How to create a video surveillance system: Would you like to be able to keep an eye on your apartment when you are away from home to find out, for example, what your children are doing in your absence or if your cat is taking control of your beloved armchair? Well, then you should really set up a nice video surveillance system. The question, at this point, I think arises quite spontaneously: how to do it? The answer, however seemingly complex it may appear, is actually very simple: using your Internet connection, your trusted computer (or rather its webcam) and some special Web programs and services.
What are you interested in? Yes? Great. So let’s do this: take a few minutes of free time all for yourself, position yourself comfortably and immediately begin to focus on reading this tutorial of mine entirely focused, in fact, on how to create a video surveillance system. I can assure you that in the end you can say that you are happy and satisfied with what you have learned.
If then you want to try something a little more elaborate and you also have some money to spend on special equipment, you can opt for the purchase of an IP camera, then taking care to make all the necessary configurations. To find out more, read on, find all the information you need right below. I wish you a good read and make you a great good luck for everything.
Programs and services to create a video surveillance system
Are you interested in understanding how to create a video surveillance system using specific online programs and services that take advantage of your computer’s webcam and your Internet connection to complete the operation in question? Then appeal to one of the ad hoc solutions that you find below and follow the relative instructions for use. As I said, it’s all very simple, don’t worry.
AtHome Camera (Windows / Mac)
Do you have a webcam and a fast Internet connection? As anticipated at the beginning, you have practically everything you need to create a brilliant video surveillance system without having to resort to the use of special equipment. How? Well, if you are using a Windows PC or a Mac using the software AtHome Camera. It is in fact a free program designed specifically for home video surveillance. It can be used in conjunction with the computer’s webcam (as well as with any IP cam) and also allows you to program various operations.
However, it should be taken into account that it requires a satellite computer. So, the software for managing the video surveillance system (which is available only for Windows) must be installed on a PC, while the one that allows you to use the computer as a camera (which is for Windows and Mac) must be installed on another location.
To use it, firstly download the service management program by connecting to website of the software, click on the item Download which is at the top and then press the button Download present at the item Windows in the section AtHome Camera.
When the download is complete, extract the compressed archive obtained in any position of Windows, then open the .exe file inside and click on Next five times in a row, up install come on Finish. If a warning appears during the installation indicating that the program must be added to the firewall exceptions, you agree. Otherwise, AtHome Camera will not be able to function properly.
Once the AtHome Camera window is displayed on the desktop, create a free account by filling in the fields on the screen with your email and password. Then click on the button register.
Once this is done, you will find yourself in front of the main program screen. On the left there is the complete list of the list of webcams and connected cameras, while on the right there are the various tabs to view live what is happening on each connected device (Live Video), to view alerts (Video alert), to schedule recordings (Scheduled Recording), to view local videos (Local Video) and those in the cloud (Cloud Video).
To add a camera to be viewed remotely, click on the button Add room at the top left and provide the required info (CID room, username and password). If, on the other hand, you want to adjust the settings of AtHome Camera, you must click on the button Settings, always present at the top.
Before doing this, however, you must worry about installing the special program that allows you to use the computer’s webcam for video surveillance. You can always find it by going to the section Download of the AtHome Camera website and then pressing the button Download that you find next to the name of your operating system, under the wording AtHome Video Streamer.
When the download is complete, open the obtained .exe file and follow the proposed installation procedure then take note of the CID code on the right in the window that appears on the desktop and use it to fill in the form for adding the webcam for surveillance in the configuration screen of the main program, just as I showed you a few lines above.
If you are interested in it, I point out that there is also a version of AtHome Camera that allows you to manage the video surveillance system from mobile and that transforms your smartphone or tablet into a camera. Either way, the apps are free and usable on both Android and iOS. You can always download them after connecting directly from your device to the download section of the service site.
Periscope Pro (Mac)
Do you use a Mac and are you looking for a valid solution to create a video surveillance system? Then put it to the test right away Periscope Pro. It is in fact an application that allows you to monitor your home using the Mac webcam or by connecting to any IP cameras installed and configured.
