Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles’ Category

Using an IP PTZ with Youtube Live Streaming

Written By:
Friday, September 19th, 2014


I just had a customer call in and give me a challenge to see if our IP cameras would allow her to push the video feed to a YouTube Live Streaming service.  The customer wanted to use an IP Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) Camera feed to display the video in place of her Webcam. She wanted to take advantage of the fact that in her back yard she sees wild animals which can be displayed on YouTube Live and can be used to gain Subscribers and obtain Ad Revenue.

Lets start with the items that we will need:


An IP Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) Camera





ONVIF Manager

I have chosen this IPPTZ (IPPTZ-EL2MPIR250L30X-AT) for this demonstration because this camera will track movement and provide the footage that my customer is looking for. This IP PTZ is a high definition 2MP camera which will deliver 1080P resolution as well as a long range of “zoom Ability” with its 30X Optical Lens. The Camera’s Algorithm works as follows. If the camera sees a change in pixels it sees this as an object moving, so it follows the object. You can also set a Virtual Trip line and other ways to activate the motion features of this camera. Once we have installed the camera into the desired area to get the best angle possible we will need to get the RTSP string from the camera. For this you can use an application called Onvif Device Manager.

Onvif Manager 1

You may notice on the image you can see that our camera is on IP Address I have changed this to since I have another device on the network with this IP address and was giving me a conflicting IP error.

Onvif Manager 2

Once you have clicked on the correct camera you can navigate to “Imaging settings” when you see the video feed right below the video feed. I copied to my clip board the string “rtsp://”  

This is the string that you need to define on the Wirecast Software.

Some Pro Tips to learn what you can do with this string is the following:

channel: Channel, 1-8; subtype: Code-Stream Type, Main Stream 0, Sub Stream 1.

Once you have obtained this we will be focusing on the software that will enable us to utilize the RTSP feeds and output it to Youtube.

Wirecast from Telestream is a live video streaming production tool that allows Mac and Windows users to create live or on-demand broadcasts for the web. This software is widely known with Youtube users which at one point where looking for software that allowed them to cue up videos from cameras. Since recently they have added the ability to utilize RTSP, RTMP and other feeds to them we can use this software. The software has a trial period that you can utilize but the downside of the software is the fact that you cannot test the RTSP feed unless you have the Pro Version of this.

Once you have installed the software we can jump into setting up Wirecast to receive the feed.

Wirecast 1

Navigate to Sources tab, on the drop down you will see “Show Sources Setting” and a pop up window will appear.

Wirecast 2

In this window you can select the video sources. In our case we will go ahead and create one by navigating to the “+” to add our cameras RTSP feed.


In the new window selection you will navigate  to  Protocol and select “RTSP”. Once you have selected the correct protocol you want to tick the radio button “Live Stream” and input the RTSP string that we have copied to our clipboard into the “URI” text field.

To simply test that all of these settings are correct just click connect. On the window above the settings you will see the live feed, if you can see it properly save your settings and close this window.

wirecast sett

Now we move to opening the feed onto your cue window. We do this my clicking on the camera logo and selecting “Add Web Stream Source 0 Shot”. Once you have done this you will see the feed in the preview section. Once we have done this we need to start the Live Feed by pressing on the Right arrow.

Wirecast last

We then navigate to the Output Tab and click Virtual Camera Out on the Drop down, then click on “Start” to start this service. Make sure that the Check Mark for Match Canvas is selected and if the camera has a microphone select the Audio sources. In my case I did not add a microphone and did not test if this was possible.


Once you are set with Wirecast, and your camera is good to go, we will focus on Google Hangouts and start by verifying if the video feed from the Virtual Camera Service that Wirecast produces is working properly.

You can utilize other feeds to display on your YouTube Live feed. In my case I selected My 720P camera then used a “Smooth” transition Cut to go from one feed to another just in case I want my viewers to see me while I am Live Streaming. 

Once you have this set up you can go back to the Hangouts Window and click on “You”. This will start a buffer and once that is finished you will see a Green Button called “Start Broadcast”. This will start your Broadcast. According to YouTube you have the ability to broadcast for up to 8 hours continuously. If you have subscribers they will be notified that you have a live session. You also have the ability to create a live session and set up a time and date allowing your viewers/subscribers to plan accordingly and watch your show.

