Posts Tagged ‘ motion detection ’

A Guide to Motion Recording on Security DVRs and NVRs – Pros and Cons

Written By:
Monday, May 4th, 2015

Why do you use motion recording?

There are pros and cons of using motion recording, so this would be a good place to start.  The two reasons that I have heard from people as to why they like recording motion:  1) they don’t have to look through all the footage on their DVR or NVR to find an event.  2) It saves hard drive space.  There is no doubt that it saves hard drive space, but it is not often easier to find video footage.  For example, an outdoor camera can be recording most of the time because of how difficult it can be to mask out moving grass and trees and there are bugs and animals as well.  Any change in pixels is considered motion, so cameras are not smart enough to know when a person is moving through the lens.  With that being said, you will still likely have to look through most of a channel’s footage to find an event.  What I do not like about motion is that the DVR or NVR creates one file for each event, so you will end up with thousands of little files as opposed to one file per hour per channel for the 24/7 full time recording.  Full time recording makes playback a dream too, because you will be able to use a sync function to synchronize cameras since they will possess recordings of the same times.  The purpose of having a DVR or NVR is to protect assets, so it is always best to record full time 24/7 so that nothing is missed.  This is not a pro motion-recording article, but I hope to help the people that are adamant about using that recording method.

The challenges of using motion recording outside

Any change in pixels is considered motion.  The camera does not know what the difference is between a person, a bug, an animal, a shadow, or a moving strand of grass.  This makes it extremely difficult to adjust sensitivity and mask out the things that you do not want recorded.  What has changed in the motion world is that cameras now have such high quality video, that they are even more sensitive to changes in pixels since there are more pixels that can be different.  On the newer blue menu systems, there are 6 sensitivity levels, and the default is 3.  Level 6 is the highest level of sensitivity.  Anti-Dither is the time it takes for motion detect to trigger when motion happens, and the default setting is fine for most uses.


The most control you will have with motion recording is at the region screen where you can be extremely creative.  For example, you can unselect all colored boxes on your view until you only have one box that is used like a trip wire.  In this scenario, only motion happening in that tiny box will trigger the recording.  This can be useful if you only want to trigger a recording when a door opens or closes, so you can guarantee that a person will be in the video.


There are also different region colors that you can adjust so that every section of your view can have its own individual sensitivity and threshold setting.  Most people should keep it simple and stick with one setting for the entire view, but there could be scenarios where you need high sensitivity by a fence line, for example, to monitor any activity in that area.  If you need to mask out and adjust sensitivity in your entire view, you can be very creative so that you are not getting recordings of things you do not need.  However, it will require much trial and error to find the best settings.  We find that sensitivity of 50 and threshold of 5 for outdoors is a good general starting point.  The default setting on this screen is generally sensitivity of 80 and threshold of 0, which may work for an indoor camera.  Unfortunately, there is no way to have optimal results without spending the time to adjust these settings.  Every environment is completely different, so get a partner and start testing the settings that will work best for you.

I want to use motion recording inside

Using motion indoors is relatively easy since you need to worry about very little.  There will still be pets, insects, shadows, and other issues that can cause motion.  Even something simple like video noise will be considered motion because there is a change in pixels.  Running that vacuum cleaner in another room can cause the video noise that would be considered motion.  You can use all the same principles that you apply outdoors, but can likely increase the sensitivity and threshold.  You still have the same option of masking out most unwanted space so that only a person would trip the pixels needed to start the motion recording.  For example, a door or a major walkway is a good area to detect human beings.  So be creative, and you can eliminate false positives.

In conclusion

You can likely get motion to act exactly how you want it to with much trial and error by tweaking the settings.  Placing motion in high traffic areas will not reduce your hard drive space since it will likely be recording all of the time.   Also, that scenario will not save you time looking at recorded footage, so full time recording may be a better choice to service that camera.  The point of owning a security camera system is to protect assets, so adding hard drive space to record full time will always be the best option.  Check your DVR or NVR specifications to see how many hard drive SATA ports are available, and what the maximum amount of Terabytes will be.  If  you decide to use motion, you must spend the time to make those adjustments to make sure it will do exactly what you want before you deploy it as a standard in your business or home.

