Why I Like Redundant Views/Multiple Cam Views

samplenhold

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A lot of newbies ask for help with their camera setups and most think that they can get by with a single cam to cover quite a bit of area. While that is possible if all you are interested in is a wide-angle overview, it usually will not give you a great chance of getting a face shot good enough for police to act upon. There are numerous threads here where people have an incident but their cams did not capture good enough footage to give to the police to get an arrest. They then ask what they should have done to get a better shot. Usually the answer is more cams, closer FOV, and more light.

So I thought about this issue from my own point of view that I really like having multiple cams covering a specific place/view. You can call them redundant, wasteful, or unnecessary, but I like that they give me several chances of getting a good face shot. Most everyone here will talk about the virtues of having two cams in crossing view for the driveway, and some even three. A few days ago, I had a delivery from UPS and the person did not come up my walkway to the front door, which would be the traditional way for a delivery person. This got me to thinking about how my cams captured the whole process and how having many views of the same area worked out for me. I also thought ‘What if this had been a perp instead of a delivery? What if it was a porch pirate or burglar? Could I get all of the information needed?’ So I thought I would write about this delivery from the point of view that the guy did not come in from the expected path and what could my cams tell me.

Planning and testing placement and views are critical in getting usable footage. I currently have 21 Dahua cameras spread out over 11 models covering my home, inside and out. Each camera was chosen for its fit to the requirements that I defined for that particular view. All of these cams were purchased from Andy at EMPIRETECH (@EMPIRETECANDY ) . They are connected to Blue Iris and are recording 24/7.

I live on a corner of a ‘T’ intersection in a subdivision north of Houston Texas. My front door faces more or less southeast, which brings with it whole sorts of lighting issues that change as the day goes by, with the seasons, and the weather. There are also trees in the front yard. There are a few street lights near my house and I have good lighting on the porch and at the garage.

street layout2.JPG

I have cams at the front door, the driveway, a couple pointed across the porch, one pointed at the intersection and two LPR cams. I also have 3 high mounted cams (one fixed lens and two PTZ) in second story windows for overview cams.

Analysis of the ‘non-traditional’ delivery access.

Here is a video of the front door right cam. He rounds the corner from the right (driveway) side, drops package and turns around and walks down to the street and turns right. He did actually ring the bell and stated “UPS”.


It’s been a cloudy day and raining off and on, so the face shot from this particular cam was not great.
FDRH.20201202_122110505.8.jpg

The stills from the cams on the left side of the door are a little bit better, but are still not great, the lighting being what it is that day. If he had come up the walkway, he would have been better illuminated prior to getting to the porch.
FDLH.20201202_122109971.9.jpgFDLL.20201202_122108892.10.jpg

A profile shot caught by the cam at the west end of the porch is better illuminated.
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The two driveway cams are really no help as he kept his head turned towards the street.
DRLFT.20201202_122103103.11.jpgDRRT.20201202_122101963.12.jpg

But the cam facing back at the front door and the driveway gave a shot that was perfect.
PFD.20201202_122108647.7.jpg

And the west facing LPR cam also had a good shot of him at the road.
LPR-W.20201202_122015609.16.jpg

Here is the combined video of him going to the door and back to the truck.

So from these videos and stills we can work up a description. Male about 5’5” (based on his height relative to the bricks as he rounds the corner to the door) rather husky build, with a short bushy beard and mustache but thin on the sideburns with a hair bun and color of hair black. Medium complexion. Wearing a brown UPS ball cap (UPS on back), brown UPS Seasonal Helper vest with yellow and silver reflective markings, untucked blue short sleeve shirt with three buttons on the front but no collar. Black gloves with writing on the top. Loose fitting blue jeans. Tan tie shoes with black rubber over-the-toes coating. Black digital watch with a white band that has three rows of cut-out circles on the band. Note that you would not get this description from any one single view point.

