Happy Cameras

Started setting up cameras at the property to monitor all of the things and help provide a better feeling of safety. Counselor helped me work out feeling more safe makes me more happier. He also let me realize how not feeling not safe has some severe negative effects on my actions. Maybe that is why I want a concrete bunker for a house? We blame most of my issues on being robbed a few times, and a constant onslaught of stuff from Trenton’s mother in court over the last decade.

The court stuff is officially over with Trenton turning 18. I hope the better gate, taking up full time residence, moving the valuable things into a few 10 gauge steel shipping containers and a much more robust security solution will help decrease the chance of being robbed again. So far we are at 3 cameras and counting; I keep buying more to test them for Quality and function. Expect a number of other posts covering the cameras I’ve tried.

I subscribe to the home automation list at work where the subject of cameras comes up often. Effort has been applied to saving the good bits form the list, but until you try something’s yourself to learn it is hard to know what is good. After these three cameras I am thinking more better resolution is a worthy feature. The two cameras pointing outside are 640×480 cameras; read lower resolution. Not in love with the resolution at all. Wish they were better quality, but they work great for remote sound, and motion detection, and come with a low cost point. I’m supplementing them with 8MP game cameras right now for the high quality stuff to see faces and license plates

Blue Iris – http://www.blueirissoftware.com/

Blue Iris is by far the most recommended software on the work automation list. After setting it up, talking to their support and using it for a few weeks I can see why. The software is amazing for the price and I’m only scratching the surface of what the software can do with my simple setup. The software had no problem finding and attaching to the three Dlink cameras in my initial run, and provides the following features I currently using:

  • Motion detention and with visible queues in the video feed- Blue iris will highlight the motion in the video feed making it simpler to pick up.
  • Alert Enable/Disable – Alert enable and disable manually and via a schedule basis. Michelle and I can turn alerting on with a Windows Mobile app when we leave and return
  • Motion based alerting– I have the cameras setup to send me an email with a picture if they detect any motion lasting more than X seconds. Then BI waits a bit and sends me a video of the motion.
  • DVR file management – Once an alert triggers BI will save images and video to a file location. BI is set to save the stuff there for X days, then move it somewhere else for X more days, finally deleting the files after X more days. The alerts are stored in OneDrive in the cloud, then moved to the HomeServer for longer term storage; all automagicly. Being stored in the cloud if someone removes of the machine running the software we won’t misplace the alert image and video stream- solving the problem of securing the DVR
  • External access – Blue Iris has a built webserver to access all of the camera data remotely. Plus BI has an API for other stuff to access it. In our case the API is used by the windows phone app Blue Iris Companion to access all of the things via our phones.
  • Audio alerting – BI alerts you via the laptop when things move, or when someone is watching externally – Letting Michelle know when I am stalking her from work.

Next steps will be to setup more cameras and an Arduino device to do more things for me. Part of the BI alerting structure allows you trigger an Arduino when things happen.

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