Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wyze RTSP updates

As mentioned in Should you get a Wyze cam? Wyze has released updates to the RTSP firmware versions (old link).

"Update 8/10: Went to add a Wyze V2 out by the gate now that I have power and found they updated the RTSP firmware so though it might now do person notifications. It has disappointing video compared to the 720p Foscam I hoped to replace. And the sensors seem iffy but I'll leave it a bit to see how well the person notifications work."

It even looks like there is now a beta available of the next release. (See below.) So from now on I'll have to note which version the cam I'm talking about is running. The above was in reference to firmware demo_V2_RTSP_4.28.4.41 on a cam I was planning on using at the gate. TODO: add link to Wyze / Foscam compare and how sensors stopped working on 87 in heat.

First off despite the option to turn on person detection showing up for just the latest of my Wyze V2s when I added it and only for that cam for some reason, person detection is still not supported in RTSP firmware. I confirmed it did not work with the demo_V2_RTSP_4.28.4.41 firmware.

I started this post as an update to the above and on the Pan RTSP firmware. See related Pan video. So I went to my downloads folder to get the version number for the Pan firmware and noticed the last version I downloaded on 8/25 appeared to have an older version number (demo_Pan_rtsp_4.20.3.48) than the one I had downloaded before on 8/10 (demo_Pan_rtsp_4.29.4.41). Interestingly when I went to my tablet to confirm which I had installed on the camera the app would not even finish loading. Even after a repower. I had to install the Wyze app on my phone to go check that it was indeed demo_Pan_rtsp_4.20.3.48. The reason seems to be conflicting info. In this post the later firmware is listed both as beta and the current version. demo_Pan_rtsp_4.29.4.41 appears to be the same 5/10/2019 update form the pan beta zip. Note they have started making links to the bin files now instead of the zips and you can not see the folder listing online so file compile dates are now hidden. So it looks like I still need to update my Pan cam. Note with RTSP you can not update the camera from the app. You have to do it manually via the SD card.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

My current setup

Here is the latest picture of my setup as of 5/23/2022 (See older pics below. in History)

All cameras servers linked into my home automation so it can highlight cams groups on consoles based on various sensors being triggered. And send alerts based on what is "seen" moving. As in someone opening the parcel box at the gate will always trigger the cams pointed that way and switch that console to show the cameras pointed that way as well as sending alerts that a person is out there and probably which delivery service they are with if they pulled in. Critter motion at the gate though only highlights the cams on the console those cams are on but no alert is sent unless it is a coyote, person or vehicle driving further in.

Note the 70 inch display shows the site wide distributed video stream and can be used as a third monitor for my workstations or watching TV from several sources. The camera consoles will highlight (just show) groups of cameras when triggered by Homeseer based on triggered motion or contact sensors. Depending on which sensors and the current alarm settings the main video stream may be switched to that camera console as well. Triggered sensor also give verbal notifications. So for instance if motion is sensed at the gate with a glance I can see if I'm getting a delivery or a visit from wild live or a neighbor's escaped livestock from any where there is a TV. 

A quick and simple video show how my system was setup to return from triggered events with one voice command.

Here is an example of a guy looking for stuff to steal. Since I live in a neighborhood of mostly 5 to 10 acre lots seeing anyone is pretty rare. Predators and loose livestock are a much larger issue. So as I was in the middle of conference call I ignored the first alert but when a second came I could easily make out the guy trying to pull the motion sensor off the tree. Unfortunately he took off before I got down there but he did not get anything and if not for this setup I might not have known he was even about much less had video from 5 cams and good screen grabs of his face for the neighbors and cops.

Future Goals (in no order):

  • Switch from DeepStack, which is no longer being updated or supported, to CodeProject.AI once it calms down a bit and is more stable.
  • Upgrade models to YOLOv5
  • Use the tons of images I've been saving since I last built models to create new versions.
  • Write custom trainer to better streamline adding images.
  • Look into merging my custom models into one. Want to see if this works better or worse than seperate ones.
  • Get MQTT working to link in more sensors and response devices.
  • Add and upgrade cams (of course).


