Question Mac based IP surveillance set-up advice needed

DT79

Well-known Member
Hi, I’m new to this, so please be gentle.

I want to set-up a home surveillance set-up based around some POE IP cameras. Mainly looking to cover the exterior of my property, but may add one or two internal cameras as well. I don’t need recording 24/7, nor do I need to keep recordings for a lengthy period. I’m mainly looking for motion-triggered recording and to maybe have a month’s worth of disk space allocated which will automatically overwrite. Here’s what I’ve gathered so far.

  • If I buy cameras which are ONVIF compatible then that means I can mix and match brands and they should all be compatible with any ONVIF stand-alone DVR or DVR software now and in future (whilst I want to set this up on my Mac now, I may move to a NAS in future).
  • I need to get a POE compatible network switch

The list of things I’m not sure about is a bit longer unfortunately.

  • I have network cables going to RJ45 socket wall plates in various rooms - can I assume that this cabling and socketry, and any Ethernet cables I buy to go from sockets to cameras are all POE compatible, or do I need to look for a particular spec?
  • Can I use any hard drive for recording purposes, or do I need to get something particular like an SSD to ensure it can respond quickly enough if a recording needs to start?
  • Can anyone recommend a good software package for the Mac to manage the cameras (it is already on 24/7). My requirements are not particularly sophisticated - viewing the live video feeds and recordings, motion triggered alerts/recordings..not sure there‘s much else
  • would setting up the cameras be from this software, or would each camera brand have its own software for configuring them? I want to be able to set motion detection zones, range, sensitivity etc.
  • Obviously i want to be able to view the live feeds and recordings and receive alerts remotely - is there a DVR app ‘family’ with both Mac an iOS versions?
  • I’m sure there are questions I should be asking but I’m not...
Thanks in advance for any help!

Cheers,
Dan
 

simon1967

Active Member
Unfortunately I can’t offer any help but this question is of massive interest to me. I’ve just been trying to get my head around all things security and was planning to go the more tried and tested route of wired POE cams & NVR.

However, I never knew you could use a Mac as a recorder as I have several macs & loads of hard discs which are simply just sitting there doing nothing.

Watching with interest
 

Seb Briggs

Well-known Member
Though personally and professionally I would recommend a dedicated NVR matched with cameras that are designed for it (we use Aspect from Videcon) there are software solutions out there that are cost effective for a Mac



onvif unfortunately is not a sure sign that every thing will work effectively and you may lose some of the cameras features if just using onvif with a different NVR or software from the manufacturer of the camera

To answer your questions specifically
  • I have network cables going to RJ45 socket wall plates in various rooms - can I assume that this cabling and socketry, and any Ethernet cables I buy to go from sockets to cameras are all POE compatible, or do I need to look for a particular spec?

  • Cat5e or cat6 Ethernet cables will all carry Poe
  • Can I use any hard drive for recording purposes, or do I need to get something particular like an SSD to ensure it can respond quickly enough if a recording needs to start?
  • Technically you can use any hdd certainly no need for a SSD , though a good make and 7200rpm may be wise .
  • Can anyone recommend a good software package for the Mac to manage the cameras (it is already on 24/7). My requirements are not particularly sophisticated - viewing the live video feeds and recordings, motion triggered alerts/recordings..not sure there‘s much else

  • see above

  • would setting up the cameras be from this software, or would each camera brand have its own software for configuring them? I want to be able to set motion detection zones, range, sensitivity etc.
  • nearly all IP cameras have a web page built into them for configuration So you just type in the IP address of the camera into a browser and configure that way

  • Obviously i want to be able to view the live feeds and recordings and receive alerts remotely - is there a DVR app ‘family’ with both Mac an iOS versions?
  • The. Software above has a iOS app as well
  • A dedicated NVR would generally also have its own app as well

  • I’m sure there are questions I should be asking but I’m not...

I hope that helps
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
Is your Mac going to be dedicated for this? I went down this route a long time ago, and thought of approaching it like that. But I ended up with a Synology dedicated to this task, also split the network so that the cameras were on one with Poe through a switch. And then the second network port of my synology nas was cabled to my main network switch. Much more energy efficient that keeping the computer on, and much more stable as well.
besides at a previous burglary my computers were stolen ;)

But now I’ve taken all that away as the cloud based systems are much more convenient and provide better features and integration for the whole family.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Though personally and professionally I would recommend a dedicated NVR matched with cameras that are designed for it (we use Aspect from Videcon) there are software solutions out there that are cost effective for a Mac



onvif unfortunately is not a sure sign that every thing will work effectively and you may lose some of the cameras features if just using onvif with a different NVR or software from the manufacturer of the camera

To answer your questions specifically
  • I have network cables going to RJ45 socket wall plates in various rooms - can I assume that this cabling and socketry, and any Ethernet cables I buy to go from sockets to cameras are all POE compatible, or do I need to look for a particular spec?

