store system w 4-8 cameras ?

Have a friend looking to buy a convenience store and would like
info/recommendations on a pc-based system that would have 4/6/8 ?
cameras recording to the PC - in case of pettty theft/ hold up etc .
Any online pointers to " the benefits of x cameras over the
alternatives". for instance, with a DVR system, would it be best to go
with 2- 4 input cards vs 1 8 input card ? How many fps ? how many
cameras per aisle ? overwrite the aisles every ... 5 minutes , 30
minutes ? How much disk space per minutes etc etc.? I see wireless
systems as an option, but wouldn't they be subject to jamming by a
prospective robber etc ?
He asked me my opinion since I know computers , but other than the
yellow pages/ google etc I don't know how to research this. Since he
brought it up I realized that I didn't know anything about this and
looking to learn. A lot of what I read here is over my head and
specific ( Napco firmware , surguard mrl2 etc). Thanks for pointers/
info as to what he should consider when buying a system.
Bobb
Reply to
- Bobb -
Loading thread data ...
Hi.
I am in the process of closing my shop as we speak.
In my experience: 1 x 8 port 200fps card is the best. This way you have the flexibility to make it a 16 card system without jamming up all the PCI slots.
VERY IMPORTANT - you must egt a system that timestamps everything - otherwise it is inadmissable in court.
I used dome cameras because they look neat and do not give away what they are looking at, so a thief cannot tell if he is in a blind spot as easily.
4fps+ would probably do, but the higher the better!
I used 15fps per camera, on a 200GB hard drive this gave nearly a month's footage.
Use constant recording during open hours and motion detect outside those hours - shoplifters tend to try to stay still in order to trip your system up, because when it goes to court they will ask why there is a gap in the footage to raise doubt.
Try to get 2 angles on most things if possible, as it makes it harder for thieves to block your view - try one at each end of the aisle, depending on how long it is. - Draw a floor plan and use little triangles (to represent what the camera can see) to get the best coverage.
Wireless is not really a good idea as it will be more expensive( both to buy an run), complex and lower quality. In a shop, most areas you want covered should be relatively easy to cable to.
You will need quite a powerful machine, and will need to be careful about what hardware you use. I bought my card separate to the computer and had compatibility issues, it took 3 machines before it worked properly (between intel and AMD chips, Intel and VIA chipsets etc.)
Anyway, if you have any other questions, feel free to mail me at james {at} home-additions {dot} co {dot} uk
Also, if your friend is interested in a cheap, fully built system complete with PC, 8 port, 200fps card, 7 x dome cameras, 1 x box camera cabling etc. email me.
Reply to
james.homeadditions
What is meant by "egt a system" ?
Thanks
rqo
Reply to
rqo
Where PC's ever really meant to be a security tool? There are inherent reliability issues with using PC's for recording and storing large amounts of video.
Look at DVR's, of which there are many on the market to choose from. They have all the neccessary features needed for security applications, especially if there is prosecution possiblities involved. Recordings done on someones PC will not usually be accepted except for some initial police investigation.
Reply to
Bob Worthy
And watermarked
Most commercial applications are usually using a very very minimum of 30pps and most are using 60pps. I have some that are 120pps. Helps alot with those gaps, but a PC might not like it.
Why not use something that is made and approved for the application? Seems much easier, acceptable accross the board to the law enforcement community, no compatability issues, provides the necessary watermarking for the court system, cannot be hacked, etc. If you want to save video to a PC file then onto a CD or DVD, you can hold the price down, but alot of these machines come with CDR or DVD and networking capabilities onboard. Just some options as to what is out there.
Reply to
Bob Worthy
I think the gaps he is referring to are caused by motion recording, not a lower recording rate. IE if someone stands still for 30 seconds and there is no other motion in the view, when playing back the video it will appear that there is a 30 second gap in the recording regardless if recording at 5pps or 30pps. .
IMNSHO anything over three pps is adequate for general use, too many people get hung up on high frame rates instead of the image quality, its probably better to have a high quality image at 4 or 5pps per camera than 30pps of low quality footage. I normally set my systems to record continuously at 1pps increasing the rate when motion is detected
Quoting 30, 60 or 120pps without also mentioning the number of channels or cameras is meaningless, since a 120pps 16channel machine will produce in theory 7.5pps per camera, in a 4 channel machine it would be 30pps per camera.
Generally speaking PC based machines are able to handle higher pps than stand alones
As far as reliability is concerned, the hard drives can be the Achilles heel of any system, in the old days a trashed tape would wipe out a days recording, a hard drive crash in a DVR,( PC or standalone ), can take out a month of video
Doug
Reply to
Doug L
get.
He types like me.
Reply to
Steve Foley
DOH ! :)
I thought it was code for something....oops...
rqo
Reply to
rqo
Sorry for the typing issues!
The reason I went for the self build option was to save money! Are you telling me that you could get 8 cameras (480TVL), a 200fps (8channel) PCI card, a full PC, 200GB of storage etc. for under =A3800?
