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Simple Security Camera with recording

Posted on 2014-07-19
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Last Modified: 2014-07-19
Looking to set up a really simple video surveillance system to monitor a parking lot.  I'd like the camera to be wireless, and be able to record directly to a computer/server or to an entry level decent DVR.  Camera needs to be able to record at night, can be motion sensor.

Basically we don't need a full fledged CCTV system, just something to record a parking lot and if something happens be able to pull the recording.  

Phone access would be cool to live feed, and even a small screen unit I could put in my office, otherwise web access and I can just throw it on part of the computer screen.

Thanks!  Links to direct products you recommend on Amazon would be appreciated, or other sites if they don't have it.
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Question by:DerekFG
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tailoreddigital earned 300 total points
ID: 40206504
Here's a few things to think about.

You don't have to use a DVR, a computer will work fine, but obviously it would have to be on 24/7 to keep the camera available.     I have 12 cameras being recorded by my system and it works fine.    

If you use analog cameras then you will need either a DVR or a capture card for the computer.    Buying an IP camera is the way to go.  (i.e. WIRELESS http://www.amazon.com/Foscam-FI9805W-Outdoor-Wireless-Camera/dp/B00GT1423A/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1405792854&sr=8-16&keywords=wireless+outdoor+ip+camera      WIRED     http://www.amazon.com/Dahua-IPC-HFW4300S-Eco-Savvy-Weatherproof-Security/dp/B00H2VSTG2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405791139&sr=8-1&keywords=dahua ) With IP cameras you don't need a DVR or capture card, the computer can access the feed simply by the IP.    I own the cameras i linked to at Amazon and they've been great.

With the wireless camera,  you still have to run power to it.   For wired cameras, If you get a Power Over Ethernet type of camera, the power for the camera along with the video data can pass through the CAT5 line.    But this would also require a POE device to pass that power through (i.e.   http://www.amazon.com/WS-POE-8-48v60w-passive-Ethernet-Injector-cameras/dp/B0086SQDMM/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1405791534&sr=8-7&keywords=poe        or for just 1 camera  http://www.amazon.com/TP-LINK-TL-PoE150S-Gigabit-Injector-compliant/dp/B001PS9E5I/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1405791534&sr=8-2&keywords=poe  )

The last thing you'd need would be software to capture the video.    The Dahua camera i linked to has firmware built into it and can capture it video to a network drive.   You could use the basic software that comes with the camera or use a more full featured software that i've listed below.  

The motion detection you want isn't a feature of the camera, it's a feature of the software or DVR.      There are many different softwares for security cameras, i've tried quite a few......

iSpy
http://www.ispyconnect.com/

This is great software, it's free.   It handles many cameras and is loaded with features.

BlueIris
http://blueirissoftware.com/

This is the software i currently use.    In my opinion, for the price ($29 or $49) it's the best.    It's loaded with features and works very well.   The difference between the versions is simply the amount of cameras you can connect to it.    It will also handle webcams.   It has a great app for mobile devices and is pretty easy to embed the video feed into a webpage.   One interesting feature is the ability to use you mobile device as a camera too.    In other words, you can turn on the mobile device video feed and your home computer will record it.


No matter what software you use, for external access you need to forward (port forwarding) the appropriate port in your router.    For example,  in BlueIris you enable the web server in the settings which causes BlueIris to watch for traffic on a specific port.   That port number needs to be configured in your router to forward requests over to the IP of the computer running BlueIris.    After this you will have external access from mobile devices and browsers.
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by:DerekFG
ID: 40206507
Awesome answer, thank you.  I've set up full systems before, but in this case we just need something simple for our lot, so it was most helpful.  I believe I will go with the BlueIris software and record directly to one of our servers.

Can you recommend an indoor camera?  We have large windows and I was hoping to just stick a camera in an office pointing out towards the lot.

Thanks!
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by:garycase
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by:tailoreddigital
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I was going to correct my post a bit.   Both the Foscam and Dahua have motion sensing features built into their firmware.

One problem i've run into with pointing a night vision camera at a window is that it creates a reflection which messes up the picture.    I do have a box type of camera  (i don't own this one) that doesn't have night vision but my parking spot is kinda lit so it works.   I have a 100x zoom lens on it.   I have a similar type of camera capturing license plates driving by.  This was handy recently when a business near my home was broken into.

