Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Ask Slashdot: Open-Source Forensic Surveillance Analysis Software?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the my-neighbor's-dog-is-a-jerk-too dept.

Software 131

McBooCZech writes "I am trying to set up a surveillance system. It is not intended to build a real-time on-line surveillance system to watch a wall of monitors on a 24/7 basis. The main scope is to record video (24/7) from the fixed cameras around our facility and when needed, get back to pre-recorded video and check it for particular event(s). Of course, it is possible to use a human to fast forward through video using a DVR-type FF function for short video sequences. Unfortunately, for long sequences (one week), it is not acceptable solution. I was searching online the whole weekend for the open source software for analysis of pre-recorded video in order to retrieve events and data from recorded video but had no luck. So I ask you, Slashdotters: Can you provide some suggestions for forensic software to analyze/find specific events in pre-recorded video? Some examples of events: 'human entering restricted zone,' 'movement in the restricted zone,' 'light in the restricted zone.'"

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First thing I thought of: (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804897)

Something about an autoturret system for shooting squirrels with a watergun comes to mind...

Re:First thing I thought of: (1)

Bobakitoo (1814374) | about 2 years ago | (#42805367)

Citation found [youtube.com]

Easy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804903)


Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804969)

Zoneminder needs a better web interface. It refreshes *EXTREMELY* poorly, and it's early 90s ugly.

If I wanted to watch Jenni cam or whatever I'd buy a time machine...

wxCam is easy, for small stuff (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805137)

I agree, Zoneminder is a mess. Although, potentially powerful enough for a large system. For smaller stuff, I've used wxCam (which supports motion detection, supposedly) but the image (or my webcam) seemed to darken/degrade over time.
http://wxcam.sourceforge.net/ [sourceforge.net]

Re:Easy (5, Informative)

cusco (717999) | about 2 years ago | (#42805657)

No. Not just NO, but absolutely NOT. Zoneminder is barely a recording system with marginal live display capabilities, it is not a forensic tool in any sense of the word. No insult intended to the developers, but it is absolutely not adequate for commercial use.

Developing forensic video tools is hard, it takes a long time, it costs a lot of money, and takes it an enormous amount of testing and tweaking. So far only the big names in security video have adequate Intelligent Video, aka Video Analytics, offerings, Milestone, Lenel, Verint, Exacq, a few others. None of them are cheap, Exacq is probably the least expensive and easiest to use, but most limited. Some of the camera manufacturers have pretty good analytics available in their firmware, normally for an extra licensing fee. Pelco, Axis, Panasonic, some others that I haven't used. You need to configure the VMS (Video Management System) to be able to capture the events though, and not all are able. Again, you're back to the big names.

Join some of the forums on LinkedIn, especially CCTV Video Surveillance, IP Technology & Solutions. Yes, IAAPSP (Physical Security Professional) .

Forensic. (1)

Dr. Evil (3501) | about 2 years ago | (#42806471)

By "Forensic", do you mean accepted by the courts? If not, what does "forensic" mean and what does it have to do with a tool's technical capabilities?

Re:Forensic. (1)

cusco (717999) | about 2 years ago | (#42808401)

I don't think that Zoneminder can watermark exported video, which means that most courts will not accept it as being definitively unedited. Still admissible in most courts, but not accepted as fact.

What I was referring to is the programs lack of the ability to analyze the video stream for desired activities, such as wrong-way traffic, package left behind, loitering, and the like. That's what is normally meant by 'video forensics', at least in the security field.

Re:Easy (1)

schitso (2541028) | about 2 years ago | (#42807355)

Milestone has a free version that'll record for... a week, I think? Also, VideoIQ cameras have built-in analytics, along with some Bosch cameras.

Re:Easy (1)

cusco (717999) | about 2 years ago | (#42808301)

Axis and Sony have free versions that work with one camera as well. In the case of Axis it's their full-blown standard version, Sony's used to be about half the feature set (haven't installed it for a long time, don't know if that's still true). If you want to add more channels you need to start paying. Any analytics beyond what is native to the camera is extra as well.

Re:Easy (1)

Zedrick (764028) | about 2 years ago | (#42806913)

As Cusco said, NO.

I worked with CCTV for a security company for a few years, and I really really really wanted to replace the sony/geovision/axis/aimetis-crap with some open source solution, but I just wasted time trying to get it (something with comparable features) working. Zoneminder is (unfortunately) very primitive, outdated and not compatible with many modern network cameras.

The proprietary junk is much better, at least for now.

Re:Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42807961)

I'm not as down on Zoneminder as the others replying, but still - it can't do what the OP wants. He's looking for software which can go through the archives of something like ZM & find specific events. ZM just does basic motion sensing/recording, and isn't especially easy to trawl through to find a particular event unless you know the time it happened.

Oh God! Let me Google that for you... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804925)


ZoneMinder is highly componentised and comprises both the back-end daemons which do the actual image capture and analysis and a user friendly web GUI enabling you to both monitor the current situation and view and organise historical events that have taken place.

Re:Oh God! Let me Google that for you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42807991)

ZM's "analysis" is simple "what changed in this image (or a designated zone in this image) from the previous image, and does it exceed a threshold of pixels". It won't tell you human in the restricted zone, but it can do movement/light.

outsource it (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42804933)

Hire a chinaman to do it.

