Blue Iris vs. Panasonic Insight VMS

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Blue Iris vs. Panasonic Insight VMS

Post by PaulDaisy » Thu Feb 02, 2023 1:59 am

This is for the inquisitive minds and for patient people.

Some may have seen that I put three Advidia cameras on my BI system, and I really liked their performance. The Advidia says that it includes a license to Insight VMS from Panasonic, which is an enterprise level VMS, so I decided, why not check it out? So here goes the long story, but if you are impatient then here is a spoiler: stay with Blue Iris.

I called Panasonic, the real human, super helpful tech support sent me instantly to a very slow site to download a 3Gb installer. It took a day, but it downloaded. The installer uses MS SQL server and a dozen interfaces to SQL server, so it installed all of that; then it also has three interfaces, one for recording review; one for setup; and one for live camera monitoring and control.
From the get-go, Insight opened a wizard and offered to find my cameras. Wow, that is nice! It realized I have several subnets and allowed me to pick the one I want. It immediately detected all cameras - Advidia and others, which are all ONVIF consumer brands. And it imported them all without any issues. The real time monitoring app allowed to select from a variety of screen layouts (that IS nice! BI screen layout is probably the one most arcane feature of all in BI). Then you simply drag cameras onto the layout windows and they populate them.
Well, so far so good. So, let's click on one camera! Full screen, yay! Hey, where is my 9-camera layout? Oops, it is gone! The single camera layout replaced it! Really?! Ok, so I go and re-create it, and see a blue Save button, so I save it. Now if I accidentally open one camera, at least I can go and open a saved layout.
We are making progress! All right. So I decide to move cameras around in the 9-camera layout. Save the layout... "This name already exists". Well, yeah, I know, it is the same one, overwrite! Nope, can't do. Save is not "save", it is more like "save as" and that is annoying. Ok, so now I have two saved layouts (same as "camera groups" in BI). All right, that is a "feature", now I know. Moving on.
So, I see the cameras! Good. Ok, let's explore them. Wait, why is my bandwidth maxed out? Oh. Every camera is using the main stream in the main 9-camera view. Well, that is unfortunate, how do we change that? Sure, right click, Properties, here is the Substream. Wait, it is just telling me there "could be" a substream but we didn't populate the properties to use the substream. So I click around, but still can't find where to enable and enter he URL for the substream.

Oh well, this can wait I guess.

All right! I got my cameras on the screen. Hm, I wonder, what are these arrows that my cursor turns into every time I'm not in the center of the camera? Could it be PTZ? Let's try and click! Ah, yeah, it IS PTZ! Nice. Wait, wait, WAIT! I only clicked ONCE! Why are you going 360 degrees?! Go back! tiny click, another tiny click... whoo, we are going 360 degrees the other way! Yikes. Ok, forget that camera, we will deal with it later.
Well, I am not seeing any motion trigger or anything like that... I suppose we are relying on the camera IA to trigger. Ok, I can accept that.
By now I am a bit tired and go back to BI to see what really is going on.

WAIT! Where are my camera time stamps?! They are all gone from the Advidia camera windows. Camera names are all in the upper left corner too! My streaming rates are all 10 fps... WTH happened?!
Wow, look at my Reolink Trackmix camera that always streamed at some abysmal 500 kBps rate! That thing is cranking at 1.2 Mbps! I have never seen that before! It never exceeded 500 kBps. Its substream is worse than ever at 15 kBps but whatever, look at the main stream!

This is where I decided that I had enough fun. I did read in the manual that there is a way to launch the recording viewer app directly from the live view, but I never had the patience to find out how to make that happen. Nor how to record only when I want to - it records the main stream by default all the time.

So, I uninstalled Insight. BI has nearly all those features that linger throughout 4 different apps, right in front of you with one right click. And it took me three hours to go back to all cameras, set up their bit and frame rates back where I want them, and recover camera names. Insight has done especially great damage to the Advidia settings: those are Panasonic cameras and it must have more control over their CLI. Amazingly, the "Import settings" function appeared in the Advidia web interface after this, which wasn't there before. So, did Insight also update the camera firmware? Not really, the firmware number is the same I installed via the web interface a month ago. Hmm, a mystery. So I do have that function! Lets try it. Alas, when I tried it it refused to import a saved settings file, said "configuration was not imported". Oh well. I remember the settings so I set them all over again by hand.

On the upside, Insight has a server control app that you can use to stop the service, start it and configure its parameters. That is nice if you are troubleshooting the service.

So, Insight knows better than the user does, what the user wants with the cameras. It will try to set them to certain settings by default without even telling you, no doubt using some more or less common CLI. That it was able to double the Reolink Trackmix bit rate is amazing, but I do not recommend installing and removing Insight just to accomplish that; I will research the CLI that could possibly be used to reach that same result.

So here I am, back with BI, after two days of interesting exercises. I think I was able to uninstall the SQL server-2014 and the rest of the bloat, which unfortunately didn't uninstall automatically when I removed Insight. So, keep track of all the layers your test programs install.

Should I try Milestone next?...
Last edited by PaulDaisy on Fri Feb 03, 2023 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Blue Iris vs. Panasonic Insight VMS

Post by TimG » Thu Feb 02, 2023 11:24 am

Yes !
Your life is much more interesting than mine. Keep up the good work.
And watch out for the school boy, he will want you to write his report 8-) I'd do it for him, but the dog ate my homework.
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