So IF this was a perp, you would like to know where he came from, where he went, and info on any vehicle that he used. The overview cams provide that info here, including plate captures. See the video below.

Cams Used:

My cams at the front door are all behind glass. Three Dahua mini-wedge cams HDBW4231FP-AS which are 2MP on 1/2.8” Starivs sensors with 3.6mm fixed lens. IR is turned off since they are behind glass. Two are mounted at 5.5 feet on either side of the door and one is mounted at 1.5 feet on the east side of the door pointed up. These give me good views of the door area and the approach up the walkway from the street. They also give some views of the street for continuity.
DSC_4447.JPGDSC_0445.JPG

To get pics of people leaving the door area I have one T5442TM-AS 2.8mm mounted on the back of the post just east of the walkway at 5.5 feet. It is a 4MP turret on a 1/1.8” sensor and the view gets the door and down the porch to the west towards the driveway and garage.
DSC_4976.JPG

Another cross porch view is provided by a T2231T-ZS-S2 mounted on the west far end of the porch and looks back at the corner. This is a 2MP varifocal (2.7-13.5mm) turret on a 1/2.8” sensor. It is set at about 9mm.
DSC_4989.JPG

To cover the intersection and provide information on the make, model, color, etc of vehicles that pass through the intersection supplementing the LPR cams, I have a B5442E-Z4E mounted on the east end of the porch. This is a 4MP varifocal bullet (8-32mm) on a 1/1.8” sensor set at 26mm.
DSC_4980.JPGDSC_4831.JPG

The two LPR cams are HFW5241E-Z12E 2MP varifocal (5-60mm) bullets on 1/2.8” sensors. The east facing cam is set to 52mm and the west facing cam is set to 45mm. They are contained in a box placed in the garden behind a tree.
DSC_5003.JPGDSC_5004.JPG

There are two SD12203T-GN dome cams in windows on the second floor. These are 2MP PTZ cams on 1/2.8” sensors with 2.7-8.1mm optical zoom lens. IR is tuned off. One is over the driveway and the other looks over the intersection.
DSC_4464.JPGDSC_4451.JPGDSC_0373.JPG

To cover the driveway there is a T5442TM-AS in 6mm which is a 4MP turret on a 1/1.8” sensor and a HDW5431R-ZE varifocal (2.7-13.5mm) turret 4MP on a 1/2.8” sensor that is set at about 7.5mm.
DSC_4462.JPGDSC_4463.JPG

Having multiple cams covering one area gives you more chances of getting a usable face shot. Having coverage around the area allows you to get other information besides the face information.

I hope you got something out of this post and do not consider it a waste of your time. I am sure that others would not entirely agree with me on the choice of cams, placement and number. The choices that I made were done over time as I gained more experience. My original plan is nothing like what this has evolved into. It has developed into a hobby, or as some say, an obsession.

Any constructive comments are welcome.
 
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SyconsciousAu

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Wow. I thought I was going the extra mile by mounting mine in pairs with interlocking coverage and coverage from multiple angles. But five separate cameras covering the front door alone? I tips me lid to you sir.

Just a suggestion for your front door cams that face the street. On my old cameras, by day, the front porch would be dark, and the face of people walking to the front door would be in shadow unless I activated Back Light Compensation (BLC). It hasn't been an issue on since I installed the 5442's which just seem to deal with it straight out of the box. You might want to try using BLC or WDR to improve your images.
 

samplenhold

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You might want to try using BLC or WDR to improve your images
Worked that quite hard before. They use WDR now. It is a balancing act. That day was quite dark as it had been raining. When the sun is brighter, I have no issue at the door. If he had come up the walkway, the face shots would have been fine on the walkway until he got up on the porch. That is why I decided to do this post since he came from a direction not originally anticipated.
 

wittaj

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Awesome write-up as usual!

Love the low camera that gets the person with their head down. Everyone should take note of that. I have one low as well.

