Tweaking the CCTV

Having run the CCTV for a while (and not trying to cover the legal issues today), I have been having some fun tweaking.

I am really liking the NX Witness system, but I have a mix of cameras, from dirt cheap to expensive. And the newest ones are really nice - very low level light still in colour and really good clear quality images.

The fun one is the front door. I doubt it is a prime target for burglary, being right on a busy road, and the camera is hidden up in the alcove over the door, so not even obvious it is there. The main use of this camera is for deliveries. To prove when they arrived, and by 24/7 recording, proving when they did not arrive. It is also to allow for parcels left on doorstep and being nicked, or parcels or letters I leave for collection by post man on the door step and being actually picked up by the post man and not someone else. I have used that before to prove postman did collect (long story, saved me a lot of hassle).

I have taken the opportunity to re-position all the cameras, trying to think where someone might jump over a gate or a wall, and ensure a good view. One of my current targets for cameras is showing if/when household waste was put out for collection and when the refuse truck drove off without collecting, as that has happened now 5 times in a row!

But back to the front door - it used to be a dome camera. The issue is it could not see down in to the doorway, so I have replaced with a pendant mount which allows facing down.

So now, with the down facing camera, I actually ended up thinking laterally and turning it 90 degrees. It nicely shows the door, gate, some of pavement, and, pretty well, the "delivery". The only tweak which I will do is raise it a bit to ensure a clearer focus on the parcels themselves.

Update: I ended up changing the type of camera, to one with better focus controls, but still mounting in the eaves facing down. I also managed to get it all turned around in nxwitness.

It also avoids catching too many passers by, or at least faces, which I don't need to record, so even though this should all be out of scope of GDPR, I may as well try and avoid recording.

In many ways it is amusing, and relieving, that the main use of the cameras is not related to crime at all, but proving to the council I put the bins out in time and proving they did not collect them, or that a delivery happened or not. These are more benign things but none the less useful.


Another aspect is the overlay text - I have all cameras showing time. All set to NTP. And I decided all set to UTC for sanity sake, as some will not do BST, some do and get it wrong, and some get it right. Easiest option is UTC, and then when savings images or video (as above image) is NX witness overlay local time to avoid any ambiguity. I also added fixed text to say "UTC" by the timestamps, again to avoid ambiguity. Timestamps are a pain, and UTC is one of the few ways to make sense of it, but helps a lot to state it is UTC!

P.S. Someone pointed out the council expect us to leave refuse "kerbside" which puzzled me.

(they ignored the question, saying to leave in the "usual place"!)

Update: to my surprise, after the 5 previous collections days being missed, they collected, yay! They then missed the next day, surprise surprise.

Update: After missing 7 of 8 collection days, we finally got a visit from a supervisor - he was happy with where we were putting rubbish, gave me his mobile number, co-ordinated with the teams and ensured collections. He then worked with us to co-ordinate a change of collection to a different schedule (matching the rest of our road) which was a lot easier for us (fewer bin days). Well done.


  1. Interesting re the waste collection, i’m surprised the council haven’t tried to say you haven’t put it at the kerbside. Obviously it’s pretty impossible to put it kerbside by the front door and expect it would get pushed into road. If they keep missing, try sorting it via assisted collection (unless you already have)


  2. I am not sure what "kerbside" means in this context. I assumed it had to be on my property and not on the public highway. I did not think one was allowed to obstruct the public highway. I may have to ask them to clarify. Which "side" of the "kerb" do they expect it to be? Blocking pedestrians or blocking cars?

    1. If the council are being thick (default position), the definition of "kerbside" is irrelevant. Here, I had a problem with missed collections from "the usual place". In the process I found that :-

      1) If it's on the end of my drive, my side of my boundary, on my land, "We can't take that, it's on private land"
      2) If I move it one bin's width forward, the public side of my boundary and on the pavement, "That's obstructing the footpath, please don't do that".
      3) If I move it more forward to the boundary between footpath and kerb, see 2) again.
      4) If I move it one more bin width forward, into the gutter, "that's obstructing the highway, which is an offence"

      In the end, after involving local MP, the crew were placed on "special measures" and had to be followed round by a manager to make them do their job.

      Definition of "usual place" and "kerbside" never resolved.

      Note that bins, once emptied, are strewn all over the place with no regard for anything or anyone. As you'd expect.

  3. My property has no land adjacent to the pavement or road. So to put my waste kerbside it has to be on either the public highway (kerbside) or one of my neighbours' private property (which I have no legal right to do). Fortunately it's never been a problem for me, but this demonstrates one of the issues with statements like "kerbside".

    I do know that if I don't put my bins adjacent to or on the public highway they don't get collected. The council states bin men will not cross private property to collect bins even when there are no fences and the distance is trivial.


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