iSentry

Instantly turn your computer with web camera into Internet-connected motion-sensing security system.

User Guide for iSentry Enterprise

Intro

Instantly turn your web camera enabled computer into an Internet-connected motion-sensing security system.

iSentry is a webcam security system for the Mac. Just launch iSentry, point your camera to the region you want to monitor, and prepare to receive a video or photo if any motion activity is detected. With a wide selection of settings, iSentry allows you to schedule the activation time, enable sound alerts and receive email notifications about the events occurring within the region specified.

Please email us at isentry@codeminders.com if you have any questions or suggestions.

Get Started

Immediately after launching the application, you will see the application window which will display a Security Zone with no cameras. To learn more about Security Zones and Cameras read the “Security Zones and Cameras” section.

Press the “Add Camera” button. You will see the Add New Camera dialog. Enter a new camera name in the “Name” field and select the desired camera source video device from the “Video Input” popup list.

After you add the camera it’s recommended that you adjust the motion detection sensitivity. Select the settings button in the upper right corner of the camera area to make any adjustments.

In the “Security Zones and Cameras” section, click on “Default Zone”. This drop down menu will display all associated camera devices. Drag the “Activation Threshold” slider to adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection algorithm. To learn more about this and other parameters that control motion detection, read the “Parameters Detection” section.

After you’ve experimented with sensitivity detection adjustments, you can configure the type of recording that you would like iSentry to perform. Select the settings button in the top right. You will see a “Video Devices” option. Here, you can select the resolution of photos/video, the type of recording (video or photo) and set other parameters. To learn more about video devices, read the “Video Devices” section.

The next step is to set up an upload folder where all recorded video/photos will be saved. Select the Settings button in the top right. Select the “Recording” tab. Press the “Browse…” button to select the desired folder to upload. To learn more about these and other parameters for recordings, read the “Recording” section.

After you’re done with configuring the settings, you can start the motion detection process on iSentry. In order to do that, press the “Start” button in the main window. You will see a countdown timer on the screen. After some time (the default is five seconds) the motion detection will start. When iSentry detects some movement on the field it starts playing an alarm, recording video/photo and sending email messages. All these actions are configurable. To learn more about these actions read the “Mail” and “Alarm” sections.

To stop motion detection press the Stop button. You can see the results in the Status window (Main Menu > Window > Status) and in the upload folder you’ve set up earlier.

These are the basics of how to use iSentry. There are many other settings and features available for use. Please read the documentation to learn how to use them.

Important Notes

iSentry will not be running while the computer is asleep. Make sure your computer is not set to go to sleep automatically in System Preferences > Energy Saver. However, iSentry will be running if your display goes to sleep. We would also like to warn users that the Power Nap feature does not allow execution of the third party apps (including iSentry) while your Mac is asleep.

Compatibility: OS X 10.7 or later

Security Zones and Cameras

The Security Zone is a logical concept to group several Securitycameras so that they can be manipulated as a whole. For example, you can create one Security Zone for cameras inside your house and other zones for cameras outside (e.g. for work and/or home).

The security camera is connected to one video device. You could have several cameras connected to the same device. You can also adjust the detection settings separately for every camera. This is especially useful when using the Detection Area Mask. The Detection Area Mask allows you to detect motion in different parts of a field from one Video Device.

In the image below, you can see how Security Zones and Cameras are represented in the main window UI. Also, the image shows available buttons and controls.

Every Security Zone has its own tab. You can switch between zones by pressing the tab buttons. In order to add a new Security Zone press “+” button in the tab bar at the top of the main window. You will see the Add New Zone dialog option, where you can choose a name for the zone.

In order to remove a zone, press the “x” button on the zone’s tab.

In order to change the name of the zone, open the “Security Zones and Cameras” window by selecting the green settings icon on the right side of the screen and selecting the zone name you would like to change from the outline on the left.

In order to add a new Security Camera to the new zone you have created (e.g. new zone tab), press the “Add Camera” button. You will see Add New Camera dialog, where you can choose a name for the camera (“Name” text field) and the video device that will be used as the camera input (“Video Input” popup list).

