Support Center

Rule Editor

Aug 23, 2017

The Rule Editor defines a specific type of event to find in previously recorded video, or to take action (e.g., save, notify or play a sound) if events like it are seen in the future.

rule editor

The Basics

This view is accessed when you create or edit a rule in the Monitor view or the Search view.

To define the type of event you wish to find:

  • Click the Video Source block (2) to display a drop-down menu containing the list of available cameras on the right side of the screen.
    • A current image from that camera is displayed on the right. Above it the text "Image From:" and a time range is displayed. This indicates an hour range from which the still image was taken. If the image from the current time is too dark to use, for example, you can click the arrows to the left of the time range to display an image from the previous hour. Keep going until you find an image that is suitable.
  • Click the Object block labeled "Look for:" (3) to display a drop-down menu to select the object you want to find. You can choose People, Unknown objects (such as vehicles or pets), or Any objects (People and Unknown objects). You can also select "Ignore objects smaller than..." to filter out background objects that are never larger than a certain number of pixels. If an object approaches from the distance and grows large, however, the portions of the video where it is small will also be included.

rule editor - ignore small objects

  • Click the Movement block labeled "That are:" (4) to display options for selecting where in the video that object is and how it is moving. Select the location and/or direction of the object you wish to find (e.g., inside or outside a region, crossing a boundary, coming in or out of a door).

To define an action to take if the defined event is seen in the future:

  • Click the Response block labeled "If seen:" (5) to display options to save, send email notification and/or play a sound when the event occurs in the future. (Basic and Pro Editions provide additional options.)
  • A rule name (1) is automatically generated, but if you want to override this with your own rule name you can click the link to "Customize name."
  • Click OK to create your rule. It will appear in the list of Quick search filters in the Search view, and the Rules list of the Monitor view.
  • Tip: You can edit a rule to refine searches of recorded video. For example, if on a given day there are too many clips generated by a rule to review efficiently, you can edit the rule to narrow the search further. In the Search view select the rule and click Edit.

Details about the Movement block

When you click the box labeled "That are:" (4), the following options appear on the right side of the screen (6), (7):

  • Anywhere. This is the default, and will find the object anywhere in view.
  • Region. Select this option to draw an area on the screen in which to look for objects. A rectangle appears on the screen.
  • Tip: Right-click on a point to delete it.
  • Tip: Right-click on a region to display a menu of undo options, or to reset the region to the original shape.

Region drawing

Region options

In the following screen shots, the region is represented by a red box. To display regions when playing clips generated by region searches, select Show Region Zones from the View menu. This also displays the center and bottom center of the moving object. This helps you understand why clips are included in your region rules.

region inside outside

You can choose from the following options:

  • Inside a region. Look for objects when the center of the box drawn around them appears inside the region. Note that parts of the person may be in the region, but he or she will not be considered "inside" unless the center point is inside the region (see examples below).
  • Outside a region. Look for objects when the center point appears in the area outside of the region.
  • Entering a region. Look for objects whose center point crosses from outside the region to inside the region.
  • Exiting a region. Look for objects whose center point crosses from inside the region to outside the region.
  • Entering or exiting a region. Look for objects that meet either of the previous two criteria.
  • On top of a region. Look for objects where the center of the bottom of the box drawn around the object enters a region. This is helpful in cases such as detecting people walking on a lawn, where the center of the box drawn around the person may appear to enter the region because he or she is closer to the camera, even though the person does not walk on the lawn. In the left picture below, the center of the person is inside the gray area by the door, but the bottom is not. As a result, if you used an "inside region" rule, you would get a match. Since the "on top of a region" rule looks for the center of the bottom of the box, you can see that it is outside the gray region. In the right image, the center of the bottom of the box is inside the region, so this image would be interpreted as a person on the gray area by the door.

region on top

  • Region name. To the right of the drop-down list you can name your region. This is used when automatically creating rule names. For example, if you called your region "my backyard," the rule name changes to something like "People inside my backyard." (1).