This is how it happens. Your setup just grows and grows as things happen and tech improves.

February 2023

Coming up on 2 years since last update so figured I should update though most of the changes are not really obvious. Mainly as far as Blue Iris is concerned that as mainly been adding DeepStack and then creating custom models. Not just telling cat vs dog/coyote vs raccoon/opossum/skunk/armadillo vs pig/cow/horse/deer but also things like kind of vehicle or bird plus working on fire and smoke. Now that it can ID what is moving fairly well, coupled with my Roku defaulting to showing all my security cams, I shutdown the switching the distributed video to show a console automatically depending if the alert and alarms levels are high enough. Switching views in the Roku is way faster than switching consoles to follow someone thanks to High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP). Also been a bit side tracked with weather, you might have heard about the Texas ice storms' tree damage, and the drought that came between them that caused me to some of the creek critters indoors.
large aquarium setup

April 2021

Most of the changes, other than the added Blue Iris server are not really obvious but since it has been almost a year I thought I should post an update. What is new / changed:
  • Moved sky cams and weather images to separate server in prep for more upgrades to house cams.
  • WeeWx moved to Pi4 mounted on back of dedicated display. (On shelf on left next to Davis console though not showing weather info in current pic.) Mainly so I could move the Linux server WeeWx was running on to the shop server room since the connected Davis console needs to be up here.
  • Added cam in bedroom to keep an eye on the cats that automatically goes off when I enter or the home goes into "bedtime mode" and only comes back on when both the bed room and server room doors are closed and the alarm is disarmed. (Both are connected to master bath so this makes sure the cam is always off, as in pic, when I might be in the room.) See Averting your eyes for details.
  • Several cams upgraded. As you can see the Wyze cams are only getting worse (3 of the 4 cams showing offline in pic are Wyze cams) and I'll be replacing most of them in the next round of upgrades. The Hikvision ColorVu G2s and the Dahua IPC-HFW2831T-ZAS-S2 are my current favs.
  • About ready to install 360 sky cam of 4 ColorVu G1s mounted on a single high pole. Hopefully will be able to gen 360 "cylinder" view videos with it but worst case will get better sunrise and sunset views. Once done the "old" (2 were just upgraded to G2s to get 2 G1s for the new array) sky cams will be retasked and or used as upgrades.
  • Using Blue Iris on Roku more that than main stream switching as seems to be somewhat faster than waiting for the the HDMI copy protection nonsense to handshake through the whole system.
  • Added faster workstation for programming and video editing that has the same 3 monitor and broadcast access as the older one letting me mix and match views from both. The old workstation alse clones its broadcast feed to the far left monitor when that monitor is not in use as a secondary monitor for my work laptop. 
  • A lot of infrastructure stuff like adding capacity to the shop server room and moving a lot of stuff down there to distribute the load. All accessible via remotely of course over dedicated lines.
  • Added testing repair station (off camera) with own PC, monitor, POE switch, Pi monitored UPS and tool set for testing, repairing and upgrading hardware including cams.

April 2020

Took 6 tries to get a pic with all the cams on screen without disabling all the automation.

March 2020

4/1/2020 pic snapped quick while all cams idle so showing which means project data extra hidden to avoid work questions.

  • 4 Blue Iris ( 3 with BI4 and 1 with BI5) servers with 27, 15, 9 and 12 cameras on them. 63 total plus the Ring doorbell. With average loads of 877 MP, 1076 MP, 540 MP and 635 MP respectively.
  • LPR plugin is pretty much a bust
  • Pulled all outside dome cams, save the entry way which is sheltered, due to how often they need cleaning outdoors if exposed to rain / sprinklers. Also replacing with higher rez and or lower light performing cams.
  • Shifted an lot of cams around to upgrade rez and or lower light performance.
  • Loving the ColorVus though there are some issues if the light level drops below that of a half moon and of course the lack of varifocus / zoom options.
  • 3 ColorVu sky cams now cover over 3/4s of the horizon. Adding a 4th to fill in the last bit in April. plus have 2 others covering parts of the outdoors hard to cover with lighting IR or visible due combos of reflection glare and distance. 