You can pick up a bakers dozen for three fiddy.

Re:outsource it (1)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | about 2 years ago | (#42805087)

Hire 3 independent sets of "watchers" so you can have more confidence that events of interest will be caught. After a while you might be able to let go one or two, if they always have the same hits...

Re:outsource it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805201)

Hire a fourth watcher to watch the watchers, in case they sleep or masturbate.

Pay this watcher $1 more per day.

A few suggestions (5, Informative)

twoxyo (1747878) | about 2 years ago | (#42804939)

http://www.ispyconnect.com/ Open Source Camera Security Software
http://code.google.com/p/openvss/ Open Platform Video Surveillance System

Re:A few suggestions (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805067)

From iSpy's uses and features page:

iSpy is PERFECT for ghost hunting and UFO spotting (actually the reason I wrote it in the first place...)

Sounds legit.

Re:A few suggestions (3, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | about 2 years ago | (#42805175)

Because no one has ever created something for a hobby then discovered it had a different, viable, commercial use.

Re:A few suggestions (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805921)

My problem with iSpy is that the source code is gigantic for what it does and doesn't compile without a ton of work. So you're basically trusting some exe from a UFO nut. It also has network support, http server, etc built in. Does it have secret code that uploads your webcam to some IP address if it detects a ghost? Who knows.

Re:A few suggestions (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#42805263)

I use ispy for industrial automation type tasks when a butterfly flaps its wings and some weird anomaly pops up on one of the machines. Has a lot of features and works quite well

Re:A few suggestions (1)

SoothingMist (1517119) | about 2 years ago | (#42807873)

Don't forget OpenCV: http://opencv.org/ [opencv.org] . As another post says, it may well be necessary to assemble components to satisfy a specific application. My experience has been that commercial systems are horribly inflexible for unique requirements.

Re:A few suggestions (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42809001)


Get sensors to log events. (5, Insightful)

cinghiale (2269602) | about 2 years ago | (#42804951)

It might be a lot easier to install sensors to log interesting events that you can go back and review the video.

Re:Get sensors to log events. (2)

ColaMan (37550) | about 2 years ago | (#42806735)

Yeah - we've got a stack of mobotix cameras with PIR sensors.
Really cuts down on the noise if you're also doing motion detection - you can AND them together and only get motion from people (or hot objects - we use it to look for haul trucks)

Homeland security (4, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42805001)

Some examples of events: 'human entering restricted zone,' 'movement in the restricted zone,' 'light in the restricted zone.'"

Just tell Homeland security that some occupiers are planning a protest. They'll pay for the install and maintenance of your system. Every now and then, leave a deflated half-assembled tent in the parking lot...

Re:Homeland security (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805037)

You're a worthless woman. Make yourself useful and pleasure a man with your anus!

Re:Homeland security (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805101)

sure you care about the "woman" part? everbody's got an ass, maybe you more than most.

AC are you gotse?

Re:Homeland security (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805111)

Hey now! I don't want to pay for that crap with my tax money. He can buy his own damn stuff.

Commercial likely your best option. (3, Informative)

Elbarfo (1197279) | about 2 years ago | (#42805007)

Many commercial DVR/NVR's will have this functionality built in. Motion recording, motion event triggering, motion search, and motion search by area are rather common features in commercial CCTV software. I have never seen anything approaching this in open source or free software.

There are several brands I would recommend. Any of these can sell standalone servers or just the server software.
Exacq (www.exacq.com)
milestone (milestonesys.com)
Avigilon (avigilon.com)

Of those three, Avigilon has the better video handling, IMHO. Especially when working with 3, 5, or 16MP cameras.

All are somewhat comparable in price.

Re:Commercial likely your best option. (2)

icebike (68054) | about 2 years ago | (#42805089)

Most of these as well as a couple dozen others are available very cheaply. Even Costco stocks surveillance systems.

The problem might come with this requirement:

Of course, it is possible to use a human to fast forward through video using a DVR-type FF function for short video sequences

If these short sequence are the ONLY activity in the landscape, than any commercial system (under $500) will do. With the cheapness of these it really does not make sense to homebrew them.

On the other hand, if there is a lot of activity and you are only interested in finding a small segment where something is
happening, these, as well as any homebrew leave you with a lot of video to watch. For instance, if watching for a certain person
to walk down a busy street (stocking someone) or a certain light to flash in a sea of lights, its a much bigger problem.

Isolating a certain portion of a frame and monitoring it for activity is available in some commercial packages.

motion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805013)


Re:motion (1)

cptdondo (59460) | about 2 years ago | (#42805331)

Yes! Motion can do this and much more.

Re:motion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806519)

I installed motion on my Linux box to prove that it was the neighbor's cat peeing in the garage.

Worked fine on a live (video) stream.

Use google first then ask slash dot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805027)

Google you retard!

How about no? (1)

symbolset (646467) | about 2 years ago | (#42805039)

I'm sure somebody here will help you with this. They probably shouldn't.

Re:How about no? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 2 years ago | (#42809021)

I'm sure somebody here will help you with this. They probably shouldn't.

Why? Just like there's "significant, non-infringing applications" of DVD burners and the like -- there's perfectly valid reasons why someone would need to review their security tapes for activity.

