Network Camera Frequently Asked Questions
 
What is Visual Hindsight?
Visual Hindsight is award-winning video surveillance and recording software for network cameras and video servers. Three separate editions can better meet your surveillance and recording and budget requirements. More information about network cameras and video servers is available in this document.
How many cameras and video servers can Visual Hindsight handle?
Many competitor products allow you to store only a limited number of cameras in their product's database; with Visual Hindsight, you can store as many cameras as you like. Professional Edition can display up to 100 cameras, and record up to 50; Home Edition can display up to 20 cameras, and record up to 4; Viewer Edition can display up to 20 cameras.

Each Edition is network-aware; you can create one set of camera and video server URLs that can be shared across all Editions. This can be of interest to customers who purchase Visual Hindsight and then resell surveillance and recording services—you can store different companies cameras and video servers in one database (each one password protected), and charge for surveillance and recording time.

What do I need to use Visual Hindsight?

Older technology, i.e. CCTV cameras, require "frame grabber" cards and drivers that need to be purchased separately and installed into the computer. Network cameras and video servers are self-sufficient; no frame grabber cards or other hardware is required.

Visual Hindsight supports many different camera and video server models, as displayed in the 'Edit / Preview URL' camera model list. If your device appears in this list, simply select it to enable a connection. If your device does not appear in this list, send us an e-mail with the specifications of your particular model; if that model supports JPEG or motion-JPEG video, chances are it will be supported by Visual Hindsight.

Visual Hindsight specifications and minimum configuration are as follows: You'll need Windows NT, 2000, XP, or 2003 Server running on a PIII 450 MHz PC (minimum; PIII 2.0 GHz or better recommended) at a minimum video resolution of 800 x 600 x 16 bit, with a direct, network, or broadband connection to camera, video server, or Web server URL.

Video files are big and slow to download. Can I record cameras in real-time with my dial up connection, or must it be broadband?
We recommend a broadband connection, but the number of cameras that can be recorded simultaneously shouldn't be affected by the connection speed. What is affected is the number of frames per second that are actually displayed and captured. Naturally, the faster the connection, the more frames-per-second that can be displayed and recorded.
Is Visual Hindsight meant for the novice or technically advanced user?
Both! The novice who is thinking about surveillance and recording for their property or business can download the trial and see how it works; 20 public URLs are provided for viewing and recording.

The advanced user who is already doing surveillance with another product might find Visual Hindsight much less expensive to deploy, either for their own or their customers surveillance and recording needs.

I'd like to purchase more than one license—is special pricing available?
Yes, If you're uncertain which licensing option is most cost effective for your particular needs, please contact us—we'll be glad to help you determine the most economical price point.
Do you offer reselling and OEM re-branding of Visual Hindsight?
Yes, you can resell Visual Hindsight as-is, or ask us to create a custom version with your logo and company information. Please contact us for terms and conditions.
Is motion-detection recording supported? How does it work?
Motion-detection recording is supported. Note that after enabling motion detection, you still need to either start recording manually or set Visual Hindsight to start recording automatically. To start recording automatically, enable both the "Automatically Reconnect On Disconnect" and "Start Capture Automatically On Connect" fields in the Edit / Preview URL window. This will cause Visual Hindsight to start recording whenever a connection is available (24 hour schedule). Once Visual Hindsight starts recording, it will take the motion detection parameter into consideration when deciding if a frame should be captured to disk.
Visual Hindsight displays abnormal behavior when viewing and recording. What gives?
Visual Hindsight is currently NOT compatible with Hyper-Thread enabled and multi-CPU computers. You must disable Hyper-Threading or allow Visual Hindsight to execute in one CPU only.
So, what's a network camera?
A network camera, sometimes called an Internet, IP, LAN, or (misleadingly) a Web camera, is best described as a camera and a computer combined.
  • A network camera contains everything needed for viewing images over the network.
  • It is connected directly to the network as any other network device, and has built-in software to host a Web server, FTP server, FTP client and E-Mail client. It includes alarm input and relay outputs, and more advanced models can be equipped with value-added functions such as motion detection and an analog video output.
  • If a building or home is equipped with a network, the needed infrastructure is already in place to add network cameras, and dynamically expand when and where video can be viewed.
  • A network camera can be administered and its images viewed using a standard Web browser or dedicated software on any computer, either locally or across the Internet.
  • Network cameras equipped with PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom) control can be manipulated using a standard Web browser or dedicated software on any computer, either locally or across the Internet.
  • If a network camera is setup to send images to an external web server, real-time video can be seen by an unlimited number of clients.
How is a network camera different from a traditional “Web Cam”?
Network cameras and Web Cams are NOT the same thing—they are in fact quite different.
  • A Web Cam requires three components in order to function: the web camera itself, a computer, and dedicated software.
  • A Web Cam does not offer remote administration and viewing.
  • A Web Cam is often constructed from low-quality components with limited durability, making it unsuitable for serious surveillance tasks.
  • Most Web Cams must be connected within three meters of a computer.
What can I do with a network camera?
Network camera technology can be used for literally thousands of high-value, professional security and non-security applications. Uses range from offices to retail to casinos, and extend into monitoring manufacturing processes and web attraction. Here are a few of the many cost-effective and highly productive applications for network cameras:

