Tag Archives: video

Using an iPhone or iPad as a CCTV Camera

With the right app, an iPhone or iPad can make an effective security camera that provides standard RTSP video/audio feeds. This is especially useful for older iOS devices that would otherwise be unused, making for an easy and inexpensive way to add an extra camera to your video surveillance system built around our macOS NVR software SecuritySpy.

In order for an iOS device to be used for video surveillance, it should be powered all the time and set to never sleep. Such a device should never be used for a critical CCTV purpose, since things like power outages or app/devices crashes may require manual intervention to put right. This can be mitigated somewhat with Apple’s Guided Access or Single App features.

The following apps have been tested and confirmed to work well with SecuritySpy for H.264 RTSP streaming, delivering high-quality and efficient video/audio streams to SecuritySpy. Continue reading

Offsite Backup of Recorded Camera Footage

Our macOS CCTV software SecuritySpy saves all recordings to a local drive. By default, the Mac’s internal drive is used, but you can specify any other drive(s) you want to use for this purpose, for example an external drive connected by USB or Thunderbolt or a NAS (Network Attached Storage) drive on the local network.

Modern drives are very reliable, and for most users the small chance of data loss due to drive failure may not be too concerning. However, this could be more of a concern for more critical commercial applications, plus there is also the possibility than an intruder could damage or steal the drive.

To minimise the chance of data loss, there are a few basic steps that users can take, for example by using only high-quality drives from reputable manufacturers, securing drives with anti-theft devices, or using multi-disk RAID disk setups that provide fault-tolerance.

One further method to prevent data loss is to set up automatic offsite backup for the most important captured footage, so that this can be retrieved if the primary storage drive is compromised. There are a few ways to do this: Continue reading

Dahua IPC-HDW5831R-ZE IP Camera Review

Dahua Technology have such an extensive range of IP cameras that it can be difficult to choose between them, especially between models that are superficially similar. Generally, Dahua cameras work very well with our macOS CCTV software SecuritySpy, and this particular model, the IPC-HDW5831R-ZE, looks like it could be something special.

This is an “eyeball” type camera, which is a form factor with some significant advantages: they are generally compact in size, easy to swivel and rotate to the correct position, and, unlike dome cameras, there is no curved perspex dome in front of the lens to reduce quality.

IPC-HDW5831R-ZE IP Camera

Dahua Technology IPC-HDW5831R-ZE

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AXIS A8105-E Video Door Station Review

Video doorbells are becoming increasingly popular, and have the potential to make a useful addition to any CCTV system. Our macOS CCTV software SecuritySpy works with many different video doorbells, but choosing one to use can be difficult, as they vary significantly in terms of feature set, quality, reliability and cost. In addition, many video doorbells (e.g. Ring, Nest, Eufy) are designed as closed cloud-based systems that lock you into a subscription, and specifically don’t work with NVR (Network Video Recorder) software such as SecuritySpy.

Features

The Axis A8105-E doorbell offers a good all-round feature set, including 2 MP resolution, Power-over-Ethernet, two-way audio, compact design, and multiple input/output ports to connect accessories such as chimes and door openers. A 1.56mm lens provides an outstandingly wide 180º horizontal field of view and the ability to capture people very close to the camera.

AXIS A8105-E Network Video Door Station

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Setting Up A Home CCTV System

In this blog post, we will go through the process of setting up a video surveillance system for your home, based around our macOS CCTV software SecuritySpy. When setting up a home CCTV system, cost is an important consideration, but we also want to choose high-quality hardware that is easy to install and set up. To this end, our example system will comprise the following components:

Cameras: we have chosen to use Amcrest IP5M-T1179EW cameras for the following reasons:

  • Physically quite small and unobtrusive.
  • Easy plug-and-play setup (no manual IP/network setup required).
  • High resolution (5 MP), night vision, and good codec support (H.265 and AAC).
  • A built-in microphone – essential for a camera covering an entrance.
  • Great value – under US$70.

IP5M-T1179EW-28MM Camera Continue reading

10 Recommended IP Cameras 2019

Here are our network camera picks for 2019. They are listed in no particular order (they are quite varied in terms of cost and feature set, which makes them difficult to rank as a “top 10″ list), however they are all cameras that, due to their impressive features, we recommend to our customers for use with our SecuritySpy CCTV software for the Mac.

Some abbreviations used below are as follows:

  • MP – Megapixels – the number of millions of pixels in the image sensor. The higher this number, the more detailed the image, but resolution isn’t everything: the optical quality of the lens system is also extremely important.
  • PoE – Power-over-Ethernet – when using a PoE switch, the camera draws power over the ethernet cable and therefore doesn’t require a separate power supply. This is very useful for easy installation and ongoing reliability. Note that some cameras require the higher-powered PoE+ standard.
  • IR – Infra-Red – some cameras include Infra-Red LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) for night vision. Usually the manufacturer will specify the maximum useful range of the IR in meters.
  • P-Iris / DC-Iris – These features allow the camera lens to automatically adjust its aperture size, based on the amount of incoming light. P-Iris is more sophisticated and will give better results than than DC-Iris, but both are far better than a Fixed-Iris lens, especially for outdoor applications.
  • Varifocal – These lenses allow you to zoom in and out somewhat (sometimes manually, sometimes motorised), in order to adjust the field of view at installation time. A focal length of 2.8mm is very wide-angle; 4mm is standard; 8mm is moderately telephoto.
  • PTZ – Pan, Tilt, Zoom – motorised remote control of the camera’s horizontal and vertical angle, and focal length.