Door

A door is a special type of region. Selecting this option displays a region that you can draw around a doorframe or other entryway. The difference is that an object entering through a door must "appear" inside the door and the center of the box around the person must cross the border of the door region. Conversely, a person exiting through the door must cross into the door region and disappear inside the region. This means that people simply crossing in front of the door (or behind a glass door) will not trigger the door rule. You can choose to find people coming in, going out, or both.

door region

Boundary

You can choose to find objects that cross a line on the screen. Clicking this option displays a line with two circles at the ends, which you can click and drag to change the location and length of the boundary. An arrow indicates which direction to detect (crossing left and/or right). To change the direction, click the arrow.
region_boundary

Duration

You can select a duration in seconds for cases where an object is inside, outside or on top of a region. This is useful if you want to distinguish between someone loitering and someone walking past the region. This option is disabled if you select a boundary or door option, since it doesn't make sense to identify cases of people crossing a line for several seconds.

When using region and boundary rules, keep in mind that most rules are triggered by the center of the box. When drawing regions, think of each object as a dot rather than a box. More details and tips are presented here.

Details of the Response block 

A "response" is an action that is taken when a defined event is seen through one of your cameras.

  • Responses are optional. If you create a rule that takes no action, it is the equivalent of a saved search in the Search view to find your defined event in video that has been previously recorded.
  • Note that if you create a rule with no response selected, the schedule functionality is disabled. That is because a rule that is not set to do anything will not turn on your camera, so there is nothing to schedule.

There are two tabs in the Response block

Save clips:

Response block save options

Sighthound managed storage

Select the My Computer check box to mark the clip to be saved on your computer.

  • Video clips generated by this rule will be kept as long as allocated disk space is available.
  • When the allocated disk space is filled, the oldest clips are automatically deleted without interrupting recording of new clips.
  • To increase the amount of disk space allocated to saving clips and/or temporary video, click the Settings button, which displays the options dialog (this dialog is called Preferences on Mac OS).
  • Tip: the default rule for each camera saves clips of all moving objects. If you do not edit or delete the default rule, it is not necessary to save clips for additional rules, because all objects are being saved already.
  • Even if no clips are marked for saving, all recorded video (whether or not motion is detected) is stored temporarily. The default setting is for two days, assuming there is enough overall allocated disk space available. To change the amount of temporary video stored, click the Settings button, which displays the options dialog (this dialog is called Preferences on Mac OS).
  • Note video that was recorded before the rule was created will not be marked for saving after the fact. For example, let's say you have no rules to mark clips for saving, then you record a day of temporary video, and then create a new rule to save clips of people. You can use the rule to find clips of people in the temporary video, but those clips will be deleted when the temporary video is deleted. Those clips are labeled as "Not recorded from a rule." That is why we recommended keeping the default rule for each camera, which saves all motion clips so you don't have to worry about it.

FTP export

(Basic and Pro editions only). Select the check box called My FTP server to mark the clip to be uploaded to an FTP site of your choice. An FTP ("file transfer protocol") site is a website where you can store files on a server instead of on your computer.

  • Click the Settings... button to display settings to configure your FTP site.

    FTP settings

  • Host: enter the host name of your FTP site.
  • Directory: enter the name of the folder on your site where you want your video clips stored.
  • Login user ID: enter the user name you use to log in to your FTP site.
  • Login password: enter the password you use to log in to your FTP site.
  • FTP port number: usually it is OK to leave this at 21.
  • Use passive (pasv) mode: this a type of file transfer where communications is initiated by the FTP client rather than the server. It should be selected except for troubleshooting problems with old FTP servers and some unusual firewall situations.
  • Test: click this button to send a test file to your FTP site. A dialog will inform you whether or not the test has been successful. If your FTP site generates an error message, it will be displayed in the confirmation dialog you see after clicking Test
  • The video files names are generated from the rule name and the time and date the video was recorded (the same time as appears in the Search list). For example, a file called "Any object in Front Camera 2013-05-26 13-34-40" refers to a clip recorded by the rule "Any object in Front Camera" that started recording on 5/26/2013 at 1:34:40 PM.

