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Old 11-27-2019, 01:48 PM
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Video / security camera recommendation


I am looking at using a video camera of some sort to monitor some equipment. The frame rate can't be too low or we'll miss what the equipment is doing. It needs to be able to run unattended for at least a day, preferable if it can run for several days so that we could let it go for an entire weekend and then some. I have a laptop that we can use for video storage.

Any recommendations?
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Old 11-27-2019, 04:11 PM
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No cam on the laptop?

My little dashcam takes great video and the 32Gig card holds about 5 hours of video (about 100 megs/min) at the highest resolution but this can be reduced (or memory increased) for longer runtime. Audio recording can be disabled which might be nice for a workplace situation. There's a time & date stamp on every frame which might also be nice. You can configure it to record a new file on a timed interval. Mine was last set up for a new file every three minutes which helps keep the files sizes reasonable. It was helpful in a dashcam application since you could easily find which 3 minute chunk of vid was of interest by quickly examining the file icons.

Keep in mind dashcams usually take wide angle video. Mine is an Aukey DR01, well under $100 but memory not included.
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Old 11-27-2019, 05:40 PM
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Here's a very recent roundup of major smart home devices including security cams by Mozilla. All from the viewpoint of security of the devices. (It's notable that some security cams actually create security problems.)

Note that Ring does not meet Mozilla's minimum standards.

I recommend Wyze for novices and simple setups. But for serious corporate security you need a multi-camera DVR system.

Any reasonable system will run on it's own for months or longer. Just keep in mind that older footage will be displaced by newer footage. The more you spend, the more footage you can store.
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Old 11-28-2019, 09:06 AM
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Some questions to consider:

What resolution do you need? 640x480 (minimal)? Much higher?

What's your focus distance and what kind of depth of field do you need?

What frame speed do you need? You mention that higher would be better. Would 60 fps be OK?

How are you going to position it? A standard tripod mount?

In my case, I have several NAS units with built-in ONVIF camera support. This means I just need a standard IP camera with a data connection. This is a good solution because (a) video takes up a lot of storage space, depending on the resolution and framerate, and (b) the camera does all the work.

OTOH, you can get a simple USB camera to connect to your laptop, but you might find you have significant limitations on resolution and storage (especially at 60 fps).

Amazon has hundreds of options for both approaches.

Last edited by ZonexandScout; 11-28-2019 at 09:07 AM.
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Old 11-29-2019, 02:45 AM
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What resolution do you need? 640x480 (minimal)? Much higher?

Don't need much. Basically we need to be able to see what the lights are doing on a piece of equipment that misbehaves roughly once or twice per week, and recovers within a second. The lights are reasonably visible, so 640x480 should be more than plenty. Could probably get by with 320x240.

What's your focus distance and what kind of depth of field do you need?

It needs to focus on a piece of equipment roughly 20 inches wide by 10 inches tall that is installed in a standard equipment rack at a height of about 4 feet off of the ground. There is about 8 feet of space (depth) in front of the rack.

What frame speed do you need? You mention that higher would be better. Would 60 fps be OK?

30 fps would be ideal. Anything slower than 10 fps might miss something important.

How are you going to position it? A standard tripod mount?

Don't know. Depends on the camera, I suppose. A tripod would probably work.

The equipment is located in a room with no one around. At a minimum, it would take someone a good 15 minutes or so to get to it, but that's assuming that the right person is there at the time. The equipment runs 24/7/365 so the worst case of someone getting to the camera to see what happened would be over a weekend, so about 3 days. If the camera could run for at least a day, we could hope to catch it on a weekday when someone is guaranteed to be around the next day at the latest.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:23 PM
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I'd say the Wyze cameras will do the trick just fine- they're inexpensive, they do full HD in color, and they can do illuminated IR as well.

I don't know off the top of my head what the frame rate on the video is. I think the catch might be finding a micro SD card big enough to hold a full long weekend worth of video, although at 640x480 that might not be as big of an issue.

At any rate, for about $25 plus the price of the micro SD card of your choice, you can't go wrong. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B076H3SRXG..._4Hu5DbHPW19FH
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Old 12-02-2019, 08:14 PM
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With the largest SD card that they support, they claim 160 hours at low resolution, 48 hours at a higher resolution. Definitely worth checking into.

Thanks!
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