And just like DVD burners, outlawing them because they could be used for something you disapprove of is a bad idea.

Or, are you suggesting we should withold all of our technical expertise based on what I can only assume is general paranoia that Big Brother will misuse it? Because Big Brother has way more intrusive stuff than this, they don't need our help.

Motion (1)

Itzu (2833841) | about 2 years ago | (#42805085)

I'm assuming what you mean is you want to be able to detect motion in a real time feed. You may be able to cook up some voodo with "Motion". http://www.lavrsen.dk/foswiki/bin/view/Motion/WebHome [lavrsen.dk] Although it may take some modifying because it is meant mainly for usb webcams, etc.

Not free but low cost: (2)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42805095)

If you have a Mac and some cams (up to 60 cameras)
http://www.bensoftware.com/securityspy/ [bensoftware.com]
and http://www.bensoftware.com/securityspy/features.html [bensoftware.com]
"SecuritySpy can send email notifications, play alarms, or run scripts when motion is detected."

Re:Not free but low cost: (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | about 2 years ago | (#42805159)

Mac mini's start at $599 new. Don't bother with e-bay. They're always in demand and you end up paying pretty darn close to MSRP for something used anyways. Now mind you, I've never priced out a professional DIY Surveillance kits. So this still might be a cheap and effective route to go. Plus, you can 'Time Machine' backups of the video over a LAN, WiFi, or locally attached USB drive.

Re:Not free but low cost: (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 2 years ago | (#42805279)

Yes with a few day/night waterproof ethernet powered or wifi ready cams, it could be a good set up. ~$100 per cam?
Until the led ring fails, then its day only :)

Re:Not free but low cost: (1)

cusco (717999) | about 2 years ago | (#42805693)

Is this supposed to be a home or hobby system? If not then purchasing cheap cameras are a mistake. They're unreliable, insecure, feature-poor, and utterly inadequate for the stated usage.

Perceptions All Wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805113)

Surveillance is to Kill !

If Killing is not the objective nor the reward, then YOU need to be killed.

Re:Perceptions All Wrong (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805355)

You're such a fucking idiot you and your entire family should be slaughtered. What a turd you are.

Use CCTV as part of a security solution (2)

mijxyphoid (1872142) | about 2 years ago | (#42805117)

Video analytics can only help out so much.
Realistically, video analytics can and often does present a lot of false positives, so its not the be all and end all to security.
I would not rely solely on CCTV for any half decent security solution, purely because it only offers after the fact protection.

What I would be asking is what events are you specifically looking for ?
I would honestly suggest you use CCTV as part of a security plan, and not using it as your only plan.

Access Control systems can log who, when and where people have attempted to and gained access.
Alarm Systems can detect motion in areas and respond based on arming status and schedules.
You kind of get the idea.

Using other methods of physical security can help you determine when events may or have taken place.
This in tern aids you in searching for video footage, as if you know roughly when an event has taken place, searching through a couple of hours of video footage for one or a couple of cameras, (At 8x, 16x or 32x speed) becomes a whole lot easier than trying to get the perfect video analytics configuration that wont waste your time with thousands of false positives that you will need to watch for a weeks worth of video footage.

If your after simple CCTV security, and you dont have a lot of traffic (pedestrians, vehicles or other movement), then motion detection can also make life
a lot easier, as it tends to cut out a LOT of video footage during quiet times (Night time for example).

motion can handle most of things. (1)

vettemph (540399) | about 2 years ago | (#42805135)

Multiple webcams:
http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1897786 [ubuntuforums.org]

Motion can be told to act on or ignore a light switching off/on using a threshold.

It can be setup to detect large or small amounts of motion and long or short periods of time before triggering.

I'm not sure about singling out specific parts of the screen as triggerable/not triggerable.

Re:motion can handle most of things. (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 2 years ago | (#42806213)

Yeah, I second that motion... probably the best software video monitor. Just point it at a V4L2 device, and it'll fill up a directory of still images or short .mov or .swf videos of everything interesting that happens in front of it. Very tunable.

I had it looking out my window for a long time, so you can see snippets of cars driving by, and people walking up to and away from your door. Also had it aimed down the hallway to my computer room at one point, so you can see everyone enter and leave. You can configure it to upload everything to an ftp site or something, so if someone comes in and steals your computer, you might at least see who it was before they jacked it.

Probably not what you're looking for in terms of sifting through lots of prerecorded feeds and alerting you to the interesting bits, but motion probably is the best place to start if you're going to try to hack together a batch script to identify interesting timestamps.

Re:motion can handle most of things. (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#42806795)


"Just point it at a V4L2 device" != analyzing video from fixed cameras around a facility.

Motion is cool. Motion is not an appropriate answer for TFS (TFA?).

(That said: Thank you for reminding me about Motion. I've recently had need to set up a simple, single recording webcam in my house with motion detection, for free or cheap, and had forgotten all about it. I have a USB camera scavenged from a broken HP laptop which is easily concealed.

But for the level that the poster is asking about, involving real money, FFS: Even on the very low end of the applicable spectrum, Axis cameras can handle much of this sort of duty *internally* and submit the video to the network device of your choosing without other outside help.)