January 2020

61 working cams (not including Ring doorbell) now, building a server upgrade and a compare of loads between servers.  Also more automated lights, more tree trimming and feral pigs have made my place part of their territory. Have some more lights and trimming to to do then I need to made a video of how the whole works together.  Ring test video can be seen here.

November 2019

After the intruder and something causing the dogs to hang out by the east gate I got the east gate cam back online with 5 MP and trimmed the trees for a better view.

October 2019

After a rat snake got in the shop and then disappeared without me finding where it or the mice before it got in I added 4 more Wyze V2s to track and track where things might be coming in and or where the snake might be in the shop still.

August 2019

Added 4th Blue Iris server and dedicated monitor and increased main monitor to 40 inches
Here is a mountain lion spotted in my neighborhood few believed in till someone caught it on a security cam in a nearby neighborhood.

May 2017

Added 11th screen (not counting the unused laptop one.) 3 dedicated to cams. Note too indicator lights added behind cam monitors.

May 2016

10 screens, 2 dedicated to cams.

May 2015

Bookshelves added.

August 2013

Mid digital conversion. you will notice 29 low rez cams on the Blue Iris monitor. Some are new IP cams and some are being pulled from Geovision servers,

May 2013

2 screens switched to larger portrait mode ones.

January 2012

Using 2 Geovision (analog cam servers) here with another down at the shop. Starting to standardize on 1080p monitors too.

December 2011

Just the one 16 cam Geovision server at the house here. Note how dark some of the cams are.

November 2010

5th added. Note upper right monitor was switchable between TV and computer monitor so I could watch digital sources on it.

October 2008

4th screen added for second Geovision server.

October 2008

Soon after I moved. 3 screens but no dedicated monitor for cams and even the big screen was analog.

July 2008

Moving in

June 2007

At the old house

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Viewing the night sky in color with an Amcrest IP4M-1026, IP4M-1055E, Dahua and HikVision ColorVu

So called Starlight cams seem to be becoming a thing so I thought I'd see what is possible with a camera I already had. You can look at my video Night sky Aug 10th 2019 and Night sky Aug 9th 2019 to see what I'm talking about here. Update: added two Amcrest IP4M-1055E cams to get a 180 view of the southern sky.  Here is a sample sunrise video from the south east cam Sunrise 12/5/2019 at 60X

With a few simple tests the Amcrest IP4M-1026 seemed to have the best low light video and the widest view. Mainly I wanted to try and capture some of the neighborhood's fireworks displays.  My first test with pretty much default settings came out OK with lightning.  It seemed to me it switched to night view earlier than it needed so I played with the options to get the video linked above.

I was surprised how much I could make out by just moonlight. It basically looked like what I would see looking out the window.

Below are the setting I used. You might be able to tweak this a bit further with experimenting but I'm happy with the results.

Though the fireworks capture was pretty much a bust as they were a lot more subdued this year and the few that did make it into were mostly blocked by the trees. Thinking now I'll add another cam to close to double the 118 degree view. Note I also did a test with a GW5747MIC 5MP Optional TWO-Way Audio PoE IP Camera 1.9mm 160° Wide Angle Night Vision Sony Starvis HD 1920P Security Mini Dome 5 Megapixel Built-In Microphone and Micro SD slot, Audio in/out Recording but the view was not only no wider but not as good in low light.

Added video without the Moon to show when it is too dark to even see out you can still see the horizon glow of Austin, the planets, at least 1 star, the bard and trees. Here are compare pics from my cameras that catch bits of the same view all from the same time, 8/21/2019 at 10PM local despite what some of the on screen timestamps say.

