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Setting up a physical security camera December 13, 2005

Posted by Carthik in applications, guides, ubuntu.

I found a write up at aelf.co.uk regarding how the author chains together a few useful applications to use a Logitech webcam to physically monitor a room. In case of a break-in or unusual activity, he has it set up to upload webcam images to an ftp server, and has tips about how to create a short video using the cam shots. Amazing!

The principle is simple – a webcam connected to the machine is monitored by a piece of software. If activity is detected in the picture, a video (or set of photos) is recorded and uploaded to an external server. The idea being if there is ever a break in, I will be alerted immediately and hopefully have photgraphic evidence to show the police.

I managed to get all this working, and added a couple of other little useful features. This post is pretty much a guide for me later if I need to recreate it.

From Adding home security features to my Ubuntu machine. Perhaps there will come a day when I find the motivation to set something similar up in my own room. Till then, this will serve as a bookmark for other users who want to do the same.


1. Ralph - December 13, 2005

Hehe, same about me. I saw that link also and it sounds interesting, but I didn’t want to invest the time for such a thing at the moment. 🙂

2. benplaut - December 13, 2005

that’s really cool… i wish i had a webcam 😦

3. Aelf - December 14, 2005

I’ve seen it done a couple of times before, and have procrastinated for ages about doing it. When a couple of friends who live around the corner got burglarised, I knew I’d really be kicking myself if I continued procrastinating and ended up losing everything too.
For a relative Linux newbie, it took me about 10 hours work, total, to get working. I’m sure people with more confidence and skill will get it going much faster (or even rig up a better system).
It’s the first webcam I’ve ever owned, and I bought it especially for this – I think it cost £15 in Dixons, which is expensive but I knew having the webcam winking at me from the top of the monitor would motivate me a little. It worked, and now I’m pretty pleased with the outcome.
It still needs a bit of work (e.g. the way I call the ftp program once every second during an alarm causes heavy strain) but it works, and I learnt a lot in the meantime! It’s all good.

4. Richard - December 20, 2005


Interesting post, I have two suggestions on that. I recently acquired a Labtech webcam (logitech) that successfully froze my machines (ubuntu breezy) whenever I tried to open them using whatever webcam application. How to fix that can be found here http://www.eibrand.net/blog/labtec_webcam_plus_breezy_thank_you.php

Secondly – a very nice for monitoring is motion (http://www.lavrsen.dk/twiki/bin/view/Motion/WebHome) plenty of useful features, such as Real time creation of mpeg movies, ftp upload and plenty more. Take a look at it – its very good.

All the best,


5. aelf.co.uk » Adding home security features to my Ubuntu machine - December 29, 2005

[…] Ubuntu Blog » Setting up a physical security camera Says: December 13th, 2005 at 19:26 […]

6. krampo - February 8, 2006

I’m using same ol’ bt878 chip + “default” video camera and from software side there’s motion – http://www.lavrsen.dk/twiki/bin/view/Motion/WebHome – it really good detects motion and only then starts to record. Ok, I havent made to upload on-the fly, but for monitoring I think it’s really good.

7. Security - April 28, 2006

Web cams are really important to monitor and to secure your room/office. However, it’s really important to have audio (voice) beside the pictures because voice can really help in detecting the identity of the stranger. Unfortunatly, not all security products come with voice recording system.

8. Monitored Surveillance - January 16, 2007

*scratches his head*

9. binocular camera - November 16, 2009

web cam are essential in computer because without camera on pc, you cannot get in touch with other member of the family outside or inside on your belonging country.

10. eliza - December 4, 2009

Interesting post……..I am looking for a security camera..

11. Joelle esther benyayer - December 4, 2009

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12. kandy - May 4, 2010

Pretty impressive post. I just came across your site and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your opinions.
Any way I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

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14. sex sikiş - September 28, 2010

It still needs a bit of work (e.g. the way I call the ftp program once every second during an alarm causes heavy strain) but it works, and I learnt a lot in the meantime! It’s all good

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