Your advice/opinion

General discussion about Blue Iris
ldsharp
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:01 pm

Your advice/opinion

Post by ldsharp » Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:31 pm

Hi, I purchased a BI4 license back in 2017 and used BI for a year or so with a few 1080 cameras. I never upgraded to version 5 and not sure if I still can for the $35.

After some troubling events (murder, etc. nearby) my wife wants a pretty comprehensive camera setup along with a few more outdoor floodlights. I designed a system for my property that can view 100% of the area around our home with 10 cameras and I would add another 4 to double up on key areas. Most of the cameras have some overlap anyway since I'm designing with cameras that offer about 90 degree viewpoints.

I've got 4 1080 cameras with varifocal lenses that I could use. I plan to buy high resolution 5 to 8 MP cameras that have h.265+ hardware encoding and use the Intel quick sync to minimize network traffic and CPU cycles.

My choice is to buy 10 or more of these chinese 8MP h.265 cameras and setup BI 5 on an existing PC or just buy a complete chinese 16 channel system with 10-16 cameras along with an NVR (Swann or comparable) for $800 to $1000. I'm definitely only going with POE cameras with hardware-based H.265 either way. One advantage of some of the "systems" is integrated 2-way audio, spotlights, sirens, and heat (I assume IR) sensors built into some of these cameras which I think potentially could be a great deterrent and/or alternative to running out in the yard in my underwear with a shotgun.

I understand the additional power and capabilities of a properly equipped and configured BI system, but not sure I want the additional configuration headaches and oversight that may be needed (particularly if I leave this planet before my wife).

What say you gurus out there? Is BI worth the hassle for a relatively small <16 camera system?
Thanks!
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TimG
Posts: 725
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 10:45 am
Location: Nottinghamshire, UK.

Re: Your advice/opinion

Post by TimG » Thu Sep 24, 2020 6:32 pm

Well this is the official BI5 forum, so I think you already know what I'm going to say :lol:

As for <16 cameras, I only have five cameras so far, but I am not adding more until I have moved house !

The advantage of BI5 is that it has settings for everything, and you can mix and match cameras from many manufacturers and types. Two of mine are old D1 resolution analogue cameras running on a pci card. I then have BI5 hooked up with Homeseer4 to turn external lights on/off with conditional logic.

The disadvantages are that it can be complicated ! But being PC based does mean that you can fix it yourself with parts from a local PC store rather than sending it back to the manufacturer when it fails.

Ultimately it is up to you. As an Engineer I love fiddling with settings, and plugging something new in to try and get it working. No NVRs here :!:
Blue Iris v5.3.3.16 | Win10 x64 version 20H2 | Dahua IPC-HDW5231R-ZE, Foscam R2, Ertech 4MP, Neos2, 2 analogue cameras on Euresys Picolo Pro 2 | Intel i5-3330 CPU, 16GB Ram, Multiple SSD and HD | TVMosaic.
ldsharp
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Sep 22, 2020 9:01 pm

Re: Your advice/opinion

Post by ldsharp » Thu Sep 24, 2020 10:45 pm

Thanks Tim,
I appreciate your input. I too am an electrical engineer (retired now) actually with many years experience with digital video. Wow, what a coincidence - I'm sitting at the computer with the evening news on and the murderer of my neighbors back in March apparently just plead guilty to eliminate a trial.

Anyway, I think I will see if I can upgrade my version 4 to 5, buy an 8mp camera and do a little messing around... The part I'm actually dreading is climbing around in the attic running Cat5 or Cat6 cable all over the place. I don't have any help so without several fiberglass rods and boxes of ethernet cable, will have to drill a hole, poke a long fiberglass rod up through the soffit into the attic, climb up and find it in the attic, pull the cable through to the area where the POE router will reside (down in the house), and then climb down and do it all over again 13 more times. Now that I write this, it will be worth whatever it costs to at least do 2 at a time. I'm not as sure-footed as when I was younger and one of my last trips through the attic, I managed to slip off a rafter and cracked the sheetrock above our entry. I was just glad I didn't fall through! I guess running the cables is applicable regardless of PC/BI or NVR. I really hate the idea of using a proprietary NVR and/or cameras, so likely will go the PC/BI route. If I need the fancy features of 2-way audio, etc. I can always use a small cheap proprietary NVR/cameras for key areas using the same ethernet cables.
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terk
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:36 pm

Re: Your advice/opinion

Post by terk » Fri Sep 25, 2020 2:41 am

I'm running 15 cameras, most of which are Dahua Starlight 2MP cameras with a few 4mp or higher cameras. I prefer the 2MP Starlight cameras for their superior low light vision. As far as BI being worth it, the only tiny hassle is the monthly Windows updates. I am also running DeepStack and AI Tools to eliminate false alerts (free local person detection that eliminates 96% of false alerts in my experience) however this combo is a little more work than Sentry AI which provides the same level of service in my experience but has a small subscription fee and is cloud based. So if your really worried about it running for a while unattended I'd suggest Sentry AI if you want AI detection. I haven't used PIR motion cameras with BI but I do have a PIR motion sensor by my Driveway camera and the PIR motion sensor will trigger for rabbits, cats, raccoons, ... where the AI doesn't (although before the AI it would and for shadows that the PIR didn't).
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TimG
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Location: Nottinghamshire, UK.

Re: Your advice/opinion

Post by TimG » Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:03 am

Hi terk,

I know you have mentioned using it before, but have you done a full write up on how to set up Deepstack and AI Tools with BI5 ?
System requirements ? I think that would interest a lot of people. Must tell Ken we need threads like that to be "sticky" too.