Screen grab from the posted video
Snapshot directly from Blue Iris
Snap shot from Reolink RLC-411WS (5MP Version) of west end of barn in sky pic
Snapshot from RLC-511W across south deck. Note plane from video and above Amcrest snapshot is just above far horizon. 

Snapshot from Reolink RLC-511 (non WiFi) of mid drive. Ton of IR down here so any bits not lit are hard to see.
From Hikvision DS-2CD2035-I overlooking the pool area (not currently up). Note when the moon is up you can usually see the horizon in this view.
Just in case you think the Amcrest is optimized for night, here is a snapshot from high noon.
Amcrest IP4M-1026 snapshot of sky with sun skirting top of frame.

Other cams I'm looking at for really low light

Note these are based on specs and or videos but I have not tried them yet. The 0.5 lux Amcrest above blows the 0.01Lux GW Security cam away in real life.



Unfortunately this is what the Amcrest IP4M-1055E cam looking SE looks like. At first I thought it was just the fog we've had the last couple days. Then maybe dirt on the lens but it turned out to be condensation on the inside of the cam. I was planning on swapping one with a Dahua IPC-HDW4631C-A  anyway for a compare. Dahua claims a rating of  0.06Lux/F1.6( Color,1/3s,30IRE) 0.4Lux/F1.6( Color,1/30s,30IRE). Sellers are claiming as low as 0.002.


I've received a IPC-HFW4631H-ZSA Without Dahua logo 6MP IP Camera 2.7-13.5mm Motorized Varifocal Lens Optical Zoom I'll be testing soon. It is going for $109 on Newegg and $118 on AmazonI should note I see a lot of people posting that the Dahua international OEMs are knock offs. They are definitely a lot cheaper. The "English" OEM is $180 on Amazon and Dahua labeled version of this cam from B&H is $288
I must say I'm impressed so far. I mainly got it to see how the zoom and autofocus compared but the low light is damn impressive. You can clearly make out Orion in the Dahua shot below while the Amcrest used above can only see a few stars. Sirius is easy to make out in both and Rigel can be dimly seen in the Amcrest shot. Once you know it is there you can sort of make out Orion in the Amcrest but it is fairly clear in the Dahua shot. Note this is about at moon rise.
Orion constellation clearly visible above weather station
The same shot from the Amcrest IP4M-1026
Here at there is about a half moon high in the sky but some clouds have rolled in too.
In this Dahua shot you can see the moon is just a light in the sky though Sirius is still visible.
The same shot from the Amcrest IP4M-1055E looking SE. The moon looks more like a sphere though the ground objects are basically silhouettes.
The same shot from the Amcrest IP4M-1055E looking SW. You can see Sirius and barn roof can be made out a bit better.
It is an overcast day but here is a day compare.
Dahua shot of sun through the clouds and birds in flight

Almost the same shot from the Amcrest IP4M-1055E looking SW
On the flip side though if you are thinking of monitoring your yard in color at night you should look at this video of the Dahua being manually switched from color to night / IR mode to get a feel for if you have enough light to make that viable. I'll be adding more videos to the Dahua playlist.

HikVision ColorVu

It is just amazing. See this post for more.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Doing the math on pixels per inch at a distance for your cam

If you think zoom and enhance is a real thing I have some bad news for you. You can guestimate a pixel that might come between two but that is not really adding detail. It is just making it bigger. Even with some sort of fancy AI like in No Way Out it is just going to convert the image to something like you expect to see. Like seeing faces in the clouds. Just think about it and it should be obvious, pixels can not magically resolve into something the camera did not see. The best you can do is monkey with contrast and brightness and maybe a bit motion fix if you are luck. So you need a minimum of in focus pixels snapped at a high enough shutter to reduce motion blur with enough light and or sensitivity to have the contrast to work with.

Yet I'm still seeing a lot of posts where people are talking up static focus 1080p cams with wide angle for outdoors. Let's do the math on that. There is a simple calculator online to get the width of the area being viewed by a cam with a given view angle. For example let's take my old work horse the Foscam 9800 series that is 720p and 70 deg view angle.

