Personally, I’m a huge fan of home automation. Ever since my wife and I bought our house, I’ve been trying to find ways to secure and automate it. This obviously included the basic toys like the Amazon Echo and Nest Thermostat.

But one of the other areas I’m poking around in is security cameras, specifically monitoring the entrances of the house. I live in a quiet neighborhood, but I do hear a lot of complaints on NextDoor of people stealing packages.

This always made me uncomfortable, so I consider the cameras as a method to enhance my calm.

Anwyway, so the problem I seem to have now is that the two cameras I purchased (D-Link DCS-932LB1 and a Foscam FI8910W) will only perform two operations on motion/sound detection: - Send email of 1 picture per second for 6 seconds - Upload same pictures to FTP server

It works, kinda. It’s just not ideal.

So how can I make this better? Bam, spare Raspberry Pi!

Motion Alerts

I wanted to trigger recording of the ASF or MJPEG stream from the cameras if motion is detected. The first idea I had was to run a fake FTP server and get notifications that way.

I was super excited to see someone else had the same idea and wrote up a blog post about it. Now this was 3 years ago and they wrote everything in shell (yuck). Apparently he came back and decided to do this in C++ a year later. For some insane reason, he didn’t provide links to any of his source code, only screenshots of it in vim.

I’m not a C programmer and I don’t want to visually copy/paste this guy’s code. But at least I felt I was on the right track.

His approach was to use GStreamer (so have others in the past) on the Raspberry Pi so you can leverage the H264 support. So I got started with a vanilla Raspbian installation and some basic instructions.

GStreamer Troubles

Most blogs/guides were around installing/compiling 1.0 as 0.10 was the only version available on Raspbian at the time. Luckily it’s now available as part of their latest release.

A quick installation of the extra plugins and I was ready to start (I think).

Understanding GStreamer and its pipeline is extremely confusing. Documentation is quite sparse. But this is what I hobbled together:

This, kinda worked. But the quality was absolutely impossible: Bad Image

At this point, I gave up and moved onto another project (hoping to pick this up later).