pukster
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:44 am

Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Sat Sep 14, 2013 8:12 am

Hello. I have somewhat of an idea of what I want out of my home recording unit, but I need some help from the community. If this is not the right place to ask this question, then please let me know, and I will move on.

I am moving into a new place, I have some money to spend (around $2000), and I want to put cameras all around the rooms. For arguments sake, lets take a square room, and say I want to put four cameras, one on each wall. The reason I am doing this is for surveillance, for making video footage of parties, for [possibly] documenting my life, and quite frankly because I am a nerd and I want to. There are three parts, as a I see it: the actual recording device (ie. camera), the computer storing the footage, and the connection between the two.

I would rather not use wireless as it is unreliable and a security concern, therefore the simplest solution would be to use webcams, and connect using USB. However, I am sure one can not have a 60 foot USB cable. Furthermore, I would either have to put 4x60=240 feet of USB cabling all around the place, or have a carpenter hide them in the walls. The latter would present some problems if later I decide to switch to a camera which doesn't use USB.

Naturally, my next thought was to use ethernet (Cat5e or Cat6) and use some IP cameras as they all transmit data over IP (ie. ethernet). But to be honest, IP cameras scare me as they come across as low quality, low fps recording devices designed specifically for capturing culprits, not for showing amazingly bright colors at a housewarming party.

My last thought was to use a webcam, or similar device (ie. a GoPro), then connect them to a simple 'computer' such as RasberryPi or the Cubbieboard (1 webcam per computer), then have that computer transfer the files over to a central server (ie. via NFS).

What I am looking for here is some [serious] help and collaboration. Again, if this is the wrong place to ask for this type of support, please let me know. That being said, here are some question I would really appreciate being answered.

-Can Rasberry Pi (Model B) handle 1080p HD 60fps?
-Can one transfer 1080p HD 60fps over 10/100?
-Is there a better solution out there?
-Are IP cameras poor quality?
-Are IP cameras inherently more expensive?
-Are webcams bad for this (ie. distances >3 feet)?
-Any suggestions for relatively cheap HD cameras?

jamesh
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
Raspberry Pi Engineer & Forum Moderator
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Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Sat Sep 14, 2013 11:54 am

pukster wrote:Hello. I have somewhat of an idea of what I want out of my home recording unit, but I need some help from the community. If this is not the right place to ask this question, then please let me know, and I will move on.

I am moving into a new place, I have some money to spend (around $2000), and I want to put cameras all around the rooms. For arguments sake, lets take a square room, and say I want to put four cameras, one on each wall. The reason I am doing this is for surveillance, for making video footage of parties, for [possibly] documenting my life, and quite frankly because I am a nerd and I want to. There are three parts, as a I see it: the actual recording device (ie. camera), the computer storing the footage, and the connection between the two.

I would rather not use wireless as it is unreliable and a security concern, therefore the simplest solution would be to use webcams, and connect using USB. However, I am sure one can not have a 60 foot USB cable. Furthermore, I would either have to put 4x60=240 feet of USB cabling all around the place, or have a carpenter hide them in the walls. The latter would present some problems if later I decide to switch to a camera which doesn't use USB.

Naturally, my next thought was to use ethernet (Cat5e or Cat6) and use some IP cameras as they all transmit data over IP (ie. ethernet). But to be honest, IP cameras scare me as they come across as low quality, low fps recording devices designed specifically for capturing culprits, not for showing amazingly bright colors at a housewarming party.

My last thought was to use a webcam, or similar device (ie. a GoPro), then connect them to a simple 'computer' such as RasberryPi or the Cubbieboard (1 webcam per computer), then have that computer transfer the files over to a central server (ie. via NFS).

What I am looking for here is some [serious] help and collaboration. Again, if this is the wrong place to ask for this type of support, please let me know. That being said, here are some question I would really appreciate being answered.

-Can Rasberry Pi (Model B) handle 1080p HD 60fps?
-Can one transfer 1080p HD 60fps over 10/100?
-Is there a better solution out there?
-Are IP cameras poor quality?
-Are IP cameras inherently more expensive?
-Are webcams bad for this (ie. distances >3 feet)?
-Any suggestions for relatively cheap HD cameras?
Can Raspberry Pi (Model B) handle 1080p HD 60fps?

No, it's 30fps.

-Can one transfer 1080p HD 60fps over 10/100?

You can do 30fps with that sort of bandwidth at a decent quality setting.


No idea on the other questions.
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masterluke
Posts: 200
Joined: Tue Apr 17, 2012 4:10 pm

Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Sat Sep 14, 2013 12:33 pm

Have you considered what you would DO with these 1080p 30fps feeds? 4 x 1080p feeds per room x (guess) 5 rooms = 20 simultaneous 1080p feeds. Where are these feeds going to be stored. This is going to take A LOT of storage space.