Re:motion can handle most of things. (1)

egcagrac0 (1410377) | about 2 years ago | (#42806961)

I don't know anyone in security that doesn't want a continuous recording of the video.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding, and these cameras provide a continuous recording, plus automatically upload selected highlights - that's pretty cool. If they're ONLY recording "interesting things" - that's not good (for me).

Out of price range, yet cool (1)

rahst12 (1395987) | about 2 years ago | (#42805177)

Clearly out of price range, however this is a pretty cool solution: http://www.boeingvsoc.com/ [boeingvsoc.com] . Does everything from 2d and 3d modeling to multi camera angles on a building.

Re:Out of price range, yet cool (2)

rwa2 (4391) | about 2 years ago | (#42806233)

Yeah, I used to work with a lot of those people from Autometric. They used to have a cool Star Trek LCARS interface. They were trying to sell it to do airport security, and had some pretty nifty 3D models that showed the coverage field of every camera. It was more geared to giving you realtime alerts of stuff that's happening on cameras and sensors, though.

It was a spinoff of EDGE, which was pretty much that 3D Earth sensor fusion thing from Snow Crash that was around on SGIs and big iron before being ported over to Windows ... just before Google bought Keyhole and made that kind of thing cheap/free. Still has lots of extra analysis features, like calculating radio and radar line-of-sight through mountainous terrain, satellite sensor coverage, and lots of other cool stuff.

Zoom .. Refine (4, Funny)

Quila (201335) | about 2 years ago | (#42805225)

What I want to know is where I can get the one that allows you to zoom in infinitely and refine a sharp image out of a few pixels.

Re:Zoom .. Refine (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805261)

The word you are looking for is "Enhance."

Re:Zoom .. Refine (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 2 years ago | (#42805273)

Just shout "ENHANCE!! ENHANCE!!" at the screen.

Re:Zoom .. Refine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805475)

The command wont work unless you include the "sector" in your voice command.

Re:Zoom .. Refine (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806211)

That would be the Hollywood Cam 1000. Works in the movies. It is carefully manufactured from a single tube of unobtainium toothpaste.

Re:Zoom .. Refine (1)

MrNemesis (587188) | about 2 years ago | (#42807193)

What is this, the 1980's? A modern CSI Enhance Button can zoom into the perps DNA helix merely from a reflection in a hub cap and extract a portrait of their entire family.

computer vision systems (3, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | about 2 years ago | (#42805295)

What you are asking for is a computer vision system. Typically there are parts, but no complete Open Source implementation of what you want, unless you are willing to assemble them yourself, and accept somewhat less than commercial quality.

Here's the most comprehensive resource: http://www.roborealm.com/links/vision_software.php [roborealm.com]

Movid is the part you want for human tracking; typically these systems are going to require parallax cameras, meaning binocular vision, for some of the recognition.

Re:computer vision systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805737)

No, you don't. You don't want or need human tracking. You want *motioin* tracking, which is much, much simpler.

Re:computer vision systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805801)

No, you don't. You don't want or need human tracking. You want *motioin* tracking, which is much, much simpler.

From TFS:

Some examples of events: 'human entering restricted zone,' 'movement in the restricted zone,'

So, no, the guy does WANTS (almost certainly doesn't need) human tracking.

nt (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 2 years ago | (#42805391)

Try training a neural network to recognize patterns.

You could also have a rotation of shifts of humans responsible for each segment and have them reviewed in parallel.

vlc does motion detection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805395)

VLC does motion detection. Tools > Video Effects > Advanced > Motion detect.

I haven't really figured out how to use it, like stop when it detects something. One thing that could be better is play speed. It goes to 16 which is kind of slow for a weeks worth of video.

Troll (1)

JakFrost (139885) | about 2 years ago | (#42805441)

I was searching online the whole weekend for the open source software for analysis of pre-recorded video in order to retrieve events and data from recorded video but had no luck.

WTF is wrong with the editors, this is an obvious troll post with bullshit question. In about 3-seconds it takes to type open source video recording you get all the answers out of Google. Douchebag poster and double-douchebag for the editor who approved this non-story.

Slashdot is now a corporate non-story advertising medium full of shills and trolls posting fake questions to associate with text source based ad-revenue spam ads.

Zoneminder + Zones + Timeline

Re:Troll (2)

cusco (717999) | about 2 years ago | (#42805705)

This is where Google is not your friend. There is no open source or even inexpensive option that will do this adequately. Several posts higher up are the names of several offerings, all commercial, which will do the job for varying costs depending on the options selected. Zoneminder can't even come close.

Re:Troll (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806391)

With all the respect to your comment, video recording is NOT requested in the original post.
What is requested is an forensic/surveillance analysis of the pre-recorded video.
It will be really nice of you to post some RELEVANT comments about this issue here.

Background Subtraction! (1)

phyzicist (2829189) | about 2 years ago | (#42805491)

There's a cool trick called "background subtraction" that lets you watch only the pixels that are changing in a video. For an example, check out this open source software: Scene [sourceforge.net] .

Commerical camera will do this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805513)

Mobotix camera (which run linux internally and have control software that runs on linux) will record video as variable rates dependent upon whether there is motion.