Here is a video Illustrating how I have set up the Camera and software to get a good result and have my 2mp cameras feed go to the YouTube Live stream and have other options like utilizing the web cam and a USB microphone. Or maybe if you have an outside Microphone connected to the IPPTZ you can test and see if you can retrieve that Audio.

Here is a Nice video of what we needed to accomplish. I hope this helps everyone that is wanting to utilize a PTZ and push it out to YouTube.


Top 5 Movie Scenes Featuring Surveillance (that are not the entire plot)

Written By:
Friday, September 19th, 2014

In the last 30 to 40 years, surveillance technology has increasingly become standard trope in movies and television, although the idea of using surveillance has been in the popular culture at least as far back as George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty Four” which became a mainstay of spy films of the cold war era.

We are at a point now where surveillance technology is so pervasive that, for movie and television writers, it’s almost impossible to have a plot without featuring some kind of security camera or surveillance usually involving the main characters thwarting a security system in order to attain a “MacGuffin”. MacGuffin is slang for the basic object of interest in any movie, whether it be a briefcase, money, a car, top secure documents, or some other highly desired item around which a plot revolves. Also, modern detective or crime stories typically contain at least one scene where a computer “expert” is given security footage to “enhance”, usually to impossible levels.

Today, there are a plethora of movies in which the entire plot of the film has to do with surveillance where police procedurals, political thrillers, and detective stories are the most common. It’s almost to the point where it has become a genre onto itself. So rather than go the obvious route of listing the top surveillance movies (most of which list 1974’s “The Conversation” and 1998’s “Enemy of the State” toward the top), we have compiled a list of movies where a security camera, or some sort of surveillance equipment, is used prominently in one scene in movie. The surveillance scene doesn’t constitute the entire plot or the job of the main characters in a film. Here are the Top 5 Movie Scenes Featuring Surveillance (that are not the entire plot).

5. Revenge of the Nerds – “Panty Raid”

The Nerds watching the footage from their secret sorority video camera.

This scene is not necessarily integral to the overall plot of the film, but in this case, a security camera is used to show off the “nerdiness” of the characters. In 1984, the ability to hook up a security camera was entirely in the domain of the nerd and the “hi-tech” lengths in which they’ll go to pull off a revenge prank was stellar. The titular “nerds” throw a party that while at first is a bust, actually ends up becoming successful. At the height of the party, The Alpha Beta (fraternity) and Alpha Pis (sorority) prank the party by sending a herd of pigs though the house and taunt them from the street. The nerds, in turn, plot a panty raid on the Pi Delta’s, which involves the covert rigging of (now hilariously outdated) security cameras in the sorority house. In a later scene, the topless photos of the Delta Pi’s taken earlier by the nerds cameras win a charity sales event.

4. Hudson Hawk – “Swinging on a Star”

Bruce Willis and Danny Aiello about to conduct their heist under cover of looped security footage.

A fun scene from this 1991 Bruce Willis comedy/box-office bomb features two safe-cracking cat burglars pulling off a daring heist of an art museum (in order to steal a horse sculpture by Leonardo DaVinci). They rewire the security camera system so that it shows the museum guards, who are monitoring the bank of security monitors, a ‘rerun looping’ of a previous tape. The temporary fix will only last for “5 minutes and change”, but rather than time their heist by a watch, the two thieves decided to time their job based on the length of the song “Swinging on a Star”, since it comes to about 5 minutes and 32 seconds.

3. Frailty: “All the tapes look like this.”

The ending of this 2001 supernatural thriller has one very short scene featuring security camera footage, lasting mere seconds of screen time, but it provides the audience with crucial information that executes a clever plot twist.

The end of the film involves Dallas FBI agents realizing that the man who came into the office the previous day is a possible serial killer, but no one that was actually present in the office can remember any details about what he looked like. When they review a security tape to analyze it, the image is static and fuzzy precisely around the suspect but nowhere else. It’s revealed that every other security camera in the FBI has the same problem, meaning that no identification can be made on the suspect. Coming where it does in the film, it confirms to the audience that (spoiler alert) Matthew McConaughey’s character has actual supernatural powers, or something (possibly God) is allowing him to move though the world but as an undetectable entity.