If I were you I would be looking at scaling down the resolution considerably or you are quickly going to be overloaded with massive quantities of data.

The cabling will also be a nightmare. 20 separate CAT5 runs.

I would be looking at lower resolution Wireless cameras if you are intent on it.

A lot of effort to go to in order to record\spy\perve on party guests\partners\girls ;)

Good luck

jamesh
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Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Sat Sep 14, 2013 2:32 pm

masterluke wrote:Have you considered what you would DO with these 1080p 30fps feeds? 4 x 1080p feeds per room x (guess) 5 rooms = 20 simultaneous 1080p feeds. Where are these feeds going to be stored. This is going to take A LOT of storage space.

If I were you I would be looking at scaling down the resolution considerably or you are quickly going to be overloaded with massive quantities of data.

The cabling will also be a nightmare. 20 separate CAT5 runs.

I would be looking at lower resolution Wireless cameras if you are intent on it.

A lot of effort to go to in order to record\spy\perve on party guests\partners\girls ;)

Good luck
Good point - many gigabytes of data per hour for all that. Almost double for 60fps....
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pukster
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:44 am

Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Sat Sep 14, 2013 5:31 pm

Hi thanks for all the information. Here are a few short responses.

1) I can live with 1080p @ 30fps
2) @jamesh what specifically do you mean by "decent quality setting"
3) @masterluke I have acknowledged certain bottle necks (ie. storage space, CPU limitations, HDD read/write limitations, bandwidth limitations) but I haven't done the math. Therefore, I don't know if 4 simultaneous 1080p 30fps would first max out the CPU, or cause a jam trying to write to the HDD, or if it is too much for wireless N to handle (I wouldn't mind going wired if that is possible with GoPro 3). I am here to find options =) for example, maybe connect via ethernet every GoPro to a rasberryPi and connect each rasberryPi to it's own HDD. If that is still too much data coming in, then I could switch between different cameras dynamically so only one camera is recording at any given time.
4) @masterluke I don't want to scale down because I want to view the video footage in a few years time and I don't want it to look completely terrible. I was viewing some of my footage from my college years and I am ashamed of the video quality.
5) @masterluke Cat5e cabling is very cheap (an example) and as I am renovating the place, I will get a carpenter to install it along with the electric sockets. Granted I have to sit there for hours and go blind trying to assemble the darn thing.

Ultimately my goal is to make the transfer of the data seamless (not have to write to expensive SD card then take out, put in computer, transfer files...) And I don't want to have to run around video taping at my parties, or hiring a camera guy.

And although it did occur to me to spy/perv on girls, a GoPro sticking out of a white washed wall, no matter how well concealed is kinda a dead give away.

jamesh
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Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:26 pm

Quality setting; You can specify how much compression you use for the H264 stream. Higher compression, lower quality. The PI can do 1080p30 at about 30Mbits/s for very good quality. That is about 3.5Mbytes per second recording. So you need a hell of a lot of storage for it to be on al 24/7. Drop the bitrate down (increase compression), you can go down to 10Mbits/s and still get decent images. But still a hell of a lot of storage. You are talking petabytes of data over a year with multiple cameras.

You could of course use motion detection to only record when something is happening. That will save a lot. But you are still going to need some pretty big storage.

Multiple cameras at high bit rate will swamp a wireless network. Use cat5. You'll need something bigger than a Pi for the disk server because it going to need to process a lot of incoming data.
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pukster
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:44 am

Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:03 am

@jamesh LOL I see where the confusion is coming from. I would not be recording 24/7, or if I did (ie. for surveillance purposes) I would delete it after a week. Of course I would have to tweak the programming so that important footage taken during a, for example, party does not get deleted. Also, I have considered motion detectors as I would not want to videotape an empty room.

@jamesh wrt to the wireless, I would much prefer using cat5e, but I wonder how this would work with a GoPro. This post is about the only thing I have seen that comes close to connecting a GoPro to a computer with a wire.

@jamesh wrt to the disk server, I think you are misunderstanding what I had in mind. Imagine 4 GoPros, connected to 4 independent Rasberry Pis. The Rasberry Pis would then either:
A) be connected (via ethernet...which begs the question how it can also be connected to the GoPro via ethernet) to a powerful server which manages the HDDs
B) have an HDD attached to every Rasberry Pi and have it handle writing to its own HDD.
C) have every Rasberry Pi be connected (again via ethernet) to a slightly faster server with a dedicated HDD (imagine a basic linux machine)

Also, if anyone is wondering why I am so adamant about using a GoPro Hero 3 (white) it is because of its wide angle lens, excellent quality (in high lighting) and small size. If you have another camera in mind, I would love to hear it.

pukster
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:44 am

Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Sun Sep 15, 2013 1:11 am

I did not realize we had gigabit wireless already (802.11ac), so using the built in wireless capabilities of a GoPro 3, this could be one possibility (ignoring the security concerns for the moment).

jamesh
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Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Sun Sep 15, 2013 8:48 am

GOPro3 - very expensive, and there have been battery issue I believe, but you are probably wired.

