I just found out that a van hit my car and took off. My WYZA cams were able to capture footage of the incident but the license plate is hard to read. So I was wondering if someone with technological know-how can help me figure out the license plate. I think it’s a MA license plate which should be in the format of XXXXXX. Any help will be much appreciated.
A few questions. Did you have SD cards in these cameras? Are these files from the SD cards directly?
If this is all you got, it really doesn’t look good. Though, it’s at least usable for insurance purposes, assuming you have uninsured motorists coverage (or whatever the Mass equivalent is).
Finally, your best bet if you are really dead set on tracking down this guy, may be looking around the neighborhood for higher resolution cameras pointing in the right direction and asking them to check the timestamp for the black van.
I wish I could say it helped but my amateur eye and zoom just doesn’t see enough pixels to pack a punch. License plates are tough and an issue with dashcams as well. None of the inexpensive dashcams I’ve priced out can make out license plates in anything but the most ideal conditions.
Do I think the FBI or the NSA could run some sort of machine learning algorithm that would make predictions based on the subtle pixel differences of the front and rear tag based on each frame where the tag is viewable and use some of the other vehicle tags to do the model training? Yeah, but we aren’t at the level of state-sponsored espionage or terror investigations. Even then, I doubt we’d get very much.
Alas, zoom-and-enchance you’ve lied to us.
If it makes you feel better, I’m not sure the guy with a van that looks like that who stops to shout something at a woman walking by and then forgets to do the driving part of driving away is going to be responsible and carry insurance. But maybe!
That said, hit and run is still a hit-and-run and I’d file a police report and provide them with the video – maybe this guy has caused other trouble and the local cops recognize the vehicle. Long shot but you never know till you try.
Yeah time to ditch Wyze and invest in something that won’t cause me headache. Maybe I shouldn’t have used Wyze as an outdoor camera to begin with despite it’s superb performance as an indoor camera. So that’s on me. My local PD won’t let me file a report since I don’t have a license plate number, but I have full coverage and my insurance will pay for everything. Still would like to catch the guy just for my own satisfaction.
Won’t let you file? What-the-what? I was able to file a hit-and-run with no video (luckily, a nearby business did have video that I could show to my insurance company – the police didn’t care but I still got the video).
Outrageous that police don’t even want to do the basic, “Let’s keep track of crime levels even if we can’t put the criminals away.”
Glad your insurance will cover it and, yeah, one of my big disappointments with Wyze is just how impossible it is to read a tag – then I reminded myself I paid $30 for them and wasn’t looking for CSI-level recording, just basic monitoring.
Eventually we picked up an Arlo 2K on sale but even that couldn’t get tags at the distance we were working with. My plan was, when we had the money, just get one well-placed high res camera and rely on the rest for coverage.
As I sit here about to wrap up, I guess one thing I hadn’t considered was just attaching a zoom lens to the front of it specifically aimed at where tags go by. I have a few cell-phone camera lenses that I bet would work. Hm, still probably cheaper than a 4K camera (don’t forget getting good night vision).
Anyway, good luck with catching your cat-calling bumper ripper.
I know there are some websites that are free online that you can upload pictures into and they will clean them up, but I think the amount of pixelation you have here is beyond control and won’t clean up that license plate enough. There are some programs you can buy to help you with this type of thing that are a little bit better but again it has to be within reason and the pixels have to be there to begin with.
Check these out just to give you an idea of what a difference they make. They show some sample pictures
Yeah that was a surprise to me. Not sure if the officer on duty was too lazy to file a report but I’m going to go back to see if I can find a different officer. He asked me to go back on Monday to talk to the traffic division. That makes me wonder if there’s a whole different unit that deals with hit and run type of things. But im looking at Arlo Pro 4 to replace my main outdoor Wyze with and Defender guard for the driveway one. Apparently Arlo has 4K and Defender is 2K. Lowe’s has a sale ongoing on the Defender which makes it similar to Wyze. So cheap pickup. But thank you for your input.
Yeah, I hope you’re able to find an officer who can help. Absurd.
Your place is closer to the road than mine so maybe 2K would work? We just had a big lawn that meant a lot of distance between camera and license plates (especially when you add in motion blur from vehicles speeding past).
Arlo has been working pretty well, it was our gateway into ‘smart’ security hardware with a discounted doorbell (which I would not recommend due to two-comm lag). Otherwise, I’m pretty pleased, even if it’s $2.99/mo. Let us know if it works for capturing plates, especially moving cars at night which is a difficult ask of any camera.
2K wouldn’t make that big of a difference there (I have one and I still have the same issue). Not only is the definition important but the frame rate is super important. When something’s moving the pixels don’t get picked up for every single frame and that’s part of the reason you get the blur. Many variables that go into something like that if you’re trying to capture license plates. Your best bet would be to try to find a security camera that has the same specs as a high-end dash cam. They’re made for night time they’re made for frame rate and they’re made for details. Everything you would want just without the house moving at 60 MPH
Yeah, motion blur is a real pain. I’m surprised security camera-makers haven’t figured this out better. Maybe it’d be possible to snap high shutter speed black and white images in between recorded motion video? Some sort of tradeoff? You just need one good frame.
I typically modify some subset of our wyze cams to accept longer focal length lenses (higher fixed zoom). Many 50 / 25 / 16 mm lenses.
Ideally, you place the camera nearly ‘head on’ to the traffic as possible (to minimize motion blur, and headlight issues) and keep your light source away from the camera.
Usually we leave one camera with a standard lens, and one with a high zoom (to cover a couple car widths) pointed (and focused) for the best identifying results.
This works really well for daytime. Sometimes it works at night. Usually plate over-exposure and/or blurring issues (don’t over-‘light’ from the camera direction). Often times the camera seems to compress it too much and you’re left with blocky blurs.
One other trick that hasn’t been covered: Often, watching the same footage on ‘playback’ a couple of times will eventually result in clearer footage. This is useful to know for cameras that are hard to reach (to get the SD card from). I assume it’s some bandwidth limitation + luck (i.e. maybe the camera is recording something else at the same time you’re trying to watch from SD).