Please note that you need to set all cameras in the Recording section of the DVR or NVR to schedule (Auto), and then set the Schedule section to Motion Recording in order to record motion.  Be sure to also check out my article on Sending Snapshots by E-mail From a DVR When Triggered by Motion Events. 


How to Prevent False Alarms with Your Security Camera System

Written By:
Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

I don’t know about you, but I get really annoyed by my camera system sending me alerts for motion and there is nothing there. There are several things that can cause this and there are a couple of different ways to eliminate false alerts. First we need to understand why we get all the false alerts and what options can be utilized to prevent them without any additional hardware.

Motion Detection
People often believe that the motion detection will only pick up people or vehicles, but unfortunately that is not the case since there are no analytics built into the DVR to determine the differences. To understand why a camera sends false alerts we need to understand what a camera determines is motion. Motion in a camera is determined as a change in pixelization in the image. Now you are probably scratching your head thinking what? What happens is a camera is producing an image, the DVR sees that image as an algorithm. When something changes in that algorithm, the DVR determines this as motion. Now this can be anything from a cloud going over, a person walking, a tree blowing in the wind, a flag blowing, a bug flying by the camera at night, are just a few examples of what can trigger this. Now there are some features in the DVR that can help reduce these false alerts can be reduced by using some settings in the DVR such as Latch, Anti-dither, and masking.

Now for some fun definitions to better understand the different settings that can help reduce the false alerts. Latch is how long the DVR will continue to record after the triggered alarm turns off. Anti-dither is the amount of delay that will occur before the DVR starts recording, it can also be thought of as the amount of time something in the image has to be there to trigger the DVR to record. Masking is blocking of certain sections in the image to turn off the motion detection of that part of the image. This is generally done through squares that are overlayed on the image and are either selected or deselected.

Motion Detect

As you can see in the picture above, the bottom portion of the screen is all blue and the top portion has no coloring overlayed on it. This means that the DVR will only process movement in the areas that are shaded blue and ignore the top 3 sections of the image. Now these settings are not perfect and you will still get false alarms, just utilizing the motion detection in the recorder and cameras. The best area to use the standard motion detection type of alert would be in an interior location where no movement is to occur and there is little lighting variations. Ie. a hallway or room that has no windows.

Eliminating False Alerts
Now if you want to positively eliminate false alarms, there is only one way that I know of. The absolute best way to to utilize the alarm inputs and outputs of’s Digital Video Recorders or Network Video Recorders.


If you look at the picture, there is a green terminal block on the right side of the back of the recorder. In this terminal block there are both the alarm inputs and the alarm outputs. For most people they will only utilize the alarm inputs for magnetic door and window contacts from an alarm system.

Now let’s say you have an existing wired alarm system that is either sitting there doing nothing or even being monitored by someone, you can utilize the existing hardware to amplify the effectiveness of your new camera system. Now if your system is currently active, you may want to get the technicians out to your location and have them daisy chain the contacts back to the DVR location for this next step. If your system is not being monitored and you are just using it for audible deterrence, you can run a jumper from the wire coming back to the alarm panel from each door or window contact and motion detector back to the DVR. You will assign each contact a different input on the DVR that is associated with a camera channel that is close to where the contact is located. I do it this way so that when I am using the TechproSS Plus application for my mobile device, I get the push notification from that camera channel. For example, if I have a camera at my front door on channel 1 of the DVR, I will take the door contact from the front door and assign it to alarm input 1 of the DVR. I will then configure in the DVR how I want it to respond to the different inputs. For example, when my front door contact is opened I have my DVR send an email with multiple camera shots as well as record on several channels.


So as you can see from the picture above in the Alarm interface, you can choose a number of options that you want the DVR to do based on a specific alarm input. The first option “Event Type” you will always choose “Local Alarm”. The second option “Alarm In”, is which input you are referring to and “Type” is whether the contact is a Normally Open contact or Normally Closed contact. Door and Window contacts are generally Normally Closed contacts and Motion Sensors are Normally Open.

