Archive for the ‘ CCTV Articles’ Category



I-502 Washington Code 314-55-083 Security, Surviellance and Access Control: Contingency and Congruency Planning

Written By:
Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

WA 314-55-083

When building your I-502 system it is important to plan your security layout, contingency and congruency options.  What does this mean exactly? It means planning for the worst case scenario. Planning for all foreseeable contingencies and running congruent systems to compartmentalize as much damage to the system as a worst case scenario can create.  When we here at Security Camera King plot your camera layout we take many factors into account, and in doing so we account for contingency and congruency in many ways.  My goal here is to further your awareness and allow for you to consider all choices with a conscious understanding of your infrastructure options when it comes to your cameras, digital video recorders, and cabling. These ideas and strategies can be applied to all your systems, including access control, loss prevention, employee accountability and even some growing strategies.

The first step is planning for contingencies and presenting the strongest defense one can have. “Preparation is key” as any good boy scout will tell you.  Contingency planning is simply preparing for the worst case scenario and often the impossible or unlikely. In considering these things you will find your business encountering far fewer slow-downs during emergencies. This can be extremely important with an I-502 surveillance system.   For example let us consider for a moment the unlikely scenario of a fire in a grow room: Damaged surveillance cameras could cause an entire suspension of production for the facility due to lack of CCTV coverage.  Having this added issue cutting further into your profits than just the initial loss of product and damage could be a devastating blow to a business. Meanwhile having a spare camera, cable and perhaps grow equipment could bring that room back to recovery much faster than ordering replacements would allow. Neatly avoiding rush shipping which can be an expensive emergency cost if your budget isn’t prepared for it. While extremely unlikely or improbable everything is subject to Murphy’s Law and even though these events are indeed unlikely and more so improbable, they are still a very real possibility. Having extra cameras on hand or a digital video recorder and hard drive if your budget allows can benefit you in multiple ways. For example if an opportunity to expand or grow avails itself you may be able to yield an extra crop. Contingency planning and purchases can and should include other items such as generators, battery backups, and surge protectors to protect against harmful lightning strikes or power surges and failures. This will allow you to continue working and protect your product when others may lose their ability to produce.  Having your surveillance system consistently running may keep you above reproach when the Liquor Control Board questions your actions or accountability during a power outage.  It can also allow you more flexibility in your infrastructure as it pertains to organizing and congruency.

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The second part to security/surveillance systems planning is congruency. Congruency planning is preparing and planning your system so that it can be interchanged and switched due to damage or as relevant to your operations growth and the change of the shape of your layout.  It is the art of interchangeable compartmentalization.

Congruency planning is best explained and very similar to how you plan congruency in your crop as a grower or farmer.  The phrase “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” is a simple and shrewd business strategy that can be applied to both your grow and your surveillance systems. Just as you have multiple rooms or greenhouses to prevent excessive sex change, so can you have multiple digital video recorder systems in case one is vandalized by a manager knowing he is about to be terminated or by an act of God.  For example, having multiple small digital video recorders with one or two ports unused allows that if you need to expand or move cameras from one digital video recorder to another you are free to do so without having any loss in coverage. No fretting, no hassle, quick resolutions to emergency situations.  Another part of congruency is utilizing the same hardware throughout your facility. Whether it be cameras, digital video recorders, hard drives, or cabling it can all be simplified to the same item types to allow for congruent systems. This makes any individual part of your system interchangeable with the other.  Say you want enlarge one room and shorten another. Relocating a camera is far easier when it doesn’t matter which camera you move. From running multiple systems to using the same digital video recorders, congruency is an integral part of planning your surveillance system. Congruency is a simple solution for contingency planning and your most effective option.

So what can we do to help?  First we take into account your needs when we give you your initial layout and quote.  We leave room for you to expand your system as your business grows, from adding cameras to alarm inputs and outputs. Next we provide multiple solutions to your surveillance and security needs. We look at each case and assess whether it is more effective to utilize two 16 channel digital video recorder units or one 32 channel digital video recorder unit.  In each case we carefully plan out your system to offer you the optimal solution for your layout. Not only that, we guarantee you will pass inspection if you follow our recommendations! We stand by our quotes and our assessments.  Beyond that our tech support is for the lifetime of the product, available to help you adjust your set up as needed.  We can also help you with your access control needs and simplify your layouts for these systems as well by maintaining equipment redundancy.   Access control is just another aspect of the field we specialize in, again providing you with unparalleled service and support.

We offer you multiple solutions to your surveillance requisites, all the while remaining I-502 compliant and maintaining a cost effective attitude.  To show our commitment in helping our I-502 customers anything purchased in addition to the quote and layout relating to fire replacement or spare items and cameras not included in our layout will be given an additional discount beyond the discount we normally reserve for our I-502 customers.  Give us a call. We would be glad to assist you! You can also check us out on the web at www.securitycameraking.com.

