How to Use Motion Detection in ACTi Cameras

How to Use Motion Detection in ACTi Cameras
Category: Installation & Configuration Note
Sub-category: Application
Model: All
Firmware: N/A
Software: N/A
Author: Ando.Meritee
Published: 2010/11/19
Reviewed: 2010/11/19
Knowledge Base
How to Use Motion Detection in ACTi Cameras
How to Configure Motion Detection
How to Manage Motion Detection Events by Firmware
How to Manage Motion Detection Events by ACTi NVR
Appendix 1: How to Install FTP Server
Motion Detection (MD) is a common video analytics function that is supported by most
of the IP cameras in the market with the purpose of detecting moving objects (people,
vehicles) in the view of the camera and taking necessary actions.
The motion detection system inside the IP camera is able to analyze the video frames and
decide whether there has been any motion in the user defined region that has exceeded the
allowed limit of speed and size. Whenever motion occurs and triggers alarm, the camera can
either execute several responses to the alarm directly or notify the video management system
(NVR, CMS) in the control site and let the control site respond to the events.
Motion detection system is one of the many advantages of IP cameras over analog cameras.
The analog camera is just the “eye” and cannot analyze motion on the video. All the motion
analysis has to be done on DVR side, creating the following risks – the failure of DVR would
disable the motion detection capability for all channels of the same site while in case of IP
system each camera is independent from NVR, which can detect motion and handle the
responses directly and instantly regardless of the status of NVR. Furthermore, since every IP
camera has its own “brain” to analyze video stream, there will never be computing power
limitation issues and consequently false or missed motion detection alarms that may occur in
case of DVR based motion detection systems.
This article introduces the motion detection system of ACTi cameras, including the
configuration advice and the management of motion triggered events.
How to Configure Motion Detection
Configuring motion detection system inside the camera is very easy – use Internet Explorer
browser (version 6.0 or newer) and access the camera’s web interface by typing the IP address
of the camera to the browser’s address bar. Upon successful connection you will be asked for
the user name and password (default: Admin/123456). When you log in, you may notice that
the user interface of ACM-series cameras looks different from TCM-series cameras. This
article uses the user interface of the ACM-series camera for explaining the motion detection
system. You can find the same motion detection settings in TCM-series cameras as well.
Find the item Video Adjustment in the menu of the ACM-series camera.
A popular cube camera ACM-4201 is used in this article to demonstrate
all the functions of the motion detection system.
Once you have entered the video
adjustment page, you will see live
video together with motion activity
panel. There is no activity shown in
enabled yet. Press “Motion Setup”.
After that, enable the motion detection
system by checking “Motion Enable”.
regions in ACTi cameras. Each
configuration parameters:
Enabled or disabled
Location of the region
Size of the region
Trigger threshold
Trigger interval
Enabled or disabled
Each of the 3 motion detection regions can be enabled or
disabled individually. Look at the example: Only the region 1 is
enabled while 2 and 3 are disabled. The disabled regions
disappear from the video display.
Note that the number of the motion detection region is written
in the upper left corner of the region.
Location of the region
You can move the motion detection region anywhere on the
field of view by dragging the top of the motion detection
rectangle as shown on the image. The motion detection
regions may even be overlapping if you like.
Size of the region
By dragging the lower right corner of the motion detection
region you can change the size of the region. The maximum
size of the region can even be as big as the whole screen.
Sensitivity is the parameter that helps us to distinguish actual
moving targets (people, vehicles) from the slightly moving background, such as leaves of the
trees waving in the wind. In order to avoid false alarms, we might want the camera be able to
ignore small motion. The higher is the sensitivity level of the camera the smaller shift of the
object is needed to trigger the alarm. For example, if the object within motion detection region
has moved for about 1-3 pixels during two video frames, then such small motion will be
discarded by camera if the sensitivity is low, and will still trigger an alarm if the sensitivity is
high. In other words, you can think of sensitivity level as a reversed speed limit – the smaller
is the sensitivity, the faster are the objects allowed to move without being detected.
The biggest challenge of motion detection configuration is to find the settings that do not
produce false alarms and at the same time do not miss any actual intrusions. The rule of thumb
is: the sensitivity should be as high as possible while not producing false alarms. The
default sensitivity level of ACTi cameras is 70 (on a scale of 0-100) and it is a good setting for
most standard cases.
Trigger threshold
Look at the moving object entering
although moving quite slowly, it
caused motion activity – several
pixel regions reported a motion that
was faster than allowed “speed limit”
of sensitivity (70).