I would suggest the DVR could cost that amount!!!
With respect to the reliability issue, you can schedule backups to a USB or networked drive, or use RAID 1 (=A315 raid card + second hard drive) - if one drive failos, you have a backup.
Reply to
james.homeadditions
Sorry for the typing issues!
The reason I went for the self build option was to save money! Are you telling me that you could get 8 cameras (480TVL), a 200fps (8channel) PCI card, a full PC, 200GB of storage etc. for under =A3800?
I would suggest the DVR could cost that amount!!!
With respect to the reliability issue, you can schedule backups to a USB or networked drive, or use RAID 1 (=A315 raid card + second hard drive) - if one drive fails, you have a backup.
Reply to
james.homeadditions
I understand that, but I believe we are talking about a convenience store with kids swiping candy bars or a can of beer. A jewel thief lifting something from a jewerly store may be aware of how recording devices work but a shoplifter in a convenience store?
Ahhh....yes and no. We try (budget restraints) to never go under 60pps. If fluid motion is important to the customer than we have no choice but to go higher. The cameras are what gives us the quality anyway. Proper camera, proper wire, proper power, proper lens config etc is a must for the application. We do a live demo with the DVR and cameras at their location to make sure they realize what they are getting for their money. That is after a prelim discussion as to what their needs are of course. We also put it on remotely for them because their is some deteriation over the net. No suprises that way and I don't have to hear that dreaded, "This isn't what we expected".
I normally set my systems to record continuously at
OK
Correct, even if there is not a camera on the port.
Don't know. I have stayed away from the PC based machines for other reasons. Mainly after tearing out a mountain of them and replacing them with stand alones.
If they are ignored, like most customers do, it is bound to happen. If the client is smart they will review their video regularly, save what is important to them, etc. But, you are right, they ignore it until they need it and it isn't there. All to familar with that story.
Reply to
Bob Worthy
Bob, you did it again, quoting 60pps without specifying the number of channels its spread over, unless you are labouring under the misapprehension that your stand alone dvrs are recording at 60 or even 120pps per camera.
30pps per camera is considered real time
Doug
Reply to
Doug L
Thanks for the info so far.
If I used a DVR how often to change the DVD ? Every 4/8 hrs ? Is this a "plain old DVR " like I'd get at Circuit City/Best Buy ? How to view something that you suspect just happened - " how to back up ?" and still be recording ? Would it be one DVR per camera ?
Since I posted the question, I've looked online at systems and played a bit with a webcam which generated another question: Some of the PC systems state that they have 4 cameras, a 100-200gb drive , will record "X" fps (varies) and they'll hold a month's worth of info on the hard drive (and the samples they show look fine). I hooked up a logitech webcam on a pc and the video was so-so. In minute it was a 12mb file - if it takes 12 mb to record a fair image in a minute, how can these systems hold a month's worth of quality video from 4 cameras ?? Is it all a matter of the software that comes with the camera system ? Here's some of the stuff I saw online - any opinions ?
formatting link
PCI Wireless Digital Surveillance Card
formatting link
Thanks again for any feedback.
Bobb
Reply to
- Bobb -
I don't think you really want something that records direct to DVD... besides needing to replace the disc regularly, you'll end up with a big stack of discs very quickly, and you'll need to label and file and store each one - tracking down a piece of video later can get complicated!
Comparing "standalone" DVRs vs. PCs is really pointless... most standalone units still record to hard drives, and many are simply scaled-down PCs running an embedded OS of some kind. Their only REAL advantage over PCs is cost.
Any PC can be VERY reliable, as long as you don't cheap out. Use a server-quality board and RAID-spec hard drive(s) if you're that worried about it. Be sure to provide lots of cooling, especially for the drive(s). Put the OS and software on a separate drive from the video data. RAID is fine, but remember if you're using mirroring, you'll need a twice the actual drive space. (I find using the smallest available drive, usually 80GB these days, for a system drive, I section off one partition for the OS and software, the rest for "export" space, and save any video of incidents there... then if the main video drive dies, that exported video isn't lost).
Keep in mind that as your framerates go up, your data throughput capacity must go up as well. I've built 16-channel, 240fps machines, which allows 30fps for every two cameras, but found that even with a fairly powerful computer, I've had to keep the frame sizes small (320x240) to run at full speed, or the computer will have trouble keeping up, and will suffer from dropped frames (it also makes the system VERY slow to respond on playback, unless you stop recording first). You're probably better to run multiple disks in a striped RAID to maximize available throughput; again, if you don't cheap out on the drives, they'll be plenty reliable.
Remember that full-motion TV video and film is only 30fps; the difference will be barely noticeable even at 15fps, and 1-2fps per camera is usually sufficient for surveillance purposes, and allows you to use higher image sizes (640x480 or better) and lower compression, for better quality.