The third option is “Period”, and this refers to the time period that you want these options to be active for. The fourth option “Alarm Output” is for if you have some sort of device that you want triggered based on this input triggering. Ie, I have a siren that is triggered when one of my contacts is broken. I have wired the alarm output just like the image below.

Relay System

The fifth option is “Latch” for how long the contact will stay active before resetting. The sixth option is “Record Channel”, which is what channel the DVR will record based on that alarm contact being activated. The seventh option is “Record Latch” which is how long the DVR will continue recording after the event has occurred. The eighth option is “Send Email, Show Message, or Buzzer”, for how you want the unit to react based on the input being triggered. The ninth option is “Tour”, so how you want the main monitor to react to the input being activated. The tenth option is “PTZ Activation”, which is how you want a PTZ to react based on the input being activated. The eleventh option is “Capture”, which is what channels you want the DVR to capture pictures based on the input being activated.

If you want to not have your phone or email blowing up for false alerts, utilizing the alarm inputs is the way to go. Now if you don’t have an existing alarm system you can always buy pieces of wired alarms and tie them into the system for the same results.


The Differences Between Motion Detection, Auto Tracking, and CCTV Analytics

Written By:
Monday, November 11th, 2013
analytics motion tracking autotracking

When it comes to some of the terminology in Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) systems, it can be very confusing and often times the terms sound very similar. I often have customers call me asking for a motion detection camera that will follow a person that comes on to their property. I am going to cover the main differences and similarities of motion detection, auto tracking, and analytics.

Motion Detection in Surveillance Systems

With motion detection in a camera system, it is not like motion detection in an alarm system. With an alarm system there is a PIR (passive infrared) sensor that is send a beam into an area, when that beam is broken the sensor determines that motion has occurred. This beam can be changed with the amount of sensitivity that it has, this is generally utilized when someone has pets in their place and the don’t want to trip the sensors. With a camera system the motion detection is a little more simplistic, the camera is producing an image which the DVR (Digital Video Recorder) sees as an algorithm, when something changes in that algorithm the DVR determines this as a motion event. A simple cloud passing overhead can cause enough pixels in the image to change to have the algorithm change, making the DVR think that motion has occurred. If you have plants that blow in the wind, it can cause the algorithm to change. If you have anything that blows in the wind, the algorithm will change. Now you can adjust some of the settings in the DVR to help alleviate these false alerts. These settings can be found in the Main Menu, then go to Detect, then select the channel you want. You can adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection. If you have a Techpro Security DVR, the standard setting is at 3, which is a mid range sensitivity. If you are getting too many false alerts, you may try going to a 2 or 1. One is the least sensitive and six is the most sensitive setting is a Techpro DVR. If you are still getting false alerts, you may want to go into the motion detection and adjust the region of the image that is causing you the most problem. The factory default is to have the whole image shaded in Pink to detect motion detection. Any square that you deselect or that you can see the image with no color, you are deactivating the motion detection for.

This is an image from the Web Service of the Motion Detection settings on one of my cameras. As you can see the tiles that have motion detection active in this image are blue, this is because when using the Web Service the shaded areas have a different color than at the DVR. You will also notice a different color if you are using TechproSS for PC to set the configurations as well. The results are still the same though. The top three rows in the motion detection on this image are deactivated, this is because I am not worried about anything causing motion in those areas. Now if someone or something were flying that low, then I may want to reconsider this. At this moment I don’t know of any thieves using jet packs!I generally will use a sensitivity of 1 on almost all of my cameras, this may not work for everyone, but it has served it’s purpose for me. One big false motion event will commonly occur at night, this is generally do to bugs loving the IR (Infrared) light that the cameras produce to help them see at night. Bugs and other insects also enjoy this light, now humans can’t see this light but this helps the camera to see when there is absolutely no light available and enhances any light available to it.

