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  1. dvarapala

    Best IP Camera brand that you use.

    I will second the nomination for Axis. My first IP camera, purchased in 2010, was an Axis outdoor dome, and it's been running without a glitch ever since. Since then I have purchased several others, most recently a P5635-E, and am quite happy with all of them. There are cheaper brands, and I own several of them. In my experience, Axis is worth the extra cost.
  2. For the past few weeks I've been playing around with OpenALPR (http://www.openalpr.com/) and integrating it with my ZoneMinder (http://www.zoneminder.com/) system with good results. I don't get much vehicle traffic near my house, so to get some sample data I set up a camera with a good zoom lens and aimed it at a busy intersection about a block away. Although the placement is far from optimal, with the view partially blocked by trees, there is still a small peephole where passing cars are visible and plates can be recognized. Despite this handicap, the recognition works surprisingly well. Compiling the OpenALPR source was pretty straightforward; the hardest part was tracking down compatible versions of the various libraries that OpenALPR depends on. The result is a library and a C++ class that you can include in your own programs. ZoneMinder provides a "trigger" process that external software can connect to and receive notifications whenever motion is detected on a camera. I wrote a small daemon that connects to ZoneMinder's trigger daemon and, when it receives a notification that motion has been detected on the LP camera, it retrieves the frames with motion from ZoneMinder's database and runs them through OpenALPR for analysis. When you pass an image frame the OpenALPR it returns to you a list of possible matches along with a confidence estimate. For example, a plate like 5KNP922 might return 5XNP922, 5KMP922, 5KWP922, 5XNP922, 5KNP927, and 5KNP922 as potential matches, with no easy way to determine which one is correct. Obviously this would be problematic for a "big brother" type application which wants to track every passing vehicle. This was less problematic in my application because I have a database of "known" license plates that the software can query; if one of the candidates detected by OpenALPR exists in my database, it is considered a positive match and the presence of the vehicle is logged. While the possibility of a false positive exists (for example, if both "5KNP922" and "5XNP922" are present in my database, my log would contain entries for both vehicles even though only one of them was actually present), this probability is acceptably low for "hobbyist" purposes. And again, my camera setup is far from optimal; with proper placement there would undoubtedly be less fuzziness in the results. OpenALPR takes significant CPU time to analyze a frame, so I run it in the background at low priority so as not to interfere with ZoneMinder's normal activity; frames with detected motion are queued up by a foreground thread. ZoneMinder's motion detection culls out most of the frames, so a passing vehicle might result in only a dozen or so frames being analyzed, which is quite manageable. It usually takes 5-10 seconds from the initial motion detection to determine a match. My test camera has a view of an intersection where cars are making a left turn. The camera is focused on the apex of the turn, where the back of the car is parallel with the focal plane of the camera. Thus each passing car produces a series of frames where the plate is at various angles WRT to the camera, with a couple of straight-on frames in the middle of the sequence. From this setup it is very apparent that the recognition is sensitive to the angle of the plate with respect to the camera; there is a fairly narrow range outside of a straight-on view where the recognition will still work, but outside of that the recognition fails even though the plate is still perfectly legible to a human. In addition, OpenALPR seems to have an easier time with light-colored vehicles. This may be because the plates appear as dark characters on a white background, so a light-colored car may blend in to the background better. My next step will be to optimize my camera placement.
  3. dvarapala

    No Delay RTSP streaming

    If not, the OP can always buy an Axis.
  4. I've used both, but my phone (a Galaxy Note 3) is easier to handle. The main problem is using it outdoors in sunlight. I generally wait until evening when the screen is easier to see, but I've also considered just throwing a blanket over my head.
  5. dvarapala

