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tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 15, 2020 11:28PM
I'm thinking about adding a couple of outdoor cameras to my arsenal of smart home items. After looking for a few reviews I found myself stumbling over a simple question - what, practically, do people use these for? As best I can tell, there are two primary use cases. First, I want to look at the video feed outside my house. Something has gotten my attention and I want to investigate. Second, something happened and I want to look back through the footage. That seems like a pretty basic feature set. Anything I'm missing?



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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: Carm
Date: May 15, 2020 11:41PM
Nope, pretty much what we use it for. We had the neighbor call the police/ambulance at 1am. Police, Firefighters, and an ambulance showed up. They took someone away on a gurney.
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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 16, 2020 12:41AM
I got my Ring setup after moving into my new house, when within the first three weeks of my moving in, I had > $250 worth of Amazon merchandise stolen off my front porch (luckily, Amazon covered it). In the time since I've gotten the Ring setup, I haven't had anything stolen since. No question it's acting as a deterrent, and also with the number of cams I have, it'd be likely I'd have good pics/video of thieves from multiple angles. I also have one pointed at the street, which again is good from a neighborhood watch perspective.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/16/2020 12:42AM by PeterB.
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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: WHiiP
Date: May 16, 2020 06:59AM
I would add that you really need to consider the resolution of the cameras for recognition or grabbing a readable license plate #. Distance they cover.



Bill
Flagler Beach, FL 32136

Carpe Vino!

Fermentation may have been a greater discovery than fire.
— David Rains Wallace
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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: Robert M
Date: May 16, 2020 07:33AM
Matt,

It's about the items you mentioned but also useful for just checking to make sure all is well. Prior to the pandemic, I routinely checked the surveillance system at my office just to make sure all is well. Now, when we are shipping/receiving only X days per week and aren't on-site all day, I check the cams more often.

Some key things to consider:

1. Type
Simple IP cams, standard cams with a dedicated DVR, etc

2. Wireless vs wired
Wireless doesn't necessarily mean completely wireless. Wireless could just be for the connection, not the power source.

3. Number of cams
Speaks for itself.

4. The resolution of the cams
Very important if you want to catch something like a license plate or details of a face.

5. Storage of footage
Local to cam, digital video recorder, cloud-based, etc.

6. Software used to access cams and/or view recorded footage.
Very important. Think platform(s), ease of use, features, etc. All too many cams are accessible only via smartphone. Some can be viewed on a phone, computer or the web. Some that are accessible via computer only support specific platforms, typically windows. And, some of horrid interfaces.

7. Integrated systems
Some, like Ring, offer doorbells and cams that are integrated together. Some can work in conjunction with alarm systems. Ring comes to mind again.

You can put together a system that is very basic or more complex. It's really up to you and what you want in the system. There are people in the forum who've built systems out of an old Mac and off-the-shelf IP cams. Ive tried that method. Wouldn't do it again. It was a pain in the butt and, overall, not cost-effective.

Robert
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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: Ombligo
Date: May 16, 2020 11:03AM
Just make sure the other adults in the house agree with you. Two years after putting three outside cameras up - all looking away from the house - my wife still voices displeasure at being "watched"

She has let them stay up, but if one goes bad I won't be replacing it due to her discomfort.



“No persons are more frequently wrong, than those who will not admit they are wrong.”
-- François de La Rochefoucauld

"WE CALL BS!" -- Emma Gonzalez
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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: davemchine
Date: May 16, 2020 11:38AM
My reasons changed over time:

Fun-First I just wanted to have fun so I bought the doorbell.

Legal-Then I used the footage in a legal matter and decided cameras around the whole house were a good idea.

Feeling secure-I like knowing when a worker is at the house. After the legal issue I started being skittish, or maybe on high alert, when people would appear in my back yard unannounced. This might be for lawn mowing, pool maintenance, bug control etc.

Kids-I never intended for the cameras to affect my kids but they have mentioned that they couldn't sneak out even if they wanted to. Added bonus.

