How-to: Eliminate false motion detection alerts on your Hikvision IP camera or NVR

I have been running my DIY home security camera system with a slew of Hikvison cameras such as the DS-2CD2042WD-I for a couple of years now. The biggest challenge I faced when I set up my system was the incessant false alerts shot off by the cameras whenever leaves moved because of the wind or the sun played hide and seek with the clouds throwing shadows here and there.

But I soon discovered a few tricks to stop almost all false alerts using Hikvision’s built-in smart events. In this tutorial, I will show you how to set them up properly.


What’s wrong with basic motion detection?

When you are just starting out the ‘basic event’ feature provided by Hikvision may seem to be sufficient. After all it lets you set the sensitivity level right? And on ‘expert mode’ you can set different settings for day time and nigh time and even the size of the object to be detected right?

Basic Event - How to eliminate false motion detection alerts on your Hikvision IP camera or NVR - VueVille

I tried the Expert mode of the ‘Basic Event’ motion detection – still got tons of false alerts

Well the basic motion detection event is just that, basic. You can draw an area to monitor and set the sensitivity, and even set different sensitivities for day or night, but you got to remember that all the camera does is use a software algorithm to compare every frame to the previous one and see what has changed. The same settings that worked during the day won’t work and if you explored the ‘expert mode’ of the ‘basic event’, you may have figured out that you could reduce the sensitivity just during the night. But you know what? Even this degree of control and crafty zone drawing skills aren’t going to help in reality. You are still going to get tons of false alerts whenever a fly or insect wanders into the path of your camera’s onboard IR lamps.

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So what’s the solution?

Let me show you how I have virtually eliminated false alerts from my Hikvision cameras while not missing a single important motion event that I need to be alerted to: Use Advanced Motion Detection events (Hikvision calls this Smart Events) such as Intrusion Detection and Line Crossing Detection.

Before we proceed, since most modern browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Microsoft Edge stopped supporting the NPAPI plugin that Hikvision relies on, I recommend the Pale Moon browser which will let you access your Hikvision settings page.

Most Hikvision NVRs support these smart events, so you could use the techniques I describe below to achieve the same amazing results.

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Intrusion Detection

The idea behind intrusion detection is that a real intruder would move towards and enter specific areas in your scene. Let’s look at an example below from my front door camera, a DS-2CD2542FWD-IWS.

I only need an email notification from the camera when a person is at the door. When I tried using the basic motion detection event, shadows of clouds passing by would keep triggering the event and send me false positives.

Intrusion Detection - How to eliminate false motion detection alerts on your Hikvision IP camera or NVR - VueVille

So what did I do? I needed to define 4 different parameters: the detection area itself, the dwell time in seconds (threshold), sensitivity, and the size of the object defined as a percentage of the total detection area. Whew, that sounds complicated right? How are you supposed to figure out all these things? Chill, I found an easy way of doing this.

I had the basic event defined for a few days and this gave me a large collection of motion triggered recordings from this camera. I separated these into two categories – the ones with people in them and the ones that were false positives.

I first looked at the genuine alerts, the ones that were triggered by people, to see what they did and where they stood in the scene. Watching closely where they stood and how they approached the door helped me define the smallest area I needed to draw. This is in the yellow box marked as area 1 (#1#) in the screenshot above. Visually judging how large the area occupied by the person in the scene compared to the yellow boxed area gave me a rough percentage value to use. If you set the percentage too low, you are going to get alerts of animals like cats too. Unless you want to see which of your neighbours’ pet cats is leaving a gift package at your door, don’t set this too low!

Then I looked at the motion triggered clips that did not have people in them told me that most of the false alerts were triggered by insects and headlights that crossed the scene very quickly (less than 1 sec). So that gave me the threshold.

That leaves one more setting to define – sensitivity. This is probably the toughest one as its not something you can calculate – you just got to use good ol’ trial and error here. 30 is what I recommend as a starting point.