BASIC OUTDOOR DOME: DAHUA TECHNOLOGY N44CG52 / N44CG53

Dahua N44CG52 IP Camera

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10 Recommended IP Cameras 2018

NOTE: this post has been superseded by our newest post 10 Recommended IP Cameras 2019.

Here are our camera picks for 2018. They are listed in no particular order (they are quite varied in terms of cost and feature set, which makes them difficult to rank as a “top 10″ list), however they are all cameras that, due to their impressive features, we recommend to our customers for use with our SecuritySpy CCTV software for the Mac.

Some abbreviations used below are as follows:

  • MP – Megapixels – the number of millions of pixels in the image sensor. The higher this number, the more detailed the image, but resolution isn’t everything: the optical quality of the lens system is also extremely important.
  • PoE – Power-over-Ethernet – when using a PoE switch, the camera draws power over the ethernet cable and therefore doesn’t need a separate power supply. This is very useful for easy installation and ongoing reliability.
  • IR – Infra-Red – some cameras include Infra-Red LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) for night vision. Usually the manufacturer will specify the maximum useful range of the IR in meters.
  • P-Iris / DC-Iris – These features allow the camera lens to automatically adjust its aperture size, based on the amount of incoming light. P-Iris is more sophisticated and will give better results than than DC-Iris, but both are far better than a Fixed-Iris lens, especially for outdoor applications.
  • Varifocal – most lenses have a fixed focal length, whereas varifocal lenses allow you to zoom in and out somewhat (sometimes manually, sometimes motorised), to adjust the field of view. A focal length of 2.8mm is very wide-angle; 4mm is standard; 8mm is moderately telephoto.
  • PTZ – Pan, Tilt, Zoom – motorised remote control of the camera’s horizontal and vertical angle, and focal length.

INEXPENSIVE OUTDOOR BULLET: HIKVISION DS-2CD2042WD-I

hik-bullet

Hikvision has a huge range of IP cameras, with quite a few outdoor bullet-type models at very good prices. This particular models offers a good all-round feature set, with 4 MP resolution, great low-light sensitivity, PoE support and 30-meter IR night-vision. It’s also great value, retailing at around $100.

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Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-IW Camera Review

Hikvision is a big name in the IP camera industry, offering a wide range of cameras that cover the whole spectrum from small home-use cameras to professional high-resolution industrial models.

Features

The DS-2CD2432F-IW is an inexpensive ($130) compact camera suitable for indoor use, with an impressive feature set. The 3 MP sensor offers higher resolution than many competing products from other manufacturers (Hikvision themselves also produce a DS-2CD2412F-IW model with a lower 1.2 MP resolution, but the price difference is not large, so we we would recommend going for this 3 MP model). It has both WiFi and Ethernet connectivity, and can be powered either by PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) or by a 12v power adapter, making it easy to install in any network environment. The sensitivity of 0.07 Lux, combined with built-in infrared (IR) illumination, allows it to function well in low-light situations, and it has a built-in microphone and speaker for two-way audio.

Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-IW

Hikvision DS-2CD2432F-IW Front View

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Case Study: The Raven Hotel

For any organisation still using analog cameras, SecuritySpy offers an easy upgrade path to a digital solution, allowing you to keep your analog cameras while gradually moving to a system based on megapixel IP cameras.

The Raven Hotel was in exactly this situation, and used SecuritySpy as their video surveillance solution. Below is their experience of SecuritySpy, in their own words.

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CaptureSync Case Study – Trio Iguaçu

Trio Iguaçu is a talented group of musicians, playing a delightful blend of tango and bossa nova music. We set up a recording session with them in order to produce promotional videos for the trio, as well as to demonstrate the power and flexibility of our CaptureSync multi-camera video recording software.

CaptureSync is software for the Mac that records video and audio from multiple cameras simultaneously, with all feeds synchronised together and saved to a single QuickTime Movie file. CaptureSync is perfect for recording interviews, scientific experiments, psychological research, musical performances, market research, lectures and presentations.

The setup consisted of one main camera to capture the whole group, as well as three auxiliary cameras to provide close-up views of each musician. These close-up views are useful for analysing playing technique or for editing in Final Cut Pro in order to produce an edited movie that switches between multiple camera angles.

Main Camera

As the quality of the group view was the most important, we used a Nikon D3200 DSLR camera with a 35mm lens. This camera provides high-quality 1920×1080 resolution 30fps video via HDMI, which can be recorded by CaptureSync using Blackmagic HDMI input hardware. As we were using a Mac Pro computer, we used the PCI version of their Intensity product, which is part of a range that also includes Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 HDMI-input devices.

Nikon D3200 DSLR

Nikon D3200 DSLR Camera

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