It also allows you to save recordings (both locally and online) and allows you to customize various parameters. It is paid but it can be used at no cost for a trial period (as I did to write this step).
To use it, download the application from his website by clicking on the button Free Download. Once the download is complete, open the obtained .dmg package and drag the Periscope Pro icon to the folder applcations through the Finder window that appeared on the screen. So start the app by calling it from the folder Applicationsby right clicking on its icon and selecting You open twice in a row in order to circumvent the limitations imposed by Apple.
Once the Periscope Pro window appears, press the button with the video camera to use the Mac webcam for video surveillance or to add any IP cameras you want to monitor and to configure their use. By clicking on the button with the microphone you can regulate the use of the microphone, while the other button on the left allows you to intervene on the motion sensor.
You can then view the recordings in the central part of the window, pressing the appropriate button at the bottom. By clicking on the button with thegear which is at the bottom left you can access the advanced settings of the application, while clicking on the button at the bottom right of the main screen of the application you can watch all the recordings made.
If instead the idea of installing new programs on your computer does not suit you or if, much more simply, you prefer to take advantage of an alternative solution to the one above, you can turn to Ugolog. It is a zero cost online service (basic, but there are also paid plans that offer additional functions) dedicated to video surveillance, in fact, which allows you to detect movements in the surrounding environment using the webcam connected to the computer.
It also sends appropriate warnings in case of intrusions. Being a web application, it is used directly from the browser (any).
You ask me how to serve? I’ll show you right away. First, connect to the website of the service and click the button Sign Up Now. On the page that opens, type your email address in the text field E-mail and the password for future access to Ugolog in the two text fields Password is Confirm Password.
After ticking the rumor I agree to Terms and Conditions, click the button Create new account. Once you have registered and accessed the service, click on the item RECORD at the top right and enables the use of Adobe Flash Player (for more info, read my guide on how to install Flash Player) in the new web page that opens. So allow the service to take advantage of your webcam by responding in the affirmative to the warning you see appearing on the screen.
If everything has been done correctly, Ugolog will activate and begin recording in the event that movements are detected. It is necessary, for obvious reasons, that during the surveillance phases the computer remains on, connected to the Internet and that the web page of the service remains open.
If desired, you can also adjust the webcam and recording settings by pressing the button Settings bottom right. You can choose the size of the recording, set the frequency of shooting etc.
The stored recordings can be viewed by clicking on the item Video top left. Then use the player attached to the page that is shown to you to start and stop playback of the movie. If you wish, you can also download it to your computer by pressing the button Download at the top right and then indicating the format you prefer from the menu that appears. By pressing on the button instead Settings, always at the top on the right, you can access a whole evening of advanced video settings.
To view the complete history of the recordings made, click on the item hisotry located on the left, then select the registration of your interest in the list that appears. Keep in mind that all recordings are sorted by date and time.
Advanced solutions to create a video surveillance system
As I said at the beginning of the guide, as an alternative to the above solutions, you can create a video surveillance system also and above all by resorting to the use of special equipment: the IP cameras.
These are special cameras that connect to Internet and allow you to easily monitor the house from remote. Also they may be able to to record what you shot and save it on SD cards, NAS or external disks. In most cases they also integrate a sensor for detect suspicious movements and a system for the night vision.
IP cameras can differ from each other essentially for three reasons: the first is related to the technical characteristics (e.g. the type of lens used, the type of sensor, etc.), the second is related to the size of the environment that they can cover with a single shot and the third concerns the connections supported and the features present. Taking all this into account, a specific IP camera can be more or less suitable for a given user depending on what are the preferences but above all personal needs.
Compared to the solutions seen in the previous steps, totally free or in any case from the paltry price, buying an IP camera has its cost but, unlike what you might think, it is not exorbitant figures (or at least not necessarily ). It starts from prices even less than 50 euros but they can even go beyond 100 euros, it all depends on the specifications of the chosen appliance.
To deepen the topic and especially to find out in detail how IP cameras work, you can refer to my tutorial specifically dedicated to what. If you are really interested in the topic and from theory you want to move on to going to buy a device of this type, I strongly suggest you consult my Buying Guide to receive some advice on which model you prefer.