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Line Crossing Detection

Okay so if intrusion detection is so great, why do we need another smart event type? Well there may occur situations where a person (read perpetrator) darts into your camera’s scene, does the deed and runs away quicker in less than your dwell period or ‘threshold’ setting. Like when a kid decides to ring your bell and run away. Intrusion detection is going to fail here. That’s where line crossing detection comes in.

Not only can you define the direction in which the object (perp) needs to enter your scene to trigger the alert, but you can also specify the sensitivity. When you get really specific with your motion detection types, what happens is that you are defining a narrow set of conditions that need to be satisfied to trigger an alert. That’s why the line crossing alert works so well.

Line Crossing Detection - How to eliminate false motion detection alerts on your Hikvision IP camera or NVR - VueVille

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Conclusion

Using a combination of advanced motion detection events such as intrusion detection and line crossing detection is very powerful and will drastically cut down, if not eliminate the plague of false alerts from your Hikvision cameras or NVR.

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21 Comments
  1. your description on your settings provided me assistance to avoid my three outdoor cats constantly setting off the motion sensor. i know when summer comes it will be more adjustments for spiders and moths..thanks much man !

  2. What products did you use and is this the free version of software ? Secondly can I somehow get alerts on my mobile if I am away from home ? Any info in this regard will be really helpful for me.

    • Just a Hikvision camera – it has an on-board NVR that can record to a network drive, on-board SD card or an FTP server. You don’t need any additional hardware or software the camera does it all. Yes you can get alerts on your phone when you are away from home – most cameras can do it in a plug and play manner or you can run your own VPN server at home for maximum security.

  3. What about non-Hik NVR’s, my Synology NVR is full of false positives…
    And, with the recent firmwares, I find that all my newer Hik cameras now record for 2 1/2 minutes regardless… Nightmare!

  4. Do you know why some of my cameras support this feature and some of them don’t, even though they are the exact same cameras? I get “The camera does not support the function” on all but channel 1 and channel 2 on my HikVision. Great article, thanks!

  5. I’ve recently installed three Hikvision mini dome cameras outside my home and have been losing the will to live trying to set up the motion detection! Thank you so much for this info, I’m now getting some good results with your advice.

  6. Nice article; thanks!

    One thing that confuses me: as soon as you enable the Smart event, then you can completely forget (and disable) the Basic events?

    Or is it a matter of using them both: is the Smart event a kind of addition for the Basic event?

    • Its up to you – if you leave both basic and smart enabled both type of events will fire. This is desirable in some cases – my QNAP NAS Surveillance Station responds only to the basic motion triggers so I keep this enabled. I still like the camera to record smart event motion detection clips to the onboard SD card so I keep the smart events also enabled.

  7. Thanks for the guide. How do you enable the smart event option?

    • Login to your camera admin page, then navigate to Configuration and look for something like “Smart Event” under Events. Hikvision keeps renaming this so just look for “Line crossing” and “Intrusion Detection”.

      • Thanks for the answer. But the admin camera page just has the Basic Event. So I thought there is a way to activate the Smart Event option. Maybe it depends of the camera model?
        Thanks again

        • Yes it does depend on the camera model. In my older Hikvisions, I need to go to Configuration > Advanced Configuration > Events to find the line crossing and intrusion detection options. What model is your camera?

  8. Thanks for your help.
    I configured the smart event and it’s ok. I also want to record them.
    The solution I found, enable the “basic event” without linkage method. Enable the “smart event” with the linkage allerte
    In the end all events are recorded and alerts only for smart events. An idea to record only smart events
    Sory for my bad english
    Thak you
    Jack

  9. Hello Daniel!
    Very good info here! I too am plagued with false alarms do to bugs flying around the camera. I’m still fine tuning some of the settings with intrusion detection. My question is the sensitive setting in the intrusion detection page. I’m confused by it, is the higher the number the more sensitive or reverse? I understand percentage just fine. Also threshold, what is that equal too, seconds? I only have 0 – 1 – 2.

    Thanks for ANY help!!

    Mike

  10. Hi all,
    just a simple question.
    Is the line crossing detecion a function of the camera or a NVR function?

    Thank you

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