Playback window - Fine Tuning Motion Settings

Articles associated to the Motion sensor settings and fine tuning your motion sensor.
Start with the Fine Tuning Settings article.
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Playback window - Fine Tuning Motion Settings

Post by varghesesa »


This article is a deep dive into the playback window in the context of fine tuning your Motion and AI settings. The ability to do so is one of the key advantages of BI. This feature allows you to really fine tune your settings for your cameras to deliver the meaningful alerts that you desire.

The webinar associated with this article is The Viewer window and motion fine-tuning. I would strongly recommend watching this video since it explains leveraging additional BI functionality to help fine tune BI.

*** The Help files refer to the Playback Window as the Viewer window. Some of this content corresponds to the Clip Playback and The viewer window section in Help. ***

The Triggers and Alerts section of the Checklist is the place to start if you are new to BI. The Triggers and Alerts 101 webinar provides an overview of all the buttons and knobs in the Motion Sensor dialog. From there you can move on to the other content listed in the Checklist. The content listed in the Triggers and Alerts section will give you a foundational understanding of how BI motion works.

From there you can leverage this article to understand the powerful Fine tuning tools in the playback window to provide the meaningful alerts that you desire from your cameras.

Tips and Tricks
Motion settings is as much an art as a science. Hopefully, the Motion Sensor Tips and Tricks article gives you ideas on how to improve your alerts.

Next steps
If you cannot resolve yourself, the next steps section identifies needed information to troubleshoot.

Basic Settings

Sub stream

If you are fine tuning AND your camera is setup for dual streams AND you are recording Direct-to-disc (D2D), select Use sub stream if available.
Motion sensors are applied to the sub stream, so the sub stream view shows exactly where BI detects motion in the frame.
If you ONLY have one stream coming from the camera, this setting has no impact on or off.

playback sub stream.png
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If you have dual streams setup, there may not be perfect synchronization between the main stream and the sub stream. Motion sensors are applied to the sub stream. Thus, if you play back the main stream instead of the sub stream with motion overlays it is possible the motion overlay appears ahead or behind the object.
In below image the motion box appears ahead of the car.

playback main stream.png
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I tried to find the corresponding frame in the sub stream. As you can see when comparing the two images, the motion box (orange rectangle) is roughly in the same position above the "Entry gate" overlay which is how I lined up the two streams (not by time, since streams were not exactly in sync). In the sub stream, clearly, the motion overlay coincides with the object more accurately. BI triggers motion off of the sub stream.

playback sub stream image.png
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Direct-to-disc vs Re-encode

With Direct-to-disc, overlays are treated as meta-data inside the BVR file. It's a separate channel like audio.
Therefore, regardless of your Overlay settings, the motion and timestamp meta-data are ALWAYS saved.

motion fine tuning overlays.png
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Direct-to-disc vs Re-encode

However, with Re-encode, the software only encodes what is visible in the live view.
Therefore, if overlays and motion overlays are not active for live view, then those annotations will NOT be saved and NOT available for playback.

Overlay options - Playback Window

Based on above, the Overlays options in the Playback window only apply when you are saving D2D.
If you are re-encoding, Overlays will or will not be available based on your live view settings.

If you are recording D2D, for fine tuning, turn overlays off. Overlays will just add confusion when trying to fine tune your settings.

playback overalys.png
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Fine Tuning - Motion Settings

Blue Iris comes with powerful motion sensor functionality and AI integration with DeepStack. This article starts with fine tuning your alerts with just the motion sensors. From there, we share how to deliver even more accurate alerts with DeepStack - Fine Tuning Settings.

Fine Tuning Basics: Reduce false alerts.

False alerts are alerts you received that do not have any value, e.g. the leaves on the trees moved because of the wind and triggered the cameras. A squirrel ran across the yard triggering an alert.

Step 1 helps you understand why BI triggered based on motion.
Step 2 shows you how to make camera changes.
Step 3 explains how to confirm whether changes fixed the issue.
Rinse and repeat until your motion alerts are accurate for each of your cameras.

Step 1: What are the motion overlays doing currently.

Setup the playback window so you can see what the motion settings are doing currently.

Double click on one of your false alerts.
false alert.png
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With the playback window open, you can now setup the playback window to display motion overlays.

Confirm "Test & Tuning -> Analyze with motion detector" is SELECTED.
BI runs the alert through the motion detector and displays the highlights.
You see where BI is detecting motion.

playback motion detector.png
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Now you can visually see why BI triggered an alert based on the current motion settings. In the trigger image below, I can see the camera triggered because of the camera overlay (orange rectangle). Very powerful.
** Pro Tip: If you hit <CTRL> and double-click, BI will automatically forward to the alert image at point of trigger.
** Pro Tip: If you hit <CTRL> and double-click on a DeepStack/AI alert, BI will automatically forward to the DeepStack alert image at point of DeepStack confirmation, i.e. the first frame where DeepStack identified an object.

playback trigger image.png
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Step 2: Make changes to Motion settings to improve alerts.