  • Cat5e or cat6 Ethernet cables will all carry Poe
  • Can I use any hard drive for recording purposes, or do I need to get something particular like an SSD to ensure it can respond quickly enough if a recording needs to start?
  • Technically you can use any hdd certainly no need for a SSD , though a good make and 7200rpm may be wise .
  • Can anyone recommend a good software package for the Mac to manage the cameras (it is already on 24/7). My requirements are not particularly sophisticated - viewing the live video feeds and recordings, motion triggered alerts/recordings..not sure there‘s much else

  • see above

  • would setting up the cameras be from this software, or would each camera brand have its own software for configuring them? I want to be able to set motion detection zones, range, sensitivity etc.
  • nearly all IP cameras have a web page built into them for configuration So you just type in the IP address of the camera into a browser and configure that way

  • Obviously i want to be able to view the live feeds and recordings and receive alerts remotely - is there a DVR app ‘family’ with both Mac an iOS versions?
  • The. Software above has a iOS app as well
  • A dedicated NVR would generally also have its own app as well

  • I’m sure there are questions I should be asking but I’m not...

I hope that helps
Thanks, that’s very helpful. Security Spy Looks like exactly what I was after.

Is it fair to assume no issue with having a run of Cat 6 to an RJ45 socket, then another run to the camera?
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Is your Mac going to be dedicated for this? I went down this route a long time ago, and thought of approaching it like that. But I ended up with a Synology dedicated to this task, also split the network so that the cameras were on one with Poe through a switch. And then the second network port of my synology nas was cabled to my main network switch. Much more energy efficient that keeping the computer on, and much more stable as well.
besides at a previous burglary my computers were stolen ;)

But now I’ve taken all that away as the cloud based systems are much more convenient and provide better features and integration for the whole family.
Thanks for your reply. No, I already have my iMac on 24/7 acting as Roon and Plex servers.

I’m trying to minimise cost for the time being, and come up with the most elegant solution. One day when my Mac eventually packs up (although fingers crossed no sign of trouble yet), I may well go for a high spec NAS to run everything.

I have 2 8-port switches already (non POE) and I’ve exceeded their capacity so I am due to get another switch and I was already looking at a 24 port managed switch before I started with this.

This is as far as I’ve got:
  • Security Spy running on the iMac
  • 24 port POE switch for all my Ethernet devices, plus the cameras
  • IP cameras TBD - any recommendations? The Reolinks on Amazon look pretty decent and well reviewed for not too much money
  • External HDD. I may need to buy one, but I may have something knocking about already. I’m hoping with my use case i won’t need more than 1TB.
I don’t really want to go with WiFi cameras and cloud storage. Trying to trouble shoot unreliable WiFi has occupied far too much of my time over the years, and I don’t want my system to be dependent on that and the internet connection being available, or pay an ongoing cost for cloud storage.

Obviously whether my Mac can cope with all this and work reliably on media duties, if a couple of cameras have also simultaneously triggered a recording is the question. It’s a petty decent model if getting a little long in the tooth - late 2014 27” 5K, 3.5ghz quad core with 24GB RAM - so I’m expecting it to cope.
 

Seb Briggs

Well-known Member
Is it fair to assume no issue with having a run of Cat 6 to an RJ45 socket, then another run to the camera?

Yes that will be fine

your mac should be more than powerful enough to provide multiple stream recording

as you say you can try this out to see if it’s for you relatively cheaply

the reolink cameras I don’t think are Onvif though, I wouldn’t skimp on the cameras
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
The cameras will totally depend on your property, and even then are unlikely all to be the same as different locations should have different needs for coverage. Different field of views, different depth of view, mounting position, lighting during day and night etc.
 

DT79

Well-known Member
Yes that will be fine

your mac should be more than powerful enough to provide multiple stream recording

as you say you can try this out to see if it’s for you relatively cheaply

the reolink cameras I don’t think are Onvif though, I wouldn’t skimp on the cameras

The cameras will totally depend on your property, and even then are unlikely all to be the same as different locations should have different needs for coverage. Different field of views, different depth of view, mounting position, lighting during day and night etc.

Any recommendation on cameras? As I say, my requirements are not particularly specialised. To start out with I’m intending to have cameras high up on either side of the front of the house, angled opposite ways to cover the whole of the front and street, one at the back covering the garden and approach to the patio doors, one at the side covering the door there, and I’m undecided about one in the front porch. I might hold off and only go for that if I can’t get good detailed capture of faces from the front cameras.

For all of them I just want good build quality, good picture quality, energy efficiency, night vision obviously, and good configurable motion detection.
 

Bl4ckGryph0n

Distinguished Member
I tend to use a CCTV lens calculator to help getting it right and not be disappointed; something like CCTV Lens Calculator or Lens focal length calculator | CCTV Calculator

I appreciate it is mentioned that it is straight forward two high at the front and one at the back, but think about how high is high? What distance needs to be covered both length (depth) and width. Same as on the back, how deep is the garden, how wide is the garden, etc. And then there is also the light sensitivity aspects, if you are in a dark area you have different requirements to when it is light on the street with a lot of vehicular traffic.

In my experience, if you want useful footage and do it yourself then it is worth taking such considerations into account just like a reputable installer would do.

I really like Avigilon as a brand, but that doesn't come cheap compared to what you can buy on Amazon or eBay; however the footage is very usable, and the choice of lens combinations is amazing.
 

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