​A few important tips to keep in mind:

  • Sighthound Video does not manage the video files on your FTP site like it does on your computer. For example, oldest video files are not automatically deleted to make room for new files. Make sure to manage the storage on your FTP site.
  • Some FTP servers may have problems with non-ASCII characters in the directory name or your rule name. Avoid symbols other than basic letters and numbers.
  • Uploading full clips can take up considerable bandwidth. If you try to upload more than your network connection can support, clips may become backlogged.
  • Clips are sent with some delay. Sighthound Video waits until the entire clip can be made before sending it out. If you need less delay, try using a rule that is triggered immediately when a border is crossed, such as crossing a line or entering a region (as opposed to being inside, outside, or on top of a region).
  • Other forms of clip upload (SCP, SFTP, http, etc) are not supported at this time.

Local export

(Basic and Pro Editions only) Selecting "A local folder" will let you select a folder to export clips for a specific rule. This is ideal for those who wish to save clips outside of Sighthound's file management for long term archival purposes, or to send clips for certain rules into a dropbox, google drive, or other similar service's management folder. For more information on this feature please see this article.

Take actions:

Response actions tab

Send an email to

Selecting this check box will send an email to the address you specify in the adjacent field, if the action is seen.

  • You can send alerts for different rules to different email addresses.
  • Click Settings to display the settings required to configure the email alerts:

email setup

  • You can separate multiple email addresses by commas, and even send to mobile phones through email gateways. For example, you can use email to send to an AT&T MMS account using the email address <your ten-digit phone number with no punctuation>@mms.att.net. A list of formats for other carriers can be found here.
  • Check the Send at most one alert every ___ seconds box if you wish to reduce the frequency of messages. Note that additional events in this time period will not generate notifications.
  • You can select the resolution of the image sent in the email: 320x240, 640x480, and unlimited. If you select unlimited be aware that the images created by your camera stream may be large in file size.

  • Send email from. This is the address that will appear in the From field of the alert notification.
  • The settings for your email account are typically found on the website of your email provider. You can also try to search for "outgoing smtp server" and your email provider's name. The settings above are the correct settings for Gmail. Note that different mail applications have different formats for the login user ID (some require the full email address, some require the part before the @ sign, etc.).
  • Note for customers using TLS or SSL: Sighthound Video will properly encrypt the data sent, but will not validate the server certificate. This means that it is theoretically possible (though difficult) for someone to intercept your mail using what is called a "man in the middle" attack. If you believe that this is a possibility, then you may not wish to set up email alerts.
  • Clicking the Send Test Message button will try to send a test email using the settings you entered.
  • When you receive an email, it contains a still image of the event that triggered the rule.
  • email notification

Run the command

(Basic and Pro Editions only). This is an advanced feature for those who can write scripts or applications, or have an existing one that does what they want. Selecting this check box allows you to enter a path name to a script or program in the adjacent field that can be triggered if the event is seen. Due to Sighthound Video running as a service, this feature is not able to run programs requiring GUI context. Some examples of what you can do with this feature:

  • If you have an X10 home automation controller, you can write a script to turn on a light if something is seen in the camera’s view.
  • In general, most commands that can be executed in the Run dialog on Windows or in Terminal on OSX will work in this field.
  • Mac owners can use this feature to easily create custom voice sounds. Type "say" and some text to have that text spoken. (For example, if you type "say you are being recorded," then when the event is seen, your Mac will play a digitized voice saying "you are being recorded."
  • Example of a basic Windows shell command (C:\temp must already exist):
    cmd.exe /c echo 'Event has occurred' >> C:\temp\events.txt 
  • Example of running a Windows batch file:
    cmd.exe /c start C:\temp\MyScript.bat

Play this sound

Selecting this check box will play a sound if the action is seen, on the computer that has Sighthound Video installed.

  • Select one of the default sounds or click Browse to select any .wav file.
  • You can use this feature while you are sitting at your desk to alert you if someone has entered your building (similar to a chat alert sound when your friends come online).
  • Alternatively, you could set up speakers and play a sound to warn intruders that they have been detected (that is the purpose of including the "person detected" sound).