So at 20 feet the view width is 24.4 feet or 293 inches. 720p resolution is actually 1,280 pixels so when we divide the pixels by the view width you get  4.3686 pixels per inch. So a face, about 6 inches wide will be 26 pixels across at 20 feet with this cam. 40 is considered to be the min. So even with the best lens focused for 20 feet this is still not going to cut it.

For convenience I worked up the charts below from my compare sheet. Note these charts assume the camera is focused for the target distance and not the upscaled resolution some cams advertise. Despite claims, outdoor fixed focus cams seem to be focused at around 20 to 30 feet. You might get a "decent 2X screen grab" of targets within +- 10 feet of that. Of course for a large range of  depth you really should look at a camera with auto focus like the Reolink RLC-411WS I've tried. Though it has had the occasional glitch as well. For long distance something adjustable like the Microseven 6-22mm 3MP Manual Zoom Varifocal Len HD 1080P. Or to get an idea of what you might be able to see with a certain model in your location try IPVM calculator which lest you stick a cam on a map of your property to see what the view angle looks like and has simulated day and night shots at the distance you give.

Not those are best case numbers under perfect conditions. While 7 pixels per inch is bare min 14 is the more accepted min. If I change the wanted pixels per inch to 14 the last chart becomes

Note 12 degrees is a fairly extreme telephoto lens in the range of 22mm
70 is standard though up to 90
between 90 and 130 is often called wide angle
180 to 360 are often called 360 view cameras

For a more indepth info look here.

For a visual compare here I am about 33 feet from the cameras.
First an old Foscam FI9804PS 720p and 70 degree view angle

Now compare that with a Reolink RLC-511-5MP with auto focus but zoommed to widest view of about 90 degrees.

We can obviously see a lot more  and it looks clearer. Just for comparison here is the view from a 1080p  M7B77-WPSV1 at max zoom to a view of about 12 degrees located about 190 feet way.

The main diff appears to be the angle .

Now crop the images down to just me and the cart and make them the same size for a recognition compare. Note the sizing is done by the browser. You might interpret a bit more with a smart resize.

The Foscam image cropped
The Reolink image cropped

Lastly the Microseven image cropped.
So a 1080p cam with a 12 degree angle and focused for distance yet almost 6 times the distance away would be better for pulling a plate at the gate than the 720p with 70 degree view. Obviously the 5MP at the gate wins though probably by not as much as you would have thought. I should note here too the Foscam was only doing about 1 fps till I ran power out there so I hook up and access point via Ethernet Over Power. I did that so I could stick a Wyzecam V2 out there but that was a bust. Given its 110 degree view you get a shot like this.

First here is the Foscam from the Wyze compare test. I'm a bit further out in this one about 60 feet from the cams. You can see the zoomed Reolink image behind it. Note images were resized to match width of widest image (the Roelink).

Here is the save shot form the Wyzecam V2

And the uncovered Reolink zoomed to its max of 31 degrees horizontal.
Note the glitch in the pic turned out to be a config Blue Iris issue. Inspect sets it to be a generic RTSP and you want to set it as a Reolink.
And lastly a similar shot with the Reolink unzoomed.

In case you are wondering here are some shot with me much closer.
Foscam shot of me at the parcel box
Wyzecam V2 shot of me at the parcel box

One last distance compare back down the drive about 85 feet from the cams. Between the Microseven still zoomed the max.

And an Amcrest 4K IP8M-2496EB with about 112 degree view angle.

For those that think you can just zoom in, here is what you see if you zoom in to match the Microseven.

But there is one more factor to consider, focus. Autofocus can add a lot though when it gets it wrong it can make your cam useless too. Here is a close up shot with the Foscam where I'm just 7 feet away. The cart maybe double that.
Note the plate looks good but the logo on my cap is blurry. I'm too close for the range this cam is set too.
Here is the same shot from the Reolink zoomed out to the max.
Notice both my face and the plate are in focus because the camera has adjusted.
The down side, something flying too close to the lens can leave you looking like this.