The blue graph on the right side of
the image shows how many percent
of pixels within the motion detection
region were considered as “currently in motion”. The activity panel itself is a timeline – for each
moment of time you can see the height of the blue bars. You may notice that at certain moment
the tallest bars in the activity graph reached about 25% (a quarter of the total height in activity
panel) – it means, 25% of this motion detection area were filled with moving pixels at that
moment. By visual observation you can also see that the object standing inside the motion
detection region indeed covers about 25% of its size.
What if the object is really small but moves rather fast (gets triggered by the current sensitivity
level)? For example, we want to detect people but not the cat walking in the room. Although
both people and cat may move with the speed that will trigger motion, they have different size
of triggered pixels. For example, a human passing by the motion detection region will trigger
25% of pixels in that region while the cat would trigger only 2%. Since we want to have a real
alarm in case of human or vehicle passing by while ignoring birds, cats, butterflies, mice, etc,
we need a filter that can define how many percent of triggered pixels will be considered as a
real alarm. This parameter is called trigger threshold. The default value of trigger threshold is
10%. It means, only the objects that are bigger than 10% of the motion detection region size
and move faster than allowed by sensitivity level (70) will produce actual alarm.
How to choose the most optimal trigger threshold level? The rule of thumb, keep the trigger
threshold as small as possible while not causing false alarms by the moving objects
that are not humans or vehicles.
You can have different sensitivity level and trigger threshold level for each motion detection
In order to understand all of the above even better, please refer to the table below containing
four possible combinations of settings using sensitivity level and trigger threshold percentage.
The objects listed in each cell will trigger an alarm under given settings:
Low threshold (0-5%)
Low sensitivity
Big and fast
High threshold (5-100%)
Big and fast
Small and fast
Big and fast
Big and fast
High sensitivity
Big and slow
Small and fast
Big and slow
Small and slow
ACTi camera’s default sensitivity is 70 and threshold is 10%. By these default values,
only the rabbit and the turtle would trigger an alarm while the butterfly and the snail would
be ignored by the motion detection system.
Important: Please remember that changing the size of the motion detection region has an
impact on the threshold – the bigger is the size of the motion detection region the smaller
should be the threshold value if you want the same object size to trigger motion. For example, if
you increase the motion detection region to twice the previous size, please remember to
reduce the threshold to half its original value (from 10% to 5%). On the other hand, changing
the location of the motion detection region has no impact on threshold.
Trigger interval
The last configuration item is the trigger interval. It is the time period from the beginning of the
triggered event during which the all motion activities are ignored by the camera. This is
designed to avoid needless repetitive reporting of the same intrusion. Trigger interval 20
seconds would mean that when the even happens, camera will take certain one-time actions
and ignore the continuing activity in the motion detection region for 20 seconds. When 20
seconds are over, the camera will produce a new alarm if there are still action in the motion
detection region, and take actions again.
There is one more item on the Motion Detection
configuration page which was not explained above – the
Profile of Motion Detection. Think of them as Profile 1
(Runtime MD Profile) and Profile 2 (Event MD Profile). It
means that you can configure two independent groups of
Motion Detection regions with at most 3 regions in each
group. Normally, the Profile 1 (Runtime MD Profile) is used
as an active profile of the camera. However, in some cases it
is possible to let the camera switch to Profile 2 by using the
Event Handler system of the camera.
For example, you might want to have different motion detection regions and parameters for day
and night time. Then the two profiles become really handy. In such case, remember to
configure the motion detection regions for both profiles before moving on to configure the event
response system.
How to Manage Motion Detection Events by Firmware
In order to make the motion detection system meaningful, you also need a system that can
handle the motion triggered events and take necessary actions, such as start recording video,
send video or snapshots to FTP server or e-mail, send notification e-mails, play alarm sound,
change camera’s settings, command other IP devices, activate alarm devices through digital
output of the camera and much more.
If your camera’s motion detection
regions have been fully configured
then you can set up the event
response system. You can do it
either by using the Event Handler
that is part of the camera’s
firmware or use a software in
remote PC instead.
This chapter introduces the use of
Event Handler. You can find the
Event Handler under the item
“Event” in the firmware menu.
The benefits of using Event Handler is the convenience – you do not need any other software
at all. The camera can handle everything by itself.
When motion is detected by the camera, the Event Handler can be configured to take following
actions without needing any additional software:
Send video or snapshots to FTP server
Send snapshots or text to e-mail
Save video or snapshots to camera’s MicroSD card (if camera has local storage)
Activate external devices through digital output of the camera (siren, door locks, etc)
Go to PTZ preset point or tour (if the camera has PTZ function)
Command other IP cameras (change their settings or PTZ position)
Send URL command to any PC based web server
Change the day and night mode
One of these possible responses is explained below. Please note that the Event Handler
functionality range is actually even wider than that – in addition to accepting motion detection
events, it also accepts events by Passive Infrared Sensor and events by external devices
through digital input (smoke detector, glass break detector, window or door magnet, etc). It
even allows users to create scheduled events – for example you might want the camera to
send snapshots to FTP in a specific time of the day regardless of the activity in the camera site.
