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Video surveilance with a PC


GregH's Avatar
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03-03-02, 09:40 AM   #1  
Video surveilance with a PC

I am considering installing a surveilance camera to monitor the driveway of our semi-isolated home.
I was wondering if anyone has any experience with this type of thing using a webcam and related software.


GregH.........HVAC/R Tech

 
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03-03-02, 10:06 AM   #2  
bigmike
Surveillance

Sure and relatively easy to do with today’s technology. That X-10 popup that used to bother us all the time is a perfect example. There are numerous wireless cams out there. But the problem with storing that type of data is that it’s huge. A 30 minute color video w/out sound will run around 30 Megs of HD space. With sound around 33 Megs. Would be OK if it were set up on say a motion detector device.
So the next way to go is hard wire an actual surveillance system up. They can be had from Radio Shack to Panasonic for as little as a few hundred to as much as a few thousand dollars. Camera, small TV or designed for use monitor and VCR, 8 hour tape. I think Sams Club sells video surveillance equipment. I am heading out there today to P/U some stuff and if I see any I’ll advise.

 
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03-03-02, 02:53 PM   #3  
My computer is in the basement directly below our front window. Any one coming into our place has to leave by a turning circle directly in front of our house. I would only need about 12 feet of cable to place the cam in our front window. Black and white would be fine and a frame every couple of seconds would be enough.
I will look for web cam user manuals on the net, as this would probably be the best source of info.
I just wondered if anyond had "been there, done that".

Not sure what an X-10 popup is.

Thanks.


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03-03-02, 04:15 PM   #4  
Gregh,
I think what you want to look for is software that does motion detection. This way you only take video when there is actually something there. I've been playing around with a Logitech USB camera. It has that software and works great. By the way X10 is just a brand of camera that has Internet Popup ads everywhere.

One thing to think about, though, is the camera. The computer cameras they sell are all meant for seeing you sitting at your computer. You're talking about seeing 300 or so feet. You are probably going to need a video camer with a zoom lens. An old camcorder could probably work. Get a video capture care and some motion detection software and there you go.

 
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03-03-02, 08:55 PM   #5  
bigmike
Camera

The biggest problem with using the computer type cameras is the amount of drive space needed for the files. I found at Sams Club several security cameras from $99 to $899. The $99 one came with two cams and the blk and wht monitor. They could probably be ran as much as 100 feet before you would need to amplify the signal. This unit could be hooked up to a VCR, which in turn could be set for an eight hour recording period. A standard VCR would accomplish this but with a tape that is for longer recording. I have installed systems that only come on when there is movement or set at a time like every five minutes. And until you spend a little money, most of the cams I have looked at are only good for a rough idea of who was there etc. Cams running zoom etc will take a humans hand to run them. I have often thought about putting a cam up on my ham radio tower that would look around the “hood” etc but have never done it… I have friends that do the radio controlled airplanes that use slow scan TV from the airplanes to relay pictures back to the ground while in flight. Ham radio operators come up with all kinds of neat, expensive experiments.

 
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03-04-02, 06:11 AM   #6  
Thank you all for your input.

I have located an Intel web cam with a rather large software package. They have a program that will take snapshots at a preset interval.

http://www.intel.com/pccamera/provideo/index.htm

The vehicle that enters my yard would have to come within about 25 feet of the camera to turn around and leave. I'm not sure what the equivalent 35mm focal length, the 50 degree field of view of the web cam is.
I would just need to see the operators manual to see if it would work for me.
I have a spare 5 Gig HD that I could dedicate for this.


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03-05-02, 09:04 PM   #7  
When I bought my webcam for $30 or so, it came with a card and software. The only thing I ever used it for was to set the camera in the window and watch my backyard. Of course, I could also turn my head and just look out the window.

Anyway, my little point is that if you don't need to record what you see, then all you need is a cheap-o webcam. The drawback is that they are powered by the adaptor card, therefore you are usually limited to a six foot cord.

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03-06-02, 04:52 PM   #8  
QuickCam

GregH

When I bought my Logitech QuickCam, it came with software called "Homewatcher", or something like that. It is a motion detection software that will snap pics only when it detects motion. It will even automatically upload the pics to a web page, it you have one. This feature lets you have off-site storage of pics if someone comes in and steals your computer!

Nashcat

 
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