I think you will be very happy with BlueIris.    The forum for BlueIris is at http://www.cam-it.org/

How far is the parking lot you are capturing?
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by:garycase
ID: 40206518
... if you're going to mount the camera indoors, you can use any of the Foscam units that have the specs you want -- i.e. you need to decide if you need zoom capability or if just pan and tilt is enough.   I suspect you just need pan & tilt, since you just want to be able to set up the viewing area and then set it to record on motion detection.

BlueIris works nicely, but for a simple single camera setup the default software Foscam ships with the cameras works just fine.   I'd try that first; then buy BlueIris if you want a few added features or want to add more cameras.   BlueIris has much better multiple-camera control than the basic package Foscam (and most other vendors) provides.
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by:garycase
ID: 40206520
I haven't tried one of my night vision cameras through glass, but I suspect tailerdigital is correct -- the IR beam may not transit the glass well, so the image may be distorted (or even not work).    Won't hurt to try it ... but an outdoor mount is definitely preferable.
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by:tailoreddigital
ID: 40206522
Wow, what happend to my original post?

I would use the wireless Foscam i recommended or the Foscam garycase recommened.   Make sure it's mounted high enough so someone can't grab it.   Also mount it near a power source.
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by:tailoreddigital
ID: 40206527
FYI,

I've gone through many cameras in the slow construction of my personal security system.   I have lots of types of cameras, but i wished all of them were IP and POE.   These features are just too convenient.  It costs a few more bucks but in the long term it's nice to have and easier to work with.
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by:tailoreddigital
ID: 40206529
I just can't think of a solution to go through glass and have night vision.   I think the only way to accomplish this would either have great lighting in the parking lot and not use night vision on a camera (like my box camera setup),  or mount the camera outside and use the night vision type.
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by:garycase
ID: 40206585
I think whether or not night vision works through glass depends on the bandwidth of the glass.   IR is often not transmitted well through exterior glass, so it won't work well -- but I've seen exceptions.    The only way I know to determine it for sure (short of having expensive optical gear to measure the spectral bandwidth) is to just try it.

I agree an external unit would be best, so there's no interference for either the IR lamp or the imaging sensor.

tailordigital => r.e. your original post:   It was posted in duplicate, so I deleted one of them.   For some reason, the system deleted them both when I did that, so I changed one back to normal status.    Depending on when you refreshed the display, you may have seen both posts disappear -- they were both gone for a minute or so until I noticed what had happened and fixed it.
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by:tailoreddigital
ID: 40206597
It must have glitched due to me updating it, i didn't post it twice.   Thanks for the fix.
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by:cheers4beers
ID: 40206639
Have you checked out Dropcam?

http://www.amazon.com/Dropcam-Wi-Fi-Wireless-Monitoring-Camera/dp/B00F9FCW7K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405803163&sr=8-1&keywords=drop+cam

The link above is to the Pro version, and it is a Wi-Fi cam that can record to 'The Cloud' so that you can access it for live streaming from anywhere you have an internet connection, and you can store up to 30 days of footage (in the cloud) in case you need to go back and review.  Does night vision and zoom, and records in 720P HD.

https://www.dropcam.com/product
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by:cheers4beers
ID: 40206646
I will add that to store the video in the cloud for playback, you will have to pay a monthly fee, which is the main downside of this camera in my opinion.  It is a great product that you ultimately have to pay extra for in order to get the full effective use of it.
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by:DerekFG
ID: 40206685
"How far is the parking lot you are capturing? "

From the window to the first parking spot, maybe 20 foot.  Max distance I need to record would be 80-100 foot I would estimate.

The lot does have decent lighting, as in I can look out there at any hour and see if anyone happened to be walking through the lot or around my vehicle.

Last question:

If I went with the Foscam FI9821W, which has "night vision", can I disable this feature from the camera and/or software if it interferes drastically with the window I am shooting out of?
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by:tailoreddigital
ID: 40206717
Yes it has a switch in "live video" section.

It's not in the settings section,   when mousing over the buttons in the "live video" section, you'll find a switch for turning off the IR.
IR Button
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by:garycase
ID: 40206726
As noted above, it's trivial to turn the IR on/off ... there's an "eye" you click on to turn it on;  and a little button next to it that turns it off (that one looks like an infinity symbol with a line drawn through it).

The Foscam has excellent low-light resolution, so if you can see the lot yourself it's pretty likely the camera will see it just fine without the IR.
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