BTW, if you really need higher quality, there are high-resolution IP cameras available (up to 3MP - 640x480 is only about .3MP) that connect to the DVR via ethernet rather than analog video... take a look at the demos at
formatting link

The DVRs I build, I use the VideoInsight system
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- Bobb - wrote:
Reply to
Matt Ion
I did do it, didn't I. What I was refering to is that 60pps, no matter if it is a four camera system or a sixteen camera system is the lowest we like to use. There are some economical machines that are rated at 30pps (not per camera ;o] ) and people are putting them in all the time. Preferably, if we are using anything over 9 cameras, we like to suggest the 120pps units. I do realize that the actual pps "per camera" is calculated by dividing the number of cameras the machine is capable of into the total pps the machine is rated at, ie 16 cameras on a 120pps machine is 7.5pps per camera. I quess it is necessary to remember that these conversations have an audience and that they may not realize the "take it for granted", "read between the lines" statements. The other thing is that the normal installation for us is one that the cameras are being watched 24/7. The recordings are used for evidence or department review and not as a primary watchdog. We do have alot of small commercial applications, but like everyone else, their budget restraints keep them from getting to where they would like to be. Let me ask a question about the PC based units. Seeing as how I have never looked at them, other than when we are tearing them out for a frustrated client, have they got them to record activity at the same time someone is reviewing stored video? The inability to do so used to be one of its short comings. Don't know if it still is. That is one question. Another is, do they have them to the point that if you wanted to see video, prior to when the recorder actually started to record an event, that you can get it?
misapprehension
Reply to
Bob Worthy
I think you need to educate yourself a little more. Here are a few basics. Some of the information you're getting here on this newsgroup is probably confusing. Video uses the term CIF. 1 CIF, 2 CIF and 4 CIF are common recording quality settings (1 lower and 4 higher). The FPS issue is also confusing. The human eye (and brain) will see 7.5 FPS as real time (don't argue, go actually try it and suprise yourself). Higher frame rates are only required to detect slight of hand motions (like in a casino). Total frame rates are a function of the robustness of a video capture card and the system it is on. How you parse those FPS out to the individual channels can be something to pay attention to.You need to know what you need to see, in what detail, and for how long the images need to be stored. If there is a cash register involved you need to understand what POS systems is being used and if you want the data inserted as text only overlay, or made part of the searchable events database. Once you answer those questions properly a better recommendation can be made. There are many more video features for image analytics that might not apply to your situation and budget.
Reply to
Roland Moore
Agreed - so I'll have them use a PC. As for what the end-user wants in the store ...how about some feedback / experience on this:
I asked how long they plan to keep the info etc and they said that they don't NEED a live/smooth/lifelike video. They want it to more to watch kids -live- in the convenience store ( they're near a school) and if they see stealing they can save that piece of video ( the last minute or two) as a file to backup to CD/DVD file. On a "normal day" they have no need to warehouse the video, so as long as they have the last ... 10 minutes of each camera that's fine. It's all family owned so there's no need to replay the video ( as an owner might if he mistrusted employees/ suspected them of stealing ). I think it's nutty to spend 2-3k if their only objective is to prevent stealing a $2 candy bar but it's not my money. Matt, could you give me an idea of what the cheapest system might go for ? To install it all ( 8/16 cameras/wiring etc) ballpark is fine - is it ~ $3k or more like 10k ?
I did just check
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and that IS very good. For them I think it's probably way beyond their needs and way over their budget. Perhaps it might be what they SHOULD have, but I'm just going by what they have now and their expectations.
A server ? At this store they have a small form factor 2ghz pc running XP pro / 6 cameras and they back up to CD nightly. It's a standalone PC. - no remote access etc . This PC came with the store when they bought it and the security folks that sold it ( there's a sticker on it) were useless as far as advice / fixing it when it stopped recording - which is how I got involved.
I went there and had security issues. I kept tweaking Windows - Firewall turned off / security lowest/added site to exceptions and STILL get signature errors from the site - so couldn;t run the demo.
Reply to
- Bobb -
How about wired vs wireless ? Wouldn't wireless be subject to jamming / interference ? Opinions either way - Good points vs bad ? Thanks
Bobb
[ I stopped in there for coffee while the tech was there and he did not have a clue about a PC/software - he was on the phone with the distributor of the pc/camera system asking " how do I...?". ( I think this tech knew how to wire / install cameras) It seemed to me like their hdd was full - so I checked in Windows Explorer and sure 'nuf it was.- there was only 1mb free. I told him to purge the old files: he didn't know how to do that - so he got back on the phone and I went off to work for the day. The next time they had an issue ( the PC died) , they knew that I worked on PC's and they asked me if I could fix it rather than dealing with/ paying that company again I had them order the power supply and I fixed the PC for them. Then they asked for my advice about cameras etc - I didn't know but now want to learn - that's how I got here.]
Reply to
- Bobb -
Google this group for "wired vs wireless" and "wireless jamming interference". You'll quickly see the horse has been thoroughly beaten.
Reply to
G. Morgan
you just can't kill it... it keeps coming back like Freddie Krugger :-))
Reply to
Russell Brill

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