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HOWTO: Adjust Motion Detection Settings in an Axis IP Camera

June 30th, 2008 by Greg Innes

Axis 207W motion detection graphThe majority of IP cameras available today support a feature known as ‘Motion Detection’ or ‘Video Motion Detection’ (VMD). This is a very useful feature for security applications as it will detect when something has moved in a scene and can notify the user in a number of ways including email or activating external alarms or lights etc.

Sometimes though you might find that it triggers when there is very little movement or it triggers when other objects move in the scene such as traffic or plant-life outside a visible window or pets indoors.

Fortunately most IP cameras come with ways to help reduce the number of false alarms such as masking, multi-window detection or sensitivity settings.

What this guide will show is various ways we can configure motion detection in an Axis camera.

This guide will be suitable for all Axis IP camera models with the exception of the Axis 206.

HOWTO:

Step 1 – Accessing the Motion Detection Settings
Axis 207W setup page
Axis 207W Setup Pages (firmware version: 4.40)

From the menu on the left select the ‘Event Configuration’ option. This will expand a new set of menu options below:

Axis 207W event menu expanded

From the menu select the ‘Motion Detection’ option to access the motion detection settings. You should see a page similar to the one shown below:

Axis 207W motion detection settings
Axis 207W – Motion Detection Settings (firmware version: 4.40)

Step 2 – Setting Multi-Window Motion Detection

An Axis camera supports multi-window motion detection allowing you to set up motion detection events in specific areas of the overall image. This allows you to set up complex alarm management rules which can cover doorways, windows, valuable belongings etc. This is also more efficient and quicker than using the entire scene as your motion detection zone as the camera only needs to detect motion on the smaller area and not the full image. Note: if no windows are configured then the camera will not be able to use it’s motion detection features at all.

Select the ‘Add Window’ button at the top right hand side of the page to add a new motion detection window. The window will be added at a set position and size as shown below (up to 10 windows can be added at any one time):

Axis 207W motion detection window
Axis 207W – Example motion detection window (firmware version: 4.40)

This default window can be repositioned, resized and renamed.

By using the mouse you can move the window by dragging the title bar to your desired position on screen.

The window can be re-sized by using the mouse and dragging the window from the bottom left or right hand side until it matches your required window-size.

By re-sizing and re-positioning our window we will set it up over the door to cover the entrance to the room as shown below:

Axis 207W motion detection window
Axis 207W – Example motion detection window (firmware version: 4.40)

Futher settings can be applied to each individual window. To apply these first click on the title bar of the window to select it and you will see further settings on the right hand side of the page:

Axis 207W window settings

Tabs: At the top of the settings there is a small tab that reads ’0′. This signifies that the default window we have placed on the page is window zero. When you place more windows on the screen (up to a maximum of 10) these will be numbered 0-9 respectively and each window has it’s own unique settings which can be accessed by selecting it’s numbered tab.

Include/Exclude: An include window is a standard window where motion will be detected. An exclude window is a mask which we will look at in step 3.

Name: Under the include/exclude options is a textbox which allows you to name your window. If you add a meaningful name to your windows it will make it easier later when using your windows to set up events. We are going to call ours ‘door entry’ as it will cover our door.

Object Size/History/Sensitivity: These settings adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection routines. We will discuss these in more detail in step 2.

View All Windows/View Selected Window: These are simply viewing controls which affect how the windows are displayed on the interface, ideal if you have a large number of windows configured and want to display the selected window only.

Our newly named window:

Axis 207W named motion detection window
Axis 207W – Motion Detection Window with Custom Name (firmware version: 4.40)

Step 2 – Sensitivity Adjustment

The sensitivity of the detection routine can adjusted to suit if you feel that the camera registers too many triggers. This helps reduce the number of false alarms made by the camera.

There are three settings that can be adjusted: Object Size, History and Sensitivity.

Object Size: Detects object size relative to region size. If set to a high level will only detect very large objects in the window. If set to a low-level it will detect small objects as well as large.

History: This is the objects memory length. At a high history level, an object that appears in the region will trigger motion detection for a long time before it is considered a non-moving part of the image. At a low history level an object that appears in the region will trigger motion detection for only a very short period. It will then be considered a non-moving object in the image.

Sensitivity: Detects difference in luminance (or the perceived brightness of color from the image or the contrast difference between the object and the background). At it’s highest level ordinary colored objects on ordinary backgrounds will trigger a response. At it’s lowest level only very bright objects on a dark background will trigger motion detection.

At the bottom of these settings is a graph which gives a graphical representation of the motion detection status:

Axis 207W motion detection graph

When the peaks go over the object size line (black horizontal line) they turn red a register a positive detection. This helps when adjusting your motion detection settings.

Step 3 – Masking

It is also possible to mask out unwanted areas of an image from motion detection calculations. This allows areas with constant movement such as an office fan, or trees moving in the wind through an open window etc. to not trigger any motion.

You set a masked window in the same way as our motion detection window above but instead of selecting ‘include’ (which creates a motion detection window) you select ‘exclude’ to select a mask window.

You can then position the mask over any active window and any movement within the masked area will be excluded from any motion detection calculations.

In our example we have masked the windowed area over the door so that people passing in the corridor won’t trigger our alarm but our alarm will trigger if the door is opened:

Axis 207W motion detection mask

Finish

So by combining the use of multiple detection windows, masked areas and sensitivity adjustment you can effectively reduce the number of false alarms made by the camera.

If you have any questions, comments or feedback please leave them below.

6 Responses to “HOWTO: Adjust Motion Detection Settings in an Axis IP Camera”

  1. Mike says:

    Hi, i need to have a door trigger/ switch than works instead of a movement trigger. I bought a reed switch and wire but this does not work at all Any ideas? i’ve no clue and can’t find the info ! cheers !

  2. Greg Innes says:

    All the information about the I/O terminal is in the user manual under the section “The I/O Terminal Connector”. It’s around page 37-38.

  3. Sip says:

    This is all fine and dandy but how does one select a group of windows to associate with an event? There doesn’t seem to be any way to do this … at least not in the 4.44.2 firmware of 207W.

  4. Greg Innes says:

    @Sip:

    It would be 1 event per window or create one large window to encompass the group and base an event on that.

  5. Serban says:

    Hello, I have a question for you guys. I have several Axis cameras (207MW and M1104) and I use a VioStor QNAP 8040 as NVR. I would like to record based on motion detection and ran into some problems. The NVR is based on camera motion detection which trigers an event by FTP to the NVR which then records the video. I got this working just fine, my problem is with large production areas where there is a lot of almost constant movement. Initially, the camera triggers motion but after a minute or so sends a motion stop to the NVR, despite the fact that there is a high motion level in the image (the histogram on Axis is constant above the object size detection line). How do I setup or fine tune things in such a way that I will record for as long as there is movement in the image (even if it means constant recording for hours)? Thanks.

  6. Simon Johns says:

    Hi,

    Great article but I have been struggling to configure my set up and wonder if you can help. I have an Axis M1104 network camera and am trying to link this to Surveillance Station Pro software that is running on my QNAP NAS. The software takes the alerts sent by the camera and records the transmitted video, hopefully capturing the cause of the alert. The problem is that the camera does not seem to be sending these motion alerts to the NAS, thus triggering the video capture?

    I have noticed that on the Axis camera is an events section where you can set up rules that will send notifications based on movement detection alerts. Please can you provide some information on how this works.

    Kind Regards

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