Saturday, 16 April 2011

Webcam into Growl CCTV camera!

Got any old webcam's hanging around like I did? Need a project to entertain you for a few hours? Check out my guide to convert a standard webcam into a motion sensitive, growl/prowl notifying CCTV Camera.

Parts list:
Webcam
Always On server or PC
Some hardware for mounting camera etc
USB Extension
Various Free Software(detailed in the guide)
Prowl App (If you want push notifications)




1. Firstly find a suitable location for your webcam, I have positioned mine directly above my front door mounted on the side of the garage. (Note: I have no idea how long a webcam is going to last when open to the elements) I used 2 right angle brackets from my local hardware store that I had lying about, one is to be used to hold a makeshift temporary rain cover, the other is used to clip the webcam onto. (Mounting will depend on what fittings your camera comes with) I will be making up a more weather proof perspex housing for the camera at a later date.


2. Then I routed the USB cable through into the garage as thats where my server is located, however due to the distance between the camera and the server, I have had to fit a USB extension cable in order to reach the server. (Excuse the bad wiring job and state of the garage, the wiring will be tidied up now that I have proven the concept)

3. Download the Yawcam software and install it onto your server/PC. It should detect your webcam and display it in the video window. The following images will show my initial setup:



This gave me a local streaming output over my network 192.168.0.2:8081 I pointed the browser on my iphone to this address whilst logged into my wifi, this enabled me to adjust the view of my webcam and focus whilst viewing the output on my screen.

So, I now have a camera feed that is fed over my network locally, and also outputed externally once I had forwarded ports and adjusted my firewall settings, this allows me to view the camera feed from pretty much anywhere on anything with a web browser.

If you don't want notifications send to your email or to your phone via prowl then you can finish now, otherwise carry on reading.

4. Email notifications: In order t0 get email notifications you will need to activate motion sensing. Do this through window/motion detection this will open another config menu, check the send email button and then configure your settings depending on what you feel you need.


Run outside and test! you may need to play with the motion detection settings to reduce false notifications. I found one of the kids was a helpful tool.

So you should now be receiving email notifications of detected motion, with still captures if you choose those options, I have mine set to take 4 stills at 500ms.

5. Growl/Prowl push notifications:
In order to have this you will need: An iOS device (iphone,ipad,ipod touch) you will need to be running the Growl software on your server/PC, and have purchased and set up the Prowl iOS app (If you need assistance with this let me know and I will publish a guide) and have installed and set up growlnotify.exe

Assuming you have all of this, and have it set up, all you need to do is go back into your motion detection settings and check run exe, in the settings you need to specify your path to growlnotify.exe (mine is located in the root of c: as detailed in my doorbell post) then you need to enter the message you wish to receive in speech marks:

C:\growlnotify.exe "Camera Motion Detected"


And that should be it, again run outside or send a child/wife/friend and you should receive a push notification after a slight delay.

I have attached a video of how mine works.




And thats it, couple of hours wasted, some old cheap tech used to do something useful.

116 comments:

  1. Nice. What camera you got there?

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  2. It was a cheap Chinese cam I bought off eBay to test the motion tracking of my autonomous sentry gun, but I now have about 10 free cameras coming so that one doesn't need to stay with that project anymore

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  3. Cool project, I've always wanted to do a project like this. Nice job.

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  4. Nice work, do I need motion sensing camera, or any webcam will do?

    Thanks

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  5. Xantes

    Yawcam is around for more than 5 years and projects based on the Yawcam application are also around on the Internet for at least for the same amount of time.

    ReplyDelete
  6. i have that same camera that my wife got from walmart but i cant for the life of me get the drivers working. where did you get the drivers for the cam?

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  7. The camera doesn't need to be motion sensing, the software does it using a background subtraction method, that was my intention with the write up, that any camera can be used.

    As for drivers I am not sure I installed any, my copy of windows see's it as a standard pc camera. Can windows update not find anything?

    If your still struggling I am happy to help out of the comments section, drop me an email if your stuck dj.sean@gmail.com

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  8. Very nice. Interesting to see if this could go wireless

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  9. Wireless would be great,but fantastic geek project,thanks

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  10. Here's one, will it use more than one USB Camera? It would be great if it could.

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  11. I worked on this project today, It was a very good way to introduce myself to a small scope of surveillance, thank-you, I really enjoyed working on this project. Plus it really works.

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  12. What about Vitamin D ?It does the same thing, comes with notifications and rules, where it only sends an EMail with a pic if the rule matches, such as people. It took me 10 minutes to set it up.It is free too.
    Octect

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  13. Im doing this weekend as a DIY project. thanks dude for the guide.

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  14. Interesting project, thanks for the details.

    Also, nice comment about Vitamin D. Will give this a try too!

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  15. Does signal degrade over a long run of USB extension cable?

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  16. Doesnt appear to degrade, the quality is only probably vga anyway, but its enough to suit the purpose

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  17. "Motion" on linux works soooooo much better. I gave up with yawcam a while back. Google "motion linux" should be one of the top results.

