Question about surveillance

Discussion in 'Computer Hardware, Devices and Accessories' started by Originality, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

    Apr 21, 2008
    London, UK
    Background info: I've just discovered that someone set fire to a wooden stool outside my front door. This is the fourth event of vandalism to my front door this month (they started with just breaking off and stealing my doorbell and it went up from there). Whilst we know who it was, we can't do anything without proof.

    Request: so I want to set up surveillance in my house. Preferably in a less than obvious way. But I know very little about CCTV solutions.

    My idea is to set up a couple infra red IP cameras, one looking out my kitchen window (from within, so whilst the viewing angle is limited, it won't be obvious and get me targeted by more people) and one set up from my first floor bedroom window.

    I do have a Synology DS210J NAS that can be set up for continuous recording from IP camera streams, and it can fit 2 drives so it's easy to buy a couple 2TB drives and put them in RAID. That should be enough to store a weeks worth of video easy, should anything happen again.

    So... Any comments on my idea? Any alternatives? Any suggestions for what cameras to get (preferably ones that are easy to set up, as in not requiring an electrician to wire it up)? Or at least, any advice the more knowledgable people could offer?

    Thank you kindly ;)
  2. FAST6191

    FAST6191 Techromancer

    pip Reporter
    Nov 21, 2005
    United Kingdom
    I have set up my fair share of cameras and surveillance but covert is a different matter (most pinhole ones I have tried are suspect at best and best merely for augmenting- trying to catch someone that knows where the cameras are and is filching from a till or something). That said inside, upper levels* and around blind corners helps matters here. Do test as angles with double glazed and IR with the same are not always the best of friends and knowing a blurry oval did the deed usually just makes life harder.

    *you say windows which are fine but the term curtain twitching exists for a reason and things can stand out something fierce.

    Not requiring an electrician- a handful I have played with do power over ethernet (I have others on wireless) and others usually get powered from wall warts and such like. Most have more trouble screwing them to the wall (if you are then make sure you have some rawl plugs in as the ones they send are not good).

    Models- you can get away with repurposing a webcam if you have a computer to back it up. Otherwise most surveillance cameras that are not crazy proprietary or old will spit things to FTP all day long- I will note several favour activeX controls in my experience for the proper stuff like audio in real time. If you have set a router properly or some other network interfaced device up (like I imagine your NAS is) you have done more than necessary for the software side of things. Bundled software is usually quite good but is quite nice if you are going big and do not want the price tag of a serious dedicated box.

    For two good cameras of the spec you want I usually look just north of £100 for the project although those are decent res, weatherproof after a fashion, wifi enabled, motorised, with audio and with IR so skimping things might get that price down a bit. You can get lucky with old buildings from failed companies but I usually find the surveillance goes with the building or is otherwise pointless you trying to repurpose. Looking at Amazon some of the £30 a piece ones are the descendants of a few of the ones I have done in the past for "not necessarily in pelting rain all day long but not sheltered in a nice office either" jobs and aside from slightly iffy wifi range none of my clients have ever had a problem and beyond that they make quite nice webcams, internet cameras and time lapse type things if you get bored of your surveillance project. Much like anything powered by electronics you can spend as much as you like and may even get something for your money.
    Vulpes Abnocto and Originality like this.
  3. Originality

    Originality Chibi-neko

    Apr 21, 2008
    London, UK
    Actually, neither my bedroom nor my kitchen has curtains that would obstruct the view, or are ever in use for that matter. For the kitchen, there's a cupboard that's perfectly positioned to look out the window at the front path. That's where I was thinking to put one of the cameras, probably using a wall cable to power it and hopefully using WiFi to send the feed to my NAS. Whilst it would be nice for a covert camera, I'm all too aware that only the larger cameras will suit my needs, so all I really have to do is conceal it amongst all the cardboard boxes in the drop part of the cupboard. Not difficult really, especially when it's in an area that cannot normally be seen from outside.
    For my bedroom, whilst I do have a computer on the desk next to the window, I was hoping not to keep it on 24/7. Again, I was hoping to use the NAS rather than a computer for the feed, and webcams just aren't suitable for feeds to the NAS. Also I'm not worried at all about concealing the camera from the bedroom, since the trees in my front garden already provide so much cover that I'm dubious there's any real value to putting one in there in the first place. Even so, I still want to try.
    In both cases, double glazed windows are implemented and I do realize that having the lights on will make them useless, but this is more for security when nobody is home than anything else.

    Drillholes to hold the cams in place are fine for me. I've got a power drill and an assortment of screws (and braces - whatever they're called) that can be used. What I referred to was how electricians are usually required for more professional CCTV solutions (e.g. drilling holes through walls for the power/data cables). I'm looking for a more simple solution for a simple residential home.

    Price-wise I'm probably happy to spend up to £400ish for a good solution. Half of that will probably go towards drives for the NAS, but before I commit to any plans I wanted to make sure that it will work. I've seen some fairly cheap cams on Amazon like this one for £60, and some webcam-styled ones too, but without any reliable guide I don't know how to judge them against my needs. This also works in reverse - I have no idea how to tell if the expensive ones are better and whether or not it will help me to go for more professional solutions. This is why I need guidance.
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