Foscam Cameras

Modern foscam cameras are excellent as they have a documented CGI system that lets Video Pitcher connect to and control them without having to go to the trouble of continually reverse engineering the forms and comms necessary as is the case with so many other camera manufacturers.

The recommended way of connecting to HD cameras is via the JPEG Refresh camera type. You can connect to most Foscam cameras via the RTSP stream and you can also change one of their streams to send MJPEG instead which will work with the MJPEG camera, however receiving 30fps HD video and processing it and saving it requires significant CPU and disk space. Video Pitcher is meant to provide viewing within XTension and it’s web remote pages, as well as quick access to saved snippets of video via the web interface. Limiting this display to 2 or 3 frames per second makes the traffic to the web interfaces as well as the CPU usage of trying to filter and manage and encode the frames more reasonable and not such a drain on the machine. It’s also more than sufficient to see whats going on before you connect to the camera directly via a dedicated camera viewing app or the cameras web page in order to view HD full frame rate video. Though XTension will handle almost full frame rate HD video, it requires a modern machine with lots of memory and disk space and will significantly limit the number of cameras you can connect to at the same time.

Note that the Foscam C1 camera does not work with the current RTSP stream as it uses a non-standard streaming, or at least a newer standard streaming format that is not currently supported that way. It does work just fine with the jpeg refresh camera settings below and supports both the motion and sound detection features.

Create the Camera in Video Pitcher

From the File menu create a new “Generic JPEG Refresh” camera type.

The full path that you need to create is not visible in the screen shot, it must also contain the user and password info:

http://192.169.5.23:88/cgi-bin/CGIProxy.fcgi?cmd=snapPicture2&usr=yourUser&pwd=yourPassword

place that link into the path field of the setup window replacing my IP and port number with your own. Unless you have altered the port number it defaults to 88. Replace the yourUser and yourPassword with the proper data. You may have to pre-URL encode those if you have used characters that are not allowed in a URL.

Then you should also place the user and password into the user/password fields. Though this isn’t used for the video connection it is used for the motion sensing and other control connections.

Setting up Motion and Sound detection

XTension can receive motion sensing and sound sensing alerts from most Foscam cameras. As of version 3.2 (build 82) both the newer h264 HD cameras are supported as well as the older MJPEG cameras. If the camera runs a supported firmware version and has the hardware or firmware support for those features XTension should be able to get that data into units in the database by just checking the proper camera in the list. Video Pitcher will attempt to auto-detect the type of camera you’ve checked in the list and get the data from it without any further configuration.

NOTE: the version 3.2 (build 82) window still shows only support for the newer foscam cameras, this is incorrect and older MJPEG cameras will work now.

Under the Motion menu select “Configure Foscam Motion Reception” to open the Foscam motion setup window.

Since cameras are created by the type of connection used (jpeg refresh, RTSP, MJPEG, etc) and not by manufacturer name or camera name the program doesn’t know which of the cameras you’ve setup are actually capable of providing this data. All cameras that are potentially Foscam cameras will be listed in the window. Turn on the checkbox next to your foscam cameras to begin scanning them for motion and sound data. As soon as the first hit is received a unit will be created in XTension automatically named “MOTION name of stream” or “SOUND name of stream” that you can add scripts to to start recording or do any other alerts that you wish to in response to their reception.

With the newer cameras you can configure quite a bit about the sensitivity of the cameras to sound and motion as well as where in the video image to look for motion and schedules and all sorts of things. You can also change how often you want an alert of motion. This is important to slow down when you’re trying to send emails or upload pictures in response to motion, but when used with XTension you should set it to the shortest interval that your camera supports as you generally want more data in XTension to know that motion is continuing in front of the camera. The older MJPEG cameras do not have as much configuration for motion and sound detection. It’s not possible to adjust the timeouts or how often it should resend the event. On the camera I’ve been testing with it seems that the timeout for resending sound events is about a minute and the timeout for motion may be slightly more than that.

video_pitcher/foscam.txt · Last modified: 2016/06/03 14:44 by James Sentman
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