So you can have 1 frame per second when nothing is moving and 30FPS when there is motion within the frame (or a specified zone within a frame).

When it comes to playback, due to the reduced frames it effectively fast forwards for you. You can also choose to only record when there is motion (with a definable buffer for before and after).

If you still have to buy the cameras anyway, look for camera that support the features you need out of the box.

You can probably do the same thing with cheap basic camera and open source (free as in beer) software. The value you place on your labour will determine which is cheaper.

In case you happen to be a Dick. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805539)

Put a bunch of guys in scramble-suits and have them fast forward and rewind the tapes until they go apeshit and start ingesting massive amounts of mind altering chemicals. Then... profit.

Simple and Hard (1)

shaitand (626655) | about 2 years ago | (#42805675)

There are a million and one off the shelf solutions that will detect movement, etc and trigger recording based on it and likely something came with the cameras. I don't know of any that both record 24/7 AND highlight events. It might be possible to duplicate the video stream through two solutions or have overlapping coverage cameras with some streams set to record 24/7 and some that trigger on movement.

Easiest way (1)

onceuponatime (821046) | about 2 years ago | (#42805769)

The easiest way is to combine it with running an event based system in parallel such as the hydra control freak. This will let you record just the events based on
sensors placed in the correct places external to the camera. You can then view just the events very easily and if one warrants further investigation relate the time back to your 24/7 based recorder. Using PIR, IR beam or other systems in the protected zone will provide much more reliable intruder detection that trying to do video content analysis, particularly at night.

The nerve of this guy! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805885)

...recording a *RESTRICTED* zone!!!

(From summary: "Can you provide some suggestions for forensic software to analyze/find specific events in pre-recorded video? Some examples of events: 'human entering restricted zone,' 'movement in the restricted zone,' 'light in the restricted zone.'"")

Re:The nerve of this guy! (1)

Soluzar (1957050) | about 2 years ago | (#42808663)

Sounds like he's among those responsible for restricting it.

RetilNext (1)

kaykay_2k1 (604774) | about 2 years ago | (#42805917)

Try the software from RetailNext. They have a very robust analytics software, which can do Dwell Analytics, People counting, Face Detection , Gender Recognition etc..

Kestrel (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#42805937)

Kestrel. Nuff sed.

Re:Kestrel (1)

PartyBoy!911 (611650) | about 2 years ago | (#42806597)

Not nuff said, where can I find this Kestrel. A google search learns me that it is a bird or a starship from Star Trek.

Buy a Canon camera and use a CHDK motion detection (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805941)

Buy a Canon camera and use a CHDK motion detection script to only record video while there is motion in the field of view.

Can I have a typewriter that lets me write letters (1)

The_Revelation (688580) | about 2 years ago | (#42805955)

I think this is the base level functionality for most systems. They'll only record information when the lighting in the frame changes or something passes in front of the camera. Even your basic Swann security system will do that, and let you watch highlights from your iJunk. Typical on Enterprise grade CCTV products as well, with export options to various USB devices or email. Better packages will print activity reports as well. Dalmiere is another Enterprise grade device I've used - plug it in with its cameras and let it do its thing. Records about 2 years worth of data from about 8 cameras at a time. Remote access to the box, etc. We'd shoot through days of footage in the space of a few minutes, and most places will have security systems in place to give you a better idea if your perimeter has been compromised.

QSee has options (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42805979)

My QSee from Costco has zones that you set up by drawing a mask on a grid atop the video for each camera to show which spots in the view that you care about, such as the sidewalk on a grassy lawn or front door on a house, and when something comes into that field of vision, the DVR marks a list of "events" where something entered that specific zone. You search by events per camera, not by human recognition or anything fancy, so motion triggers an event and in quiet areas there are only a handful of motion events per day. It also allows an alarm or other device to trigger the event, such as a door opening I guess.

Sometimes when the trees sway, the sensor sees an event when nothing happened, or if a spider builds a web in front of the camera or a moth flies by, it shows a false event.

QSee's software sucks overall (hard to remote access using an IE8 ActiveX control for example- DVR uses a closed Linux distro I think), but it just works most of the time for local connections and doesn't crash.

detecting faces (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806253)

At home I have a camera in the backyard. It detects motion but due to all the waving plants and cats strolling around I get thousands of pictures per day.
So I wrote a quick hack using opencv which detects faces: http://www.vanheusden.com/detect_faces/
That brings me back from thousands to tens of images to verify.

Aimetis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806263)


It's great entry level software with decent analytics. It's not going to pull CSI Miami stuff but it will do what you want

web (1)

Robot3 (2834213) | about 2 years ago | (#42806485)

And do somone have forensic tools for web pages? Wit which i can see who acces to my pages?

free but not open source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42806691)

take a look at vitamindinc they have a free version of their recording viewing software which I believe allows you to scan video for events. www.vitamindinc.com

WTF? (1)

adolf (21054) | about 2 years ago | (#42806743)

Why are you going back in time for analysis?

There's a plethora of products that record (DVR-style) with analytics for the stuff you're asking about, but they all do it in real-time as it happens. Milestone comes to mind, as do Panasonic's offerings.

Why do they work this way? Because if it were that important, you'd want to know right away, not a week later when you get around to it.

