How Do I Deal With Changing Camera Names On Portable Vmses?

Let's say I have a portable VMS. For instance, I am a police officer and I use a system for covert or field monitoring. One day I am on the South side looking at a pizzeria. The next day I am monitoring a suspected meth lab on the North side. Day after, another spot, etc.

I want a way to look up cameras based on the name of the location I was at. The problem is VMSes / recorders typically treat a camera name constant because the camera is assumed to be in a single place. If I name it Pizzeria front door, that works for day 1 but then on day 2 the same camera / input is looking at a meth lab, etc.

Any VMSes or any techniques to handle something like this. Btw, this is not an abstract question. There is a real request for such capability.

Does each location has server or log in directly to camera ?

The server and cameras get moved. Think of it as a kit. For example, the kit goes to Bensonhurst today, Bay Ridge tomorrow, Bushwick Wednesday, Canarsie Thursday, etc. On Friday, the investigator needs to search through the video and wants to easily be able to pull up the Bensonhurst footage without having to figure out what date that was on, etc.

Every day u create Bookmark with location name

so u have "Bay" ,"Canarsie" and so on....

Agree ?

[IPVM Editor's Note: Remove reference to specific manufacturer as bookmarking is a widely available feature]

Alex, that sounds good for the overall stakeout assignment, but do these bookmarks allow renaming the individual camera views, i.e. pizzaria front door or meth lab dealer lounge?

Can you restrict analytics / searches to stay inside the confines of a bookmark?

And if you do rename the cameras do you lose the historical association with the old camera names/video?

John, common sense, not to mention rules of evidence, would seem to suggest that a stronger segregation mechanicism be implemented than just bending pages.

Fooling around with ONSSI a little (I know, I'm sorry), it seems that you could configure an empty project with all inputs and generic labels that you would copy when you needed a new clean project. You just create a new config directory that points to new mount points for the videodata.

The process is easily automated via basic scripting.

Of course the server would have to be down when you run the scripts and there would be no easy way to search across projects without re-merging the filesystem, which could be a hassle if you need to switch between several projects every couple minutes.

I don't believe there are any licensing issues (best to check, tho) since there are no new cameras and only one instance of the server is running.

What VMS is the 'real requestor' using?


He's open to a new VMS that works best for this application.

Alex, that sounds good for the overall stakeout assignment, but do these bookmarks allow renaming the individual camera views,

i.e. pizzaria front door or meth lab dealer lounge? Yes

Can you restrict analytics / searches to stay inside the confines of a bookmark? Yes

And if you do rename the cameras do you lose the historical association with the old camera names/video? NO

I've heard of this scenario being dealt with via backup of recordings to a removable drive. For cameras or recorders with SD card or USB drive capability, video is recorded to a device, and then the device is removed/labeled/stored.

This seems easiest - and this style of cataloging audio and video data has worked well over many decades (think labeling VHS/audio cassette tapes).

Is is my long-standing policy to always choose 'easiest' when I find that description used in the same sentence as the phrase 'has worked well'...

Why bother with a 'traditional' VMS at all for this application? IMO, it would introduce difficulties that are not necessary for cataloging and maintaining evidence files in the stated scenario...

If the camera and VMS get moved around physically than I would assume that the ip address of the camera also changes. In this case, the old ip address/name combination would be "unassigned/deactivated" at the pizzeria, hence keeping the recordings associated (Most VMSes save recordings into files using the camera name/ip address/date/time naming convention).

So essentially I would set it up this way for most VMSes:

In the VMS set up 2 camera records:

1. Methlab-<IP Address> be sure to capture a static ip address for the given location if you return there often.

2. Pizzaria-<IP address> capture new static ip address for this network.


Upon arrival to Pizzaria- add "unassigned" camera 2 to server and start using/recording.

Arriving at Methlab: unassign Pizzaria (which should not work in this location) and reassign/readd (in some VMSes its called "enable") to server camera 1.

Does it make sense?

I was under the impression that this was going to be some sort of laptop all-in-one kit with a poe switch/access point and 4 wireless (battery powered?) and/or wired cameras, with assigned/leased permanent private addresses.

why would the ips change?

right now i like alex's bookmarks idea alot, hopefully i can play around with it today...


hmm...What network is this mobile setup connected to? cellular?

Also, another idea: what about having two cell phones and using VMS mobile apps to capture video and then "push it" to the VMS? e.g. Milestone and Genetec (and a few others) offer this video push from any mobile device. However, it does require a camera license (hence the reason I said two mobile devices) to use it.

Now, this begs the question: when you say he moves from location to location and monitors it can you elaborate on the use case?

1. Equipment and network connectivity (Dearing's question)

2. Monitoring to what extent? A mobile device would likely not be sensible if it's long period of times, or in case long range Optical Zoom is needed, etc.

Stepping out from behind the curtain...

Answers to some of these questions:

The CCTV system is connected via a local wifi network.

HD PTZ and Static ip cameras are used.

Typical setup is 25 cameras on site for 36 hours.

Each 36 hour project is treated seperately so there would be no need for merging projects.

We are currently using Exacqvision. So when you change the camera name on the next project you lose the connection of the current camera name, replaced by the new name. So when you playback footage, the camera name is enbedded in the video, but that does nothing for us when wanting to seach by original camera name.

Chris - I'm very interested in your notes about ONSSI (doh!)

You will have no problem with A..... and bookmarks

You can change camera name and u will not loose connection to camera.

The only problem you will have to ask John what software I am talking about if u interested :)

Apparently I can not say, but He can.

Last time I experience that style of forum moderating when I was in Communist country :)

FYI: re: Alex K's suggestion of bookmarking, Sarit just published this report.


Greg steps out from behind the curtain as the celebrated Mr K escapes from behind an iron one!

Greg, what I did was quite trivial:

Starting with brand new install of NetDvr 6

Add camera licenses and default generic camera names, framerates etc.

Shutdown recording server service.

Copied the Srv2 configuration out of the program directory and name it default.cfg

Started recording service.

Modified camera names, storage locations, attributes etc.

Recorded random.

Shutdown recording service.

Copied Srv2.cfg to pizzeria.cfg

Copied default.cfg to Srv2.cfg

Restarted service.

Setup 'BackAlley' cams and parameters.

Recorded random.

Shutdown service and swapped config files and verified that all worked correctly.

One way to automate the whole process would be to swap the cfg based on login.

i.e. if the login changed chaned swap the files and restart the service. That way each project could have its own password...

you could also add an option to dupe and modify the existing project sans video if helpful.

Sadly though I downloaded milestones latest and greatest and they seem to be SQL based. While still doable it's a lot more work.