Ok, you found the issue with your motion settings. Now you want to fix your settings.
In the playback window, BI provides access to the window of the camera which created the alert.

playback camera window.png
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Why this is important is because you can make adjustments to the camera settings quickly in the playback window.
Right click in camera window -> Camera settings.
You can make any camera adjustments. In this case, we are going to alter the Motion Settings.

playback camera settings.png
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Fix: From the alert image in Step 1 (above), I know the camera is triggering on the camera overlay. I do not have access to the camera to turn off the overlay. Therefore I make the appropriate adjustment in BI.
In this case, I am going to block out the area where the overlays appear so BI does not pay attention to that area and trigger false alerts.
Save the camera settings after making your adjustments.

Step 3: See if changes fixed the issue.

After I make the changes, I want to see if the changes fix the false alert. After hitting ok, I'm right back in the playback window. Very powerful.

Important step
I'm interested in seeing whether the new settings fixed the issue. I go back to the beginning of the pre-trigger for the alert and start playing.
Confirm fix resolved the issue.
** Pro Tip: Instead of starting at the first frame of the alert, start a few seconds before the alert. If you set a Pre-trigger buffer (Camera settings -> Record tab) this should not be a problem. It's generally good to always have a 5s pre-trigger buffer. If you do not prefer pre-trigger buffers, then you can turn pre-triggers on during fine tuning and turn off when running in production.

playback motion detector.png
playback motion detector.png (74.07 KiB) Viewed 38753 times
Confirm the Motion setting changes fixed the issue.


Step 1 helps you understand why BI triggered based on motion.
Step 2 shows you how to make camera changes.
Step 3 explains how to confirm whether changes fixed the issue.
Rinse and repeat until your motion alerts are accurate for each of your cameras.

Anytime you have a false alert, undertake this process.

Fine Tuning Basics: Fix missed alerts.

A missed alert is when something happened in front of your camera, but the camera did not trigger.
Cameras that go into IR mode at night often have missed alerts.
Obviously, because the camera did not trigger, you have no record of the event in the Alerts list.
The ONLY way to identify missed alerts is by viewing your cameras and observing missed alerts.

How do you capture missed alerts?

First, you need to record continuous.
If you do not, then you have no recording of the missed alert.
Thus you will not be able to fine tune your motion settings to capture missed alerts.

When you observe a missed alert, how do you record event in database for later fine tuning?

Now you can take advantage of the clipboard.
Double-click on the clip in the clips list (camera recording) that contains the missed alert.
Playback window is now open.
Select Use sub stream if available because we know the motion sensor uses the sub stream as stated above.
Find the start of the missed alert. Include a pre-trigger buffer (e.g. 5s) as well.
Mark the start of the alert. Set start frame.

playback start frame.png
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Scrub to the end of the missed alert and mark the end. Set end frame.

playback end frame.png
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Confirm crop icons are placed correctly in the video position slider.

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Save alert to the clipboard for later fine tuning.

playback save to clipboard.png
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Once you identify missed alerts on the clipboard, you can go back later to fine tune your motion settings to resolve the missed alerts using the process identified above for false alerts.
Step 1: Run alert through current motion settings to understand why the alert is being missed.
Step 2: Make appropriate camera setting changes.
Step 3: Confirm whether changes resolve the issue.

Other Playback window functionality

Just for completeness, I thought I would call out other BI functionality in the Playback window which comes with BI.

Analyze with DeepStack

If you just installed DeepStack or installed a new camera, the Analyze with DeepStack feature allows you to kick the tires. If you bring up a past recording/alert, you can see what objects will be identified by DeepStack. It can give you an idea of how far away objects (people, cars) can be, before DeepStack starts identifying the objects correctly.

If you created custom DeepStack models, this feature is of value when you want to gauge the model's accuracy.
  • First remember to turn off any overlays which can cause confusion on the playback.
    playback overalys.png
    playback overalys.png (71.43 KiB) Viewed 38587 times
  • Turn on Analyze with DeepStack in the playback window.
    playback analyze with deepstack menu.png
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  • Start playing the recording and see the DeepStack annotations on every frame.
    playback analyze with deepstack.png
    playback analyze with deepstack.png (101.04 KiB) Viewed 38577 times

Next steps

If you cannot resolve the issue yourself, send the following information.
  • Describe issue.
  • A short bvr capturing the issue.
    Couple of options to make smaller bvr files. In Camera settings -> Record tab.

    If you uncheck Combine or Cut Video, that will result in BI cutting the BVR file after each motion trigger.
    Or you can leave Combine or Cut Video, and change the time length to something small like 15 min.
  • Your current camera settings. Camera settings -> General tab -> Export

Last bumped by varghesesa on Sun Oct 17, 2021 3:11 pm.
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