New Blog

This blog has been set up to provide information relevant to users of our Macintosh video-related software. In particular we will cover topics relevant to video surveillance system setup, equipment and software usage. Please feel free to suggest topics for us to cover.

19 Comments

  1. Ben:
    I am considering setting up a budget surveillance system in my Mother’s house (she has early stage Alzheimer’s). All her children are Mac users, but live far away. I am wondering what is the best way to go – I am thinking economical network cameras such as Dlink 932L or similar, but I note the need for a direct PC connection for set-up. I aim to start with a single camera and see how it goes. Do you have relevant suggestions/advice?

    Reply
    • We do try to add such features where possible. Audio is unfortunately not supported for this particular camera at this time. We try to add audio support where possible but there are a wide variety of audio streaming formats and methods and these cameras don’t support the right ones for SecuritySpy I’m afraid. As for preset pan/tilt positions, this is normally an easy thing to add to SecuritySpy, however in this case it appears that the camera itself doesn’t support this feature.

      Regards,
      Ben

      Reply
  2. A suggested topic: Storage Solutions.

    We are “growing” a camera security network for a client based on Security Spy and HiRes IP cameras. So far, so good. But we are getting to the point (6 TB online and growing) where we need to look at some serious storage solutions. My research so far has been inconclusive: systems with the wrong specs, overkill (with associated high prices), “works on PC only…”, etc. I would be very interested in what Ben Software recommends and would be interested in participating in discussions as to what we are finding.

    Greetings from the Great White North (Canada, eh!)

    Reply
    • Hi Peter!

      As I’m sure you are aware, generally there is a tradeoff between CPU utilisation (i.e. applying more effective video compression) vs. storage utilisation (less compression and therefore larger video files). Generally, storage is cheaper than CPU so this is normally the way to go. There are some NAS (network storage) solutions that exceed 6GB but they tend to be expensive. If you are using a Mac Pro (with multiple high-resolution cameras this seems likely), then you have 4 drive bays – putting a 3GB drive in each bay gives you a total of 12GB – the cost is not too bad while performance will be excellent.

      I would also recommend using MPEG-4 compression in SecuritySpy, which gives a good balance between file size and CPU utilisation.

      Hope this helps,
      Ben

      Reply
  3. quick skim thru web site – so if I have missed my request – sorry …

    1) care to make a few suggestions on good QPR ( quality/price ratio ) camera’s that set up easy and good for home use … what would you buy for home use ? prefer wifi for set up …

    2) a bit confused on any issue for computer in sleep mode … will camera ‘wake up’ the computer

    We travel during winter and it is probably time I set up something … I even have owed SS since 2003 …albeit I will need to upgrade …:-) … just overcoming the ‘fear’ …

    Greg

    Reply
    • Hi Greg,

      We have some camera suggestions here:

      http://www.bensoftware.com/securityspy/installationmanual/choosingnetcams.html

      Generally, Axis cameras are very high-quality, reliable, and easy to set up so that is definitely a safe bet. For outdoor cameras however, Axis can be on the expensive side so have a look at ACTi models, they are also very good.

      In order to record video from your cameras, your computer must be awake all the time. When it goes into sleep mode, no processing can happen. There is no way for the cameras to wake up the computer.

      Hope this helps, let me know if you have any further questions!

      Ben

      Reply
  4. I tried the live demo camera on your website but I could not get two of the Java selections to work in Safari even after I selected “Allow” when the dialog box appeared: “The Digital Signature could not be verified”.

    There was a recent Apple Safari update which turned off Java (although there is conflicting information as to what it actually did). Could this be the reason why?

    Reply
    • Hi Wayne,

      Sorry about this, we are aware of problems with the Java applet on recent system versions, but unfortunately there does not seem to be a workaround at present. We are working on a replacement for the Java applet in the next version of SecuritySpy. For now please use the “Auto” option in the web interface which will give you a live video-only stream, or use another copy of SecuritySpy (unlicensed and free of charge) to receive and display the live video and audio streams on the client computer – see http://www.bensoftware.com/securityspy/manual/index.html#ssvideoserver

      Regards,
      Ben

      Reply
    • Yes, although we haven’t tested this camera, so it’s not on our list, it should work in SecuritySpy. If you are using a wireless network to your recording computer this will be the main culprit of such problems. If you are using wired ethernet, it could be your wiring or your ethernet hub/switch at fault, or other network traffic. For example, if your internet router has multiple ethernet ports and you are using that as your main network hub/switch, this could be the source of the problem. We recommend using a high-quality gigabit switch – Netgear makes some very good ones.

      Reply
  5. Hello Ben,

    How would I go about making a time lapse movie using one of my cameras? If for example, I have a camera in my backyard and wanted to record the growing season of my garden by capturing a frame at the same time of day over the course of a several months to a year? Is this possible without too much hassle? Thanks, love your product!

    Reply
    • Hi Mike,

      The best way to do this is as follows:

      – In SecuritySpy’s Preferences, set the Date ordering to “Year / Month / Day”. This ensures that the alphabetical order of the files matches the chronological order – this is important for the final step.

      – In Camera Settings -> Continuous capture: enable the “Capture image file” option and set the frequency to 3600 (so that it says “Capture image file every 3600 seconds”).

      – In Camera Settings -> Setup, set up a schedule that sets the camera to Active mode (red) for 10 minutes (this is the shortest time possible), at the same time in the middle of every day. Enable this schedule for the camera.

      With the above settings, SecuritySpy will capture one image per day, at the times specified in your Schedule. These will be saved to your ~/Documents/SecuritySpy/Captured files/ folder. Each image will be in a separate folder because SecuritySpy creates a new folder per day. So what you will need to do is drag all the files into a single folder, and then use some software that will put all these individual files together into a movie. Our other software BTV Pro can do this.

      Hope this helps!
      Ben

      Reply

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