Newbie Questions

mike32162

Getting the hang of it
Joined
Oct 9, 2023
Messages
65
Reaction score
32
Location
Fl, USA
I am redoing my parents house. They have an old analogue system which has about bit the dust.
After searching for a DVR (now NVR) replacement, i discovered the various issues of mix and match problems, expense, etc... and think Blue Iris is a better solution. That will let me RDP into the box to fix anything when I am not here.
So the questions are:

1) Build.
It's going in the home entertainment cabinet. Silence (and obviously performance) are high priorities. Am I better off with an 8th gen i7-8700 optiplex SFF or a newer mini-pc type (like an 11th gen but mobile type chip)?
In either case, I plan on WIn 10 or Win 11 Pro, 32GB Ram and WD purple either internal in an SFF optiplex or USB3 external if the mini PC route.

2) Can I mix and match cameras and still get all the functionality? IE I want Night-Time colorvision all around. There are 12 cameras and it would be god-awful expensive to do all of them with Empire's 8MP Hikivision. I was planning on two of those (front door and by the garage) and Reolink CX410 bullets for the long strips on the sides and yard. At $100 for 8 Reolink's, the savings are substantial.

3) Ease of use.
I'd like to be able to have an HDMI from the PC to the TV so they switch the input and see all cameras. They both use iphones, I use android. Would need push notifications when motion (preferably AI determines its humans) sent to phones.

4) Cabling
All of it is Cat5e. I presume this is good enough? It would be a PITA to have to re-wire but I do plan on using one of the cables to "go backwards" and add an 8 port POE elsewhere to expand the system from the 9 cameras they have to 11 or 12.

Given I'm not usually here to maintain it and based on everything mentioned, am I going the correct route with Blue Iris as opposed to a bundled NVR / camera system, can I do all of the above, and are there advantages to higher than 8th gen in the PC? What do I really need to future proof this thing and only have to do occasional updates to the software?
 

wittaj

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
23,882
Reaction score
46,203
Location
USA
Most would not say to use a mini-pc.

Is there enough light to allow for full color. These cameras are not magic and cannot see in the dark. If there is not enough light or you refuse to use the built-in white LED lights, then you need to get a camera with infrared capabilities as the full color cannot see infrared.

Don't be fooled by the marketing - Keep in mind that any camera can make a nice bright static image by slowing down the shutter and bumping the gain. Once you dial in an IP camera to minimize blur (min 1/60s) shutter, you will realize how much light is needed. The faster the shutter, the more light is needed.

Blue Iris can do everything you are looking for. It is great for mix/match cameras that are ONVIF.

Cat5e is fine.

An i5 8th gen is fine. Most of us here turn off Windows updates and BI updates - no reason to update unless they add functionality you want.

Reolink OMFG - forget about it. Tons of threads here how they don't play nice with BI, and that doesn't even talk about their poor performance. There are better options in the $100ish range.


Stay away from Reolink unless all you care about is what time something happened. Their night time performance is horrible.

In most instances, you want to get a camera that will perform at your location for the worse situation, which for most of us is at night when it is dark and there is little to no light. If a camera performs at night, it is easier to tweak settings to make it work during the day than it is the other way around.

Did I mention avoid Reolink, especially at night they are horrible. Look at these examples.

What you mean a missing hand isn't normal LOL :lmao: (plus look at the blur on the face and he is barely moving and this should be ideal indoor IR bounce and it struggles):



1672013569648.png




How about missing everything but the head and upper torso :lmao:

The invisible man, where can he be. Thank goodness he is carrying around a reflective plate to see where he is LOL (hint - the person is literally in the middle of the image at the end of the fence holding a license plate)

I've seen better images on an episode of ghost hunters :lmao:



1672013751058.png




And of course, this is an example from Reolink's marketing videos - do you see a person in this picture...yes, there is a person in this picture.... Could this provide anything useful for the police other than the date and time something happened? Would this protect your store? The still picture looks great though except for the person and the blur of the vehicle... Will give you a hint - the person is in between the two visible columns:


1672013780681.png



Bad Boys
Bad Boys
Watcha gonna do
Watcha gonna do
When the cameras can't see you


Here is the unofficial Reolink page where people have provided their best nighttime image captures. As you will see, they are basically useless.