    No Delay RTSP streaming

    FWIW, on a LAN it probably matters little which transport (TCP/UDP) you use. You probably have a gigabit of bandwidth, and full-duplex links between each camera and the switch hence no collisions or packet loss. What's undoubtedly causing the delay you're seeing is the CODEC. CODECs like H.264 minimize network bandwidth by doing lots of processing, and each stage of that processing requires buffering, which adds noticeable latency. This is why I always prefer MJPEG streams over H.264 when the camera gives me a choice. Bandwidth is not an issue on my dedicated gigabit LAN, and the latency with MJPEG is minimal. On my Hikvision cameras, which don't offer an MJPEG option at 1080P resolution, There is a noticeable delay of 2-3 seconds between the Hiks and my MJPEG cameras. If the latency bothers you, try switching your cameras to MJPEG mode.
  6. That's been my experience as well. If something goes wrong with my Dahua or Hikvision cameras, their pricing is such that I can simply throw them away and not feel too bad about it. In my experience Axis is still head and shoulders above ACTi. The Axis cameras I own simply work - no surprises, no hassles. My very first IP camera was an Axis vandal dome, and that camera is still in service today almost 5 years later without a single problem. I can't say the same for the ACTi cameras I own. The overall quality of the ACTi image is noticeably lower, and there are strange quirks and bugs which range from annoyances to outright showstoppers. When I went to ACTI's web site to report these bugs, they wanted me to jump through a bunch of hoops and send them copies of invoices and such. I can understand requiring that for a warranty repair, but to report a firmware bug? When you report a bug to Microsoft do you have to FAX them copies of your sales receipt to prove that your copy of Windows is legitimate? As a hobbyist, I can afford to put with with a certain level of BS in order to save some money. However, if I needed reliable cameras to protect my business, I would spend the extra money for Axis every time.
  7. The main differences between a regular IP camera and one marketed for license plate capture is usually the lens and a special filter that blocks most visible light while allowing infrared wavelengths to pass. I'm using a regular IP box camera, a 25mm lens, and a threaded filter that screws onto the end of the lens, all mounted inside a standard outdoor camera housing. The illuminator is a RayMax RM100C, the "covert" version which emits 940nm light and is less noticeable to the naked eye than the standard 850nm illuminators. This setup produces excellent results as long as the plates are retro-reflective (e.g. California). Some states (e.g. Nevada) are using a different type of plate which appears completely blank using this type of setup. I would love to know what equipment ALPR companies sell for use in Nevada and other non-reflective-plate states.
  8. So you're saying that if I license their software it will do real-time lookups in the DMV database? What information will I get? Registered owner name and address? Make/model/color of the vehicle? Will they do it for anyone with the $$$, or only for "authorized" agencies?
  9. Perhaps it's because most residential installations are mounted up in places like eaves which are usually painted white? A white camera blends in naturally on a house with white trim. I second the recommendation for the Kyrlon Camo ultra-flat spray paint. I have painted several of my outdoor cam housings and this paint holds up quite well.
  10. dvarapala

    Outdoor Dome Camera Armour

    You're right, that camera is not "vandal-resistant" in any way. Your best bet would be to replace it with a "vandal dome" unit which is specifically designed to resist attempts to knock it down. Prepare to spend more money, of course... Alternatively, mount your existing camera way up high, well out of reach.
  11. Haven't you ever watched 24? CTU already has the ability to remotely tap into any CCTV camera anywhere in the country.
  12. Kawboy posting that link is a non-issue. There is free open-source software available now that can scan the entire Internet in mere minutes. Any cameras that are out there have already been found many times over.
  13. Nagios can certainly do that, and you can't beat the price.
  14. dvarapala


    Normally any software which can take advantage of multiple cores will automatically use all available cores without any special action on your part. Are you sure there are 8 cores actually available on PC #2? For example an i5 without HyperThreading will only have 4 cores available for software to use. If the CPU is an i7, maybe the BIOS in PC #2 has a setting that disables HyperThreading? Also, are you running the same Geovision software on both systems? Same version? All configuration settings the same?
  15. dvarapala

    SSH to Acti Camera

    Sort of. The ACTi camera I have is running an SSH daemon, and you can log on to it using the default credentials (note that the 'a' in "admin" must be lower-case) but after accepting your login it just hangs (at least mine does). IOW it's pretty much useless. There is a fairly complete list available on their web site. Search for a .pdf file named something like "ACTi_Camera_URL_Commands_".