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View Full Version : Web cam...can it be used as a decent home surveillance camera?



Jase1
19-07-2004, 05:36 PM
Hi guys

I was just wondering if a web cam can be used as home surveillance camera. I know some web cam supports motion sensor and records any movement onto the HDD or just records down everything during a time set. What I'm wondering is that would the quality of the picture or video recorded be any good to see? Reason for this is because lately someone has been coming to our place and tries to get in during the day. I know I know if they actually do get in and steals everything (eg my comp) then everything would be a waste though this is just for if they didnt manage to get in, at least we can see who is trying to get in.

Security alarm was a thought though the cost is a bit...too much. Security camera was an idea too though I thought a web cam should do the job, cause of it recording functions surely it could do a decent job. Plus I could also use a spare web cam.

Right now I have my eyes set on the Genius Video Cam NB300 (http://www.geniusnet.com.tw/product/camera/web/videocam_nb300.htm) it looks it could do a decent job.


Any suggestions on what I should do?

Growly
19-07-2004, 06:00 PM
The quality in webcams is, as you know, by no means best. It will be able to tell you roughly who's there, but making them out will be a pain.

You could just get a network camera from D-Link, though they are a bit more expensive.

Also, how far away from your computer do you plan on putting this webcam?

godfather
19-07-2004, 06:37 PM
Home security cameras are not much different in resolution to webcams.

I use a cheap CCD camera connected to a video sender unit, and can record the activity on a VCR or watch it live. Boring as the real programs though...

If you are going to use a USB webcam (and no reason why you cant) there is a severe limit on how long the USB cable is though.

Chilling_Silence
19-07-2004, 06:38 PM
That's the same Cam that I picked up from QMB for about $40

Great quality - Best Ive seen from a Webcam to be honest, and it works great as a surveilance cam!

I used Go1984 rather than the software that shipped with it. Go1984 is an excellent piece of software... Pity I dont run windows (but there's Motion (http://motion.sf.net) for Linux. Im yet to know of a cheap webcam that works with it though).

Go for it, great cameras and Ive used Go1984 as security and it works well.

Let me know how you get on


Chill.

Chilling_Silence
19-07-2004, 06:48 PM
Ive used 10m worth of USB Cable fine :-)

What is the theoretical limit of a USB Cable for USB 1.1?

Jase1
19-07-2004, 07:36 PM
Thanks alot for everyones input, the length of cable for the cam should be around 2metres...>_<, hopefully no more than that.

From what it sounds like the NB300 web cam is quite good, last time when I tried to get that from XP they seem to have sold out, it cool that QMB stocks now.

Btw, hows the image quality for the video/motion capture for that web cam within a 5m range? or it doesnt matter?

Sorry one last question..>_<...its uses a USB port right?



Thanks

godfather
19-07-2004, 07:43 PM
USB = Yes

2m cable = OK

Image quality @ 5m should be fine.

The knob around the lens should be the focus.
The image quality will be dependant on the light level, as usual. Reasonable light and it will be a good image.

Jase1
19-07-2004, 07:44 PM
Sorry but forgot to ask this in my previous post.

How long can I record video or motion pics for? And how much HDD space would I need? Is 8GB enough for 7hrs, what would the quality be? Also is it possible for the cam or software (of some sort) to send all or some captured video or pic straight into my email?

Sorry for so many questions >_<


Thanks

godfather
19-07-2004, 07:55 PM
It all depends on the software used as to how much compression is applied (and how low the quality then is) and how it relates to the file space required. I would think 1 GB per hour could be required, give or take as a starting point?

Regarding email, can you explain just how you would (or could) email files of several GB in size though?
Do you have a (very) high speed connection and unlimited storage?

As an example, 1 GB takes about 3 days under ideal conditions on dial-up. If you wanted only selected frames, just how you could automate that and get something intelligent would be a challenge.

You could look at grabbing a frame every minute or so, and uploading it to a web page for remote viewing. Bit difficult for streaming video due to the massive traffic involved, but then, we know nothing of your connection type or resources. Or how many thousand $ per month you are going to sink into this. Sounds like quite a few so far!

Jase1
19-07-2004, 08:28 PM
Haha, 1Gb of email storage space, it would be nice to have something like that. I should of ask if software could send in pics instead of video files :p .

Thanks for your help ^^ and everyone else ^^

Chilling_Silence
19-07-2004, 08:35 PM
Godfather, Jase1>

Take a look at Go1984, it's all you need :-)