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Writing Applications to access and control PTZ Cameras on a Local network

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I've installed some security cameras around my home, (due to vandalism at my home). I am not satisficed with the software available for controlling the camera and accessing and storing the videos captured. The software is only available for android phones and iphones. I want to be able to store the video captures on my PC. The current apps store it to the cloud. They are not automatically stores to the cloud. They are stored on micro-sd chips until I do my daily access to the camera; this means that if the cameras are stolen, I don't have a record of who stole the camera. The cameras do have an ip address for each on. Can anyone help me on this one.

Is "PTZ" a brand or are you using that for "pan-tilt-zoom"? If it is the latter I suggest editing the subject line in your ORIGINAL message to make it clear.

At the very least, you'll need to be explicit about the brand and model of camera that you've got. The overwhelming likelihood is that the cameras are locked to the specific "cloud" servers as part of their business model, and that sooner or later they'll ask you to pay for an enhanced (or any) service.

You might possibly be able to replace your local app with something more appropriate, but it's likely that the servers will only talk to the apps the manufacturer supplies "as a security feature".

I'd suggest that you start by doing an exhaustive search for that specific camera (Github, Sourceforge, Hackaday, eventually Google etc.) and possibly also capture the protocol using Wireshark or something similar: you'll need to work out how to hook that into a switch or router between the camera(s) and overall Internet. If it's been done even half-properly the data stream should be encrypted, but these things often have extremely poor security with exposed Telnet ports etc... nmap is your friend, as ever.

The bottom line though is that you're likely to have to "break into" each camera and make substantial changes to the firmware. Lots of people have followed this route with various cameras, after making similar ill-advised purchases.

As such this isn't really a Pascal program per se and this isn't the best place to ask, but please keep us informed of how you get on.


Do you have documentation about the control API of the camera?

If you don't have it then you should reverse engineer it from the network traffic between the control app an the cam. And it can be quite impossible, especially if there are some basic security measures taken (https).
That is certainly a question that should be researched prior to purchase.

Saving the video stream on a PC (assuming there is a such published) is possible, but you didn't tell where the PC is (local network?) and what OS it will run.

Edit: MarkMLl post overtook mine, but his point is the same...

It sound like the cameras itself don't store to the cloud, only with the app it is possible. This can be made the search easier.

Make a research in your home IP Range if you find the cameras with a tool like advanced-ipsanner. Try to get the MAC of the camera. With the mac-adress you can often identify the producer of the chipset. With this information look with google if someone have found the communiction parameters for the cam.

If the cam is a often used modell, you can be lucky to find a soloution.

Thinking about the point made by af0815, if the cameras can cope with SD-Cards being hot-swapped than it wouldn't be too difficult to implement something that (electrically) switched the card to be accessible to (say) an ESP32, which would allow the data to be recovered over local WiFi.

Apart from a bit of electronics and a custom PCB, the problem would then be reduced to working out the data storage format (which might or might not be one of the standard ones).



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