Failing that, if visually scanning a weeks' worth of video is taking too much time to be worthwhile, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate what the incident is worth.

Re:WTF? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#42807519)

Why are you going back in time for analysis?

I'm picturing trailcams as used by hunters. They're just ruggedized digital cameras. Some of them even have the LCD part of the camera inside a clamshell so you can review the video up a tree or what have you, without needing an additional device. To my mind it would be better to have wifi so I can just pull the video from the device once I get into range, and the owner could install a massive antenna if they chose to do so. Maybe build a mesh network, have them wake up and chat with one another on a schedule to save power... uh digression. Anyway, one benign use for this would be to determine how many people passed across your property in a given time.

You get what you pay for (1)

kegon (766647) | about 2 years ago | (#42806787)

"I am trying to set up a surveillance system ... from the fixed cameras around our facility"

I see, so when you say Open Source what you really mean is Free because this has nothing to do with using and contributing something back. Otherwise you would have said so.

For example, you could donate to the programmers who make the software that you decide to use. You could have an interesting custom requirement that you could make a module for and release as OSS. Or you could find and fix bugs or documentation for some existing package. Why don't you offer to do something like that in your question ?

Vitamin D (1)

stevejf (2724307) | about 2 years ago | (#42807041)

I use vitamin D software to monitor the webcams in my apartment. http://www.vitamindinc.com/ [vitamindinc.com] It does a pretty good job detecting whether something is a person or not, and you can configure it to send you an email when it detects something. It also only records video surrounding an event. The starter version is free and has some restrictions in terms of total cameras, but its not that expensive overall. Presumably a place that has a "restricted zone" has a security budget more than $0.

Blue Iris (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42807221)

It is not open source but I have been using Blue Iris http://blueirissoftware.com/index.html.
It does motion detection, hot spots, snapshots, archiving and email alerts.
You could set it up to record video all the time (if you want) and have it save a snapshot when someone enters a hot spot.
Then you could look through the snapshots to find suspicious activity and use the time displayed in the snapshot to locate the event in the recorded video.
The price is pretty reasonable.

BriefCam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42807483)

Try BriefCam, not open source but it looks like what you are looking for. www.briefcam.com

mechanical turk? (1)

jsprenkle (2009592) | about 2 years ago | (#42807487)

Hire a lot of unemployed and offer a bonus for finding something.

You've gotta pay to play... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42807977)

huperlab.com offers excellent analytic tools with their systems. Most of the issues you mentioned are covered by their systems. I know you're looking for a cost effective way to manage your surveillance, but you gotta pay to play.

Necessary plug here (1)

cdrguru (88047) | about 2 years ago | (#42808367)

There is a product called Vindex which is specifically designed for "indexing" video. It intelligently collects up "events" and displays a gallery view (bunch of thumbnails) representing these events. By "intelligently" I mean that it isn't just looking at raw differences between frames but does considerably more math to eliminate false positives.

It can also process video at up to 60x normal playing speed, which means analysis of a night's worth of video takes a few minutes. Compared to just playing at high speed you don't miss very short events which are way too easy to miss with high speed playback.

No, it isn't open source. There is a free evaluation available at www.infinadyne.com so it is easy to check out. There is a new version in the works which will add video enhancement.


Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42808499)

That would be a pretty good idea. I'd use it and stop pirating stuff (kidding).

Rhymes with... (1)

Shoten (260439) | about 2 years ago | (#42808505)

Okay, so yet again, another Slashdot question along the lines of this:

"I have something that I want to do that is demanding, and which at its core uses technology that had to be specially developed to fill a niche. But I don't want to pay for it." *waves open-source flag* "How about something open-source? Can you guys do the legwork for me and tell me how to get this for fre*backspaces a lot* using open-source?"

I favor open software and open standards. But don't you think that if it takes a bit of hard work to come up with a solution, the people who did the work should get compensated? These questions...the kind I'm referring to...are not related to commodity items like firewalls or an operating system or a text editor. They're all niche specialty functions with unique and significant challenges. Slashdot should stop encouraging the monkeys who care more about getting something for nothing than they do about open source.

Some thoughts. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42808515)

I'm not entirely sure that what I'm about to recommend will hit a home run for you, but I wanted to throw it on the table anyway so you can review your options and see what works for you.

I run video surveillance at home. I have two outdoor cameras mounted in hidden locations which watch the front door and back door of my house. (my house is on a corner, so in some way shape or form both the front and back door is visible in some way from the street) I did this after a package went missing on my door step that I was expecting. Since I often do I.T. side work it's not rare to have rather expensive parts on the door step, and due to my work hours it's beyond a hassle to require signatures. I run a Linux server at home (Ubuntu Server 12.04, but most major Linux distros should work fine). I run a package known as Motion, which is in the repos. Motion has no GUI, it's a daemon based solution which will watch over the MJPG stream of each camera and record snapshots accordingly to what the preferences say. I won't speak too much about setting up Motion because I actually did a YouTube tutorial on it, so if you like, check it out and see if it fits the bill. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwDLkMPLTw0 (there's also a part two)

