How to Make a Security Camera

Protecting one's home and property from criminals is a top priority for most people. Installing a professional-quality surveillance camera can be a costly endeavor, and might be overkill in some applications. It's possible, however, to build a security camera yourself using a web cam and some simple software programs.

Things You'll Need

  • Web cam
  • Computer
  • Video recording software


    • 1

      Purchase a basic computer web cam. It doesn't have to be expensive or packed with bells and whistles, and the quality of the image is not particularly important. A variety of manufacturers such as Logitech, Labtec, Creative Labs and D-Link make inexpensive web cams that will work just fine as security cameras. Some even offer wireless functionality, which will be important depending on where you'd like to place the camera.

    • 2

      Download and install a web cam software utility, such as Dorgem. Dorgem is a program that will allow you to preview and record any footage captured by your web cam. At this time, the program only works with the Windows operating system. Explore the options included with Dorgem; you can save the video you record on your computer in a variety of formats. Although Dorgem has been discontinued, you can still download and use it free of charge.

    • 3

      Place your web cam where you want it to record. Try to simulate the conditions your web cam will be facing when you need security the most. For example, if the web cam will be monitoring a dark room at night, you'll need to open the "Source" button followed by the "Properties" tab and increase the brightness and contrast settings to produce a clear image in a dimly lit room.

    • 4

      Open the "Options" menu within Dorgem. From here, you'll see an option called "Use motion detection." This tiny feature is the key to using your web cam as a security camera. With this option selected, your web cam will only record video when it detects motion within the frame. With this option off, your web cam will record continuously and quickly clog up your hard drive.

    • 5

      Consider using Dorgem to upload pictures or video to an FTP or HTTP site. This will allow you to monitor your web cam from a remote location, such as your workplace or during a vacation. This can be done in the "Storage" setting included in Dorgem.

Tips & Warnings

  • Place a small piece of black electrical tape over the light on our web cam, if it includes one. This will make the camera more difficult to detect.
  • Don't rely on a web cam-based security system to protect a costly investment. Although this sort of system is perfect for tracking activity in your home when you're sleeping or away, it's not intended for professional use.
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