Let’s face it – video surveillance systems are expensive. However, they represent both an effective and reliable method to help you to protect your home’s security. For a temporary solution, you can use your computer’s webcam as a makeshift home surveillance system. This guide covers the use of a single camera, though it is also possible to set up more sophisticated system with multiple cameras.
Webcam Video Surveillance Step 1 – Install Your Webcam Drivers
If you haven’t already, install the appropriate drivers to ensure that your camera is able to work with your computer. These drivers are often contained on an installation CD that came with your webcam. If you lost your installation CD, you can usually find the proper drivers by navigating to the website of the company that manufactured your webcam.
Webcam Video Surveillance Step 2 – Install Dorgem.
There are hundreds of different programs which can be integrated with your webcam for security purposes. However, most of them cost a significant amount of money. For this particular guide, we will cover using Dorgem, which is a free open-source program. Though the program has been “discontinued”, you can still download it, you just won’t be able to access support (and there won’t be released updates). The installation is fairly straightforward – simply proceed through the installation screens by clicking “Next“.
Webcam Video Surveillance Step 3 – Select Your Webcam.
In the Dorgem application, your webcam should be able to be selected from a drop-down list. If your webcam doesn’t appear, you can either try restarting your computer, reinstalling your webcam drivers or updating your operating system.
Webcam Video Surveillance Step 4 – Adjust Your Webcam.
By clicking the “Preview” button, you can see the capture area of your webcam. Adjust your webcam to cover the area that you would like to monitor.
Webcam Video Surveillance Step 5 – Make a “Storage Profile”.
Click the “Store settings” button to set up where/how the captured images will be stored. Select “File” for the type, then click “OK“. Enter a name for the recording “event” (such as “porch-camera“), check the box for “Enable“, and then decide on an interval setting. This interval setting will determine how often the program will take a picture of what is being captured by the camera. It’s recommended that you set this to 1-2 seconds to capture the most frequent images. However, if you are low on disk space, you may want to set this interval to 10-20 seconds. Click the “…” button that appears next to filename, and choose a folder to save the images. When you choose a file name, be sure to use the “%g” tag, which will allow each file to be named including the timestamp of when it was captured. So, your filenames could be “porch-camera%g“. Click the “OK” and “Close” buttons to return to the main Dorgem screen.
Webcam Video Surveillance Step 6 – Check Your Settings.
As long as the program is running, your camera should be capturing images. Move around a bit in front of the camera, and then check the storage folder you selected. If you set your camera up correctly, you should have several images in the folder capturing your motion. If there are no images in the folder, try double-checking your settings.
Webcam Video Surveillance Step 7 – Completion
You’re done! Now, as long as both your computer and the Dorgem application are running, your webcam will capture images at set intervals. You can view these images as a slideshow to gain a better understanding of any events that the camera captured.