Motion Sensor Masking/Zones?

Would features such as masking off a specific area, for example, a street in the background with cars passing/a table or couch where a pet climbs/a flag that blows in view, etc. to ignore motion be possible? I think I’ve seen this type of option with other apps in the past, you could also mask areas that are high priority, for example, next to vehicles/windows/doorways.

I’ve had my single camera for over a month now and while I love the simplicity of the features & installation, I’ve had to tilt it so far down and put a small piece of tape on the edge of the motion sensor to prevent cars passing & my flag from causing constant false alerts all day. I’ve experimented with every sensitivity level, but so far, tilting it downward more than I’d like seems to be the only option. I’d like to see the person walking up my driveway (able to see their face/clothes better) or the vehicle parking in front of mine, but at this adjustment I can only see the rear of my vehicle and the person for a brief moment before passing the camera and being at my door.

I don’t even mind the periodic false alerts from bugs attacking the camera, it’s fun to watch, but the issue with not being able to get the field of view I need is the only downside I’ve found. I want to order more cameras if I can figure it out.

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I have to agree! This is my single biggest irritant with the cameras besides the crappy mounts (can’t wait for the new ones to be available!). Overall though, I still think Blink is the best bang for the buck!

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Hi @MrCrumbs and @ronsec,

That isn’t something I had thought about before, but I think it would be great! I’m not sure if this feature would be possible, or what the implications of implementing this feature would be, but seems like it could be very useful. You mention that you may have seen this option in other apps, are there any examples you could provide?

I understand the feature you’re describing, but I am having trouble imagining what the interface would actually look like.

I actually remembered using it years ago with a cheap webcam and included software that would let me set it up like a security camera, so I started googling around and found software like blue iris mentioned several times. I researched using Blink cameras with the software since I wanted to try it but read that it wouldn’t work if they weren’t IP cameras. Other cameras would possibly work, but I’d much rather use Blink since those other cameras are larger/require wiring. While installing my camera it was almost like I needed to point the camera with the field of view I needed and then adjust the motion sensor angle separately even if that makes sense, like a motion flood light with the sensors on their own adjustable bracket beneath the light. Just a thought, since I was cutting tiny strips of white electrical tape trying to come up with something lol.

You might want to check out the Ring app. Ring cams have adjustable sensitivity and zones. I have a Ring doorbell on order because I just can’t use my Blink facing the street unless I mount it very high, pointing down. All I get is the top of people’s heads! LOL

This is available on most models of foscam and amcrest cameras. These are a totally different platform/architecture but have the feature embedded in the camera.

Thanks for the info @MrCrumbs, @ronsec and @Mike_Nolet! I will definitely look more into it. I will also talk to our engineers and app. designers over the next few days to see if this is possible, and if it could be something integrated in the near future. We have received many feature requests, especially regarding ways to improve our app, so much of what we take on will depend on how much customer support we get for a particular feature, and the amount of resources we would have to devote to the project.

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This, if able to be successfully done, will be a huge deal. Support 150%.

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Hi all,

The ability to mask areas in camera view is very interesting to me as well. This would have to be done in the camera firmware, with features on both the app and the server to support it. I do know for a fact that we did some work on this much earlier in the product’s development, but other basic features and stability took over and became more important to getting to market.

Anyway, this could be huge in the area of cutting down on false alarms from things like wind blowing trees and bushes or your dog in the side yard jumping into the corner of the frame and triggering a motion alert every couple minutes. You know, stuff like that.

How about some ideas on how best to make this feature work from a user perspective? Have you used an interface to this feature in another product that worked well? How about one that didn’t work well? What did you like or not like. Do you have a novel thought on something that would make this easier or better?

I have used a couple of security camera products with a central DVR and web interface that had a terrible masking interface that consisted of a giant grid of tiny squares that had to be “colored in”

I’m talking like 5-10 minutes to get a mask set up, then lose it because the interface was completely counter-intuitive and I didn’t know how to save the filter. LOL.

Anyway, I’d love to hear what you all have for thoughts and experience on this one.

Thanks,
Chris

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Here’s an example, while this FedEx guy happened to be walking slow enough for me to pause at the exact moment he tripped the sensor, I wish I could’ve seen him earlier as he was walking up the driveway, or the vehicle parked at the end of the driveway. If this feature gets implimented I wouldn’t think twice before ordering AT LEAST 3 more cameras. A few friends & family members told me to let them know if I figured this out as well since their front porch/driveway/yard is the same layout, where they’d have to choose between cars setting it off, or only a short glimpse of a person walking up to the door. They are interested in buying cameras as well. Thanks!

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My experience with motion detection masking was also with Foscam cameras. By no means do I recommend their interface but the ability to mask out active areas in the FOV that you are not interested in would be a huge win for Blink.

Here is an example of a full FOV with no masking…

And then the same FOV with masking…

If you Google for “foscam motion detection masking” you can actually see the full interface and how it’s done on a per camera basis.

Something along the lines of being able to drag rectangles and/or freehand draw a selected area would be nice, but if the motion detection requires a grid of tiny squares anyway then I wouldn’t mind filling them in if needed.

I’m glad to see this feature would help others as well, looking forward to possible updates!

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@ronsec

You mentioned new mounts…do you have any details? The existing ones are a bit of a challenge. A stiffened ball joint or something similar would be great.

Someone from Blink mentioned on Facebook that they would be available end of this year. He did not give any other details. I’m anxious to find out myself!

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Hey @ronsec, and @SJMarty,

I do believe Blink is developing a new mount for our cameras, but I unfortunately do not know when those will be released, or the details of their design. By the end of 2017 does sound right, but I can’t confirm that just yet. I will ask around tomorrow and see if we have any more information regarding the new mounts! Stay tuned!

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Remember that Blink uses a PIR sensor for motion detection, not the camera feed itself. (Unless I completely misunderstand that.)

So it’s unlikely to be fixed with a firmware fix, but maybe some electrical tape over the PIR sensor (an actual, physical mask) could work. I’m planning to try that to mask off the road so the UPS truck driving by to deliver next door doesn’t set off my motion when I only care about MY packages…

For more info on how PIR sensors work, this is pretty good: https://learn.adafruit.com/pir-passive-infrared-proximity-motion-sensor/how-pirs-work

Hey @SJMarty, and @ronsec,

I am waiting on an official response regarding the potential mounts but in the meantime, I have a few questions about the mounts.

What type of mount exactly would be beneficial for you?

What function is not being performed by your current mount, that you would like a future one to do?

Are there other mounts out there that have a good design and function, that would also be useful for Blink?

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and others, on what would be best for you all! As we brainstorm new mount ideas, I would love to be able to share these with the rest of our team!

“What function is not being performed by your current mount, that you would like a future one to do?”

Currently, we can only spin it, or move it up or down. Being able to move it to the side as well would be great.

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@Ingo

Thanks for the link. I have to admit I did not know this. I should do more homework first. :slight_smile:

I suppose as long as I am just wishing, perhaps when the PIR is triggered, the camera can start buffering and then check the first frame against the user-defined mask. If it’s within the masked area, keep recording. If not, stop and discard the video.

It’s probably a lot more complicated than that to accomplish but it’s a thought.

In regards to the mounts… I really like Arlo’s solution with the magnetic ball which allows a high degree of movement. It’s not secure from tampering but either are Blink’s current mounts unless the cameras are mounted very high. This kind of solution would require retrofitting a magnet in Blink’s battery cover however

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