How to Reduce False-Positive Motion Detection Events Caused by Rain, Snow, Insects, etc.

Using the motion detection feature on an outdoor camera, you may occasionally receive unwanted notifications and recordings caused by rain, snow, or insects. This is more likely to happen when the camera is in night vision mode.

Motion detection, as its name implies, will detect most movements from various sources, not just people as is done via Person Detection.

How does motion detection work?

To minimize false-positive detections, it is helpful to know how the camera’s motion detection works.

The camera's detection mechanism is based on image changes between different frames. The frame is one of the many still images which compose the complete moving picture. If there is a difference between the frames, the camera will recognize this as a detected motion.

NOTE: Raindrops can cause significant image changes between frames. As a result, this kind of detection typically cannot be avoided during rainfall.

Tips to reduce other types of false-positive detections:


1. Enable Person Detection

If your main goal is to detect movement from people, we suggest using the Person Detection feature. This feature is found in the camera settings and disables basic motion detection.

Person Detection is a feature that uses an algorithm to apply a filter to the detection mechanism and only reports when it detects a human body.

With this feature enabled, only a moving human will trigger detection events.

To enable the person detection on a Tapo Camera, simply go to Camera Settings → Detection & Alerts  AI Detection

2. Adjust Detection Zone and Sensitivity

Based on your intended use for the camera, adjusting the detection zone and sensitivity may help reduce excessive detections.

(1) The Detection Zone allows you to define a specific area that you want your camera to detect activity within. All activity outside of the designated zone(s) will be ignored.

NOTE: Areas in which Detection Zones may be ineffective include:


Areas with frequent, small movements like tree branches, bushes, or leaves blowing/swaying in the wind, light changes (sunset or sunrise), headlights of passing vehicles, tree shadow movement, reflections, and public areas like busy streets, sidewalks, etc.


(2) Setting the detection sensitivity to a lower threshold can also help reduce unwanted detections. However, doing so may defeat the purpose of true motion detection, depending on your monitoring needs. For example, you may find that you’re missing alerts when there is a real person or animal in the camera’s view if the sensitivity threshold is too low.

3. Adjust the angle and location of the camera

Where applicable, adjusting the installation angle of the camera, so it faces away from false-detection triggers, can help mitigate these events. Try to avoid pointing the camera at busy public areas like busy streets, sidewalks, etc.


4. Use a camera that has a built-in PIR sensor.

A PIR, or Passive Infrared Sensor, is a sensor that measures infrared light radiating from an object's field of view. Most legitimate movements will radiate infrared light, especially the movements of people or animals, which are more prone to trigger the PIR detection mechanism, while rain, snow, insects, etc. will be ignored.

Tapo Battery Cameras, like the Tapo C400, C420, and C425 offer built-in PIR sensors and can mitigate most false detections.