Turn your webcam into a security camera (or spy camera )

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Free/Premium Webcam Security Camera Software

How to use the webcam as a CCTV camera? Can I use a laptop camera as an IP camera?

To turn a webcam into a security camera, the first thing you need is the webcam security camera software.

Through the particular software to use a webcam as CCTV, you can view and record live videos detected by a webcam. The webcam security cameras also enable motion detection, sending email alerts and uploading videos to FTP. When you are out, you can remotely access the webcam security camera to stay informed about your home and loved ones.

In the following, I list some of the most widely-used webcam security camera software to help you turn a webcam into an IP camera easily and quickly.

  • iSpy

iSpy turns webcam into security camera to detect sound or movement to provide home surveillance. This webcam security camera app is free to use, but some of its features are premium, such as remote viewing. Recently iSpy only works with Microsoft operating system (Windows 7, 8, 10, etc), and some users say the video quality is horrible.

  • Yawcam

Yawcam is Windows webcam security camera software, letting you view everything happening in your home and office. Its motion detection is great, and it also supports FTP upload. Yawcam has limited features, but it is free to turn webcam into security camera.

  • SecuritySpy

SecuritySpy allows you to use webcam as security camera on Mac. It will intelligently detect any events and send you alerts. It is not free software to use webcam as CCTV and usually costs£30-£80 depending on the number of webcams you connect to it.

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Step 3. Set Up Video Output

You can either save your video output to your hard drive or upload it to your web cloud server via FTP upload. Alternatively, upload your video feed to the web with HTTP. You can enable these output modes through the main control panel for your security camera.

Here is how your video footage would look like whe

Here is how your video footage would look like when you click and view from your web browser.

There is no audio recording directly available fro

There is no audio recording directly available from Yawcam, and only CCTV camera footage will be recorded.

Video

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Laptop Webcam as Security Camera

Investing in a home security system can be expensive. But, by turning your laptop webcam into a security camera, you can monitor your home for a fraction of the cost.

Can your laptop webcam effectively monitor your home? With the sheer number of free software available, it’s an alternative many are willing to try.

But what are the advantages and disadvantages of a webcam security system? And, is it worth your time?

Pros of using your laptop webcam as a security camera:

There are tons of free software applications offering essential monitoring. Motion-activated monitoring saves on power consumption.

This type of security system is suitable for people who enjoy being hands-on with set-up and operations.

Cons of using your laptop webcam as a security camera:

There is a charge for most software offering advanced functionality. Depending on your system, the video may be unclear. In a break-in, your computer is a target.

You have to leave your laptop powered on for the camera to work. Most webcams don’t have features like night vision.

Laptop cameras have limited monitoring locations (no outdoor security).

Check out Best security cameras for home wireless on Amazon

How Do I Use My Laptop Camera To Take a Picture?

You can use your laptop’s webcam and take a picture.

It is possible if you have a Camera app installed on your Windows 10. Besides, if you have a Mac OS, you can use a Photo Booth app. Check out Best security cameras for home wireless on Amazon

a)Using Windows OS

So that to take a picture using Windows OS, ensure that you follow the following steps:

Step 1: The computer already has a webcam. Most laptops come with an inbuilt webcam, and if you have one, it is easy to take a picture.

If the laptop has no webcam, you can install the app.

Step 2: Open Start: at this step, click the Windows logo that you find in the bottom-left of the screen.

Step 3: Type “Camera”: it will enable you to search the camera app in your computer that will allow you to take a picture using any camera app attached.

Step 4: Click “Camera”: at the top of your start window, you will find the white and camera-shaped icon. You will, therefore, open the Windows Camera app.

Step 5: wait for the camera to launch: you should see a light that is next to your camera after the camera is on.

You can now see yourself in your camera’s app window.

Step 6: Face the laptop to what you want to photograph: you can start seeing your photograph object’s image on your screen.

Step 7: Click on your computer, “Capture button”: you will find this camera-shaped icon at the bottom of your laptop’s Camera app window.