Fun again-It is fun to see the neighborhood animals trigger the cameras on occasion. One night we had a family of raccoons visit. Another night the wind blew very hard and our shade umbrella waved, waved, waved, and then shot straight up into the air which was amusing. I also grab frames of people cannon balling into the pool and send it to them after get togethers.
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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: Gareth
Date: May 16, 2020 12:10PM
Quote
PeterB
No question it's acting as a deterrent

Probably depends on your area. Based on the number of videos in Neighbors and Nextdoor, I'm pretty sure my cameras are NOT a deterrent to package theft. Rather, they would just confirm if a package was stolen or not delivered. Luckily, I haven't had any stolen, but I have had some that are mis-delivered, which I verify from the camera footage.

Quote
WHiiP
I would add that you really need to consider the resolution of the cameras for recognition or grabbing a readable license plate #. Distance they cover.

Honestly, I wouldn't expect a lot of them to successfully capture a license plate unless they pull up pretty close to the camera. In addition to the resolution, you have to consider the compression and angle of view. For instance, the Arlo Pro 2 (1080p) wireless cameras are pretty heavily compressed and many cameras are very wide angle. If reading license plates is a priority, I would go with a 4k wired local recording system.

I don't have an Apples to Apples comparison, but at 14' on 1080p Ring a still license plate is legible. At 19' on 720p Arlo a still license plate is illegible.

Quote
Robert M
6. Software used to access cams and/or view recorded footage.

Yup, very important. Unfortunately, it's not something you can easily test ahead of time. I use both Arlo and Ring. I love the Arlo app and web interface because it gives you a still image preview of each recording. Ring, not so much, it's a PITA to find the recording I want.

Another thing to consider with cloud based systems that only record on motion is pre-roll. It can be very helpful. My Ring cameras are hardwired so they buffer the recording and when there's motion they will include the time before the motion was detected in the recording which can be very helpful. My Arlos are on battery power so they don't have any pre-roll, so they may not start recording until someone is halfway into the frame or more, which can be too late. Later Arlos will include preroll if they are wired to constant power which gives you the benefit of battery backup (note that your internet needs to be on a battery backup also if the power goes out). Whereas my Rings will stop recording if the power goes out as they will lose power.

Also consider if you want/need 24/7 recording. Sometimes the motion detection just doesn't trigger correctly, or with a cloud system, a camera may not record (for instance, Arlo can only record up to 5 simultaneous cameras per base station).
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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 16, 2020 12:53PM
Quote
Gareth
Quote
PeterB
No question it's acting as a deterrent

Probably depends on your area. Based on the number of videos in Neighbors and Nextdoor, I'm pretty sure my cameras are NOT a deterrent to package theft. Rather, they would just confirm if a package was stolen or not delivered. Luckily, I haven't had any stolen, but I have had some that are mis-delivered, which I verify from the camera footage.

I would have agreed with you, except that I haven't gotten any thefts to speak of, when I'm in a high crime area, compared people in other, better parts of town where their stuff is seemingly getting ripped off left and right. The difference is that I've got the cameras mounted in a very obvious way, whereas I notice that the people in the nicer parts of town, for whatever reason, seem to always like to hide their cameras, I'm not sure why.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: mattkime
Date: May 16, 2020 01:44PM
I suspect there are enough ring doorbells (and similar) that thieves avoid the neighborhood. I should still get my own.

I've grown more interested in the ubiquiti video product although their motion detection software apparently isn't very useful. Maybe thats fine. Rumor that they have a doorbell on the way.



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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: Gareth
Date: May 16, 2020 01:47PM
Quote
PeterB
I would have agreed with you, except that I haven't gotten any thefts to speak of, when I'm in a high crime area, compared people in other, better parts of town where their stuff is seemingly getting ripped off left and right.

Of course, the other part of that equation is, maybe the thieves go after the packages in the better part of town, thinking there will be better loot!