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How to extract recorded video footage from a DVR over the Internet

Written By:
Thursday, September 25th, 2014

Techpro Security Products brand DVRs have a long list of pragmatic features and none of them are more useful than the ability to view your security camera footage from anywhere in the world. This is accomplished when the DVR and the network where it has been installed have been set up to correctly work together. This feature gives you the capacity to view both live and recorded video from a computer. There are a few different ways that you can do this. In this article we are going to examine performing this function through the Web Service, which uses Internet Explorer. This is probably the easiest method to set up and does not require you to install software. This is a great way to extract recorded video footage from a DVR over the Internet.

This feature gives you access to almost all of the settings that you would be able to adjust from the DVR directly, as if you were interacting with it through a monitor and mouse connected to it. You will also be able to see the live views from any of your cameras that you wish to monitor. In addition to having all the functionality of interacting with the DVR directly, connecting to the DVR through the Web Service allows you to download recorded video footage from your DVR directly to your computer.

Now we’re going to take a look at the process of getting this recorded footage from your DVR to your computer, which is fairly straight forward. Once you are logged into your DVR through the Web Service you will see a series of buttons along the top of the screen that includes the button that is marked as “search” (as shown in Image 1). Clicking on this button is the first step in being able to view your recorded footage.

Image 1

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Once you have the “search” page pulled up you will first need to pay attention to the top center portion of the page. This section is labeled as “parameter”. You will need to select the date and time for the “begin time” and “end time” that will encompass the time frame of the recorded video that you are interested in reviewing. Next, you should select the camera that you want to view from the drop down menu next to where it says “channel”. This is located directly below where you entered the times and dates. You should also make sure that you have a check mark next to where it says “main stream” in order to get the highest quality of playback possible. Image 2 shows a general example of how this section should be set up.

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Once the “parameter” section has been set up correctly, the next step is to click on the “search” button in the upper right corner of this page (as shown in Image 3). Once you do, there will be a list of video events that will show up in the bottom portion of this page (as shown in Image 4). In order to view the video of any these events, you simply need to double click on them. This list can only hold a maximum of a hundred events. If you exhaust this list and haven’t found what you are looking for then you will need to adjust the search parameters on the top of this page to begin searching the next block of time.

Image 3

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Image 4

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While you are watching one of the recorded video files you will notice that there are some controls, located along the bottom of the interface, which will allow you to view the footage in the manner that you’d like to see it (as shown in Image 5). From the left, you’ll notice there is a slider bar along the bottom that will allow you to jump to different portions of the video file. As you continue this process from left to right on this bar you’ll next see the play, pause and stop buttons – the functions for these buttons are pretty straight forward. The last two buttons as you arrive at the right side of this page are the slow and fast forward buttons. Both of these buttons have multiple levels – the slow button allows for a maximum of 1/8th normal speed and the fast forward allows for a maximum of eight times the normal forward speed.

Image 5

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If you ever have the need or desire to extract recorded footage from the DVR, you’ll see that this interface also offers a simple way to accomplish this process. Once you have viewed a particular video file or group of them, you will need to go back to the playback screen by clicking on the “search” button along the top of the initial Web Service screen again. Once you’re back on the playback screen, you’ll need to locate the file again and click on it, so that it has a blue bar. Then you’ll need to click on the download button in the upper right portion of this page (as shown in Image 6). When you do this it will open a browsing window, in order for you download the recorded video file to the location that you desire.

Image 6

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Before you actually download the video file there is one setting that you should make sure is set the way you want. This setting is in the download window and it’s marked as the “save as type” (as shown in Image 7) and it affects the type of format of the video that will be downloaded. The DAV format is the better option to select for this but it has a draw back. The good thing about the DAV file type is that it is very difficult to modify or falsify any portion of these files. The downside of video files that are formatted this way is that they will not play on most of the standard media players on a computer.

Image 7

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There is an easy way around this issue. You will simply need to use the player/converter that comes on the disk which is included with your DVR and it can also be downloaded though our website. This program will allow you to play the DAV file in its original format and/or convert it to an AVI format. The AVI format is a format that will play on almost all standard video players that are available on a computer. If you should ever need to get footage to the police or an insurance company, then it is a good idea to get them a disk that has the original files in a DAV format and include the player/convertor program so that they can choose how they view it.

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Frame Rate vs Resolution

Written By:
Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014

Frame rate or resolution

Today, devices from televisions to mobile phones are being able to project lifelike videos and realistic motion. This is something that has become possible for our everyday videos and movies. When it comes to our security cameras, we may want to record with the same effect as our entertainment but might not have the money or technology. So we have a choice: either lose camera resolution or frame rate. Learning about Frame Rate vs Resolution will help you understand how you can still have the realistic look that we want but fit any budget.

