Well, not literal ghosts, but blank spots. It seems we may be facing our first serious bandwidth issues with 28 cameras installed and plenty of summer visitors. Whatever the reason, we’re getting hiccups in our getalongs – cameras are randomly freezing for a few seconds to several minutes each, losing connection with the system, and generally not behaving correctly.

Today, for example, we were collecting images of ourselves from both the video cameras and a still digital camera for comparison of performance for facial recognition. As Harrison, Mark, and Diana moved from right to left along our touch tanks, only one of three close-up “interaction” cameras that they stopped at actually picked them up. It’s not a case of them actually moving elsewhere, because we see them on the overhead “establishment” cameras. It’s not a case of the cameras not recording due to motion sensing issues (we think), because in one of the two missing shots, there was a family interacting with the touch tank for a few minutes before the staff trio came up behind them.

This morning I also discovered a lot of footage missing from today’s feeds, from cameras that I swear I saw on earlier. I’ve been sitting at the monitoring station pulling clips for upcoming presentations and for the facial recognition testing, and I see the latest footage of some of the octopus tank cameras showing as dimly lit 5 a.m. footage. It’s not a problem with synchronization, either (I think): the corresponding bar image on the viewer that shows a simple map of recording times across multiple cameras shows blanks for those times, when I was watching families on them earlier today. However, when I look at it now, hours later, there don’t seem to be nearly as big of gaps as I saw this morning, meaning this mornings viewing while recording might have just delayed playback for some of the recent-but-not-most-immediately-recent footage at that time, but the system cached it and caught up later.

Is it because some of the cameras are network-powered and some are plugged in? Is it because the motion sensitivity is light-sensitive, wherein some cameras that have too much light have a harder time sensing motion, or the motion sensitivity is based on depth-of-field and the action we want is too far afield? Maybe it’s a combination of trying to view footage while it’s being recorded and bandwidth issues and motion-sensitivity issues, but it ain’t pretty.

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