After you have taken a picture, then save it into your Windows computer photograph app.

b)Using Mac OS

Step 1: Open the Spotlight: check for a magnifying glass icon that is on the top-right corner on your screen.

Step 2: Into the Spotlight, type “photo booth”: this will search for the Photo Booth app on your Mac.

Step 3: Click “Photo Booth”; when you do so, you will open the Photo Booth on your Mac.

Step 4: wait as your Mac’s camera turns on: after the camera turns on, you will see a green light next to the camera.

You will even see yourself on the screen in Photo Booth.

Step 5: Face your Mac’s screen towards the object you are photographing.

Anything that you will see appearing on the main photo booth, it will be part of your photo.

So, you can adjust the way you need based on what is on the Photo Booth Window.

Step 6: click on the “Capture button”: on the bottom of your page, you will find a red-and-white camera.

After doing so, you will take a picture, and it will add in your Mac’s Photos app.

You should also know that Photo Booth has many filters and visual effects.

This can be in use if you want to alter the photo. Besides, webcam footage is low in quality than DSLR, tablet or smartphone pictures. Check out Best security cameras for home wireless on Amazon

Home security camera: PC

If you haven’t already installed the drivers for your webcam, you’ll need to do that first. Then, download TinCam and install the software. You have 30 days to try it out and see if you want to fork over the $19.

Launch TinCam, and it will start walking you through a setup wizard. Because the wizard isn’t quite as bright as we are, you can just hit Cancel and we’ll handle making our settings manually.

Choose “Setup…” from the Setup menu. Click the “Video Devices” option in the menu at left, and check the box beside the webcam you’re using to select it:

Next, click the Auto Capture item:

Choose the “Motion detection” radio button, and in the Actions pane check the “Save picture to log directory” and “Send an e-mail” boxes. This will both save a local copy and email to you an image of the intruder, or perhaps a lovely shot of your intruding Great Dane. You can optionally have TinCam play a sound to scare off those pesky burglars; just check the “Play a sound” checkbox and Browse to find an audio file to launch upon sensor trigger. We highly recommend System of a Down for maximum impact, but it’s up to you. Just don’t choose Brahms.

Next, click on the File Names menu selection.

Here you define where you want your images to be stored. You can base the file naming on sequential number of on the time they’re snapped; the timestamp option will come in handy for our security setup. Click the Browse button beside the Log Directory text field and select where your webcam images will get stored.

Next, click E-mail in the Auto Capture submenu:

Enter the email address you wish to send to; the from address doesn’t really matter as long as it’s a valid address. Name it anything you want, just be creative. Don’t disappoint us.

Check “Attach picture to email.” You can also turn on flood control to make sure you don’t get 187 images of your cat sitting on your keyboard delivered to your inbox. Just pick whatever number seems reasonable to you. In the SMTP section at the bottom of the pane, enter the details for your mail server. If it requires authentication, check the box and enter your username and password.

Next, let’s define our motion sensor. Click on the Motion Detection option in the Auto Capture submenu. Click the define area button to call up the view from your webcam and define the area you wish to monitor (you can also use the entire viewable area by checking the “Use entire image” checkbox).

Just click and drag to create a red square that defines the sensor area. We are choosing to closely guard our 17″ Apple monitor. We don’t think burglars would bother carting away any CRTs these days, considering we don’t even care to lift the thing ourselves, but there are some sick individuals out there. You never know.

From the Motion Detection pane you can also calibrate the sensitivity of the sensor. If you find your trigger is too trigger-happy and gets set off by your houseplants, just adjust the sensitivity by unchecking the Auto-calibrate box and using the slider.

You could also configure TinCam to upload images via FTP, if you have access to a web server and wish to have your images automagically uploaded and made viewable via a web browser. There is also a built-in image server, so you can host and serve the images locally. They’ll be accessible via browser from elsewhere in the house without much fuss, but if you want to log in to your home cam from work or elsewhere you’ll have to deal with converting what is likely a dynamic IP address (if you’re on a broadband connection) to a static IP address that a DNS server can find. TinCam offers a bit of a workaround in this regard so that you can upload a small text file that contains your dynamic IP, which you can use to create a dynamic link to your images from behind your home firewall. This is beyond the scope of this how-to, but with some fiddling you could make this a killer dorky addition to your web site. 😉 You can also accomplish this by taking advantage of the excellent and free service.