It's a fun hobby/obsession LOL and I am always walking my property and figuring out where I want more or better coverage. The more cameras that someone can be on the better the chance that combined they will provide a complete picture.
 

bradner

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And then working out how to justify the expenditure to the minister for finance. :D
I have conquered that task already.

Me (approaching finance minister) : Hello Madame Minister - I have to show before you a picture which showeth the non-identity of a potential intruder on thy security camera. Although this said intruder is only a pussy cat this time, the next time could be a knife wielding, shotgun toting bear or even a door-to-door salesperson. I have a proposal to table that outlines how the additional purchase and mounting of one or more cameras, following the @samplenhold Protocol, will allow for said future intruder to be identified. Please see fit in your earliest convenience to approve this purchase as I've already ordered them from Sir @EMPIRETECANDY and they will arrive in less than 5 business days.

Finance minister: Approved, but do that again and solitary confinement for 7 days for you.

Me: Thank-you your royal minister - I shall remember that for the future

I've used the same bradner protocol for ordering multiple times with success so far LOL
 

samplenhold

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And then working out how to justify the expenditure to the minister for finance. :D
Well I do not have that issue. My wife has always supported me in anything I have wanted to do. Never once questioned why I bought a new gun or camera. She loves to tell neighbors that the constables come to us for video when something happens in the hood.

One time we had gone to a gun show and I had decided to get a 45ACP for the first time. I had it narrowed down to either a Glock 30 or 21. I ended up getting the 21 but on the ride home she could tell that I was thinking that I chose the wrong one. So she said we should go to that gun store down the road and get the 30, which we did. Had the guy add trijicon night sites. Another time we were at another gun show and I was trying to decide between two different Ruger 10/22's. One was the all-weather stainless/synthetic and the other was black barrel with this nice wood stock. She said to get both. I said no, I'll get the stainless. So she said either I get both or she would buy the wood stock one for herself. OK.
 

Sphinxicus

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Please see fit in your earliest convenience to approve this purchase as I've already ordered them from Sir @EMPIRETECANDY and they will arrive in less than 5 business days.
A council planner once told me, "Sometimes it's better to go ahead, then ask for forgiveness after the fact rather than ask permission first." I apply the same logic in many areas :winktongue:
 

Mike A.

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The ideal situation with cams, guns, fishing rods, or other assorted "guy stuff" is to reach the point where you have so much of it that another just isn't even noticed. That's when you reach guy stuff nirvana.

She has her own with shoes, purses, etc. All that I know is that there are a bunch of them and they all basically look alike to me. ; )
 

reflection

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Great setup samplenhold! I'm curious about your SD12203T-GN. I'm interested in a PTZ, but an outdoor one would never fly with the wife. Mounting a PTZ indoors should pass the WAF.

How well does that work for your needs? Do you get enough zoom? Does it auto-track?
 

samplenhold

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Great setup samplenhold! I'm curious about your SD12203T-GN. I'm interested in a PTZ, but an outdoor one would never fly with the wife. Mounting a PTZ indoors should pass the WAF.

How well does that work for your needs? Do you get enough zoom? Does it auto-track?
No they do not auto track. These are basically indoor domes. I like them for the job they are tasked to do. They give a good wide angle view at 2.7mm and I can zoom in to a specific area (8.1mm optically). I have several presets that I can jump to. I have UI3 running on one of my office screens so while I am at the desk, if I see something interesting, I can easily check it out. Sometimes I wish they had more zoom.

I mounted them on a board that I placed in the window above the lower screened window. I also placed black fabric hanging behind the cam down to the sill to combat reflections made by the white blinds. I've since painted the board white to make the board blend in with the blinds above and since the cam is white, it hides the cam quite well.
 

Ckb3

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Im pretty sure at the 15 second mark on the LPR video the driver said to the temp worker... "hey, do this one right... this place has cameras everywhere!"
 
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