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HOWTO: Transfer MPEG-4 video clips by FTP when an Axis camera detects motion

A feature unique to the Axis 207 family of cameras is the ability to send full MPEG-4 video clips by email or upload them to an FTP server based on motion/audio detection, external sensor input or triggered manually.

There are very few cameras which support this, even higher-end Axis cameras do not support this feature making it a very much worth doing a guide for.

This guide is suitable for the following cameras:

Axis 207
Axis 207W
Axis 207MW

HOWTO:

We will assume that you have configured your camera and can connect to it to view a live image.

Setting up an event in any Axis camera is a multi-stage process.

1. Set the triggering method
2. Adding the event server details
3. Set up the event

Step 1 – Set event triggering method

The camera can accept four triggering methods: motion detection, audio detection, external sensor input (such as a window sensor or a doorbell) or it can be triggered manually using an on-screen button in the live image page.

For this guide we will be concentrating on motion detection so check the box that reads ‘Motion detection’ under the ‘Triggered by…’ heading.

Event configuration page in an Axis 207W
Event settings page in an Axis 207W (firmware version: 4.40)

When you check this you will see new options open below allowing you to select which window you want to detect motion in. The Axis 207 model of camera supports multi-window motion detection which means that you can set up to 10 unique windows which you can set events to trigger from.

Motion Detection Settings page in an Axis 207W
Motion detection settings in an Axis 207W (firmware version 4.40)

The default window is numbered as window [0] and includes the whole image. This can as the default option for alarm monitoring just fine.

However, in the image above we have added a detection window which concentrates on the door area and given it the name [1] DOOR ENTRY. This allows us to focus on activity around the door meaning our camera will trigger as soon as someone enters the room but it won’t trigger when someone is in the room standing outside the window.

In the following image you can see we have used the dropdown box to select our ‘DOOR ENTRY’ window for the purposes of the alarm trigger. We have also selected the box which makes our trigger start when motion is detected.

Event trigger configuration in an Axis 207W
Setting the event trigger in an Axis 207W (firmware version: 4.40)

Step 2 – Setting your FTP server details

Now that your triggering method has been set the next thing to configure is the action which the camera takes when the trigger is activated.

Before we do this however we like to set the FTP server details, which is done in a separate window.

To access the FTP server dialog check the box titled ‘Upload images/video’ under the ‘When Triggered…’ heading and make sure the method of upload is set to FTP. This will open up further options which we will discuss in Step 3. For now you should see a button titled ‘Primary FTP server settings…’. Click this to open the FTP server settings dialog as shown below.

FTP server dialog in an Axis 207W
Setting the FTP server details in an Axis 207W (firmware version: 4.40)

Enter the settings as below:

Name: The name isn’t really important, just use something to remind you of which FTP server you are using.

Network address: Enter the address for your FTP server here. This would be something like ‘ftp.myftpserver.com’ or you can also use the IP address if you know it.

Upload path: Enter the path where you would like to store the video clips on your FTP server. Examples would be ‘/’ to place it in the root or ‘/httpdocs/’ if storing on certain web servers.

Port number: The standard port number for FTP is 21. Only change this if you know your FTP server uses a different one.

User name: Enter the user name you use to log into your FTP server.

Password: Enter the password you use to log into your FTP server.

Passive mode: This setting is dependent on your FTP server and relates to the way the FTP server connects to the client. We don’t really need to go into too much detail, if you are unsure try it one way and if it doesn’t work try it the other.

Use a temporary file: This option is useful if you are overwriting the same FTP jpeg image. It’s optional when uploading video files.

The FTP dialog has a test button which you can use to test the connection. It will confirm if your settings are correct and is very useful.

Step 3 – Configure the event action

Now the server details have been set and tested it’s time to finish the action the camera performs once the event has been triggered.

You should already have ‘Upload images/video’ selected and have the method of upload set to FTP. To finish the event we need to configure the remaining options:

Setting the event action in an Axis 207W
Setting the event action in an Axis 207W (firmware version: 4.40)

File format: To upload video to an FTP server set this option to MPEG-4.

Include audio: Do you want your video to include audio? Obviously a video with audio will mean a larger file size.

Include a pre-trigger buffer: Contains video from the time immediately preceding the trigger, specified in seconds. Enter how many seconds you want to include and check the box to enable it.

Include a post-trigger buffer: Contains video from the time immediately after the trigger, specified in seconds. Enter how many seconds you want to include and check the box to enable it.

Base file name: This is the base filename you want to give to your video files. This filename will have additions if you are not overwriting such as a date/time stamp to make each file unique.

The next four options under the base file name give different suffix options. For this example please check ‘date/time suffix’

Click the ‘Save’ button to save your changes.

Finish

That’s all there is to it. Your camera’s event should now be running and every time motion is detected by your camera a video will be uploaded to your FTP server.

Frequently Asked Questions

The camera is not accepting my FTP details, what can I do?
First, double-check your FTP address, path, username and password. I would use different combinations for your Path value using leading slashes and trailing slashes etc. Next I would test your FTP settings using passive (PASV) mode on and off. Some FTP servers will need it on, some won’t. Also, if you are using a hostname for your FTP server address such as ‘ftp.myftpserver.com’ then you should check you are using correct DNS addresses in the camera. DNS servers deal with the translation of hostnames to IP address on the Internet. If you are not pointing to a valid DNS server then it won’t be able to translate the hostname and therefore won’t connect. Enter the setup pages of your camera and choose ‘TCP/IP’ in the menu on the left under the ‘Basic’ heading. At the bottom of the page there is a link to ‘Advanced TCP/IP settings’. Click this link and at the top of the page you can enter/confirm your DNS addresses. These will be provided to you by your service provider. If you don’t know them you can use your router/gateway address as the Primary DNS Server and let the router to the work for you.

My videos should be longer, they’re cutting off short, why is this happening?
Your pre-/post-triggers may be set larger than the camera can manage, the camera will cut the MPEG-4 video short if the file exceeds the permitted file size. If you suspect this is happening you can confirm this by checking the camera’log file as an entry will be added based on this error.

My videos work fine when uploading by FTP but they won’t appear when I send them by email?
Pre/post-buffers in the MPEG-4 format can result in very large file attachments that may be rejected by an email server. When setting up the event, it is recommended that pre/post-trigger buffers are set to just a few seconds. Once an email is recieved you can experiment with different values until you get the required result.

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