The switch from day to night can also be used as a trigger for Event Handler and one of the
possible responses to that could be the change of motion detection profile (different motion
detection regions, sensitivity and threshold for night time surveillance).
However, this article focuses only on motion detection as the trigger of the events and on
several possible responses to the events. For more detailed information about Event Handler
please refer to the Event Handler Guide in ACTi Knowledge Base.
Send Video or Snapshots to FTP Server
Before you create the event response rule, please make sure that the Motion Detection system
has already been configured and the FTP server is installed and running properly. If you do not
have FTP server installed yet and you need some advice then please read the Appendix 1:
How to Install FTP Server for detailed instructions.
Now, it is time to configure the event response
in Event Handler of the firmware. There are 3
parts to configure here:
FTPd (account settings)
uploadable content and destination)
Event rule (combines the schedule,
trigger, and response)
Let’s begin with the first one - configuring the
FTP account related settings.
Type the IP address of the FTP server together
with user name and password. For the other
settings, you can keep them as they are. (port 21,
passive mode, max connection time = 10).
The 2nd step is to define the uploadable
Video/Snapshot 1”.
If you would like to test the video
streaming to FTP first, then click on the
radio button named “Video”, and select
Upload image to “FTP Server”.
The video from 2 seconds (Pre-Buffer
time) before the event is triggered will be recorded until 10 seconds (Upload time) after the
event is triggered.
You may use following naming convention to
auto-assign file names to captured video clips.
name-%YYYY-%MM-%[email protected]%hh%mm%ss
This way, every file name will be different since they
will carry a different date and time code. You may
simply copy this line into the textbox of Image File
Name section for your convenience. Of course, you
can rename the part “name” into something else if
you like. For more naming options, you may click on
the hyperlink “Refer to name rule description”.
If you want the video to be stored in root folder of the
FTP account, then mark Upload path of the image
file simply with “\”. To store it in another folder, use
something like “\Camera-1\”. You may also use the variables in folder name. So
“\Camera-1%MM%DD\” would create a separate folder everyday to store images.
The last step of Event Handler setup is to create the rule that would define the period of time
during which the Motion Detection is “on duty” and what should be the response when Motion
Detection is triggered during “on duty” period.
Click on the rule ID 1 to define it.
Setting up the rule is very simple – since we want the Motion Detection (MD) be “on duty” for
24 hours a day and 7 days a week, therefore you do not need to change the default settings for
Cycle of Time and Start Time. Keep
them as they are. Just remember to
“Enable” the rule itself!!
Choose “Motion” as the trigger type
and specify it by checking “Region 1”.
video/snapshots” and pick “Image 1”
that you defined earlier.
The whole system is now ready!!
The Motion Detector of the camera is now 24 hours on duty to detect any human motion and
ready to stream video to FTP server when motion occurs.
Let’s go and try it out! After walking across the room within the view of the camera, MD will
detect your motion and couple of seconds later you will be able to find the RAW video file in
FTP server’s folder.
The last thing you might
wonder is how to do the
playback of those RAW
Archive Player from the
ActivePlayer from NVR
(both free softwares).
If you do not have the Archive Player yet, you may download it from here:
Run the Archive Player and press “Open” to select the video clip for playback.
When you have found the video clip in FTP folder, you can start the playback by pressing “Play”
It works! You are able to see
the video clip of the hand
detection system.
As you see, the Event
Handler can help you do
basic video surveillance
even when you do not
have NVR installed.
If you want the camera to
stream, then you can do it
with one little change in
panel – Switch the radio
Based on the given settings,
the camera will prepare 3
snapshots evenly within 10 seconds (the first image will approximately be captured on the 1 st
second of the event, the 2nd image on the 5th second and the 3rd image on the 9th or 10th
Now go to the camera, wave
your hand to trigger MD
event, and then go to FTP
server’s folder to look for
You can find the snapshots
One more thing:
If you want to manage your FTP files conveniently from another PC, then you may consider
downloading the FileZilla Client program from
Alternatively, you may simply use an existing web browser instead, just like when we were
testing if the FTP server was working properly or not.