2. Speed – “Security camera loop #2″

Another movie that exploited the trope of “looping the footage” is this 1995 Keanu Reeve’s vehicle (pun intended). The plot is simple. A bus is rigged with a bomb by a madman ex-bomb squad officer (played by Dennis Hopper) which he says will detonate if either the bus goes below 55 or if anyone attempts to leave the bus before his multi-million dollar ransom demands are met. It isn’t until late in the film when the hero character “Jack Traven” (Keanu) finally discovers a small hidden camera on the bus. The police work with a local news crew to find the frequency the camera is transmitting at, and have the victims on on the bus record a short loop of footage to rebroadcast to the bomber, allowing them to escape the bus. This “footage loop” cliche would go on to be used in dozens of movies and TV shows, but not nearly to the degree of the final entry in this article:

1. Blade Runner – “ENHANCE”

In one of the most imitated, and often parodied, scenes in movie history, Harrison Ford’s character, Dekard (the “Blade Runner” of this 1982 film), who’s job it is to hunt down rogue androids in the far off future of 2019, uses an enhancement device to zoom in impossibly far on a photo. OK, being that it’s a photo and not security footage is a little bit of a cheat, but read on to see why it’s relevant. To zoom in on details that would likely require a 1 million megapixel camera to capture, Dekard eventually finds the image he’s looking for in a mirror reflection.

The reason I chose this scene as being important in the history of surveillance cameras in pop culture is more for the cliche that it spawned. This single scene has inspired hundreds of movies and TV series to include at least one “video enhancement” scene where an authority figure asks a video expert to “enhance” security footage. More often than not, the evidence they are looking for is almost always in the reflection of some shiny object.



How to Back Up your DVR to an FTP Server

Written By:
Thursday, September 18th, 2014

How to Backup your DVR using FTP

Great! You’ve gone in the right direction and decided to protect your property using a CCTV surveillance camera system. Having cameras visible on your property is usually enough to deter most criminals from trying to gain entry into your home or business, but what happens if for some reason something happens to the DVR and you lose all of your recorded footage? If your cameras have been placed properly, you will have a great shot of an incident that occurred, but if you didn’t get to it in time to save and backup the incident, there’s a chance you will lose it forever if you do not have another copy of it being stored elsewhere for extra safety.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with this issue but it does happen! The DVR can be damaged in many different ways. Hard drives can stop working, DVRs which are not on surge protectors can get fried during a storm, and then there’s the horrible chance that someone may deliberately steal or destroy the unit. In any of these cases, it would be really nice to have another copy of your hard drives stored far away from the DVR itself. This article will serve as a guide on how to back up your DVR using the FTP feature.

In order to Back Up your DVR to an FTP Server, you will first need some sort of an FTP server. A computer on the same network as the DVR or NVR that is always on will work perfectly, but you may also use a server that is stored elsewhere. A remote server is great in case of a fire or break-in where the device may be destroyed in some way. I do want to stress that the FTP backup feature will only work with footage that is backed up prior to the incident. This means that if you have a schedule set up to back up the DVR at 9:00PM every night, and the next day it’s 8:00PM when the DVR gets ruined, the last back up copy you’ll have on your FTP server is from the night before. Please be aware of this when setting up your scheduling, so that you’re sure the footage is being backed up as needed.

For an FTP software, I recommend FileZilla which is a free FTP server software that works on Windows, OSX and even Linux, and can be downloaded at Once installed, you need to set up your FTP directory and user accounts. Open the Users option and add a user and set the password.


Next click on Shared folders and click Add. You can then browse to where you want the footage backed up to as shown below.


The FTP is now all set up. All you need to know from here is the IP address of the computer it is installed on. You can obtain this by going to your start menu > run, type “cmd” and enter to open a command prompt. In that window type “ipconfig” and hit enter. Your IP address will be displayed. Take that information down as we will need to enter it into the DVR’s FTP configuration which we will review next.

Access your DVR’s or NVR’s web service by typing the IP address of the DVR into your Internet Explorer address bar. Then click the Setup tab and the storage category.