The Raspi camera could do what you want, although maybe its low light performance may not be good enough. Connects directly to the Raspi, so you immediately have ethernet connectivity. Just use those as camera/encoders - could also run OpenCV on each one to do the motion detection, then have a decent Linux server to accept streams as and when they are transmitted.

TBH, it's a basic security camera system, there is loads of software out there for that sort of thing.
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pukster
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:44 am

Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Sun Sep 15, 2013 11:06 pm

jamesh wrote:GOPro3 - very expensive, and there have been battery issue I believe, but you are probably wired.

The Raspi camera could do what you want, although maybe its low light performance may not be good enough. Connects directly to the Raspi, so you immediately have ethernet connectivity. Just use those as camera/encoders - could also run OpenCV on each one to do the motion detection, then have a decent Linux server to accept streams as and when they are transmitted.

TBH, it's a basic security camera system, there is loads of software out there for that sort of thing.
I could have sworn I replied to this earlier, but whatever. I think the Raspi Camera is great except that the quality is very poor and low quality video might as well not exist (seriously watch this dronewith Raspi Camera, it is almost unwatchable). It's basically two extremes: Linux controllable Raspi Camera or very high quality GoPro

jamesh
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Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Mon Sep 16, 2013 7:56 am

pukster wrote:
jamesh wrote:GOPro3 - very expensive, and there have been battery issue I believe, but you are probably wired.

The Raspi camera could do what you want, although maybe its low light performance may not be good enough. Connects directly to the Raspi, so you immediately have ethernet connectivity. Just use those as camera/encoders - could also run OpenCV on each one to do the motion detection, then have a decent Linux server to accept streams as and when they are transmitted.

TBH, it's a basic security camera system, there is loads of software out there for that sort of thing.
I could have sworn I replied to this earlier, but whatever. I think the Raspi Camera is great except that the quality is very poor and low quality video might as well not exist (seriously watch this dronewith Raspi Camera, it is almost unwatchable). It's basically two extremes: Linux controllable Raspi Camera or very high quality GoPro
Actually, the video quality is very good, I would expect close or equivalent to the GoPro. That drone video is not representative of the quality available. It's on a vibrating platform which is knackering the quality. Also YouTube is really compressing the daylights out of it which doesn't help, and it's not HD!

Look at some other Raspi videos in HD for a better idea of what it can do.
Principal Software Engineer at Raspberry Pi (Trading) Ltd.
Contrary to popular belief, humorous signatures are allowed. Here's an example...
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pukster
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:44 am

Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:14 am

jamesh wrote:
pukster wrote:
jamesh wrote:GOPro3 - very expensive, and there have been battery issue I believe, but you are probably wired.

The Raspi camera could do what you want, although maybe its low light performance may not be good enough. Connects directly to the Raspi, so you immediately have ethernet connectivity. Just use those as camera/encoders - could also run OpenCV on each one to do the motion detection, then have a decent Linux server to accept streams as and when they are transmitted.

TBH, it's a basic security camera system, there is loads of software out there for that sort of thing.
I could have sworn I replied to this earlier, but whatever. I think the Raspi Camera is great except that the quality is very poor and low quality video might as well not exist (seriously watch this dronewith Raspi Camera, it is almost unwatchable). It's basically two extremes: Linux controllable Raspi Camera or very high quality GoPro
Actually, the video quality is very good, I would expect close or equivalent to the GoPro. That drone video is not representative of the quality available. It's on a vibrating platform which is knackering the quality. Also YouTube is really compressing the daylights out of it which doesn't help, and it's not HD!

Look at some other Raspi videos in HD for a better idea of what it can do.
Well I purchased one today so once it arrives I will start playing with it

pukster
Posts: 32
Joined: Sat Sep 14, 2013 7:44 am

Re: Multi-Camera Home Recording Unit

Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:59 am

Well I got my hands on the Raspi and the camera, and it is pretty nifty. Installation and set up was trivial. Capturing video is a breeze (though I have yet to play around with all the functions). I even set up motion detection, to start recording video when someone gets in the way. Facial recognition was a disaster and I gave up. I am currently playing around with the bluetooth and I noticed huge performance issues wrt the audio and Vim. I will post on them in the appropriate forums.

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