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I would like to set up several RPis to stream HD video through wi-fi to a central regular desktop computer that will store it. This will look very similar to a surveillance system, but in this case I am doing this for an animal behavior project.

I want to know if

  1. Is this possible?
  2. If yes, what would be the general broad setup that I would need (I don't need a step-by-step, just a broad approach on how to do this). I mean, hardware and software requirements on each end.
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  • Thanks. First time asking, I've done my homework on how to properly ask here. Hope I got it right! Commented Mar 1, 2020 at 22:26

2 Answers 2

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Is this possible?

Yes. There is a lot of surveillance system package on Raspbian but motion is the best one (as my experience). It has a simple stream web page and the key advantage is the configuration file.

You would install it and then on the server you can receive streams over HTTP/HTTPS then simply store them.


hardware and software requirements on each end?

By this link, install it and should check the config file. There is plenty of interesting options there. It's all the software requirements.

You can attach/plug PiCamera or whatever WebCam to the raspberry pi. Feel free on the hardware requirements.

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  • Thanks M.! And do you think that the hardware of the latest RPi is good enough to stream HD video? I mean at least 720p @60fps Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 15:58
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    @luisgonzalez Honestly, I have tested one HD camera streaming and it has worked without any problem (on a raspberry pi 3B). I think positive about buying Raspberry Pi 4 with 4GB of RAM will do it for you. Commented Mar 2, 2020 at 16:28
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I have something in operation that may be similar to what you are looking for.

I have a Raspberry that runs ffmpeg and captures RTSP stream videos from an IP camera. Saving in TS format in fragments that are sent via FTP to a remote server. In my case the images do not need to be transmitted immediately, so a cron script runs periodically uploading the videos. I am not allowed to run ffmpeg on the server, so I used Raspberry as an intermediary.

Ffmpeg is a powerful multimedia and multiplatform utility and if you can run it directly on the desktop server and the camera network is accessible from the server, you don't need the Raspberry. The server running ffmpeg fetches images from the camera, even on different networks, as long as it has permission to access. This solution has a low delay.

If I may have a word about cameras, there are some cheap cameras with a feature commercially called "star light" that allow great nighttime images in color even in low light. Thus, camera with RTSP support and "star light". I preferred to use one of these instead of the Raspberry camera module, because they are more resistant to the weather.

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  • Hey, that is a nice setup. About the video format. You are saying that although you saved the stream in TS format, if I use ffmpeg I could store it in, let's say, mp4? I need this for compatibility issues. About the camera, my main issue is not the low light, but the uneven patches of light and darkness. The potential camera must have 1) hd streaming capabilities and high frame rate (60 fps) 2) record in a compatible format 3) be easily changeable from one place to the other and 4) have HDR support. Commented Mar 3, 2020 at 17:56
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    Hello! Yes, ffmpeg is capable of capturing and saving MP4 videos. I wanted to share some experience I have with cameras, but I understand that your needs are more complex. My cameras have a maximum frame rate of 30fps and no HDR.
    – Passele
    Commented Mar 4, 2020 at 2:05

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