In these days the home security system is an essential thing. There are a big number of companies offering professional video surveillance systems with a great number of features. You have to invest a good amount of money at an expert’s help to install a video surveillance system in your home. If you don’t have that much security, or don’t have that much money to spare to install a home security solution ( a useless one! Useful only when anything wrong happened !), here is a simple hack to convert your old PC or laptop to a surveillance system. If you are having a laptop, it has an inbuilt camera, you can use it as a surveillance camera. CCTV (Closed Circuit TV) Surveillance Systems are expensive due to the huge hardware costs and uses multi-camera monitoring. A computer-based surveillance software allows anyone with a webcam to set up a robust and inexpensive surveillance system without any expertise. When a camera is connected to your PC using USB or FireWire, the camera monitor software will detect it automatically. You can arrange the cameras to the exact locations that you want to monitor, check the camera view to avoid camera overlapping on the same area and minimize the number of blind spots by arranging the camera accordingly.

Home camera system

First thing is to find out the stuff that you want to turn into a surveillance system, it may be a laptop or a desktop computer. Analyse what you have, if an old working laptop with a useless camera, then we couldn’t use it for our purpose. For desktop’s, there is no video cameras are built on to it. We have to add a video camera by purchasing a new one or use an old webcam that we don’t have any use now. Next, there are a few good programs available to capture images from the camera. You can use programs like Yawcam, ispy, securityspy, etc. For a laptop, you have to adjust the screen turn off time setting to keep the laptop live when it is plugged in. Laptops are meant for long time portable use, and it’s power settings are arranged accordingly, the screen on battery power turns off after a few minutes, similarly the screen turn off after a few minutes even if your laptop is connected to a power plug. But you can change the settings by changing the power saving settings.

To change the power saver option, click on the battery icon on system tray in your laptop screen. Click power and sleep settings, you can see the option box next to the screen, asking, “on battery power turn off after”, and “when plugged in, turn off after”. change the answer to “Never”, instead of a few minutes.

Surveillance cameras for the home

If you are using an old PC, ensure it has internet connectivity, USB port to connect the camera (one camera per port), a hard drive with a minimum of 40/100Gb storage capacity. There are kits available to connect multiple cameras to your computer.

Alarms for home – Setting Up

  • The first step is to check the places you want to fix the camera. Take a quick tour of your premises and spot the locations.
  • Switch on your PC clean up the system and remove unwanted applications, keep the only essential applications that a system needs.
  • Connect a webcam to your PC and check the intended item is to be monitored, like your children, your pets or your garden. If you want a panoramic view of a place or room fixes the webcam at a height that gives you a better coverage.
  • Carry out a Preview check. You can do this by using the camera monitor’s Preview window.
  • Configure the application for your need, like sending Emails or SMS when motion detected, etc. (read webcam monitor configuration settings)

Webcam Monitor

Webcam monitor is a surveillance software detects motion and triggers alerts that can record video and audio of the incident, notify you by e-mail or text message, or sound an audible alarm.  It can also begin recording at pre-set intervals to maintain a record of events. It’s as simple as connecting a camera to your PC.  Using the configuration wizard, you can easily set up and running in minutes. WebCam Monitor can automatically upload recorded video, audio, and photos to a server.  Video can also be streamed live over the Internet, letting you monitor events from any computer with an Internet connection. Professional security features include automatic time-stamping of recorded video and photos.  All monitored activity is displayed in an event log for quick reference.  The Auto Delete function lets you keep a “last number of days” set of recordings and photos, without risking filling your hard disk and without having to manually track and delete files.

Yawcam is short for Yet Another WebCAM software, is a webcam software for Windows written in Java. The programmers of  Yawcam keeps it simple and easy to use but to include all the usual features like video streaming, image snapshots, built-in web server, motion detection, Ftp-upload, text and image overlays, password protection and other features.

iSPY is an open source Video Surveillance software for windows to control your cameras and access live video and recorded content from anywhere in the world. Main features of this software, unlimited cameras, and microphones (including IP and USB cameras), Motion Detection, motion processing, recording, scheduling, audio, remote Access, network audio broadcasting, password protection, desktop recording, YouTube uploading, cloud uploading, FTP, SFTP, SMS, Twitter and Email alerts. You can use the ispy user guide to install and configure the software.

This is also a free Video Surveillance and Live Webcam software for Windows, it is light on system resources, and does not contain unnecessary bloat. It is fast, light, and versatile enough to meet all your security needs while still being very user-friendly and able to run on even the most moderate systems.

There are other programs like EyeLine Video Surveillance Software offering monitoring and recording 100+ camera sources simultaneously with motion detection recording which saves space by only recording when something is happening, and it will send Email or SMS alerts when motion detection happens!

You can find a number of similar software’s online. Most of them have all the features but with a price to enjoy all the features. Look for a lightweight software that requires less hardware requirements to use with your old system. Do you want to edit your videos? You can use easy to use video editing applications like, Movavi Video Editor or Corel Video Studio to edit or trim your videos. To take screenshot of the video with its settings, you can use a screen capture tool.


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