Under that click on Storage and then the FTP tab. Click the check box to enable the FTP feature and enter your computer’s IP address in the Server IP field. By default, FileZilla uses port 21 so you can leave that field alone. Enter the user name and password for the user you created in FileZilla. Remote Directory can be left blank as you already chose the folder where you want the footage to be backed up to. Finally, you need to choose the channels you want to backup and the weekdays. For both I would recommend setting it to all to back up everything. I recommend the time period to be left at the default setting for all day, or you could set the periods to only back up footage for when you’re not physically at that location. Be sure to select the MD checkbox if your system is set to record based on motion, or the Regular check box if you record 24/7. You now have everything set up that is needed to have an additional backup of your footage for more piece of mind. If the DVR or NVR is stolen, hopefully you will still have the footage you need to lead authorities to an arrest.


Like I mentioned above, backing up to FTP locally is only as safe as the location where you house your DVR. If anything happens to that location, you still have the threat of losing your recordings. This is why I would highly recommend to backing up your footage off-site. A remote FTP server is definitely affordable nowadays and can save you in the event that your main location is destroyed or tampered with. For example, you may want to back up the footage from the recording device (DVR or NVR) at your business to a computer you have at home. The setup is relatively the same, so follow all of the previous steps for installing FileZilla on your home computer, and the same steps for setting up the FTP feature on your DVR or NVR. The one difference will be for the Server IP setting in the DVR’s configuration. You want to set this to your home network’s external IP. You can see what that is by visiting from your home computer. Use the IP address given to you on that site for the Server IP field in the FTP options.

The setup is almost complete, but you need to open up the FTP port on your home network’s router so the DVR can find the server. This is called Port Forwarding. You may Refer to your routers documentation on how to set up port forwarding. You will need to forward TCP port 21 to your computer’s IP address. Again, this can be found by running ipconfig from a command prompt. Once this is done, you can confirm your port forwarding settings are working by visiting and testing port 21. It should respond with a successful message if everything is set up properly. You are now set up, but keep in mind the backup process will use up a lot of bandwidth. You will need a sufficient upload speed from where the DVR is installed, and download speed on the network that has the FTP server in order to grab all that footage it’s backing up and download it onto the machine. You can test your speeds at If your speeds aren’t great, you can always be more selective in what you back up. You can just backup a certain camera, day of the week or time periods.

If you want access to your footage from anywhere, or don’t want to run your own FTP server, you can use a cloud-based storage solution as well. Any cloud storage solution that has FTP access will work great. The account settings for your cloud storage service will provide you with the IP address, account and port needed to set up your DVR’s FTP backup feature.

I have listed three different ways you can enable FTP backup of your DVR or NVR footage. This will provide you with additional piece of mind, as your footage will still be available if the DVR is stolen or destroyed. You should still try to conceal the DVR in a secure location if possible, such as on top of a closet or attic, but if the criminal sees the cameras he will likely look for it until they can locate it. With the FTP backup feature of’s DVRs and NVRs, you don’t have to be out of luck if it is found.

If you have any more questions or concerns, please feel free to contact our tech support department and we will help you get all set up with backing up to FTP. We require that you are using one of our DVRs or NVRs, which come with a lifetime of free tech support. You may contact us at 866.573.8878 or


Different Security Camera “Night Vision” Options

Written By:
Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Did you ever wish you could see at night? Well believe it or not, it’s more common than you might think.

Several security cameras have the ability to see at night or even in complete darkness with the assistance of Infrared. Actually there are a few different types of infrared CCTV cameras. Two of the most popular options are FLIR Cameras, that stands for “Forward Looking Infrared Radiometer” and the more common standard infrared technology used in the majority of today’s consumer based security cameras.


Thermal Imaging & Night Vision
Forward Looking Infrared cameras, sometimes known as thermal cameras, use an array of sensors that can pick up infrared (IR) emissions or detect heat. This is because heat emits IR light. The hotter something is, the more IR it emits. The FLIR camera displays the different levels of heat that it detects as different colors or shades of color.

Anyone who has seen the movie “Predator” might associate FLIR images with the way the predator sees his enemies or prey via his high tech helmet.

FLIR cameras are used for a variety of applications and industries including, but not limited to, law enforcement, military, building & home Inspections, leak detection, commercial & personal security, and hunting & survival.