Here is a description of the controls available in the camera preview area.

(A) The Delete Camera button deletes the camera.

(B) The Camera Settings button will open the “Security Zones and Cameras” window with the current camera selected.

(C) The Edit Detection Area Mask button starts the detection mask editor.

(D) The Toggle Fullscreen button resizes the camera area to occupy the whole window.

(E) The Motion Detection indicator shows the current level of movement in the camera field. If this level is greater than the Sensitivity Threshold, then the square on the left will turn red.

To change the camera settings, open the “Security Zones and Cameras” window and select a camera from the outline on the left. Here, you can change the name of the camera (“Name” text field), select the video device (“Video Input” popup list), adjust the motion detection sensitivity and see the current motion levels (“Motion Activity” gauge and “Activation Threshold” slider).

Video Devices

There are two kind of cameras (or video devices) that are compatible with iSentry:

  • Webcams, USB cameras and built in cameras (iSight or FaceTime on Macs).
  • IP Cameras and cameras that are accessible via the network.

Webcams, USB cameras and built in cameras are automatically managed by iSentry. IP cameras have to be manually added and removed. There are also some features that are not available for IP cameras like changing the resolution and recording audio.

All video devices are configured in the Video Devices window. You can open this window from the main menu (Settings > Video Devices), status bar (Settings > Video Devices), iSentry Preferences window (“Video Devices”) and other places.

Webcams, USB cameras and built in cameras

Settings for the USB and built in cameras look like this:

You can change the name of the camera (“Name” text field). Other parameters are described in the “Recording” section.

IP Cameras

Settings for the IP cameras look like this:

You also can change the name of the camera (“Name” text field) and other parameters are described in “Recording section”.

In order to add a new IP Camera, press the “Add IP Camera” button. You will see the Add New IP Camera dialog, where you can specify all the necessary information about the camera.

Enter the name of the camera in the “Name” text field. This name will be displayed in “Video Input” popup list in the Security Camera settings. The “URL” (which is the address of the IP camera) is a mandatory field. Currently, iSentry Pro only supports MJPEG video transmitted over HTTP protocol. Therefore, in most cases the URL should have the following form: http://host:port/video.cgi. For example:

http://localhost:81/videostream.cgi

http://192.168.0.3/video/mjpg.cgi

If the port is not specified then 80 will be used as default port.

“User/Password” fields are mandatory in case the IP camera requires authentication.

You can later change the URL, name and other IP camera information by pressing on “Edit URL and Credentials” button.

In order to delete an IP Camera, select the camera from the left outline and press the “Delete IP Camera” button.

Motion Detection

How to Start Detection

You can start/stop motion detection manually or by using the Scheduling feature. There are several ways to start motion detection manually:

  • Press the “Start” button in main app screen
  • Press the “Controls” >”Start” menu item from the main menu
  • Press the “Start” menu item from status bar menu
  • Press the Command + R on your keyboard

To stop motion detection manually:

  • Press the “Stop” button in the main app screen
  • Press the “Controls” >”Stop” menu item from the main menu
  • Press the “Stop” menu item from the status bar menu
  • Press the Command + P on your keyboard

Hide From Dock

You can remove the iSentry icon from the Dock. Select the iSentry icon in the status bar and select “Hide From Dock”. To revert this action, select “Show In Dock”.

Start Delay option

“Start Delay” creates a delay between the pressing of the Start button and the arming of the alarm. This is useful for allowing you to leave the field of surveillance before the application starts (e.g. turning off the lights) without triggering the motion detection.

Status Window

Choose “Window” > “Status” in the main menu item or the “Status” status bar menu item to open the Status window. Here, you can monitor the significant events that occurred while the application is running.

Motion Detection Settings

Motion Detection Activation Threshold

“Sensitivity” is one of the most important settings. It is allows you to adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection algorithm. The detection threshold value must be large enough so that the program does not react to minor noises or slight changes in the monitored area but must be small enough not to miss any actual movements. To do this, you need to set up detection for every camera in “Security Zones and Cameras” window.