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  18. Is it possible to do the push notifications to a Android powered device? I was able to find a Android push program but I don't have any coding experience... http://nma.usk.bz/

    Anyone got this working on a Android???

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  19. I'm thinking of trying this out next week. My server is a Linux box. Do you know of any similar software for Linux?

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  20. Hello,

    A very nice read. However when I tried, I couldn't share my joy like people above have.

    You have written:
    'This gave me a local streaming output over my network 192.168.0.2:8081 I pointed the browser on my iphone to this address whilst logged into my wifi, this enabled me to adjust the view of my webcam and focus whilst viewing the output on my screen.

    So, I now have a camera feed that is fed over my network locally, and also outputed externally once I had forwarded ports and adjusted my firewall settings, this allows me to view the camera feed from pretty much anywhere on anything with a web browser.'


    I have my iPhone connected to the Wi-fi and the address I got was 60.254.151.10:8081 from the Settings. I put this in the iPhone with the YawCam streaming, I couldn't see anything.

    I am in VPN connected to my office gateway. Is that a problem and do somehting about the firewall and ports?

    Regards,
    Shreyas

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  21. Thanks dude. I set-up Yawcam and everything was pretty simple using this entry.

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  22. Justin, I dont know of a growl client for android, however my second handset is an android one so would be very interested. If there isn't one I might have a go at writing one.

    Luke, see a couple of posts up someone has suggested using "motion" for linux builds.

    Shreyas, the ip address you have listed appears to be a external one, you should have 2, the internal one should begin with 192..... I dont think you can connect to an external IP from your internal network.

    Drop me an email if your still stuck

    Also if you wish to connect from outside your local network, you will need to set up port forwarding and or firewall settings

    ReplyDelete
  23. thanks much for the detailed instructions! I just completed my version of this too. Yawcam was super easy!

    I love this kind of stuff....

    ReplyDelete
  24. @ Shreyas - that's your external IP address - you need to find the internal IP address which is nearly always in the form 192.168.xx.xx

    ReplyDelete
  25. How long is the UBS cable that you use?

    Excuseme, but.. sentry gun?

    ReplyDelete
  26. Soul, the cable is probably 2 or 3m long I would think, it spans half the length of my garage.

    lol, yes a sentry gun, a longer term project that I am working on, is to build an autonomous motion tracking sentry gun, armed with either paintball or airsoft.

    I will be doing a full write up on it as I do it. but there is another reason for the hardware which I will make clear once the gun prototype is finished

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  27. Security cameras are designed to record anything and everything they see

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  29. i pluged in all the details of my streaming webcam into "quickcam lite" a great app for my android phone which fits in smoothly into remote viewing of my cam. one question though, the email notifications didnt work for me, what should be filled in where it says 'fmtp server'?

    ReplyDelete
  30. Nice Idea to spy on anybody!

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  31. Sean, that project looks GREAT. I wonder if you can be of assistance to me?!? I have a Microsoft LifeCam and have used it with several various software programs, including ooVoo. Here's my setup and I have a problem. Hope you can help:
    (1) WebCam and 1 computer WinXp is at the shop. The computer is NOT wireless, so no router other than the one the cable company furnishes. I can go wireless if I need to. (2) Computers at the house - one in my office and one in the kitchen. Both are wireless and on a Linksys Wireless-G, WRT54GL. I would love to be able to have them "viewing" the camera feed at the same time, but, so far can't get either of them to capture it. I saw something about forwarding the ports, but didn't completely understand it AND don't know where to start with the forwarding. HELP!!!!!
    Thanks
    Elizabeth

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  32. Sorry, I should have included the info that this is to be used as a security camera between our small shop and our house.
    Elizabeth

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  33. thanks for this. Set me on the right path to get it all working.

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  34. duffer2, my apologies I have only just seen your question, if you have not managed to sort it yet, drop me an email to dj.sean@gmail.com and I will try and help you out

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  40. Excellent idea - just shows you dont need and all singing and dancing set up!! well done

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  41. can i transfer recording with usb in cctv cameras?

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  42. Hm, enterprises that are imploring for strict security will find this handy. Since the materials don’t require brand new tools, it’s a cheaper choice. The safety of homes or any office would be ensured without overspending.

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  44. Very informative article, and useful. I run a tech support business, and have wanted a security camera for watching over the shop. I had a webcam just lying around, and this helped me to clean up and get the security camera I needed to keep an eye on things while I was gone.

    ReplyDelete
  45. This is a very practical project. It is good that you placed your camera on your garage. That way, you can deter robbers and thieves from coming into your home. You’ve got some good improvising skills. But for those who do not have time to do this, or do not have the techie skills to assemble one, there are a lot of security companies who will gladly give you a good system that will protect your home 24/7.

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  46. This is such a great idea, Sean! Not only are you recycling, you’re also heightening the security around your house! This is very practical, and something that we should all look into. Thieves and vandals are becoming more cunning nowadays, so it’s definitely very useful to have security cameras around the house. However, I don’t think they would expect to see a webcam as a security camera! If they think it’s fake, then the joke’s on them because you’ve got their faces and actions on tape, ready to show the authorities!

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