[CentOS] OT: Video Surveillance SW on CentOS

Tue May 17 14:30:26 UTC 2011
Lamar Owen <lowen at pari.edu>

On Tuesday, May 17, 2011 09:33:47 AM Lanny Marcus wrote:
> ZoneMinder seems to be a much more active project.

> I would appreciate Feedback, from anyone who has used either or both
> of these programs. Pros and Cons?

> The idea is to have at least two (2) cameras. One for Arrivals and One
> for Departures.

We're using ZoneMinder here for eight cameras currently.  It's on CentOS 5, and the cameras are network cameras.  The CPU load is pretty high with eight cameras at frame rates above 5fps, since much of the work is transcoding the video from the camera (the particular cams we have aren't MPEG4; they're frame at a time JPEG, and that's the worst-case scenario from a transcoding point of view, as well as from a network traffic point of view).  We settled on 1 fps, and the load is very manageable with modern hardware (dual core 2.2GHz or higher).

Building ZoneMinder from source is not the easiest thing I've ever done, nor is it the hardest, but it needs some particular versions of particular libraries (ffmpeg for one) or it breaks pretty badly.  It will also require either setting SELinux to permissive or off, or writing SELinux policy to allow the ZoneMinder processes access to the various things they need access to (sockets, network ports, etc).

However, there are better solutions available commercially that are 'install it and it runs' solutions, and as much as I like and use open source things, for this application it might be better to get an inexpensive commercial solution, like one from SuperCircuits or similar vendor who does this kind of thing professionally.  Some of those commercial solutions are Linux-based, and some might even be ZoneMinder-based, but you'll get commercial support and that might make the difference between evidence gained from the cameras being accepted or not (depending upon whether you want video from these cameras to be recorded and available to law enforcement).

Our cameras aren't 'security' cameras in that sense, and so it made sense to roll our own for our application.