Increasing alarm sensitivity

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Increasing alarm sensitivity

Post by clueo8 » Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:55 am

I've searched the forums for an answer and tried numerous combinations but can't seem to figure out what I need to do to increase the sensitivity on my zone so that it picks up more motion activity and records the event. I'm trying to record motion of my child in his crib at night to see how well he slept, but the motions coming from his crib are not triggering an alarm. The only time I really get an alarm triggered (and a saved event) is when my wife or I enter the room. I tried turning off the blob ALARM CHECK METHOD and tried the other 2 pixel methods but that hasn't helped. I tried both presets with "high sensitivity" but neither work out that well. I've tried creating a specific zone just on the crib, but that did not help. Possibly I did not configure it correctly? Can anyone help me set my sensitivity so high that it picks up the slightest movements in the crib? From reading the forums, it appears others have too many false alarms, but I can't get enough! Thanks in advance.

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Re: Increasing alarm sensitivity

Post by knight-of-ni » Tue Mar 10, 2015 2:44 pm

You should start by reading here if you have not already: ... _detection

Continue reading, by clicking on the "Defining Zonees" link. Yes, understanding all the values can be difficult. I recommend you bookmark this and refer back to it.

Every camera view is unique, which means we can only give you general advice. Specific answers are not always possible because they require experimentation on your part. We aren't in front of the camera so we can't see what you can see.

The posts you read about too many events are outdoor cameras. That is a completely diffetent scenario than what you have.

The key is to understand that ZoneMinder only "sees" changes in pixel color when comparing to the previous frame. It doesn't know anything about trees, shadows, people, the sun, babies, a "noisy" camera, etc. They all look the same to zoneminder.

Based on the requirements you have stated, I would start with the following settings:
Define a zone that covers the area of interest (or move the camera closer)
Units: Pixels
Alarm Check Method: AlarmedPixels
Min/Max Pixel Threshold: Leave at default for now
Min/max Alarmed Area: Start decreasing this number

Do not select a Preset.

You need to start decreasing the Min/Max alarmed area and determine works best. If you set it too sensitive, it will likely record all night long. Having a good camera will help here. Cheap cameras have very noisy night-time gain control, which manifests as particles on the screen. A better camera will have less noise. ZoneMinder sees this as motion so it is unlikely you will be able to set your alarmed area to just a few pixels.
Visit my blog for ZoneMinder related projects using the Raspberry Pi, Orange Pi, Odroid, and the ESP8266
All of these can be found at

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Joined: Tue Mar 10, 2015 10:47 am

Re: Increasing alarm sensitivity

Post by clueo8 » Wed Mar 11, 2015 11:27 am

Thanks for the reply. I am using a Foscam FI8910W which is an MPEG IP camera.

I was familiar with the Defining Zones page, but the "Min/Max" settings were not clear to me.

The thing I find interesting with your reply is that ZoneMinder only "sees" changes in pixel color. Of course, overnight, the room is dark and the camera is using IR night-vision, which is grey scale when viewing it. Could this be part of my problem?

I recently just tried changing the default "All" zone to just be the crib, as I read somewhere that this helps isolate an area as opposed to having the default "All" zone covering the entire image, and then defining a second zone for just the crib... This still did not pickup the small movements. I will attempt your suggested settings for tonight and see how it goes... He's been waking up a lot lately :cry: , so I should have a good test case.

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