The “Motion Activity” gauge shows you the amount of movement detected in a scene. You need to note the value of “normal” background movement in the scene and move the threshold slider to be slightly to the right of this value. Any movement amount which goes past the slider will trigger the alarm.

In addition, take a look at the motion activity indicator at the bottom right corner of the camera preview area in the main screen. When motion activity is less than the threshold square on the right, then the square will turn green.

When some motion happens which is greater than the threshold, then this square will turn red.

Flicker Suppression

“Flicker Suppression” prevents spurious activations caused by sudden contrast changes due to the camera's automatic adjustments of exposition parameters. You can enable Flicker Suppression in Video Device settings.

Detection Area Mask

The “Detection Area Mask” allows you to disable motion detection in certain areas of the scene. In order to use this, you can paint over the areas that you are not interested in. The shaded areas will not be used by a motion detection algorithm.

There is a Detection Mask icon in the camera preview area on the main screen. When you press this icon, or select “Edit Detection Area Mask” from the context menu, the mask editor will start.

You can simply draw with your mouse or trackpad to create the mask. In order to erase some portions of the mask, you should draw holding down the Option key. You can adjust the size of the brush used to draw/erase the mask using the “Brush Size “.

You can manually save the mask to some file on your disk using the “Save Mask” button. Similarly, you can load the mask from the file using the “Load Mask” button.

When you’ve finished editing the mask, select the “Done Editing” button.

Recording

Recording settings are only applicable to Video Devices. So, if you have two Security Cameras connected to the same device, and they detect movement simultaneously, then recording happens only once.

You can select what type of recording will occur when movement is detected. Selecting “Photo Recording” will record what is happening with a sequence of photos while selecting “Video Recording ” will record a video.

If “Video Recording” is selected, you can enable sound recording for USB and built in cameras. Select “Record Sound” to toggle sound recording on or off. The application does not allow you to select audio input devices directly. However, you can go to System Preferences > Sound > Input tab and change the audio device there. Note that audio recording is not available for IP cameras.

If “Photo Recording” is selected, then the saved photos will be named something like “ImageN.jpeg” where N indicates the number of the photo in the sequence. Each photo will be labelled with the date that it was taken in the bottom right hand corner.

The “Frequency” setting allows you to select how rapidly photos will be taken. To capture the details of the scene being recorded it is recommended to set the Frequency to a minimum of 5 photo/1 sec. Setting a lower frequency is only advisable if you have limited disk space.

“Pre-Motion Recording” allows you to record the moments leading to the detection of movement. It is a set of photos recorded 5 seconds immediately preceding motion detection.

The “Resolution” setting allows you to adjust the resolution of the photos or videos being taken.

Note that increasing the resolution of the video or photo also increases the volume of data processed by the application. Setting the video or photo resolution too high may overload your computer and cause it to lag. This in turn may affect the quality of the photo or video or even lead to a partial loss of data. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a resolution based on your computer specifications. For example, if you have a 2.8 GHz Core 2 Duo processor and 2GB RAM, we do not recommend using more than 640×480 resolution. If your equipment is better than this setup but inferior in performance to a 2 GHz Intel Core i7 and 8GB RAM system, use resolutions up to 1280×720. If your equipment is more advanced you can use the highest resolution.

There is another more versatile method for determining the optimal resolution. This method consists of selecting a video or photo resolution at which the CPU load won't exceed 30%. You can determine the CPU usage with the application “Activity Monitor.app”, which is located in “/ Applications / Utilities “.

You can specify the upload folder where all recorded photos/videos will be saved

You can select any folder on your hard drive using the “Browse…” button. Files will appear in the selected folder immediately as they are recorded. The Documents folder of the current user is used by default. It is advisable to select a folder for the saved files that is synchronized with a cloud storage service such as iCloud Drive, Dropbox, Google Drive, etc. This way, your files will be saved locally on your computer as well as remotely with the cloud storage service.

