How to Use Your PC & Webcam As a Motion-Detecting & Recording Security Camera

Written by brian cleary
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How to Use Your PC & Webcam As a Motion-Detecting & Recording Security Camera
Using a webcam for motion sensing security is a cheap alternative to expensive camera systems. (NA/ Images)

Burglary related crimes cost victims an estimated £2.8 billion in lost property in 2007. The majority of these crimes occurred in homes during the day. If you have an unused external webcam or a webcam enabled laptop, these figures may motivate you to put it to good use. By using a piece of simple free software, you can turn your webcam into a motion-detecting security camera ready to snap images of prying eyes near your equipment.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • PC running Windows XP
  • Webcam
  • Dorgem open-source software (Free)

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  1. 1

    Install your webcam using the software CD bundled in the packaging. If you do not have the software installation and drivers, visit your webcam's manufacturer website to download them. Make sure the webcam is operating normally.

  2. 2

    Download and install the Dorgem open source free software. (See Resources.)

  3. 3

    Launch Dorgem and select your webcam from the drop-down box.

  4. 4

    Click on the "Options" button on the right side of the window and check the box labelled "Use Motion Detection," then click "OK".

  5. 5

    Click on the "Store Settings" button at the bottom of the box and select where you intend to store your video and/or still shots. For most users, the option to choose will be "File," which saves the data on your computer's hard drive. After making your selection, click "OK."

  6. 6

    Enter a name for the camera and make sure the "Enable" box is checked. Next, click on the "..." button located next to the "Filename" field. Select an area on your hard drive where you want to store your image data.

  7. 7

    Click on "OK," then "Close" to finish the set-up. Your camera is now ready to capture motion-activated footage.

Tips and warnings

  • If you notice your webcam "times out" after a while with no use, select "Reconnect if no motion for ___ minutes" in the "Options" window and enter how long the program should wait before automatically reconnecting.

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