Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

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Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

Postposted on Fri May 11, 2012 8:22 pm

First off, hello everyone. :)



So, I have a few spare computer parts and i want to build a PC that's exclusively for a Surveillance System. Im completely open to any suggestions. The spare parts i have: Intel E5200, 4gb of ram, 250gb hard drive, Mother board is a T-P43D2-a7, and an Antec Earthwatts 430.

The back story.
So at my work, our cheap little 4 channel Swann Surveillance System is on its way out. Lately it sometimes it says "disck IO error, please check hard disk" and disappears. However, even when it works, I absolutely hate the system as the menu and "os" is a pain in the ass. When we have to rewind, it does it in increments of 7, 14 and 21 seconds, so just to rewind and go back in days can take many, many hours.

I've only seen some type of adapter cards that can plug into a motherboard and then plug your cameras into that card and then i've seen wireless cameras, but not sure how they would connect to a home surveillance PC. The main thing i'm concerned about is not having the recording software to be so bad like the Swann system i mentioned.

I need help. Any suggestions or personal successful advice is greatly appreciative. Im pretty new to this particular type of computer building but willing to learn. :)
Last edited by ULYXX on Sun May 13, 2012 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

Postposted on Sat May 12, 2012 3:39 pm

How many hours of recording are you looking to take and how many cameras do you plan on using? I used a Toshiba network camera for recording my research in grad school. It has pan/tilt/zoom, motion detection to trigger recording, will follow motion, etc etc and it comes with their free recording software. The camera I used was $300 - $400 and was wired (RJ45 ethernet), but they also have wireless ones. The features you require will determine the price of the camera obviously. As far as the software is concerned, it worked well for my needs. Simple to set up and use, you can view and control it from any device with an internet connection (with an admin username and password that you set) in real time. Might be worth looking into. Most of their cameras nowadays will do 1600x1200 at 30fps but I wouldn't recommend recording at that quality as it will EAT up storage space like hotcakes. I recorded in 480i at 7-13fps and sound with good results and small file size. I seem to feel like that was somewhere in the neighborhood of 200MB/hr (don't quote me on that)
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Re: Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

Postposted on Sat May 12, 2012 4:42 pm

Use some kind of software, there are a few, that only saves frames with motion in them. Storing hours of content is so last century and kinda dumb. Basically we compare the next frame to the last frame and if they are the same we throw it away. Motion in Linux works very well.
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Re: Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 10:58 am

Thank you guys for the response. :-)

RE: Dpete27

For the question about how many hours i would record, I think a 48-72 hours of recording would be fine for in case anything illegally happens, you usually report those things right away. Ill be working with a 250gb hard drive. So i probably wont be recording in 1600x1200. :lol: However, the cameras are not zoomed too far back to lose too much detail.

Is this the camera you were speaking of? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6881119018.

We already have some wired cameras in place in good locations to capture (register, beer room, hallways). Im pretty sure they were some kind 400ish line of TV quality and they seem suffice. I do like the sound of that toshiba camera you mentioned in case we need to add another in the future at different locations. So ill have to do some research on that Toshiba for sure.


For the software you mentioned, when you record and have to sift through history how is the reverse feature? Or even the name of the software so i can perhaps google and start looking up the features and methods it has to reverse. Then i could start comparing basic keyword features in different systems. For the Swann system we had, the incremental 7-21 of reverse was agonizing for us to rewind. That swann box is probably whats motivating me to make this home made surveillance system . ha.
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Re: Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 11:10 am

ULYXX wrote:First off, hello everyone. :)



So, I have a few spare computer parts and i want to build a PC that's exclusively for a Surveillance System. Im completely open to any suggestions. The spare parts i have: Intel E5200, 4gb of ram, 250gb hard drive, some biostar mobo (ill have to double check later), and an Antec Earthwatts 430.

The back story.
So at my work, our cheap little 4 channel Swann Surveillance System is on its way out. Lately it sometimes it says "disck IO error, please check hard disk" and disappears. However, even when it works, I absolutely hate the system as the menu and "os" is a pain in the ass. When we have to rewind, it does it in increments of 7, 14 and 21 seconds, so just to rewind and go back in days can take many, many hours.

I've only seen some type of adapter cards that can plug into a motherboard and then plug your cameras into that card and then i've seen wireless cameras, but not sure how they would connect to a home surveillance PC. The main thing i'm concerned about is not having the recording software to be so bad like the Swann system i mentioned.