How to Manage Motion Detection Events by ACTi NVR
The events of the camera can also be handled by ACTi NVR. Since camera is continuously
notifying NVR about the ongoing events together with the video stream, it is also possible to
use NVR to manage those events instead of camera’s Event Handler if you like.
If you have already configured the motion detection system using camera’s firmware then you
can skip this part in NVR. However, it is good to know that you can configure motion detection
system through NVR user interface without logging in to camera’s firmware.
Configure Camera’s Motion Detection via NVR Interface
If you would prefer to use NVR to configure the motion detection system then follow the steps
as shown below. Open Motion tab of the camera’s page in NVR and click Get Motion Setting
followed by Motion Setup. After that you will be able to edit the fields of Motion Event. Check
the Motion 1 Event checkbox and adjust the sensitivity and timer settings. The word “timer”
in NVR corresponds to the word “trigger interval” in camera’s firmware. Please note that the
trigger threshold setup is not available in NVR, therefore the default value of 10% will be used
automatically in case of NVR-based motion detection system setup. If you want to use
threshold level other than 10%, then please use firmware of the camera instead.
The settings will be saved in both camera and NVR when Apply is pressed.
Event Manager Configuration in NVR
Once you have configured the motion detection as the event trigger either by camera’s
firmware or NVR, you can decide the appropriate event responses. In this example, the event
responses will be to activate digital output of the cube camera (turns on the light or
opens/closes the door, etc) and notify the guard by playing audio file through the speakers of
the NVR workstation PC.
click on MD1 and the
checkbox and start
activating the event
Trigger DO
checkbox and set the
example 5 seconds.
After that, select the
Play Audio File and
define the path to the
wav-file in your PC.
Audio File, you must
workstation installed
on the same PC as
The settings will be saved when Apply is pressed.
Set the Recording Schedule
The last step is the easiest – just define the time range when you want the NVR to handle the
events and record videos. Please note that you need to have either “Schedule” or “Event
with Streaming” scheduling mode to make the alarm system work via NVR. If you choose the
normal “Schedule” mode then the NVR listens to the incoming events during all this time and
keeps recording continuously regardless of the exact timing of the events during the given time
period. In the “Event with Streaming” mode NVR also listens to incoming events during the
time you defined (marked with orange color on the image below), however, it records videos
only whenevents happen.
The image below shows how to set a schedule using “Event with Streaming” mode that is
active 24 hours a day, 7 days a week:
The settings will be saved when Apply is pressed.
After these steps, close ActiveSetup and open ActiveMonitor – the motion detection solution
is fully configured and ready to work! When human movement triggers motion detection region
1, there will be audio sound from the speakers of the PC that hosts the ActiveMonitor of NVR
and the command to activate digital output will be sent from NVR to the camera automatically.
Appendix 1: How to Install FTP Server
If you do not have any FTP servers installed yet and you have never installed one before then
the following example may be very helpful in learning about FTP server installation.
First of all, you may visit and download FileZilla
Server setup file from there. Once you have downloaded it, execute the file
in your computer – it will launch the Setup of the FileZilla Server.
After reading and agreeing the License Agreement, simply use NEXT button all the way till the
end of the set up process without changing any settings
This window pops up right after the end of the
installation. The purpose of this window is to
allow you to define how the FTP administrator
would access the system part of the FTP server.
Since it is your own PC anyway, just leave
everything as it is – no need for password here.
Just press OK.
After that, you will be redirected to the FTP server administrator’s page. In this page, you can
create accounts and their permissions to certain folders of this PC.
Click on the icon to add a new user.
Click on the “Add” button below Users area and type the name of a new user and press “OK”.
After pressing “OK”, the name will be added to Users list. Now you can add a password for the
user by checking the Password area and typing any password you like.
The next step would be to assign permissions to access certain folders of
given PC for that new user. You could, for example, first create a new folder
to your Desktop, named FTP.
Now, click on “Shared folders” and press “Add”, to show the path to the new FTP folder you just
When you see the new path appearing in window named Directories, then please remember to
give the full permissions for the user to work with the files and subfolders within the FTP folder.
When done, press “OK”.
The FTP Server has now been fully configured. How to test if the FTP server and the user
account actually work over the network?
For testing, copy one
sample file into your FTP
folder – for example, the
installation file of the
Then use another PC in
your network to access
this FTP server. In this
example, the local IP
address of FTP server
PC is
From another PC with the IP address the testing connection to FTP server can be
done simply by using any web browser, typing the following into address bar:
After that you will be prompted to type user name and password.
Upon successful login, you will see the contents of the folder that the user has permissions for.
The FTP server part has been fully configured and validated. You may now use this FTP
account information in the configuration page of Event Handler of the camera or in NVR Event
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