Going back to the apps. I just had another mis-delivered package. USPS scanned it 8 minutes after the other packages I did receive and said it was "left with individual". Well, USPS hasn't even been collecting signatures on my signature packages, instead signing them themselves and leaving them in the front yard, so I find it suspect that this was actually delivered to me. So, I go to Ring to check and I'm reminded about another horrible part of their interface. Instead of putting times on today's clips, they put 20 minutes ago, 48 minutes ago, 1:21 hours ago, etc, etc. Great, now I have to do time math to find the clip! On top of that, after I finish watching a couple of clips, the times change! Because now it's 23 minutes ago, 51 minutes ago, etc, etc. Horribly frustrating. And I can't even figure out how to download a clip from the web interface. And the clip I want froze up halfway through, so it's frozen on the postman holding the packages in front of my fence.
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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: PeterB
Date: May 16, 2020 02:31PM
Quote
Gareth
Quote
PeterB
I would have agreed with you, except that I haven't gotten any thefts to speak of, when I'm in a high crime area, compared people in other, better parts of town where their stuff is seemingly getting ripped off left and right.

Of course, the other part of that equation is, maybe the thieves go after the packages in the better part of town, thinking there will be better loot!

Going back to the apps. I just had another mis-delivered package. USPS scanned it 8 minutes after the other packages I did receive and said it was "left with individual". Well, USPS hasn't even been collecting signatures on my signature packages, instead signing them themselves and leaving them in the front yard, so I find it suspect that this was actually delivered to me. So, I go to Ring to check and I'm reminded about another horrible part of their interface. Instead of putting times on today's clips, they put 20 minutes ago, 48 minutes ago, 1:21 hours ago, etc, etc. Great, now I have to do time math to find the clip! On top of that, after I finish watching a couple of clips, the times change! Because now it's 23 minutes ago, 51 minutes ago, etc, etc. Horribly frustrating. And I can't even figure out how to download a clip from the web interface. And the clip I want froze up halfway through, so it's frozen on the postman holding the packages in front of my fence.

1) Yes, I've considered the "maybe better loot" argument ... but it doesn't really hold up, the higher-end, pricier stuff is stuff that thieves aren't likely to be able to use themselves (how they're going to use a stainless steel bathroom vanity is beyond me) and also it'd be less likely they could resell it without attracting attention.

2) To your second paragraph ... I find the phone app is much better than their website.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: Bernie
Date: May 16, 2020 03:20PM
PoE
Two different systems.
I do not want people to be hacking into my security.

Have two Wyse cameras at my mothers house and do not care if you hack into that. Want to watch an old lady sleep. She was falling a lot and did not know why. She thought she was blacking out.

Once the cameras were installed and reviewed when needed, she was rolling out of the chair she fell asleep in. Potassium levels were low from water pills and no "falls" in over a year since adding potassium to her routine.

Oh the PoE systems.... I am the last house on a dead end street adjacent some wooded area between properties.
Mostly kids smoking in the woods behind my wooden privacy fence, an occasional couple, stuff that does not require outside intervention.

I have a policy that is rather well known by now. Keep moving. This is not a park. It is not my property (on the other side), but I know the even older than me guy that owns it. I walk though there a couple times a year and pick up trash. If it is showing signs of needing more supervision then I pay more attention.

I have a motion activated spot light on one end of the path. Then they pull out their phones for light cause they are blind. Word travels. Especially when you get it to the right people.

One night I heard something and went out on the porch. Saw some guys with a flashlight near my fence. Pinged them with my Streamtlight and they were the police. I walked down to the fence and told them where the many paths went and what kind of flashlight I had. Forgot what they wanted the kids for or maybe they didn't say. More interested in my flashlight.
smiley-laughing001




Staunton, Virginia
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Re: tell me about your smart camera /security camera setup
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: May 16, 2020 04:06PM
If you can run ethernet, look at PoE (power over ethernet) cameras. No need for running power to the cameras. Plus, it removes a streaming device or two from your wifi.

I record to my Synology NAS. The only issue is that for more than 2 cameras, you need to buy camera licenses at $50/camera. It is a lifetime license though. You can delete an existing camera and replace it with a new one on the same license. I like the fact that all the video resides with me and not in the cloud. I can monitor the cameras on my Macs, iPhone and iPad. There is also an Android app. The apps are free.
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