Connect Cameras to SAFR

SAFR supports USB and integrated cameras, which are always auto-detected. SAFR also supports the standard Open Network Video Interface Forum (ONVIF) camera auto-discovery protocol used by most IP cameras. When ONVIF discovery is enabled, IP cameras are also auto-detected. To connect an auto-detected camera, simply click on the Select Camera menu on Camera window.

In some cases, however, ONVIF discovery is disabled by default. (ONVIF is sometimes disabled by default for security reasons.) This makes the camera effectively invisible to SAFR and SAFR is unable to discover or communicate with the camera automatically. See the Manually Add and Configure IP Cameras section to see how to manually add such cameras.

Manually Add and Configure Cameras

  1. On the Desktop Client, click Tools > Preferences, then select the Camera tab.

  2. In the lower left corner, click +.

  3. In the Name field, enter a descriptive name for the camera.

  4. In the URL field, enter the RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol) URL to the live video feed of the camera or an RTSP server. For information on how to find the RTSP URL for your camera, see the Determine the IP Address and Streaming URL for the Camera section below.

After a camera is successfully connected, you can configure it. See camera preferences for more information on available options and how to use them.

Determine the IP Address and Streaming URL for the Camera

The IP addresses of many security cameras can’t be auto-discovered because their ONVIF has been disabled for security reasons. This makes the camera effectively invisible to SAFR and thus SAFR is unable to find and communicate with the camera automatically. For SAFR to discover and connect to a camera automatically, you must enable ONVIF.

If you already know the IP address for the camera, do the following:

  1. Connect to the camera from a web browser by typing the URL of the camera’s IP address (e.g. http://10.124.13.34).
  2. Find its streaming URL (starting with rtsp://). You need the streaming URL to enter when you add the camera to SAFR. The rtsp:// URL you enter into SAFR most likely includes the camera user ID and password.

The streaming URLs, while different for different camera manufacturers, tend to follow the same format for different camera models of the same manufacturer. The following table includes a few examples of camera streaming URLs for different camera manufacturers. To use them for your camera, match your camera make to an example listed in the table and enter the SAFR-provided streaming URL, replacing <username>, <password>, and <IP address> with actual values configured for your camera. Even if your camera model is not the same as the one listed, there is a good chance the streaming URL provided in the table works if your camera manufacturer is the same.

Camera Make Camera Model Example rtsp:// URL
Avigilon 5.0-H3-DO1-IR rtsp://<username>:<password>@<IP address>/defaultPrimary?streamType=u
Axis Q6128-E rtsp://<username>:<password>@<IP address>/axis-media/media.amp
Dahua HFW5421E-Z rtsp://<username>:<password>@<IP address>/cam/realmonitor?channel=1&subtype=0
HikVision DS-2CD4185F-IZ rtsp://<username>:<password>@<IP address>/h264
Mobotix M26 rtsp://<username>:<password>@<IP address>/mobotix.h264
Panasonic WV-SFV781L rtsp://<username>:<password>@<IP address>/MediaInput/h264/stream_1
Samsung SND-L6013R rtsp://<username>:<password>@<IP address>/onvif/profile2/media.smp
Sony SNC-VM772R rtsp://<username>:<password>@<IP address>/video1

If your camera make isn’t listed above, you can do the following to find your camera’s RTSP URL:

  1. Execute the following Google search: <Your Camera Make> RTSP URL iSpy (e.g. Ubiquiti RTSP URL iSpy)
  2. Go to the returned ispyconnect.com address for your camera.
  3. Scroll down & click on your camera’s model to generate the RTSP URL for your camera.

URLs With Unusual Characters

Sometimes when the rtsp:// URL contains unusual characters (e.g. ^), you’ll get an error when you try to enter the URL to connect to the camera. To resolve the error, do the following:

  1. Go to https://www.urlencoder.org/.
  2. Copy the problematic URL into the grey Encode to URL-encoded format box at the top of the page.
  3. Accept the default Destination character set. (i.e. UTF-8)
  4. Press the Encode button.
  5. Use the encoded URL that appears in the grey box below the Encode button to connect to the camera.

Here is a video that demonstrates how to do this: URL_Encoding.mp4

Save Your Camera Configuration

After you complete your manual camera connection, we recommend that you export and save the created camera connection configurations. Although your configurations are automatically stored in the Desktop Client, they cannot be shared with other SAFR components that are installed on different computers unless you export the camera configurations. Exporting your camera connection configurations makes your setup work shareable to other SAFR components and preserves it in case the Desktop Client is re-installed later on different hardware.

To export your camera configurations, do the following:

  1. In the Desktop Client menu, click Tools > Preferences and select the Camera tab.
  2. In the lower left corner, click the gear icon.
  3. Click Export Configurations.
  4. Specify the file name and location where the configurations are to be saved.

Note: Your camera connection configurations are saved in a file with an .acc extension. This file may contain your camera access credentials, so save it in a secure location.

To import camera configurations, do the following:

  1. In the Desktop Client menu, click Tools > Preferences and select the Camera tab.
  2. In the lower left corner, click the gear icon.
  3. Click Import Configurations.
  4. Specify the file name and location where the configurations are located.

Interaction of Auto-detected and Manually Configured Cameras

Auto-detected camera configurations and manually entered camera configurations may exist for the same camera. This situation does not cause a conflict. Each configuration can be separately selected; you can choose a method of connection when selecting a camera from the feed window.

Your exported camera connection configurations include only manually configured cameras. Auto-detected camera configurations are dynamic and are discovered by the SAFR client at start and when Camera Preferences are opened. Because auto-discovered cameras are dynamically discovered, they may not appear for a few seconds after the application starts, so make sure to wait several seconds to give the discovery process time to complete.

Delete a Camera Configuration

To delete a camera configuration, do the following:

  1. In the Desktop Client menu, click Tools > Preferences and select the Camera tab.
  2. In the left hand field select the camera you want to delete.
  3. In the lower left corner, click -.

Note: Auto-detected camera configurations cannot be deleted. They are dynamically discovered.

See Also