Motion works with MJPG. That means it does not take H264 streams. MJPG is not going to give you a high definition amazing super awesome stream @ 300 FPS that's absolutely flawless. MJPG is a series of JPG snapshots. Some of these newer systems are all about H264 because it's more bandwidth efficient when you're doing higher FPS. If you're doing this for video surveillance, the reality is all you need is one good snapshot to catch the face of a crook, so running MJPG at 2 or 5 or 7 or 10 or whatever FPS might be a very likely solution. If you were running a network of traffic cameras or perhaps Vegas casino cameras, having a higher FPS to watch the entire stream of each step might be more warranted. Motion admittedly requires a little bit more setup because Motion isn't based on a database where you can select "play video from yesterday" and it magically finds it and you can chow down on a donut while viewing the feed back. Instead, you have to set that structure up. You have to create directories for each camera, you have to set the mount points of the drive to be used, you have to organize it as you see fit. I can tell you this, if you get through the setup stage and begin to use Motion, you'll find that Motion is absolutely bombproof. I've had many extended power outages where my server went down. Each and every time, I fire it back up and it just worked perfectly. It may not be packed of a ton of pretty polished GUI features, but I can tell you it's reliable as hell. After about a year of using it, I really can't remember a single time where it gave me an issue.

You can also set up your own web page like I did, allowing you to see a montage of your available cameras and then click on each one to get a full screen view of it. I posted some updates to this FAQ to help users with that... I personally use Method 2 - http://www.lavrsen.dk/foswiki/bin/view/Motion/FrequentlyAskedQuestions#How_do_I_see_more_than_one_camera_stream_at_a_time_63

I just keep that local "motion.html" file saved and bookmarked. That way I click it and it just brings up file:///home/jason/Documents/motion.html or whatever it is as if it's a real web site. It won't be the prettiest thing in the world, in fact it'll look extremely bare, but you'll be able to get a glimpse of what's going on. Keep in mind FPS of the webserver playback is independently controlled from the FPS on the cameras. You can record at 7 FPS or whatever and have the live view of the montage be 1 FPS, etc. A substantial amount of businesses aren't equipped with tech savvy people, so having a DVR you drop in place and plop the cameras on their mount points makes more sense in some cases. For me, I'm all about open source software and I'm all about software that does the best job that I can manipulate in many different ways. Motion gives me the freedom to do that, but Motion is also designed for a slightly more adept user. It's not designed for first time Linux user Grandma Edna. But hey, maybe that YouTube video will help a bit.

Next on the radar is ZoneMinder. I personally think the world of ZoneMinder, but it needs some serious facelifting in order to win its way back into my surveillance oriented life. Fortunately some very dedicated individuals are working on it. While there may not be any immediate updates to the repos, keep your eyes open, a newly updated version of it and/or a fork may come about. It's always possible.

For what it's worth, I don't use Motion for 100% of my surveillance needs. Surely you can, pending all you need is a series of recordings of motion detection. That part is very do-able. In my case, I added another thing to the mix. I use a mixture of integrated 24/7 full time recording as well as Motion, which of course is based on motion detection. I run Motion at 1 FPS which takes snapshots each time Motion is detected in 10 second gaps with the center feature. Meaning, @ 1 FPS it's taking one shot per second, but my gap is set to 10 seconds. If I dance in front of the camera for say 9 seconds, it'll take snapshot #5 and save that, discarding the rest. You can manipulate this any way you want, but this is what I use. Motion saves feeds in my "snapshots" directory designated for the camera (/media/surveillance_drive/front_camera/snapshots). Here's where the 2nd kicker comes in: My cameras (Vivotek IP8332) support Samba, so I have them saving 24/7 20 FPS H264 feeds over Samba to my server to their corresponding destination (such as /media/surveillance_drive/front_camera/video_feeds). I have it broken up to save a new feed every 60 seconds (onboard feature of my camera), so it structures everything into directories. In other words, 20130206/12/15.mp4 means that feed was recorded on the 15th minute of the 12th hour (noon) on February 6th, 2013. That way I can pull up a video -/+ 60 seconds. Some other manufacturers that don't have automatic directory creation for organizational purposes like this simply name the files accordingly to the year/month/day/hour/minute/second, which is still a very quick way to identify exactly when that feed was recorded.

If I'm browsing the snapshots directory and I see there's a snapshot of a masked man on my porch at some point, I can then look at the date/time stamp on the snapshot, go to that specific video feed, and watch it @ 20 FPS over an H264 feed. I like this setup because I have 24/7 feeds with an easy way to see what motion took place, taking away any need to review the full time feeds - however, the full time feeds are still there if need be, which is a nice comfort blanket. While my setup involves a little bit of Motion and a little bit of utilizing the onboard features of my cameras, I can tell you this - it does its job well and it's never let me down.

For what it's worth, my surveillance_drive is a 1 TB drive. Both cameras are recording @ 20 FPS, H264, 1280x800, 24/7/365, along with recording @ 1 FPS (10 second gap, centered) @ 1280x800 MJPG. Each day, a single camera can eat up 30 GB of space. I have nightly bash scripts that run with detailed "find" commands, which basically deletes any video_feed over 15 days old, and any snapshots over 120 days old. This keeps my server fully automated so I never max out on space. Plus it keeps me happy because I really never need to touch my server anymore. It just kind of works.

