[plug] OT: Security Cameras and Open Source

Brad Campbell brad at fnarfbargle.com
Sun Jul 17 14:41:05 AWST 2016

On 16/07/16 14:11, Daniel wrote:
> Hi
> I'm getting uninvited guests trying car doors and windows so
> considering getting external security cameras with good night vision to
> record these events.
> Much of the hardware and solutions seem proprietary and it may be that I
> haven't known enough to ask the right questions but I was put off some
> 'solutions'.
> Does anyone know about Open Source solutions or have anyone to recommend
> please?

Finally something up my alley. Note I tend to deal with slightly bigger 
systems, although I do have 8 cameras up at home at the moment.

Cameras :
Nothing worthy to recommend I'm afraid.
I've recently tried :
- Hikvision
- Bosch
- March Networks
- Axis
- Samsung
- Avigilon
- Sony
- Panasonic
- Cheap crap generic Chinese stuff
- A couple of others that were bad enough I don't recall the make.

Universally the theme is either nasty IE specific stuff, or windows 
plugins although you can get rtsp streams out of them into mplayer or 
vlc pretty easily.

As for recording back ends. At the moment I've got
- Geutebrueck
- Bosch
- March Networks
- Avigilon
- Indigo Vision
- Aimetis

Again, all windows (running in VM's on a Debian server). I've looked at 
smaller/cheaper systems as recommended on various ip camera web sites, 
but they are generally rubbish compared to a quality product. They are 
cheaper though.

Open source is a bit of a dream for CCTV. Unfortunately like the 
remainder of the security industry it's a seriously closed shop. 
Everyone holds their knowledge tight to their chests so they can pretend 
to know more than the next guy. The ONVIF alliance is working towards 
some standardization and in some way they are making it easier to plug a 
camera into a VMS and have it work out of the box, but like all 
standards they are implemented selectively and a little differently by 
each vendor.

They are getting better though. Nobody is going to champion an open 
source VMS when the vendors are happy collecting a couple of hundred 
bucks per channel license (some on a yearly basis!). There's a huge 
vested interest in the status quo, and no incentive to write an open 
one. Wish there was!

On the whole there is a lot of information out there on the cheap 
Chinese stuff because it's easy to pick them up on E-bay or Alibaba, but 
if the guys on the ip camera web sites ever actually saw their favourite 
cameras put up next to a real camera they'd trip over their jaws.

Sorry, not much help on the open source part. I have a mate who's played 
with zoneminder a bit but every time I look at it I just can't get past 
the duct tape and chewing gum.

Now, good low light cameras are expensive. Worth it, but expensive. 
Cheap low light cameras either achieve their light performance at a 
shutter speed of 1s (thus being completely useless) or spew IR all over 
the place to try and light things up.

I have one here that might suit and you can borrow if you want to have a 

Dolphins are so intelligent that within a few weeks they can
train Americans to stand at the edge of the pool and throw them

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