True meaning of motion detection off

A few of our users have pondered the motion detection settings and how they work.  Let’s try to remove some of the mystery. There are two controls for this under your camera settings. Motion detection on or off, and a sensitivity setting which you can see here:

Two controls for motion detection

The standard way to add a camera to is to have the camera push images to our servers at a frame per second. On our side, we will then run a motion detection algorithm and save the images when we detect motion.  This means that when you look at the previous days or months, you’ll see only the images where we save motion.  (Actually, we’ll save at least one image per hour regardless of motion, so the daily views look nice.)  This also means that if you watch the live view, you’ll see a live video stream at whatever rate your camera is using to send us frames.If the camera view on is showing lots of images per hour, then it is probably saving too much motion.  You can reduce the sensitivity of the motion detection on the camera settings page and we’ll save fewer images.  Most cameras work well with a setting between 3 and 5.  If your camera is set to 5 and you’re seeing too many images per hour, then try lowering it to 3.

If you turn motion detection off, then we will store all the images that your camera sends us.  This is probably a bad idea unless you are using your camera’s built in motion detection.  Many cameras have the ability to do the motion detection in the camera hardware.  If you choose to use your camera’s motion detection, then, and only then, you can turn off the motion detection.  By the way, if you turn off motion detection, then the motion detection sensitivity is ignored.

More is NOT Better: It’s much better to have save the interesting bits from your camera so you can quickly review anything interesting, rather than have us save a ton of video with nothing happening.   There is also another catch, we do have limits to how much we save.  Currently that’s 600 images per hour.  This means that if you turn off motion detection and send us a frame per second, we’ll stop recording after 600 seconds, or 10 minutes.  You’ll then miss out on any interesting things that happen after those 10 minutes of recording has been exhausted.  More on tuning motion detection here.

Live View not Impacted: For the live view on, we simply repeat the images that your camera sends to us.  This means that when a camera sends us 1 frame per second, we’ll send out a frame per second to anyone watching it live.  This is independent of whether or not motion detection is turned on and regardless of the sensitivity settings for motion detection.