Motion Detection

Auto Tracking Security Cameras

Now if you want a camera that will follow or track an object that comes into it’s line of site, you will want an Auto Tracking PTZ ( Pan Tilt Zoom ) camera. These cameras are great for locations where there is not supposed to be movement. When an object changes the pixelization of the image the camera will respond and start “tracking” what changed the pixels. This is a great idea for a camera, but generally fails in several ways. The biggest failure of this camera is if 2 objects come into the camera’s line of sight and then move in opposite directions. The camera will follow the bigger of the objects not knowing which is more likely to cause the issue. Another failure with this type of camera is, if the camera is following an object and the object stops for a short time. The camera will default back to it’s home position, leaving the object to continue on unnoticed. In theory Auto Tracking PTZ’s are awesome, but in practicality they have some major faults. Now if you could add Analytics to this camera, you would have a phenomenal solution.

CCTV Analytics

Analytics is a program that runs in correlation with a DVR, that analyzes the images coming from the camera in real time to determine certain criteria. The different criteria can generally be set by the user to accomplish their needs. On some software you can set up different if statements that will react in different ways. For example, you can draw a line on the image, and say, “If an object passes this line going in this direction, then take a snapshot, record, and sound an alarm.” You can also put in an if statement like, “If an object passes this point and stays for this amount of time, sound an alarm, send an email, and record.” You can generally get as complex as you want with this type of software or stay as simplistic as you want. Some analytical software that I have seen will allow you to find a specific person and it will go through the recorded footage and give you that persons path every time they passed through that camera.

Now the military and other government agencies have analytical software that would blow the general public’s mind. I have worked with a few ex-military special force guys, who explained briefly some of the things that the software they used could do. Some of the features in these programs are so advanced, that I think they will never reach the civilian market, but I am glad that they are being employed to keep our troops safe in the hostile environments we currently find ourselves in.

I hope this article has helped to clarify the differences between these terms to help you better understand what you will need to have an effective security system. Motion Detection can be found on most surveillance systems on the market, Auto Tracking is a cool feature, but has many flaws, and Analytics is the best but can get very complex.


DVR Motion Detection

Monday, April 9th, 2012

What is Check Fraud?

If you are the proud owner of your own retail business, you are probably familiar with just how dangerous it can be to accept checks in general. There are a lot of false checks in circulation, as well as fraudulent ones that don’t even have a legitimate account to be linked to. You may not be aware of just how much a security camera will be able to help you in your business and put an end to this type of problem from happening. They will help you to apprehend the suspect and make sure that they are properly punished to the fullest extent of the law. Having a security camera right above your cash register is one of the best ways to prevent this type of behavior from happening in the first place. When your camera is properly placed you are going to make it virtually impossible for someone who is writing a fraudulent check to be able to disguise their true identity. This is one of the best deterrents out there today. Combining the cameras with the footage that you recorded will be one of the most powerful pieces of evidence when you are faced with the thief in court and need solid evidence.

One of the main problems that you are going to face as a retailer when dealing with check fraud is catching the act before it is too late to do anything about it. The last thing you want is to let the criminal skip town and make a clean break before they can be prosecuted. Another complication is making sure that the footage is not recorded over because you don’t have enough free space to be able to hold all of the images on your recording device. When you have an effective DVR you are not going to have to worry about this problem in the future. You will be able to choose the perfect equipment for all of your needs to make sure that the security camera footage is going to stick around for a very long time. This will help you to keep the perfect records of any potential activity that will help you nail the perpetrator of the crime, regardless how long ago it happened.

When you are dealing with this particular type of theft or fraud, security cameras are going to be one of the best components to solving the problem. There are other options that you can look into as well to compliment your security system, but you should always be prepared. You can also look into some of the software on the market that will monitor your account balances and make sure there are no dramatic changes that occur, as well as other deterrents to prevent your business from having to deal with fraud.

What about Credit Card Theft?