 
Last edited:

wittaj

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
23,882
Reaction score
46,203
Location
USA
Here is link to a thread of many that shows the disappointment of many thinking a ColorVu camera (or any camera labeled as Full Color, ColorVision, etc.) was magic and could defy physics. Full Color type cameras are great if you have light, but will be horrible if you do not have enough light (as is any surveillance camera)

Initial review of the DS-2CD2347G2-L(U) ColorVu 2.0 IP camera.
 

mike32162

Getting the hang of it
Joined
Oct 9, 2023
Messages
65
Reaction score
32
Location
Fl, USA
Most would not say to use a mini-pc.

Is there enough light to allow for full color. These cameras are not magic and cannot see in the dark. If there is not enough light or you refuse to use the built-in white LED lights, then you need to get a camera with infrared capabilities as the full color cannot see infrared.

Don't be fooled by the marketing - Keep in mind that any camera can make a nice bright static image by slowing down the shutter and bumping the gain. Once you dial in an IP camera to minimize blur (min 1/60s) shutter, you will realize how much light is needed. The faster the shutter, the more light is needed.

Blue Iris can do everything you are looking for. It is great for mix/match cameras that are ONVIF.

Cat5e is fine.

An i5 8th gen is fine. Most of us here turn off Windows updates and BI updates - no reason to update unless they add functionality you want.

Reolink OMFG - forget about it. Tons of threads here how they don't play nice with BI, and that doesn't even talk about their poor performance. There are better options in the $100ish range.


Stay away from Reolink unless all you care about is what time something happened. Their night time performance is horrible.

In most instances, you want to get a camera that will perform at your location for the worse situation, which for most of us is at night when it is dark and there is little to no light. If a camera performs at night, it is easier to tweak settings to make it work during the day than it is the other way around.

Did I mention avoid Reolink, especially at night they are horrible. Look at these examples.

What you mean a missing hand isn't normal LOL :lmao: (plus look at the blur on the face and he is barely moving and this should be ideal indoor IR bounce and it struggles):



1672013569648.png




How about missing everything but the head and upper torso :lmao:

The invisible man, where can he be. Thank goodness he is carrying around a reflective plate to see where he is LOL (hint - the person is literally in the middle of the image at the end of the fence holding a license plate)

I've seen better images on an episode of ghost hunters :lmao:



1672013751058.png




And of course, this is an example from Reolink's marketing videos - do you see a person in this picture...yes, there is a person in this picture.... Could this provide anything useful for the police other than the date and time something happened? Would this protect your store? The still picture looks great though except for the person and the blur of the vehicle... Will give you a hint - the person is in between the two visible columns:


1672013780681.png



Bad Boys
Bad Boys
Watcha gonna do
Watcha gonna do
When the cameras can't see you


Here is the unofficial Reolink page where people have provided their best nighttime image captures. As you will see, they are basically useless.

Thanks. The reolink I was looking at is relatively new, not the E1, the CX410 which uses a larger sensor, etc.... But, they only have it in a bullet at the moment and if the consensus is to avoid the company altogether, that's what I'll do., especially if ti is not going to play nice with BI.
There is minimal lighting at night (not pitch black though), and I would not mind a motion activated light on the camera itself. Having it on all the time? Not really desirable. Since I posted this here for Blue Iris questions, I'll meander around the rest of the forums to look for suitable cameras all around.
 

wittaj

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
23,882
Reaction score
46,203
Location
USA
True it has the larger sensor, but their firmware/algorithm is still favoring a bright static image.

While it is on the proper MP/sensor ratio (4MP on a 1/1.8" sensor) with a large f1.0 aperture, at $100 it would be a steal if it worked like other full color cameras.

