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I use C++, and never used python, so this may not be accurate. But my experience is that the development environment, IDE etc. are more important than the language you use when it comes to setting up opencv. I did a couple of projects in Visual Studio, one with shared libraries and the other with the libraries included in the app.

In either case you need to pay attention to the opencv version used in the guides/tutorials. There are significant changes in file structure and naming conventions between versions. And more often when you search for answers online you will end up with a tutorial/installation guide/code in another version of opencv than the one you are using. In case of visual studio this mean different dll files to be included in the linker. In my case I just checked the dll files after installing opencv and just included those files instead of the ones given in the visual studio guide. The same goes for the code samples you find online.

As for the pi, I have done something similar with IP cameras on banana pi. It would work but you will most likely have to compile it yourself. Which is not complicated but is quite slow, if I remember correctly it took me several hours on banana pi to compile it alls. And you need to include ffmpeg support and of course ffmpeg itself. Once the initial setup is done you don't have to worry about it again.

I would be interested in collaborating on a project like this, but I am not US based. If you would be interested in a long distance collaboration you can let me know.