec.

Meanwhile my ISP is having conniptions tonight. I've got 1 Mbps download speed. Real fun. Oddly my upload speed is normal up around 700-800 Mbps. They've been working on fixing it for the last 4 hours. Sigh.

Thanks for the help and support guys!
 

bigredfish

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Here it is after I zoomed in about halfway (was fully unzoomed before), so approximately 4x pixels. Added the camera's own IR at 50% which did help for this use case (at 100%, it is too bright reflecting off people on the sidewalk close to the camera), and minor small tweaks to the gamma, contrast, etc. Definitely an improvement, mostly due to zoom plus a bit more light.


Regarding the pics above: I love anything with a "goat playground." :) I would love to get an LPR cam but am limited in placement due to HOA rules. I'm considering putting in some (easily approvable) hardscape that would have little slots in it to stash appropriate cameras.
Wayyyyyy better!
 
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