Sadly, it appears to suffer from the same issues of reolink, which is poor night quality and ghosting, etc. And look how washed out the camera on the right is when the lights kick on.


1685367607118.png



It has been shown that Reolink (and most consumer grade cameras) favor nice bright static images at night over performance. So at some point even if you can set shutter settings, the camera will override your input in favor of a nice bright image. This is done by slowing down the shutter and increasing the gain. So then you see what Reolinks are notorious for - ghost blur invisible person images at night and inability to capture plates.

So the difference between a better camera like say a Dahua and a Reolink is that you can set parameters on the Dahua and it will hold. If you set parameters on the reolink that would result in a darker image the algorithm internally says "idiot alert" and it won't let you set parameters that the firmware thinks will result in not displaying a nice bright image. Don't believe me, set the shutter to 1/10,000 at night and the image should be completely black. It won't with the reolink...or any cheap camera. It will override your 1/10,000 shutter and favor a bright image. It is a good test to determine how good the camera is.

Most here find that cameras and motion activated floodlights ends up causing problems with image exposure and are bad for surveillance cameras.. What happens is then the camera is momentarily blinded and you lose the ideal capture when the lights kick on and the camera adjusts from basically no light to a lot of light.

Motion activated lights are not a deterrent. There are enough videos here showing that perps do not flinch when a floodlight turns on. They avoid homes all lit up, so go with floodlights on all night or cameras with infrared capabilities.

Watch this video someone posted and how the floodlight comes on and they don't even flinch. But then the audio comes on and they don't know which way to run LOL.



Either keep the lights on all night or not at all to ensure the best chance of capture.

Here is usually what happens when a motion activated floodlight comes on - it just about completely blinds the camera right at the moment of optimal opportunity to get the picture. There are 3 deer in this picture and two of them are lost in the blinded white while the camera's exposure adjusts to the rapid change in available light:


1665166487414.png


Or the example from the Reolink CX410:

1696872727456.png

That flash can be the difference between capturing a clean image or not.

Or this example that completely missed the perp:



Any of the EmpireTech cameras will perform better than Reolink and there are several in the low $100's that many use. Some of these 2MP cams are my best ones.
 

wittaj

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
23,882
Reaction score
46,203
Location
USA
This will blow the socks off the Reolink, but similar to it, it cannot see infrared.


This is a great little performing and in varifocal so you can set the field of view to what you want:



This is a great little camera that has the best of both worlds - infrared and white LED. One of the few models I would recommend that would have the light come on with motion and very little/minimal blow out when the white light comes on.

 
As an Amazon Associate IPCamTalk earns from qualifying purchases.

mike32162

Getting the hang of it
Joined
Oct 9, 2023
Messages
65
Reaction score
32
Location
Fl, USA
This will blow the socks off the Reolink, but similar to it, it cannot see infrared.


This is a great little performing and in varifocal so you can set the field of view to what you want:



This is a great little camera that has the best of both worlds - infrared and white LED. One of the few models I would recommend that would have the light come on with motion and very little/minimal blow out when the white light comes on.

Dang. All 3 of these look good, now I'm back to the drawing board as I was originally thinking I wanted to go 8 or 12MP 4K.
I guess the tradeoffs for working better at night (when they are likely needed most) are worth it?
 
As an Amazon Associate IPCamTalk earns from qualifying purchases.

wittaj

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
23,882
Reaction score
46,203
Location
USA
Yeah, chasing MP is overrated. Most here feel like 4MP is the sweet spot.

But regardless, you want to get a camera on the proper MP/sensor ratio:

1696874313871.png

The problem is you throw 8MP on a sensor designed for 2MP and the 8MP will need 4 times the amount of light for a comparable image of the 2MP.

Sensor size and focal length is more important than MP.