The necessary steps that you need to take to eliminate the potential for credit card theft are pretty similar to that of check fraud. One of the first measures that you are going to need to take for defending your business against this threat is having a high definition camera installed by the cash register to make sure that the transactions are monitored at all times. Another important place to install a security camera is on the entryways into your business. Whenever you are dealing with the security in your retail storefront you are going to have one key advantage that the online businesses will not. You will actually have contact with the people who are doing it and be able to see them. Provided you have the proper security cameras in place, you will be able to stop them in their tracks and make sure they are apprehended.

Whenever you are dealing with the security of your retail business you need to make sure that you have more than just a couple cameras in place. You will also need to make sure you have a top of the line DVR and a complete security package. There are numerous resources available for you to learn what you can do to prevent credit card fraud from happening using a lot more than just your simple camera. Even though you may not be able to pinpoint when the crime is going to occur, you will have your eyes on the criminal at all times and make sure that your business is not a repeat target for offenders. Take the time to invest in your business by doing the necessary research to make sure that you are choosing the perfect security system for your business. You don’t want to become the victim because of a simple mistake that can be made by putting all of your faith into one camera. Even though having a security camera in place is an extremely effective deterrent, you need to make sure that your bases are covered in more ways than one.

How Difficult is Sweethearting?

Sweethearting has long been one of the most difficult to catch forms of theft for retail business owners. It is essentially the practice of having the employees and cashiers giving away merchandise to people they know for free. You may also find a lot of discounts appearing or ringing up orders incorrectly on purpose as a way to be able to give something to their friends and family for a far cheaper price than what it should be, if not free. There are numerous ways that this type of transaction can go down and it may be harder than you think to be able to pinpoint it all down to the wire. You may see that items are not scanned at all, or if they are the price is a lot less than what it should be. It may also involve the employees swindling small amounts of money and then proceeding to hide it with various fixes of accounting errors.

The following are a few different ways that you may see employees attempt to steal your money through various forms of sweethearting:

• Failure to scan merchandise in the first place or improperly scanning it.
• Going over your existing prices and giving a large discount on the more expensive items in your establishment.
• Providing refunds for an item that was never returned, as well as giving a refund for an item that is far more substantial than what the cost of the original item purchased was.
• Voiding a transaction without cause, yet the merchandise is still exiting the premises.
• Handling sales invoices improperly or not entering them at all.

All of the aforementioned items are going to be more difficult to catch and sometimes even the highest forms of security software are not going to be able to do the job perfectly all the time.

The only way that you are going to be able to get the evidence that you need to be able to prove that this is happening is through video recorded from your security cameras. Hence, the video camera that is pointing at the cash register will be your main point of focus once again. It is imperative that you do not let this slip through the cracks if you want to make sure that your business is protected. You will be able to have the peace of mind in knowing that every movement that your employees make will be caught on tape and recorded for later viewing. If you do happen to see something suspicious on the recording that concerns you with sweethearting, you will be able to go back through the tapes and review the footage for yourself to see what the evidence has in store for you.

When you are talking about this specific type of security, you are going to want to make sure that you have the best footage out there. This is one of the reasons why an HD camera is going to receive the top recommendations for making sure that your register is protected at all times. You can choose to buy your high definition camera and DVR at the same time to make sure that you receive the best pricing around and that you are not missing out on any vital components of your security system.

In short, there is more than one way for a potential thief to take advantage of your business and it is up to you to protect yourself. If you choose to sit back and do nothing about it, you are going to see your profit margin flying right out the window. This is going to affect how long you are going to be able to stay in business and think about all of the employees that you have who are loyal and reliable. What will happen to them? Security cameras have been proven to be on the most effective tools of the trade for protecting your business for years and they are not going to stop any time soon. You can make sure that you have the right tools and the right equipment to becoming a victim. When you have the proper security system in place you will be able to stop a thief dead in their tracks; however, if they do manage to get away, you will have the proper security footage to catch up with them later on and recover what you lost in the process.

When you take the time to invest in a security camera you are investing in a lot more than just your business, you are also investing in your future and the future of your establishment. Your employees will thank you for making sure that they are protected and don’t have to feel safe in the event of a crisis or potential threat. Check into your new DVR security system today and see how much it can do for your business in no time at all. You will love the freedom that it is going to bring to the table. Contact Security Camera King today to find a DVR Motion Detection that’s right for you.