Interesting about about the Dahua 2MP starlight vs the (Dahua ?) 4MP cameras with low light. I bet the low light specs showed the higher MP (newer ?) camera to be the same or better than the old ones. As I have said before, my Dahua 2MP starlight camera can see colour in the dark, when my eyes only see darkness.
Blue Iris v5.3.3.16 | Win10 x64 version 20H2 | Dahua IPC-HDW5231R-ZE, Foscam R2, Ertech 4MP, Neos2, 2 analogue cameras on Euresys Picolo Pro 2 | Intel i5-3330 CPU, 16GB Ram, Multiple SSD and HD | TVMosaic.
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terk
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:36 pm

Re: Your advice/opinion

Post by terk » Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:28 am

GentlePumpkin did a great write up, unfortunately it's on the other site, just search for "[tool] [tutorial] Free AI Person Detection for Blue Iris" It doesn't cause any noticeable CPU spike until motion is detected and it's processing an image, on windy days with shadows causing many cameras to trigger it can run pretty high I'm running a 7th gen i7 proc with direct to disk on all cameras.
stewart
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Oct 07, 2019 3:19 pm

Re: Your advice/opinion

Post by stewart » Mon Oct 05, 2020 9:34 pm

First off, 16 cameras isn't small, especially for a house. Don't sell yourself short. If you're going to go with a pre-canned kit then look at the Dahua or the Hikvision units. They are going to be worlds better than something you can buy at a superstore. The reason those displays cram a bunch of cameras into a small screen is so that you can't see just how bad they really are. They aren't all that hot once blown up full size. I work with a lot of professional installers that use the Hikvisions and I prefer the quality of their images over Dahua but for the price both cameras seem to work well for me. The cameras in the systems are more or less the same as what we can purchase separately but with BI we can mix and match and make ours do whatever we want. I just took a system originally specced for 12 cameras and moved it from 20 lenses to 24 lenses. It's busting at its seems but it's doing what it needs to, albeit at 10fps instead of the 15 before or the 30 originally. We will be upgrading it within the next few weeks as they want to grow even more. It's an older Xeon 1245v5 (4 core / 8 thread) for comparision's sake.

The pre-fabbed units are much easier to setup and generally have good remote access. However, I've seen many issues such as if the hard drive fills up and it stops recording you have to wipe the entire thing and start again. Or it starts beeping because a drive has failed and continues to beep even after a new drive is put in and you can't get it to stop. The real cost difference would be the difference between the NVR and the BI box. You would max out something like a Ryzen 3400g or similar if you are doing 16 2MP cameras at 15fps but stepping up to a 3600 should give you breathing room. A 3700 would give you room to grow or move to 4mp. An i7-10700 would work well, too.

Also, remember more MP isn't better and they suffer more at night due to less light hitting each pixel. I wouldn't go over a 4MP camera as the quality really isn't all that different between 4-8. For better low light, use a 2MP. You can also look at getting motion-activated flood lights. Then you don't need to worry about night vision at all. Hikvision now has ColorVu cameras where it shines an LED light instead of IR as an option as well.
IAmATeaf
Posts: 97
Joined: Mon Jun 17, 2019 7:48 pm

Re: Your advice/opinion

Post by IAmATeaf » Fri Oct 09, 2020 6:39 pm

Make sure you check the size of the sensor and night time performance of the cams. I run BI on an ex Corporate HP 600 G2 with 12Gb of RAM, SSD for Windows and BI and then 2 2Tb hard drives.

I currently have 6 2Mp Dahua starlight cams and have been looking to add a further 2 cams, been eying up the 4Mp starlight cams but the firmware for night time with the IR turned on isn’t quite there from what I’ve read.

I use substreams on all the cams and do all the motion sensing on the cams which sends a trigger to BI to record, the CPU hardly breaks a sweat.

I used to have AI enabled, as mentioned in a previous post but have since disabled it as it worked fine during the day but would miss event in the night. Still have DeepQuest AI running in Docker so can enable it when and if I decide to go back to it.

I’m also a techie and love fiddling with BI so it suits me and I’m still discovering new features.

I know a lot of people happily run hacked Chinese cams but I personally avoid them as most people eventually have problems when it comes to upgrading the firmware.

BI gives me the flexibility I want, I can enable motion detection in BI if I need to, I can use AI if needed and can use the AI in the cams themselves so couldn’t really ask for more.
pinter
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Joined: Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:48 pm

Re: Your advice/opinion

Post by pinter » Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:53 pm

Can I hijack this thread a little bit to ask for some advice about cameras? I’ve recently learned of Dahua and am pretty impressed with the prices. Very interesting to read here about the 2MP camera low light performance. I’d like to install a couple cameras outside of my house and one of the specific purposes will be to watch the driveway at night and the such. Can you guys suggest a model to look into?
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terk
Posts: 91
Joined: Tue Jun 18, 2019 2:36 pm

Re: Your advice/opinion

Post by terk » Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:12 am

pinter wrote:
Tue Oct 20, 2020 11:53 pm
Can I hijack this thread a little bit to ask for some advice about cameras? I’ve recently learned of Dahua and am pretty impressed with the prices. Very interesting to read here about the 2MP camera low light performance. I’d like to install a couple cameras outside of my house and one of the specific purposes will be to watch the driveway at night and the such. Can you guys suggest a model to look into?
My go to camera is the IPC HDW5231R-ZE but I've had good luck with any of their Starlight cameras.
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