 

looney2ns

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Sep 25, 2016
Messages
15,441
Reaction score
22,461
Location
Evansville, In. USA

mat200

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Jan 17, 2017
Messages
13,405
Reaction score
22,245
I am redoing my parents house. They have an old analogue system which has about bit the dust.
After searching for a DVR (now NVR) replacement, i discovered the various issues of mix and match problems, expense, etc... and think Blue Iris is a better solution. That will let me RDP into the box to fix anything when I am not here.
So the questions are:

1) Build.
It's going in the home entertainment cabinet. Silence (and obviously performance) are high priorities. Am I better off with an 8th gen i7-8700 optiplex SFF or a newer mini-pc type (like an 11th gen but mobile type chip)?
In either case, I plan on WIn 10 or Win 11 Pro, 32GB Ram and WD purple either internal in an SFF optiplex or USB3 external if the mini PC route.

2) Can I mix and match cameras and still get all the functionality? IE I want Night-Time colorvision all around. There are 12 cameras and it would be god-awful expensive to do all of them with Empire's 8MP Hikivision. I was planning on two of those (front door and by the garage) and Reolink CX410 bullets for the long strips on the sides and yard. At $100 for 8 Reolink's, the savings are substantial.

3) Ease of use.
I'd like to be able to have an HDMI from the PC to the TV so they switch the input and see all cameras. They both use iphones, I use android. Would need push notifications when motion (preferably AI determines its humans) sent to phones.

4) Cabling
All of it is Cat5e. I presume this is good enough? It would be a PITA to have to re-wire but I do plan on using one of the cables to "go backwards" and add an 8 port POE elsewhere to expand the system from the 9 cameras they have to 11 or 12.

Given I'm not usually here to maintain it and based on everything mentioned, am I going the correct route with Blue Iris as opposed to a bundled NVR / camera system, can I do all of the above, and are there advantages to higher than 8th gen in the PC? What do I really need to future proof this thing and only have to do occasional updates to the software?
Hi @mike32162

So the questions are:

1) Build.
It's going in the home entertainment cabinet. Silence (and obviously performance) are high priorities. Am I better off with an 8th gen i7-8700 optiplex SFF or a newer mini-pc type (like an 11th gen but mobile type chip)?
In either case, I plan on WIn 10 or Win 11 Pro, 32GB Ram and WD purple either internal in an SFF optiplex or USB3 external if the mini PC route.


iirc 16GB should be plenty .. many reported to use only 8GB on their Blue Iris PCs ..

Get a normal CPU not a mobile one, Dell SFF PCs are fairly quiet.

2) Can I mix and match cameras and still get all the functionality? IE I want Night-Time colorvision all around. There are 12 cameras and it would be god-awful expensive to do all of them with Empire's 8MP Hikivision. I was planning on two of those (front door and by the garage) and Reolink CX410 bullets for the long strips on the sides and yard. At $100 for 8 Reolink's, the savings are substantial.

DO NOT go Reolink if quality of image, especially in low light conditions matter to you. ( other reasons also .. iFrame problems with Blue Iris .. search the threads )

please see the following:

please also search for "Reolink" here on the titles to see other examples.

I've posted a number of threads you may want to example on the topic of Reolink ..


3) Ease of use.
I'd like to be able to have an HDMI from the PC to the TV so they switch the input and see all cameras. They both use iphones, I use android. Would need push notifications when motion (preferably AI determines its humans) sent to phones.

4) Cabling
All of it is Cat5e. I presume this is good enough? It would be a PITA to have to re-wire but I do plan on using one of the cables to "go backwards" and add an 8 port POE elsewhere to expand the system from the 9 cameras they have to 11 or 12.



regarding cabling, I posted this on a recent thread on it :
Here's the basics:
Patch cables : stranded copper 23 or 24 Awg cat5e or cat6.
In wall, attic, patch panel to patch panel or patch panel to camera rj45 socket: solid copper wires, 23 or 24 AWG, cat 5e or cat6, properly rated sheath for in wall or plenum installation.
I normally buy bulk cable and terminate myself here .. typically get enough pull boxes to cover the runs .. example run 2 cables at a time get 2 pull boxes .. 3 get 3 pull boxes.
 