Resolution

When it comes to pictures, the main thing you look for is the resolution of the camera, which is easily defined as the size of the picture. The measurement is in pixels which run horizontal and vertical in a picture. An example would be 1280px horizontal × 720px vertical. The more pixels that you capture in a single picture the more you see. This means when you zoom in on a picture it is possible to see more of the scene. Whether it’s a billboard size picture or capturing the fine detail of a butterfly wing, pixels are what let this happen. Video pixels work the same way as pictures, the only difference is that a video is a collection of pictures clumped together to make a motion picture. The clarity of the video all depends on what resolution it is recorded at. A typical video is recorded at 1080p which in resolution terms is 1920px × 1080px, which is also considered high definition. Most televisions display at 1080p resolution, so anything higher would be overkill. Overall resolution has a great deal to do with the clarity of the picture or video that you are recording or viewing.

Pixels

Frame Rate

Frame Rate

The way a video works is by combining many pictures together, like a flipbook, and playing them out at a certain speed to create a realistic motion. The speed at which the pictures are played back is the frame rate, usually measured in seconds. The human eye can only see 10-12 frames individually but as the frames increase your brain can’t depict them, so it starts to become real-time. The normal frame rate for when things start to look real is around 24-30 FPS (frames per second). Frame rate is most important in cinema movies and video games where every millisecond can make the difference. Displaying anything higher than 120 FPS is just used to show slow motion footage for sports or high speed activity. As the frame rate starts to slow down, the video becomes choppy and you might miss things that happen in between frames. Having a sufficient frame rate is important in some cases but can be tweaked when needed.

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What’s More Important?

Understanding how Resolution and Frame Rate work and the benefits of both can help you choose which one is more important if one were suppressed. The most important out of the two would be resolution when it applies to security cameras. The reason for this is because having a higher resolution will give you a better picture of what you’re capturing.
If needed, you could zoom in on a face or see exactly what was taken. When talking about zoom with a high resolution camera there are two different types. One is an optical zoom, which uses optical lenses to zoom in on an event without distorting the image itself. The other is called a digital zoom, which means that given a high resolution image, you can zoom in on an event and be able to make out what is happening with minimal distortion. Frame rate is important so you can gather more footage in a second. Adjusting the frame rate of a camera down to 8-10 FPS will still allow you to collect a sufficient amount of footage so you won’t miss anything. It does tend to cause the playback to become a little choppy, but in the case of security cameras, it does not need to playback like a cinema movie. If you set your DVR/NVR to use a higher resolution and a lower frame rate, you can attach more cameras to cover more ground and for every camera have the highest resolution recording. That means that for every second of every camera you have, 8-10 pictures to review is more than enough evidence to catch anyone in the act.

Help Your Budget

Bag of Money
Knowing what you want to spend on a camera system will help you make a better decision on what is possible for you project. Retailers might try to deter you from asking questions about frame rate and resolution because their systems record at the lowest resolution possible and 10 FPS. They sell these units at low prices but as the old saying goes, “you get what you pay for,” and that applies to cameras as well. With high quality products it is possible to achieve high resolution video with 30 FPS on all channels but your equipment will not come cheap. In some cases this might be necessary, but in a residence or a small business you can get away with lowering the frame rate. That doesn’t mean you have to resort to a cheap system found at your local name brand store, you just have to do your research and be sure to ask the right questions. Doing so will help you save money not only on your DVR/NVR system, but also on your cameras, cables, switches, and hard drives.

Conclusion

Resolution and Frame Rate are two very important things to look for when buying a camera system and are almost always overlooked by consumers as a bargaining tool. Learning about the two can help you understand why frame rate can be adjusted to achieve a higher resolution and still capture what you need. It also helps complete your project by staying within a budget.

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Invention of the Security Camera and Recording System

Written By:
Monday, September 22nd, 2014

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Everyone dreams about some kind of invention that they know will make a difference in the world. Back in 1933 a chicken keeper accomplished that. At first his invention was not taken serious but now we see him as the first amateur photographer that invented the security camera. His name was Mr. Norbury, from London England, and he had set up a security camera system using a small box camera wired through iron pipes and booby-trapped a door where he kept his chickens. When someone tried stealing his eggs he would trip a lever balanced by sand bags to pull the trigger, taking a snap shot picture of the thief. Mr. Norbury was successful in catching his plumber and using the picture as evidence. When the judge asked Mr. Norbury who took the picture, he said, “well your honor, the thief did.”

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Security cameras have come a VERY long way since then and now we use them in our everyday lives from the government to the regular mother and father wanting to keep an eye on their house keeper or nanny. You can find cameras practically on every corner from traffic lights to schools and I personal love the aspect that my children can have some piece of mind when attending school. The operation, design, shape and color vary for these image capturing boxes. You can install dome, bullet, vandal proof and pan-tilt-zoom camera that have great features like auto tracking.