When it comes to seeing in the dark, FLIR Imaging has many benefits over traditional night vision. Night Vision devices simply magnify the available natural or manmade light in a specific area to brighten an image and help you see in very low light. In many situations there’s still not enough light for the human to see contrast between objects. Everything gives off heat and because thermal cameras see heat instead of light, you can see a lot more contrast between objects.


Environmental conditions such as rain, fog or smoke can also displace natural light making it hard to see or completely mask your target when using traditional night vision. This is not the case with thermal imaging.

Here is a great video “Night Vision versus Thermal Imaging” that shows visual examples of these differences.

The Spectrum
As I mentioned before FLIR and the more common types of CCTV cameras use IR or Infrared to see at night.

Take a look at the chart below. Notice the area marked “”Visible Light”, this is the part of the spectrum that is visible to the human eye.


Just to the left of the visible Violet light is Ultra-Violet and to the right of visible red is Infra-RED. Like ultraviolet, infrared is light that is not visible to the human eye. CCTV cameras have a special chip inside that acts as the camera’s eye, but it can see infrared light. That’s why even though we can’t see in the dark, security cameras can.
There are actually different intensities of infrared: near, mid and far infrared. Near-Infrared is just outside the spectrum of red that humans can see. Most commercial security cameras see near-infrared, and like the human eye they can see the light that reflects off of objects. Thermal imaging uses the far-infrared part of the spectrum and can actually see the IR that is produced by heat, not the reflective light. The hotter the object is the more IR it emits.

A Discovery
Infrared light also known as infrared radiation was discovered in the 1800’s by William Herschel. He wanted to measure the temperature for each color of light in the spectrum.

He hung a prism in a window and projected the light spectrum onto a desk. He used a thermometer to measure the temperature of each color. He tested Violet, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange and Red light. He realized that the temperature increased from violet to red. Then he decided to measure the temperature just outside of the red area where no light was visible. Surprisingly this area was even hotter than the areas were colors could be seen. It proved that there were types of light not visible by the human eye.


A Question
Question: How do we know that Infra-red light is actually RED? In the light spectrum yellow light has green next to it, so how do we know the color next to red is red? Could it be a color we don’t even have a name for?

Infrared CCTV Camera LED’s
Most security cameras on the market these days use infrared LED’s to produce infrared light. The amount of light produced as well as the distance the camera can see at night depends on the intensity, size, and number of LED’s used for each individual camera.


The security cameras also have a built-in photo cell that detects light. When the sounding light levels get too low, the infrared IR’s will turn on automatically.

On some cameras you can actually see the LED’s emitting a slight red glow when the IR’s turn on. Many CCTV installers will test whether or not a camera is getting power by cupping the front of the lens with their hands. By doing this it blocks the light and turns on the IR’s. If you peek into your hands while the IR’s are on and can see the red glow, that lets you know that the camera is getting sufficient power.

A Little Help
Most CCTV cameras have a maximum IR distance. This is basically the distance that the camera can see at night. The more powerful the IRs are the greater the distance the camera can see.

The infrared light source does not have to come from the camera itself. Many security cameras will detect any available infrared light in the surrounding area.


If you have a camera that does not have Infrared IR’s built-in or IR’s that do not have enough power to see the distance you desire, you can use an IR Illuminator. IR Illuminators are basically like big IR flood lights that can be mounted next to the camera, or in any location within the cameras field of view that you want illuminated. Similar to built-in camera IR’s they have a photo cell and will turn the IR’s on and off automatically.

Who’s There?
Some cameras use a more simple approach to be able to see at night.They use a built motion detector. When the camera detects motion a “White Light” or “LED” turns on and illuminates the surrounding area, similar to turning on a very bright flashlight.

Some Interesting Facts
Fact: Some Snakes have special organs that allow them to see Infrared. This enables them to strike their pray precisely regardless of the light conditions.

Pop Culture: In 2002 the video game “Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell” was released. It featured Sam Fisher, a special agent for the NSA as the main character. It was one of the first video games to encourage the player stay in the shadows, sneak up on their enemies and take them out silently, instead of running out in the open with guns blazing. Ironically 2 of his most powerful weapons were night vision & thermal vision.


In Conclusion
The next time you find yourself stumbling around in the dark, just remember that how many different types of “Night Vision” there are. Humans have come up with a verity of methods to achieve artificial night vision. Some animals are equipped with biological night vision and it is prevalent in areas such as the military, home security and even in video games.


