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Webcam Surveillance

Webcam Surveillance

Do you know what goes on with your computer while you’re away from it? Do you have any idea who comes into your room or office, doing who knows what?

Wouldn’t it be useful to have some sort of surveillance by your computer that would enable you to record what is going on around your home when you’re gone?

Did you know that if you have a simple Webcam, plus some free software, you have all you need to set up this surveillance in less than five minutes flat? Well, believe it!

Now, WorldStart had a tip in awhile back about CatSpy and while that is a good program, it is somewhat complicated for a beginning user. On the other hand, Windows has a free tool called Timershot, which is much easier to use, but unfortunately, there seem to be a lot of problems with getting this to work with home Webcams.

So, instead, head on over to the Web site of a Swedish guy named Daniel Backstrom here [1]. The screenshot below is from that site.

Once there, click on the program I have circled. It’s called Surveillance Scan II.

This is what you will see (I’m guessing that’s Daniel in the picture!). Click on the “Download Here” link to get started.

Keep in mind that this will be in a zip file, so I will assume you have a copy of WinZip on your computer. If not, you can download it here.

Extract the files from the zipped file to a folder of your choice (see below):

Go to that folder and click on the Surveillance Scan II.exe file. It will load almost immediately and you will see this in front of you:

You set up your camera by clicking on the drop down box circled in this picture (select driver) where you should see, usually, a Windows WDM Image Capture driver. Accept it by clicking on it.

You should then see in the window what your Webcam sees, like this:

Note the two sliders at the top. These adjust the Scan period (how often the camera scans the scene) and Sensitivity (how sensitive it should be to movement). Frankly, the default settings are good enough for most situations, but experiment and see what suits your situation best.

What happens is that the camera scans what it sees every so often (the scan period) and if it detects any movement, it will photograph it and will continue to do so at regular intervals until the movement stops. So, focus the camera on either the door, your computer or whatever you want to monitor. Then, see if it performs as you want. If it doesn’t, just adjust the sensitivity until you are satisfied with the results.

Basically, that’s it. You are ready to go!

So, you may be wondering how you can see the photographs you’ve taken, so you can successfully identify the intruder or the person messing with your computer.

Well, you can do that with one of two ways:

On the Surveillance Scan screen, you will see this little box to the right (circled here):

All of the shots you’ve taken are listed. Highlight what you want to see and click to view, like this:

Clicking on them, in turn, will show them in the preview window at the left.

Alternatively, if you go to the folder where you installed the program, you will see them listed and you can then look at them in a graphics program or the Windows Picture and Fax Viewer.

That’s all there is to it!

It’s very simple and very quick, but gives out excellent results.

Now, feel free to leave your home with the confidence that your Webcam will “see all!”

~ David Woodford