One of my favorite new security cameras is the Panoramic security camera it gives you a full human perspective when viewing the live video stream, the experience is like actually being there in person. This new type of technology uses multiple cameras, usually 4 high-resolution cameras side by side in one housing apparatus using all the cameras video inputs and converting them into one panoramic stream. Then the camera encodes and delivers to any viewing device providing a 200 degree view. This is great when wanting to capture a large area using only 1 camera install installation. These cameras have the capability to be viewed from anywhere in the world and on most mobile devices using the manufacture’s app.

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Another one of my new favorites is the IPPTZ auto tracker. This security camera can pan left, right, up, down, zoom and focus at the control of the user. The feature that I love is the auto tracker, as it has the ability to track and follow a target when detected. When connected to the web service utility you can configure settings like zones, tripwire and alarms so when an object crosses the configured zone, alarms can go off and it will auto track that object until it’s out of view. Officials all around the world use this technology along with face recognition to track and capture known fugitives.

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Click on picture above for more info

What about the recorder?

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VHS (Video Home System) format for the VCR (Video Cassette Recorder) that a Japanese company invented in the 1970’s. JVC was in financial ruin but Takano and Shiraishi continued to work on the project in secrecy within the video division. By 1973, the two engineers successfully produced a functional prototype

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In the past there was no way to record live CCTV footage, but then came the VCR  allowing multiple events to be recorded to an analog VHS tape. Time and space was very limited to these recording devices.

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Now we have DVRs and NVRs (Digital Video and Network Video Recorders) capturing and writing video data to hard drives, increasing the time and space you can save. Now companies are inventing new integrated units like the hybrid and tribrid combining analog, IP, and CVI Technology.

DVRClick on image for more details

Imagine, when you’re building your own custom computer or gaming system you start with the case, well it would be awesome if there was a company that sold custom-built DVR/NVR cases, motherboards, memory, hard drives, power supplies, BIG fans and all the cool accessories that can be added to give style and personality to these units. One of my pet peeves when building a custom computer is to always have proper cooling and ventilation, fast hard drives, powerful power supplies, video card, cables and so on… You never know what the future holds!!!

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Cabling, cables and connectors have also come a long way. Transmission of data/signals over cable started with AT&T using copper wire strung along telephone poles. Telephone signals traveled down these lines as analog electrical waves to form voices and each call required 2 wires to form a complete circuit.

linesman phone

Broadband began when the demand for more television broadcast signals skyrocketed and now the coaxial is born being the first broadband medium. AT&T installed its first coaxial cable between New York and Philadelphia on 1936. One of the first security camera systems used coaxial for the transmission of video data to a monitor. Here at Security Camera King we have RG59 Siamese cable with high-grade copper shielding for high-speed transmission. Attached to the cable is a pair of power wires making installs a breeze with maximum video signal run length is about 750 feet. Microwave radio relay is coaxial and microwave radio relay working in tandem. It is a broadband system by which telephone and television travel via radio along a series of towers.

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Fiber optics systems, The New Cable on the block is a technology that uses rapid pulses of light traveling on fibers made of ultra pure glass. This digital medium is one of the best and fastest way of transmission by far, able to send data over miles of cabling with ultimately no interference.

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Cat5/6 cabling has been around for a bit, connecting networks and computers together for businesses and residences. Now security camera systems can be configured using IP camera technology.

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This type of configuration is ideal when wanting to have high-resolution megapixel quality to really catch the identity of a perpetrator. Category 5 and 6 cable max run is around 300 feet. When the network configuration is configured correctly these systems perform flawlessly. The ability to log into each camera’s interface and make detailed adjustments is priceless.

POE is another new feature I love about the Ethernet hookup. The Installer’s Dream, Power over Ethernet- one cable carrying both data and power to the IP cameras, no need to power the camera locally.

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While on the subject of new technology try checking out HD-CVI, this configuration uses RG59 coaxial cables to transmit HD quality high-resolution feed to the HD-CVI DVR, recording awesome events to your hard drive for better recognition. The great thing about HD-CVI is that the max run length of the Video cable is 1600 feet, WOW!

HD-CVI-IconHDCVI-Distance_ip

For more info on HD-CVI click on the picture above

In conclusion the evolution of security camera systems has come a long way; I sleep very comfortable knowing that my Security Camera King System is keeping an eye on my family, business and home.

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Using an IP PTZ with Youtube Live Streaming

Written By:
Friday, September 19th, 2014

IPPTZyoutube

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:

Hardware:

An IP Pan Tilt Zoom (PTZ) Camera

Router

Computer

Software:

Wirecast

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 192.168.1.108. I have changed this to 192.168.1.160 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://192.168.1.160:554/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0&unicast=true&proto=Onvif”  

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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