Video tab

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varghesesa
Posts: 81
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:52 pm

Video tab

Post by varghesesa » Mon Oct 25, 2021 2:10 am

Introduction

This article walks through the Video Tab settings that also need to be considered when connecting cameras. We assume you went through the Camera Connector article in order to setup the BI camera connection correctly.

We also assume you went through the Camera setup article in order to make sure the encoding settings on the camera works well with BI.

If you prefer to watch the webinar associated with this article, checkout the Camera Connections and Streams webinar.

Camera stats

BI provides two ways to understand the health of your camera streams. For an individual camera, Camera settings -> General tab provides all the relevant information for an individual camera.

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Main stream stats:
  • Resolution of camera: 2.1 MP
  • Frames per second (fps): 31.76
  • Key frame interval per second: 0.70 fps
  • Bit rate: 381.9 kB/s
Sub stream stats (if connected):
  • Resolution of camera: 0.3 MP (640 x 480)
  • Frames per second (fps): 29.77
  • Key frame interval per second: 0.60 fps
  • Bit rate: 42.4 kB/s
Frames per second and Key frame interval per second have the most bearing on smooth streams. For most people, an FPS value above 12 fps and a key frame interval above 0.5 and ideally 1.0 are good guidelines for a good streaming experience.

To get a holistic view of the performance of all your cameras, go to Status -> Camera tab.
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  • Name: Name of camera
  • IP: IP Address of cameras
  • MPixels: Camera resolution main stream/sub stream
  • HA: Hardware Acceleration (I = Intel, N = NVidia)
  • Elapsed: Length of time camera has been running
  • FPS/key: frames per second / key frame interval per second for main stream
  • Bitrate: bitrate for main stream
  • Sub FPS/key: frames per second / key frame interval per second for sub stream
  • Sub Bitrate: bitrate for sub stream
Status counters
  • Motion: Motion represents the number of motion events, not necessarily leading to a Trigger or Alert.
  • Trigger: Trigger represents the number of trigger events, when there was sufficient motion to trigger,
    or the camera was triggering in another way. If this cell is black, the camera is currently in
    the triggered state.
  • Alerts: Alerts represents the number of times that a trigger resulted in one or more alerts fired—
    emails, push notifications, alarms etc.
  • Clips: Clips represents the number of files created. If this cell is black, the camera is actively
    recording.
  • Posted represents the number of frames sent via FTP or saved to disc according to settings on
    the Post page in camera settings.
  • Webcast: Webcast represents the number of frames viewed by web server or app users.
  • NoSignal: NoSignal represents the number of times the camera signal was lost. The signal may have
    been immediately restored causing no loss of video, or it may have been out for longer.
    These events are logged to the Log page in status.

Troubleshooting
At this point, you should know what your cameras are doing and if they are performing poorly. If so, revisit the camera setup article and adjust the encoding settings on the camera. You may need to reach out to the vendor and see if the camera has any firmware updates.

Keep in mind, users often set hardware acceleration on globally and later notice some cameras have switched from Camera settings -> Video -> Hardware decode from Default -> No. BI detects errors decoding your camera streams using your hardware and changes the setting behind the scenes. The steps discussed below may help resolve the issue. Alternatively, driver updates may occasionally resolve the issue. And at times, the only solution is to leave the setting at No and let BI decode the camera stream via software. As long as the CPU utilization is reasonable, the No setting should be fine.


Video tab

Best practice

Below are settings that generally work. The highlighted settings are the ones that usually get people in trouble when set or unset from the default values.

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Details

Below are details on features that can affect the camera.
Camera settings -> Video tab.

Below is the list of BI settings that can affect streaming.

Hardware decode (aka hardware video acceleration, HWVA).
Used to turn HA on/off for live camera feeds.
  • Global settings -> Cameras tab. Turn on/off globally for All cameras.
  • Camera settings -> Video tab. Turn on/off for a particular camera.
    Camera setting takes precedence over global setting.

Intel Processors choose Intel + VPP
If for some reason you experience instability, try the Intel selection without VPP.
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AMD Processors choose DirectX
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Leveraging dedicated Cores on a CPU (QuickSync, DirectX) provides big benefits.
Not a big fan of using external graphics cards (NVidia, AMD) for encoding/decoding.
The Choosing hardware for Blue Iris article referenced in Hardware Recommendations article has some interesting insights.

The software now turns off HA automatically for a camera if it determines the stream is not compatible and this is logged to Status->log as well.

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If you want to fix the problem, you can go to the camera settings on the camera and adjust the encoding to a more simple format that may start working with your hardware. A simple example is if the camera was set to H.264 High encoding, adjust the setting to H.264 Baseline. If you were using H.265, switch to H.264.
Or wait for the next driver update that may fix the issue caused by the current driver.


Limit decoding unless required.
Used on the Live view stream. However, largely not needed anymore with the popularity of dual streams.
Limit decoding (as stated in Help) will only decode key frames. One side affect is if your kfps = 0.5, then you are receiving 1 key frame every 2s.
Thus, if you have a time overlay on your camera view, you will see video updates every 2s, not every 1s.


Overlays
Overlays can slow video. If your cameras are lagging, you may want to turn off overlays.


Also BVR
Used to turn HA on/off during video playback. 99% of the time it is better to leave this option off. The playback window allows you to scan backwards and forward. This work load is not conducive for hardware acceleration. Hardware acceleration is effective with smooth, consistent streams of video.


Image size (resolution) & FPS

video tab - fps and resolution.png
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FPS
Many users think they can adjust the FPS on a camera using the Max. rate setting on the Camera settings -> Video tab.
This is impossible. You can ONLY adjust FPS on the camera. This setting is used for better memory allocation. If you know the FPS for the camera is 5 FPS, you can tell BI accordingly so it can allocate RAM for this camera more efficiently. If you set it incorrectly, no worries. As BI receives the video feed, it automatically adjusts this value (which is why many users noticed it changed from their user setting).


Image size
Many users think they are changing the camera resolution. Again, this is impossible. You can ONLY adjust resolution on the camera. This setting is applied after the stream arrives at BI. Users can alter the resolution further. This feature was occasionally used by users to get a better fit of their cameras on their iPad or Tablet endpoint. However, with the new layout editor, this use case is no longer needed.
See 5.5 Release Notes for details.

Use with caution. I'm not sure of a valid use case for using anamorphic anymore. See Trigger gotcha due to the Anamorphic setting.

Record tab

At this point, you should have connected your camera to BI and the live stream should look smooth and clear. The final piece is considering how to record the streams coming into the camera. See Record format for details.
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