Video surveillance with the Raspberry Pi

Advanced

Under General Settings, you will see an Advanced Settings slide control that opens a camera-specific advanced settings dialog for highly granular configuration, such as camera resolution. This section also has basic options for the network and various services such as SSH, FTP, and Samba, which you can enable to store your video recordings on the intranet.

If you use a Raspberry Pi with a built-in WiFi module, it can be connected wirelessly at this point to the local network by enabling the WiFi module. In the other dialogs, which previously only allowed basic settings, you will now find various additional options. For example, the Movies group lets you define the quality at which recordings are saved (Figure 3); the format can be defined separately here, as well.

In the Motion Detection section, you can configure various settings for the built-in motion detection feature that compares images and fires up the recording function as soon as it detects changes. In this area, you define the extent to which the image must change to trigger recording, and you can even tell the system to respond to changes in lighting conditions.

When certain motion patterns are detected, the Motion Notifications group lets you execute defined actions, such as sending email to an address stored on the system and running a defined command. In this way, motionEyeOS notifies you when it senses unusual events, and the system can respond automatically (e.g., by shutting down devices to protect data against spying).

Playback

The videos recorded by motionEyeOS can be downloaded from the Raspberry Pi's memory card in a dialog on the system's web front end. In the default setting, the system adds the time and duration of the recording in the file name, along with current date, so that the most important data can be traced immediately.

To open the dialog, click on the desired camera in the monitoring display on the right side of the browser window. The software then displays a horizontal button bar in the camera image at the top of the window, where you can press the open movies browser button. An overlapping window then displays the available recordings sorted by day, with Download and Delete buttons to the right of the respective data (Figure 4).

Figure 4: The images created by the software can be downloaded directly to your computer from the web front end.

If you find a large number of very short recordings of just a few seconds duration in the list view, you need to adjust the Motion Detection settings in the administration menu. The correct setting can prevent motionEyeOS from starting a new recording with every miniscule movement it detects in an image.

Network Configuration

After commissioning motionEyeOS, you should enable the WiFi option. After the initial configuration, you no longer need the wired connection. The wireless connection lets you position the management computer freely and it no longer has to be located right next to the router. This setup allows the computer to be removed from view of unauthorized persons, which significantly improves data security.

You can activate WiFi in the Network section by switching the Wireless Network slide control to ON and entering the SSID of the desired network and the matching authentication key in the fields that appear. Next, press the Reboot button in the General Settings section to restart the system and integrate the Rasp Pi into your infrastructure wirelessly.

The connected WiFi cameras and the Raspberry Pi should also have assigned static IP addresses, so you will have a working system immediately after any power failures and avoid device connection failures from incorrect IP addresses.

All you have to do is change the IP Configuration selection boxes in the Network group from the default DHCP address assignments to Manual (static IP). Then, switch from DHCP to the static IP address configuration in the configuration dialogs of the connected terminal devices. Alternatively, you can assign static IP addresses to all nodes in the router's web front end, removing the need for any configuration on the systems themselves.

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