TinCam also technically offers a live video streaming option, but in practice it’s pretty much crap. The developers of TinCam are pretty up front about this and go out of their way to warn you that you’ll more than likely only have luck getting it to work when viewed from a Windows machine running Internet Explorer, and even then, only if the wind is coming up from the south and the moon is just shy of full. But go nuts with it – YMMV. You can simulate a video stream by uploading to your FTP server at a very high refresh rate. You won’t get an audio feed, but you’ll get something that approximates a live video feed, and it will actually be viewable in a browser that is not Evil.

Without further ado, we’re ready to test our system. Click the OK button to exit the setup window. All you need do to arm your cam is choose Auto Capture from the Capture menu. Then, quietly steal from the room and burgle your way back in to test out your cam. Make sure to trigger the area you’ve defined as your sensor area, then check your email to make sure your settings are all correct. We’re extremely embarassed to have caught ourselves in the act of stealing our own monitor:

Lucky thing we had our trusty webcam security system in place, as we were able to settle out of court and win enough in damages to get a nice, flat-panel LCD. W00t!

CameraFTP Cloud Video / Audio Surveillance Service Prices

CameraFTP Virtual Security System is optimized for webcams and some IP camera models. For baby monitoring, pet monitoring, casual home and business monitoring, we recommend using webcams instead of IP cameras. Using webcams has the following advantages:

  • Free or low-cost camera hardware
  • Your computer is likely to have a built-in webcam, saving hardware cost. If you need more cameras, you can simply buy USB webcams, which are significantly less expensive than regular IP cameras.
  • Extremely easy to setup.
  • Just install the software and add the webcam to the Virtual Security System – no need to wait for the device to be shipped, assemble the camera, connect complicated cables, or configure the Wi-Fi network and camera.
  • Supports full video / audio surveillance
  • Virtual Security System supports video/audio surveillance as long as your computer has a microphone. Many USB webcams also include a microphone, so they will support video / audio surveillance. Most regular IP cameras do not support audio
  • Complete flexibility
  • You have complete flexibility in choosing a service plan – such as video resolution and frame rate – which allows customization that is optimized for both quality and cost; you also have the flexibility to move your camera around as it is not mounted to the wall or ceiling.
  • Higher video resolution
  • Compared with regular IP cameras, many webcams can support higher video resolution
  • Ultimate Security with Client-side encryption
  • Mobile Security Camera software supports advanced client-side encryption. The recorded data is transparently encrypted using your own encryption key; without the encryption key, nobody, incl. DriveHQ customer support staff can see your uploaded videos / images.

There are a few weaknesses of using webcams as your security cameras:

  • Requires a laptop / desktop computer.
  • Most users already have a spare computer, so this likely is not an issue. Using a regular IP camera to directly upload data to CameraFTP.com can free up the computer, however, this does not have the local recording feature as offered by DVR systems; Also, most of regular IP cameras don’t support uploading video/audio files, thus you will lose the audio surveillance capability; moreover, regular IP cameras only support certain video resolutions and frame rates, so you may not be able to choose the best service plan.
  • Webcams usually don’t support good night-vision.
  • Most webcams don’t support night vision, though there are exceptions to that rule. If you are buying a new webcam, and if you need night vision, please make sure you order a correct model.
  • USB cables have a very limited length
  • The length of a USB cable is usually limited to about 6-9 ft, which is too short to mount your webcam on the ceiling. Fortunately, for most casual home / business monitoring, you don’t need to mount your webcam onto the ceiling. And if you do need to, you can buy USB extenders, which can extend the max length to 50 – 100 ft.
  • Seems no webcams that can support Wi-Fi
  • To mount a webcam, you must wire the USB cable, which is not required for regular IP cameras, as they support Wi-Fi. Of course, there is also an advantage that USB-based webcams don’t require power supply, so you don’t need to wire the power lines to the cameras.

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