Security Surveillance:

  • Network cameras are used in professional security systems and enable live video to be viewed remotely by authorized personnel. The network cameras are easily integrated into larger, complex systems, but can also function as stand-alone solutions in entry-level surveillance applications.
  • Network cameras can be used for surveillance of sensitive areas, such as buildings, casinos, banks and shops. Video of those areas can be monitored from relevant control rooms, at police stations and by security managers from a variety of locations.
  • Network cameras are also effective substitutes for analog cameras in traditional law enforcement applications, such as keeping public places safe.
  • Network cameras can be used for access control. People as well as vehicles can be recorded with time stamps that are easy to locate and review. The images can be stored in a remote location, making it impossible to steal the information.

Remote Monitoring:

  • Network cameras are easily connected to the existing IP-network and enable real-time updates of high-quality video to be accessible from any computer on the network. Sensitive areas such as the server room, the reception area or any remote site can be closely monitored in a cost-effective and simple way, over the local network or via the Internet.
  • Network cameras enhance the monitoring of a retail location by ensuring that everything is in good order. (Quality of Service)
  • A network camera is a useful tool at the office.  Areas like the reception area, and conference rooms can be monitored for activity.  In addition, users can keep track of who has been in the server room and take appropriate action when problems occur.
  • Network cameras are useful tools for the manufacturing industry. Monitor robots, other machines and production lines from the office or home and allow service engineers to access the cameras remotely. With Pan/Tilt/Zoom cameras it is possible to look at comprehensive as well as detailed views.

Web Attraction:

  • Network cameras enable high-quality, live video to be shown to the whole Internet community. Live video is an effective method for bringing visitors back to a Web site.
  • Network camera technology can be utilized for web attraction; that is, making web sites more dynamic and interesting and thereby attracting more visitors to the web site. Weather cameras and other live cameras are popular ways to build web visitor traffic. Cameras can be mounted in a city center, at a university, on a mountain, or by the sea to show live updated video.
Can I make my CCTV and analog cameras function like network cameras?
  • Analog, or CCTV cameras, can be viewed and manipulated over a local area network or the Internet when connected to Video Servers.
So, what's a video server?
A Video Server is a device capable of accepting as input several CCTV or analog cameras.
  • A Video Server converts analog video streams into digital signals and transmits them over a local network or across the Internet.
  • A Video Server hosts software similar to a network camera, and uses the same communication protocols. It can be administered and its images viewed using a standard Web browser or dedicated software on any computer, either locally or across the Internet.
So, what's motion-JPEG (MJPEG)?
Motion JPEG (MJPEG) creates a digital video sequence from a series of still JPEG (Joint Photographers Experts Group) images.
  • The .JPG image is the most widespread picture compression format of today. Motion JPEG video compression is an industry standard format that uses the "intra-frame" or "spatial" compression technique, which means that each image within the sequence is compressed separately.
  • Compression is dived up into 8x8 blocks of pixels within the image, and the changes applied are very specific. Image quality is never compromised. There is no latency in the images because the entire frame is not being processed.
  • Because the M-JPEG format is an industry standard, it is compatible with all standard office software tools. You have easy access to individual frames from a given sequence of video.
  • Image quality is not dependant on bandwidth—what you see is what you get.
  • Motion JPEG images have a consistent file size. The amount of motion in a given sequence has no effect on the file sizes of the images.
  • Motion JPEG provides sharp, distinguishable images that are the most frequently used in the security industry today.
 
 
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