opensource software called iSpy along with your existing webcams and microphones to create a fully functional motion detecting , recording and alerting setup in your home or office .
People need surveillance and monitoring software for all kinds of reasons - from bird watching to spying on cheating partners , guarding property , monitoring machinery - the list of applications is endless . Until quite recently the only options have been expensive installations with fixed brands of camera . You can now do it for free , although you'll need a PC , at least one webcam and optionally a microphone .
First off you'll need to download and install the open source ispy software .
Installation is easy - you may need to install the .net framework if it isn't already installed on your computer . Note that iSpy can use a fair amount of processing power if you are using multiple cameras or running your cameras at a high resolution/ framerate .
iSpy can handle an unlimited number of cameras and microphones - well , limited only by the processing power of your computer . The user interface of iSpy is canvas-like - you add cameras and microphones to the main panel by right clicking or using the toolbar along the top . You can add as many USB webcams or IP cameras or video files or even feeds of the desktop .
Right click on the surface , choose "Add Camera" and then select your webcam from the list and click OK . iSpy will then open up an editor dialog with a lot of options - don't panic ! At this stage your camera has been added so you can just click on Finish and you're good to go . It's well worth exploring these tabs though as you can setup alerts , finely tune motion detection ( important for me as I use it to record shooting stars ) , control PTZ functions , setup automated FTP , automated YouTube uploads and also schedule iSpy to run whenever you like . It's also worth experimenting with the type of motion detection ( iSpy provides 4 different processors all geared towards specific tasks ) .
Adding a microphone is almost exactly the same process as adding a camera . When you've added a microphone you can then right click and edit your camera and set the microphone you added to be paired with it - this means that when sound is detected the camera starts recording and when movement is detected the microphone starts recording - and also that iSpy will combine the 2 files into one movie that you can watch later .
You can now repeat steps 3 and 4 to add as many cameras and microphones as you like . The developers of iSpy have also written a ( free and opensource ) program called ispy server that you can install on other computers around your home or office . iSpy Server provides access to USB cameras and microphones running on other computers over your local network .
iSpy running 3 cameras and a microphone
Source : iSpy
Now you've configured iSpy with a bunch of cameras it's time to have some fun ! iSpy can be configured to execute any program when it detects movement ( right click on the camera , click Edit and go to the Alerts tab ) - click on the button next to "Execute file" and select the intruder .mp3 file for a demo . Be sure to set the "Distinct Alert Interval" to a small value when testing . Try moving your hand around in front of the camera ( you'll need to exit the editor to enable alerts ) . There's a green bar at the bottom of the camera feed that shows where the trigger point is for motion detection . This also shows how much movement the camera is currently detecting for reference . You can move the green bar in the editor on the "Motion Detection" tab under "Sensitivity" .
When a camera or microphone has recorded content the border highlights yellow . To watch the recorded content you have 2 options - either access the files directly by right clicking and selecting "show files" or by using the much more user friendly web interface . Local access to the web interface is also free but you will need to create a free account at iSpyConnect .com .
Using the web interface
The web interface is where you can view all your live cameras , recorded content , switch on or off cameras and microphones , delete files , share access etc etc . iSpy provides free access to all your captured content when running over your LAN . For external access you'll need to purchase a subscription ( from $3 a month ) - and that'll enable you to access iSpy remotely , receive email , SMS and MMS alerts and also setup things like streaming to websites , sharing access to your cameras with other people , using dynamic DNS , using remote commands ( executing any program on your computer on demand ) and much more . I'd highly recommend getting a subscription to iSpy services as it's cheap as chips and really enhances the functionality of the software .
If you can't stretch to $3 a month though , iSpy offers other ways to access your content remotely . You can setup FTP to periodically upload frames from your webcam to an FTP server , or you can automatically upload captured video to YouTube by adding your YouTube login details to settings .
Download this software from here.