Anyway, that's my setup. If you go down the route of a regular DVR/NVR system, you might have a more integrated package to get the job done, but you'll also spend quite a few bucks. Don't be fooled into thinking all of those setups are without issues either, especially the lower end sub-2,000 dollar units that come with a DVR/NVR and 8 night vision IP cams or whatever. Some of them are absolutely bomb proof, but others have headaches of their own. Some cameras have awful IR, others have terrible ghosting/hazing at night, some DVRs I've read about only work with certain HDD manufacturers for some reason. At one point I decided to mix and match the best of both worlds and get a solid DVR/NVR and solid cameras, but if you try to get a DVR/NVR and piece together other IP based cameras with it (or used a closed source CCTV program on a regular computer/server), make sure you do a truckload of homework, because there's always a hidden "supported IP camera" list somewhere. I've seen some companies that boast they support a wide array of cameras, but then they have 5 manufacturers on the list while hundreds others exist. Other times they support a few features of a certain camera brand, but not all features. I found it to be frustrating so I ended up just getting the cameras I want PENDING one very important feature - that they can save directly to a NAS via Samba. That feature is a must-have for me with any future cameras I purchase. That way I at least know, worst case scenario, I'll get full time recording to my server without needing anything else. This way it's just camera - file server, no other cooks in the kitchen. If I can add other softwares in the mix and it run, great, if not, I at least know what WILL work without fuss. In regard to a pre-packaged setup, I'm not trying to paint the picture that those setups are bad in any way shape or form, some people love them, but I want to put things into perspective that my home-brewed setup may have come with some setup tweaking, planning ahead, etc., but that comes with the territory with any and all CCTV setups (imho).

Sorry for the novel, but I hope it helps. Good luck sir.

You are looking for Artificial Vision Systems (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42808815)


In short if you don't want to keep reading: OpenCV + IP cameras (and a lot of work).

Now if you actually want to keep reading:

I am Leonardo M. Rocha and I have worked as software engineer in the research area of in this kind of systems for 3 years in this team: https://team.inria.fr/stars
You can check some publications on the subject here: https://team.inria.fr/stars/publications/

There is no right answer, it all depends on your particular system, what it actually has to do, the light conditions, the areas, the events, and the type of things you are actually observing. The best and "easiest" solution would be the following: hire professionals ( check here http://www.itea2.org/project/index/view/?project=1142 for some of the big players in europe), and be ready to pay. If that is not an option, you can start playing with IP cameras (or CCTV, all depends on the legislation in your country if you actually want the videos to be able to be used in legal issues). IP cameras come with some nice features like motion detection.
Then check OpenCV http://opencv.org/ and the wiki http://opencv.willowgarage.com/wiki/ be sure to get into the yahoo mailing list too. And start using whatever you find usefull there. Do not hope for too much, it is not easy to use and the documentation is actually bad (but at least you can find some useful things out there), but is the BEST library available for the public out there.
Some of the "simple" things you could do is to record only when there is movement, search for the faces, extract them and send an alarm and show the results to an observer who should make the actual evaluation. I have built some small demonstrations with this concept for this paper: sadio.opentierra.com/SADIO-Files/Girgit.pdf
More complex things, like detecting luggage (one of the things we did for this http://www.itea2.org/project/index/view/?project=1142 project), tracking, gestures, actions and other things are really a pain, need a lot of tweaking and have to be adapted to the actual scenarios. Light, contrast, definition, movement of courtains, trees outside the windows. Real time processing IS an issue, you need good algorithms and good architecture. All complex models NEED a 3D calibration (to be able to map 2D to 3D) and they WILL make mistakes (ther is incomplete information for the mapping) so you MUST make assumptions for the calibration.

If you can work with the kinect or some similar 3D cameras, that would be awsome, they take out many of the 2D camera issues (depth makes tracking and segmentation easier), use either microsoft's SDK or you can try http://www.openni.org/ an open source version that we have managed to make work under Linux and OSX.

Binocular cameras ( I haven't used ) are a pain, calibration for the 3D is not easy and are most used in mobile and autonomous robots. Maybe you can check for the subject, but I do not recommend this as starting point.

Things you WILL have to know to be able to do some thing:2D and 3D geometry (calibration), be able to use artificial intelligence algorithms (not an expert on the algorithms, just understand enough to use them), heavy C++ coding, Python, compiling, configuring your computer, manage your network (if you are going to use HD cameras, and many of them, that WILL saturate your bandwith at some point, specially with wireless cameras). And overall, you will need time and patience.

Best of luck


Record and use ZoneMinder set to 'Modect' (1)

drainbramage (588291) | about 2 years ago | (#42808837)

I use ZoneMinder with most cameras set to 'Modect' so video is saved only when motion meeting my criteria has been detected.
ZoneMinder presents an array displaying the number of events recorded by each camera in the last hour, day, week and month.
If you also kept your 24/7 recordings you could use the ZoneMinder events to pinpoint where/when to go look in your video archive.

motion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42809965)

If you own a computer with a webcam, or (seems more likely) own usb cameras or network cameras, the software "motion" does the trick for me. It can capture frames only when motion is detected in the "restricted zones" or all the time or at given time intervals. It is available in the debian software repository and can be installed as easy as apt-get install motion. Im assuming its just as easy for other distros.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?