SVS-54 Dual Power Wide Surveillance Camera

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

The SVS-54 Dual Power Wide Surveillance Cameras are made by Veilux, a name known for extremely high quality products in the digital video security camera industry.  These cameras are the standard box camera type, with a dual power input capability.

The actual full name of the SVS-54 Dual Power Wide Surveillance Cameras is 540 TVL Dual Power Wide Dynamic Range Box Surveillance Cameras.  That’s a bit of a mouthful to swallow, but the cameras are every bit of what the label describes.

The SVS-54 Dual Power Wide Surveillance Cameras made by Veilux work off of 12 Volts Direct Current (VDC) or 24 Volts Alternating Current (VAC) hence the reference to “Dual Power.”  This is incredibly convenient in the event that you want to purchase this camera as an “add-on” camera to an already existing system, because the majority of digital video security cameras today operate on either 12 VDC or 24 VAC.  Since these cameras are dual power, they will operate equally well, no matter which of the two power systems you use.

These cameras are what are known as true day/night vision cameras as compared to an infrared illuminated camera that uses infrared Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).  A True day/night camera such as the SVS-54 Dual Power Wide Surveillance Camera uses something called an IR Cut Filter to provide the day/night feature, instead of using illuminating infrared LEDs.  Cameras using IR Cut Filters are generally more advanced than IR LED types producing a much cleaner brighter, detailed image whether it is operating in day mode or in night mode.

The IR Cut Filter works by sitting in place in front of the CCD sensor during the day and blocks out stray infrared light from entering the camera.  This stray infrared light often causes distortion of the image and incorrectly displayed color characteristics.   In night mode, the filter is literally moved out of the way of the sensor (i.e. mechanically repositioned).  This allows all light, including visible and infrared to strike the camera’s CCD sensor.   Since the sensor is inherently sensitive to IR light, this allows the camera to “see” more in less light.

The IR cut filter and special sensor combination allow the SVS-54 Dual Power Wide Surveillance Camera to produce high quality, detailed video in bright visible light conditions all the way down to the lowest Lux (brightness) conditions.  Combine this with technology that produces up to 120 dB or dynamic range and that’s why this camera earns the title “Wide Dynamic Range” or WDR.

This camera also produces a high definition, highly detailed video image.  In fact the video image produced by the SVS-54 Dual Power Wide Surveillance Camera is 540 horizontal television lines (TVL).  This a fairly high-detailed resolution, especially for a camera that can operate without infrared illumination at incredibly lo Lux ratings.

Other features of the SVS-54 Dual Power Wide Surveillance Camera include On Screen Display, Motion Detection, and back light compensation.  These extra features contribute even more to the high versatility of this camera.

Which leads us to the question, “Where would you use an SVS-54 Dual Power Wide Surveillance Camera?”  The answer is just about anywhere.  Although this camera is an indoor camera, it can easily be placed in an outdoor rated enclosure and used outdoors as well.  The Wide Dynamic Range and extreme low light sensitivity makes this camera an excellent choice for used indoors or outdoors.

Mentioned earlier, the dual power function is another benefit that adds to its versatility.  Besides the fact that there are no worries about needing to convert this camera’s  power supply to meet DC or AC, the fact that it can operate on AC makes it an excellent choice for special long-range applications.  Direct Current has a tendency to weaken, or experience voltage drops, the longer the distance it is sent, primarily due to inherent resistance of the wire that carries the current.  (Unfortunately, this cannot be avoided).

However, AC has the opposing characteristic of being able to be shipped long distances without tremendous power loss.  Therefore, this camera is excellent for applications where the camera power supply must be run a long distance (several hundred feet for example).

At the time of this writing, Veilux is temporarily out of stock of the SVS-54 Dual Power Wide Surveillance Camera so it is on SCK’s discontinued list.  For a similar camera but with a high resolution, check out SCKs Product# SVS-60CDNRD.