I need help. Any suggestions or personal successful advice is greatly appreciative. Im pretty new to this particular type of computer building but willing to learn. :)


You wanna re-use existing cameras? They probably have a BNC connector, so you'll definitely need a capture card, something like:
http://www.geovision.com.tw/english/3_1_DVR.asp

If you want to go with new IP cameras (wireless or wired), I'd personally get a small, quiet, power-efficient dedicated DVR instead of building your own - something like this should work (depending on cameras you choose, look at camera compatibility info):
http://www.qnap.com/useng/index.php?lan ... =982&t=989
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Re: Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 11:12 am

PenGun wrote:Use some kind of software, there are a few, that only saves frames with motion in them. Storing hours of content is so last century and kinda dumb. Basically we compare the next frame to the last frame and if they are the same we throw it away. Motion in Linux works very well.


I dont have to actually use linux for that do I? Afraid im not too savvy for that OS. :( Anything similar to that in windows? Sorry for the dumb question.
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Re: Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 2:01 pm

ULYXX wrote:Is this the camera you were speaking of? http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6881119018.


Thats the current version of the one I used, except mine wasn't wireless. The software is Toshiba's proprietary software that comes with every camera. I recorded in MPEG4 format and you can use any media player to play it back. (I used Media Player Classic) It looks like they have a more advanced suveillance software available also. That software might be able to do what PenGun was talking about. Also, as I mentioned before, my camera had the ability to self-activate the recording sequence when it detected motion which would be helpful at reducing the amount of video you're recording with nothing "exciting" on it.
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Re: Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 3:42 pm

ULYXX wrote:
PenGun wrote:Use some kind of software, there are a few, that only saves frames with motion in them. Storing hours of content is so last century and kinda dumb. Basically we compare the next frame to the last frame and if they are the same we throw it away. Motion in Linux works very well.


I dont have to actually use linux for that do I? Afraid im not too savvy for that OS. :( Anything similar to that in windows? Sorry for the dumb question.


Any number of windows applications. The first one from Google:

http://www.ispyconnect.com/
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Re: Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 4:04 pm

ULYXX wrote:I dont have to actually use linux for that do I? Afraid im not too savvy for that OS. :( Anything similar to that in windows? Sorry for the dumb question.


If you'll be getting a capture card for "analog" cameras - the Windows-compatible software should be already included with them, or at least available for download from manufacturer's website. You don't NEED to use any 3rd-party software. If you'll be buying a dedicated DVR for IP cameras (like one of Qnap or Synology models) - the Windows-compatible software is also available for download from manufacturer's sites (plus you can always access DVR's directly from internet browser). ALL of that software already includes such basic features as "motion detection recording" (where the DVR software records only frames with motion and doesn't record anything if no motion is detected).
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Re: Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 6:49 pm

DPete, PenGun, JohnC. Thank you guys for the info. I meant to reply sooner to your first response JohnC, I was on my way out to work when i read it. Yes, i do want to to try re-using some of the cameras we have, only because they're already there and they're still working. Those link to the video capture cards will be fun to read later when im home and even the DVRs had some SUPER nice features to consider vs a PC. I see theyre not listing the price tags haha. I hope they're not too much out of reach, but perhaps the quality will be worth it. I'm quite impressed at how many watts they use actually for those set ups.

This is very a good healthy amount of information for me to sink into and look at the options. You guys rock and all your responses were pretty straight forward and very insightful. Thank you! :D
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Re: Any advice for a Security Camera System PC?

Postposted on Sun May 13, 2012 9:58 pm

ULYXX wrote: I see theyre not listing the price tags haha.

Well, such things are usually being sold through resellers, so you'll have to find one yourself, I can't really recommend any of them since it was long time ago I was purchasing things like this... GeoVision cards are pretty popular, though, so a lot of resellers should carry them.

B.t.w, when buying the capture card for "analog" cameras look at teh specifications more carefully - the listed recording "fps rate" is usually a total maximum number for ALL ports/cameras. For example, if the card's specs say "4-port, 60 fps" it usually means that it can record at 15 fps per each port if you have all 4 cameras connected, NOT 60 fps for EACH camera connected. If you have 3 cameras connected to such card it means you can set each one to record at 20 fps, and so on.
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