Saturday, October 8, 2011

IP Cameras

Recently, there have been a couple of break ins in nearby neighborhoods.  A couple of guys go door to door during the week, knock, and if someone answers, pretend to be an arborist offering to look at trees, or some other door-to-door type thing.

If they get no response, they break a window and let themselves in.  The police say that they're in and out in 10 minutes, and go first for the master bedroom for jewelry and then electronics.

I'm not one for worrying all that much about stuff, but my family are my jewels and I want to keep them safe. We have a rambling house, and a knock at the front door may or may not get an answer.  Or rather, a human answer.  The dogs will bark like crazy.  They're our own personal doorbells.

As a part of my normal curious nature, I've been messing with IP cameras, and with the break ins, it's a great excuse to buy a couple more and set them up.  Yeah, it won't stop someone for burgling, but now I can hang those "WARNING, VIDEO SURVEILLANCE ON SITE!" signs outside.

FI8918W (click to enlarge)
During my research, I came across Foscam IP cameras.  I bought one a couple of months ago (to mess around with) that's an indoor version.  It's an FI8918W.  It has both wired and wireless (802.11g), powered pan and tilt, but no zoom.  Getting full PTZ (adding zoom) seems to amp up the cost to $400+/camera.  This one was about $60 on sale. Sample pic to the right.  Yes, it's pointing outside my office at my bird feeder. Sue me.

Recently, I bought a couple of outdoor (waterproof) versions. FI8904W.  They're still (no pan/tilt/zoom(PTZ)), but have a wider angle of view and more IR (they see more, and can see farther at night.)  I put the two outdoor cameras on our shed to the side of the house, since it has power.  One pointing in front, one in back.
Front yard (click to enlarge)

Back yard (click to enlarge)

They are also wireless, so all I had to do was make sure they had power and were mounted to something.

To manage them, I did some research and found some great software called Blue Iris. After playing with the demo, I pulled the trigger and bought a full version.  Not only will it handle up to 64 (!) cameras, but it has built in motion sensing (including cropping), manages audio from the camera, and has some pretty good file management built in.  I've got it setup capture if it senses movement for more than 5 seconds, store them locally, and after 7 days (or 10GB used), copy them to the server, at which time it'll keep them for 28 days (or 100GB used.)

I'm running Blue Iris on one of the servers, and it even has a web interface, which I can use to setup view from outside the network (or my iphone.)
Blue Iris web view (click to enlarge)

I'm pretty pleased with the whole setup.  Haven't tried the outdoor cameras at night yet. We'll see how well they work. I suspect they only see about 40 feet away.  I'll try to update this with night pics.

1 comment:

  1. IP Camera Viewer for the PC is a great little product that lets me view my cams quickly and for free. The interface is intuitive and it works well.