When “Organise photos by date” is selected then all photos recorded for one motion detection event will be saved in a separate folder. The name of the folder will be the detection date.

When “organise by device” is selected then all videos and photos produced from the same Video Device will be saved in a separate folder. The name of the folder will be the device name.

Mail

You can control the electronic notifications sent by iSentry upon the detection of movement by the application. To do this, open the “iSentry Preferences” window and select “Mail” tab.

The “Use Mail Notification” checkbox can be used to activate or deactivate the notification function. The application uses its own mail server so all you need to input is the desired email address to which notifications will be sent.

In order to add an email address click the “To:” text field.

Email addresses have to be verified. So, after you’ve entered your email address in the “To:” text field, select the “Request Code” button. You’ll receive a verification code via this email address. Copy this code and paste it to the “Code” text field. Press the “Done” button. iSentry will check the code and you will be able to receive email notifications.

It is also possible to label the iSentry notifications in the text field labeled “Subject” and to input a custom message in the “Message” text area.

Tick the “Attach a Snapshot” checkbox to attach an image in which the motion was first detected to generated email messages.

Alarm

You can control the alarm sound played by iSentry upon the detection of movement by the application. This function can be useful to alarm a possible intruder and to alert you of an intrusion.

Open the “iSentry Preferences” window and select the “Alarm” tab.

Use the “Play Alarm Sound” checkbox to turn the alarm sound function on or off. The “Alarm Delay” popup list allows you to specify a delay between the movement detection and the initial alarm sound. “Alarm Volume” slider regulates the intensity of the volume of the alarm. Finally, you have the option of choosing from the list of different alarm melodies provided.

You can also select the custom alarm sound. Select “Use custom alarm sound” option and select the sound file with “Select File” button. You can check how selected file sound by using “Play/Stop” button.

Schedule

You can set up iSentry to automatically start motion detection during certain periods of time. This feature is called “Schedule”. Open “iSentry Preferences” window and select “Schedule” tab.

There are two types of schedules you can set: “Basic” allows you to set up repeating daily detection start and finish hours. For more control, you can use “Advanced Schedule” in which you can set up different times for different days of the week.

No Schedule

When this option is selected you will need to activate iSentry manually using the Start/Stop buttons. No scheduled motion detection will be automatically performed.

Basic Schedule

The motion detection will automatically start at the set time entered in the “Start Time” field and will finish at the time entered in the “Stop Time” field. This could be used to automatically activate iSentry while you are away, such as at your office during after hours. Please note that the application must be running for the scheduled motion detection process to take place.

Advanced Schedule

“Advanced Schedule” allows you to configure a more granular motion detection schedule. For example, the screenshot below sets the following schedule: motion will be detected on Mondays from 12am to midnight, Thursdays from 1am to midnight and Saturdays from 10am to 8pm.

Troubleshooting

How to reset iSentry settings

To reset configuration you should quit iSentry, then launch Terminal.app and enter this:

defaults delete com.codeminders.isentry.enterprise

What to do if you don’t receive email messages from iSentry

First of all, check if you’ve properly set up email notifications in Preferences > Mail. Also, make sure that you have received and entered the verification code for the email address entered.

As well, be sure to check your spam/junk folders.

Some email providers may block messages sent from our server (codeminders.com). In this case, please contact your email provider to remove codeminders.com from the black list. Or you can try using another provider (e.g. Gmail from Google).

How to connect to iSentry remotely and view video from cameras

Unfortunately, iSentry doesn’t provide support for streaming video for remote clients. However, you can connect to your Mac remotely using some third party software such as Apple Remote Desktop or TeamViewer.

As well, you can setup email notifications and select a destination for saved video/image files in a folder synchronized with a cloud storage service such as Dropbox, iCloud, Amazon Cloud Drive or Google Drive. Then, you start motion detection and when something happens, you will receive email notification and videos/images will be uploaded to the cloud. Also, you will be able to access these files on any device where you've installed cloud storage service software.

Please email us at isentry@codeminders.com if you have any other questions or suggestions.