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The NW blog

Axis improves Zipstream with dynamic frame rate

August 24th, 2016 by Paul Sandford

Zipstream with dynamic frame rate - everything you need with LESS of what you don'tZipstream has been around for a year now. In that time it’s already proven itself as a game-changing technology, able to lower bandwidth and storage requirements by an average of 50% or more without sacrificing important details.

Development has continued and earlier this year Axis enhanced Zipstream so it could adapt to PTZ camera movements. Now, just when you may have wondered if could get any better, Axis announced another enhancement – dynamic frame rate.

Save even more

Zipstream works by analysing and optimising the network camera’s video stream in real time. The scene is examined and areas of interest are identified and recorded in full image quality. The rest of the scene is filtered out and the bit rate is reduced to record in lower quality, making optimal use of bandwidth and storage.

Until now, all this optimisation is being done at the frame rate set for the camera. The 30 second demonstration video below is from 2015, when Zipstream was first launched – note the reduction in bit rate when Zipstream is enabled. You’ll also see that in both samples, the frame rate is at a steady 25 frames per second (fps).

This frame rate is smoothly capturing the movement of the vehicles but does the camera need to record at that rate when there is nothing happening in the scene? More often than not, the answer is no and that’s exactly why dynamic frame rate helps Zipstream save even more bandwidth and storage.

This latest enhancement to Zipstream reduces the frame rate while there is no activity in the scene. When something of interest is identified (this will typically involve motion) the frame rate is increased to ensure that movement is captured smoothly. This is done in combination with the increase in bit rate that Zipstream already performs so forensic details like faces, tattoos or licence plates are isolated and preserved, while the quality of irrelevant background information is sacrificed for improved storage savings.

Have a look at this latest demonstration video from Axis which shows both the bit rate and frame rate dynamically adjusting in response to activity.

Kevin Bowyer, Technical Director at NW Systems Group – “The largest savings in storage come at the price of quality, so be sure to adjust Zipstream’s settings to make sure that you don’t compromise on quality when aiming for lower bitrates and longer retention in your system. Storage in video surveillance systems is expensive and complex so adding dynamic frame rates to Zipstream is a welcome enhancement.

Zipstream should be seen as one of many tools in the box when it comes to optimising a video surveillance system, but one which with care, can be more effective than most.”

Initial upgrade with firmware

Initially, Zipstream with dynamic frame rate will be available as a firmware upgrade – at the time of writing, the firmware is available for the following Axis cameras:

  • F34
  • F41
  • F44
  • M1124 / -E
  • M1125 / -E
  • P1364 / -E
  • P1365 / -E
  • P3224-LV / -LVE
  • P3225-LV / -LVE
  • Q1615 / -E
  • Q1635 / -E
  • Q35 series

Many more Axis IP cameras have Zipstream built-in and we expect that in time, dynamic frame rates will become available in those models too. If you’re unsure about which IP camera to choose or if your system could benefit from using Zipstream, just get in touch.

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