The Importance of Police Cameras

Written By:
Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Should Law Enforcement Personnel use Police Cameras?

The answer is coming forth as an overwhelming, “Yes!” especially since the recent turmoil in Ferguson, MO. In Ferguson a white police officer shot a black teen and since there is no real evidence, there is no way to say if the cop was over-excessive in his use of force or if the perpetrator had it coming. If the officer had been wearing some kind of body camera, the evidence would have been clear. As of today, the Ferguson Police Department has adopted the use of Police Cameras to document events.

In other areas of the country, police cameras have been adopted and some have had great success in initial statistic for crime reduction. In a cited study from USA Today, it seems that the Rialto Police Department in California adopted police cameras in 2012 and so far has seen an “88% decrease in citizen complaints and a 60% reduction in use-of-force incidents.” The author of the article wasn’t sure if that was due to the cameras or the fact that the officers were now being watched themselves, and therefor were behaving like police officers should be.

What is a Police Camera?

A police camera is a device that can be worn by the police officer to record surveillance footage when he is engaged in his duties, whether it is responding to a call, pursuing someone on foot, on a stakeout and many other scenarios. In the past, these cameras were mounted on the police car dashboards and have been made famous by the TV Show “Cops”, where it will show the actions as the officers are driving. The one drawback to this however is that as soon as the police get out of the car and pursue the perpetrator, there is no more surveillance footage except if there is a helicopter with a camera following the chase. Even then, though, there is no close-up or audio and if the chase goes into the woods, there is no recording.

Because it is getting increasing important for these chases and arrests to be documented, especially in the court of law, police officers are now starting to wear body cameras.

Body Police Camera

There are many police cameras on the market, and this AXON body camera is just an example of what some law enforcement agencies are using. What I like about this camera is its wide field of view. Just like our CCTV cameras at the AXON camera can see more than most cameras on the market as you can see from the picture below.

Camera Field Of View

Field of View is very important for a police camera because it shows more on the left and right then the typical police cameras out there. When recording, for the sake of evidence, you want to see as much as possible which brings me to my next point, recording time.

Another great feature about this camera is the video buffer. Just like how our DVRs and NVRs can record prior to a motion event, this body police camera will show in the recording 30 seconds prior to the officer pushing the record button. This is due to the camera always recording and deleting even when the record button is not pushed.

A third feature of this camera is the ability to record in low light which allows more to be seen at night when all the officer has is his flashlight. Other police cameras cannot record in low light so all that will be shown in court would be a dark image with sound.

These are all great features, but what good is having amazing recordings without being able to have the footage readily available for the lawyers that are going to use these in a trial?

Police Camera Surveillance Evidence

In CCTV, recorded footage is on the DVR Hard Drive, and that footage can be transferred to a storage device such as a thumb drive easily for the authorities to use. For the police camera, it is not as easy as that, but there is a solution created by and the makers of the AXON camera, Taser. When the officer gets off duty, all he needs to do is dock the camera in the charger and it will automatically upload all the footage to, provided his agency subscribes to that service. Otherwise, if the law enforcement agency has their own way of keeping footage on their computers that option is available. Keeping digital evidence and maintaining it can be very costly and that is why is a great solution. The officers can do simple searches by date, location, text and other ways to find the exact footage needed. This is especially helpful if a citizen has a complaint over how he was arrested or if the court has summoned for the evidence. Either way, the officers are assured that their footage is in tact.


In conclusion it is very important for our day to day lives to be recorded. With CCTV recording our homes, businesses and schools, there has to be documented footage on what police officers are doing. Police cameras can not only record what criminals are doing and their actions, but they are also keeping an eye on the police officers as well. The officers that use excessive force for no reason will not be able to get away with it, and also if a criminal is acting out of conduct, that will be documented as well and a clear arrest will be made.

One thing I could not find out about is if there is a penalty to the police officer that does not turn his camera on. In my opinion I believe that if the officer “forgets” to push the record button and then something controversial happens like in Ferguson MO, then the officer should be penalized.

It is my hope that police cameras will bring down the crime rate since criminals know they are being watchd, and it is also my hope that police brutality will decrease as it has done in Rialto, California.