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Remote surveillance

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
So I was recently contacted by a client with a request new to me, and I understand that it isn't exactly uncommon, so I figured I should do some research before making any decisions or recommendations.

Here is the situation, the client has three separate properties that he wants to have a small remote surveillance system installed on so that he can keep track of things while not at any of the properties. He would like to have the system take snapshots every 2-3 minutes while there is no motion, and upon motion detection record video until either A) the motion has stopped or B) 5 minutes has passed.
He would also like to be able to view the camera feeds at any point in time.

Some pertinent information:

All three properties are small, two of them are house sized lots and the other is not much larger. All three properties can have all of their land viewed with no more than 5 cameras, the large property requiring five due to its shape and placement of buildings.
All of the properties have an active internet connection and have little issue with wifi being installed to cover the whole property.
The client is able to invest in multiple computers to manage the whole operation as well as any and all associated equipment to get the cameras set up correctly for surveillance.

So basically what I need to know is, pretty much everything. Are there any really good guides or resources I can read up on for remote surveillance?
What camera types are good? And what sort of routing/set top box would be appropriate?
Wireless cameras or no?
Software?
HTTPS/SSL with secure authentication or token authentication?
What is the best way to get the kind of surveillance my client is requesting (He just wants surveillance for two reasons: Property upkeep, since two of them are located out of state, so he wants to be able to see if the grass needs mowed or the landscaping needs some touching up. As well as seeing whats going on, not necessarily for crime prevention or anything like that, but just to make sure things are in good shape overall. Obviously a side benefit to him is crime prevention and such)
    
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post #2 of 4
This will be a pricey investment for the owner.

You'll looking at roughly $2-400 bucks per 4 camera setups, available off the shelfs at any costco, etc.
And above 400 if you're looking at high-end systems.

Square footage would be important in this case, how far do the cameras need to see? etc.

I vote no for wireless cameras, would be far too easy to have issues with.
Furthermore, I've heard that some are pretty easy to 'hack into' and mess with.

Installing each camera, and routing them back to command central is going to require some wiring expertise and extensions.

At my house, I've installed some Swann cameras with a old, old Swann PCI card that is no longer in production (got it for free, quite a bit ago).

Quality isn't the greatest, isn't as practical, but fits well for our tactic of merely scaring off the school kids from down the street that come and smoke around here. (Smells quite a bit at 7 in the morning).

As far as remote viewing, this will be easy, and is usually always available on off the shelf items.

My old Swann PCI card requires a bit of setup, and isn't as friendly on modern tech, as it requires lots of annoying...things to work.

Costco usually stocks Q-See, and Lorex, but Swan is pretty good.
http://www.costco.com/Common/Category.aspx?cat=4802&eCat=BC|90607|4802&lang=en-US&whse=BC&topnav=national



If you want alternatives, there are other systems that will work off ethernet connections, my boss uses this and seems very clean, however has it working off a 24/7 desktop tower.

Headless towers, IMO, aren't as practical as a set-top box.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
That seems to be a pretty excellent solution, like I say, each of the properties isn't very big, and the building's on the property take up most of the space, probably no more than 30-40 feet of actual ground away from the buildings in any direction. It seems like the $400 systems should be a pretty good solution, and maybe upgrading to a 1tb or 2tb internal drive for recording storage purposes, so he can decide on his own how much to record/not record and when to dispose of the old footage. One of the Swan systems - the 4 channel with 4 cameras - seemed like a pretty good deal but left NO expand-ability, while the 16 channel/8 included camera system seems to be a little overkill. The four channel system will probably do as it takes up little space, and can be upgraded to have plenty of storage.
I think I get what you are saying with the set-top versus tower thing, and I'm sure that a set top box has the capability to push footage from its own internal storage to a remote storage location. For example a large tower raid system for long term storage.
    
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post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xaero252 View Post

That seems to be a pretty excellent solution, like I say, each of the properties isn't very big, and the building's on the property take up most of the space, probably no more than 30-40 feet of actual ground away from the buildings in any direction. It seems like the $400 systems should be a pretty good solution, and maybe upgrading to a 1tb or 2tb internal drive for recording storage purposes, so he can decide on his own how much to record/not record and when to dispose of the old footage. One of the Swan systems - the 4 channel with 4 cameras - seemed like a pretty good deal but left NO expand-ability, while the 16 channel/8 included camera system seems to be a little overkill. The four channel system will probably do as it takes up little space, and can be upgraded to have plenty of storage.
I think I get what you are saying with the set-top versus tower thing, and I'm sure that a set top box has the capability to push footage from its own internal storage to a remote storage location. For example a large tower raid system for long term storage.

The 4 channels are a perfect solution, if it fits what you want.
However, like you said, leaves no room for expansion later on.
There should be some 'starter packs' out on the web, floating, where it will include an 8 channel DVR w/ 4 cameras, versus 4 channel DVR w/ 4 cameras.

However, since you said client does not want to go over 5 cameras, I'd stick with the 4/4.
If it's a house, for instance, and client wants 360degrees of viewing, camera placement will be key.
You will probably want cameras on the corner, and have it looking inward towards the house, then on the other sides, same thing.
You should come up with something like this:
2q8yfsp.png

This would probably give you maximized viewing angles, with the least amount of deadzone.
This is going to give you quite a workout, crawling into the attics of the buildings to wire the cameras up.
Note, you will need a power source cable & BNC cable, and if you want, a sound cable.

As far as space, you would be surprised at how compressed files you can get.

Our home system will begin recording on motion detection, and will keep going if motion is still there. (A pain if you live on a main street, thankfully, we don't.)
You can set it to 5 minutes past motion, as you wish.
About an hour of testing, about 10 different testing clips, all about 5-10 minutes each, came out to roughly 4-5mbs.
In total, we usually average about 5GBs max a day (we get lots of cars coming up and down our street during before school and after, though), and we usually start overwriting data a month old.

This is using medium-high quality, but low quality would probably be the most space-conscious, and would still be somewhat clear.

The snapshot feature will be a little tricky, though.
However, I'm not quite sure why he wants the snapshot when he has the motion, seems redundant.

As far as the pushing the data, this would probably be easy, but if you want to do this, might as well connect the RAID tower to the set-top box directly, to record all on the RAID (assuming it's like RAID0, where you can combine multiple hard-drives to act as one humongous? -RAID-noob-).

Remoting in will be very easy, my cousins have a supermarket that they will remote in over the holidays, and just to check everything is running smoothly.
Pretty cool.
They've had the same setup of about 32 cameras for roughly 5 years, and at age 12, I was pretty damn amazed.
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