Last edited:

wittaj

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
23,882
Reaction score
46,203
Location
USA
You said they have an old analog DVR system - those are typically two wire BNC type connections.

Do you have Cat5e to each existing camera already with an adapter to switch it to analog or will you need to run new cabling anyway, or use adaptors on each end of the old coaxBNC cables?
 

mike32162

Getting the hang of it
Joined
Oct 9, 2023
Messages
65
Reaction score
32
Location
Fl, USA
You said they have an old analog DVR system - those are typically two wire BNC type connections.

Do you have Cat5e to each existing camera already with an adapter to switch it to analog or will you need to run new cabling anyway, or use adaptors on each end of the old coaxBNC cables?
Cat5E, baluns on each side.
I lucked out, just need to cut off & terminate the cable with either female keystones or male RJ45
 

mike32162

Getting the hang of it
Joined
Oct 9, 2023
Messages
65
Reaction score
32
Location
Fl, USA
This looks good, reasonably priced as well.
Do I need anything else with it to screw to the outside of the house (mostly under eaves where I will be replacing existing cams) and one vertical spot on siding above front door.
 
As an Amazon Associate IPCamTalk earns from qualifying purchases.

mike32162

Getting the hang of it
Joined
Oct 9, 2023
Messages
65
Reaction score
32
Location
Fl, USA
Computer showed up, but I thought this had 2 HDD cradles. Maybe I can't find it? There's a DVD under the HDD which I can't figure out how to remove, and doesn't look like there's enough room there anyway. I also don't see another set of connectors for a 2nd Drive. Maybe buy ribbon cable with more than 1 set?

I've built computers from scratch, so not a novice in that department, but not familiar with SFF. The system is a Dell Optiplex 7070 SFF I7-9700. It has a 1TB SSD sitting in the only cradle I can find. How are you installing the second drive (WD Purple 12TB)? My options look like external USB or put both the OS and storage on the WD, but then I might have to pay for another Windows license since this version looks like OEM with no key.

Also, in Blue Iris, I presume all of the storage options go on the WD Purple?
 

wittaj

IPCT Contributor
Joined
Apr 28, 2019
Messages
23,882
Reaction score
46,203
Location
USA
Do not use USB drives - even though the theoretical speeds say it can, it cannot keep up with the sustained demands of video.

You aren't lugging the computer around so velcro or duct tape the 2nd HDD to the computer.

Yes put all storage on purple drive.
 

IAmATeaf

Known around here
Joined
Jan 13, 2019
Messages
3,266
Reaction score
3,214
Location
United Kingdom
Looking at the specs you need an m.2 drive and then you can install a single 3.5” HDD.

We’ve got a Dell as a home computer and it doesn’t come with a 2nd SATA power connector so I had to “graft” a 2nd connector onto the existing cable.
 

mike32162

Getting the hang of it
Joined
Oct 9, 2023
Messages
65
Reaction score
32
Location
Fl, USA
Looking at the specs you need an m.2 drive and then you can install a single 3.5” HDD.

We’ve got a Dell as a home computer and it doesn’t come with a 2nd SATA power connector so I had to “graft” a 2nd connector onto the existing cable.
There is no m.2 slot. It has a serial ATA 2.5 SSD siting in the cradle which would hold the WD purple.
I might be able to take the DVD drive out & relocate the SSD to where that is, but haven't taken it apart to look. The RAM is underneath he DVD drive, might not be enough room.

I wanted (and thought) the OS drive was M.2 then when I opened the cover saw it was clearly not. If all else fails, I might just re-purpose this and build my own ITX box. I should have known... I hate DELL b/c most of their stuff is proprietary and can't be upgraded, but was not planning on doing that. IE -- Motherboards are not standard and their cases only fit their MB's...
 
Top