Hikvision Cameras start "freaking out" after a while
  • I just replaced all of my Panasonic BL-C140's with three new Hikvision cameras. They work great, except for one thing. At random times, I begin to see blocky artifacts start appearing and disappearing at the top of the camera images in the main browser on SecuritySpy. This keeps going on until eventually the camera image appears locked.

    SecuritySpy is running on a 2007 Mac Pro 2.66 Quad Core Intel with 8GB of RAM and Snow Leopard.

    This has happened all three cameras at different times, so I hesitate to think it's a camera issue. In fact, all I need to do is quit SecuritySpy and restart it, and the cameras all appear fine... for a time.

    I can supply images of this weirdness if it will help. Has anyone experienced this before?
  • Hi Boisy,

    The first thing to do is download and install the latest firmware for your cameras from Hikvision. This solves most such issues.

    Secondly, check the video encoding parameters in the cameras. You want to use VBR (variable bit rate) encoding at a medium-to-high quality setting, and a key frame rate of around 15.

    Does this resolve the problem?
  • Ben,

    I have the latest firmware on two of the three cameras, and installed the latest on a third. I also dropped the frame rate to 15 fps and setup VBR. I'll let you know how it goes.
  • Just curious, is it the constant bit rate and high frame rate that throws things out of whack? Is there an explanation for this behavior?
  • Hi Boisy,

    How is it going with the new settings?

    CBR shouldn't cause this, though it does result in lower quality image and more compression artefacts when there is a complex scene with a lot of movement, which sounds a bit like what you are describing. VBR is able to adjust the bit rate when needed in order to avoid this.

    Also check the network - is it fast enough? Is it wired or wireless?
  • Hey Ben,

    Thanks for checking in.

    Using your suggestion as a jumping point, I did further research and modified the settings as follows:

    Bitrate Type: Variable (as you suggested)
    Frame Rate: 15fps (as you suggested)
    I Frame Interval: 5 (1/3rd of the frame rate, suggested on another site).

    The I Frame Interval was set to 50 and the Frame rate to 25fps before I made the change.

    With these settings in place for almost a week, the freak-out has gone away!

    My entire setup is on a 1GB ethernet, so bandwidth should not be an issue. No wireless camera in place. I am tempted to up the frame rate back to 20 or 25 and leave the I Frame interval low and see how things progress from here.
  • Hi Boisy, great to hear the new settings have resolved the problem. The I-frame interval at 5 is a little on the low side, you would be able to get some bandwidth (and therefore file size) improvement by increasing this to 15 or so. A good rule of thumb is to set this to between 1x and 2x the frame rate, so that you have an I-frame every 1-2 seconds.
  • Thanks Ben. I'll try kicking that up and seeing what impact it has. So far, still good with the cameras!

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