Keep an eye on your home with free software that turns any webcam into a CCTV system
When you go away on holiday or need to leave your home for any other reason, it is understandable that you might be concerned about the belongings you have left unattended. Luckily there is a way to give you peace of mind.
If you have a webcam connected to your computer, you can use it to create a home-security system that will keep an eye on things while you’re away. All that is needed is the right software and a little bit of technical know-how - which we’ll help you with.
In this workshop we’ll show how to download, install and use a free program called Tebocam, which can turn any webcam-equipped PC into a simple CCTV system able to record any suspicious activity before sending an email alert.
Visit the Tebocam website. When the website appears, click the Tebocam link on the left-hand side of the page, then click the Download Tebocam link towards the bottom of the page and click the Download link. If the File Download Security Warning dialogue box appears, click Save and then choose a location for the downloaded file - the Windows Desktop will do.
Tebocam doesn’t need to be installed as such but the contents of the compressed ZIP file you downloaded must be expanded, and it makes sense to extract them into a dedicated folder. We’re going to place it within our test computer’s C:\Program Files folder, to keep it with all the other applications. To do this, first right-click the Tebocam.zip file and select the Extract All option from the menu that appears. Now click the Browse button followed by the Computer folder and click your C: drive followed by Programs Files before clicking the Make New Folder button. Type Tebocam, press Enter and click OK, then ensure the option labelled ‘Show extracted files when complete’ is ticked. Then click the Extract button.
Launch the program by using Windows Explorer to navigate to the folder you created and double-click the Tebocam.exe file. If you want, create a shortcut to the file by dragging and dropping it on to the Start menu (Windows 7 users can right-click it and choose Pin to Start Menu). Assuming your webcam is connected and correctly set up, footage from it should now be visible in the preview panel to the left-hand side of the Tebocam window. If you have more than one camera connected and Tebocam is displaying the wrong view, click the Select Webcam button and choose the correct camera from the dropdown menu before clicking OK.
Position the webcam as necessary - we’ve pointed ours at the front door. To save on disk space, Tebocam’s recording facility is triggered by motion detection. When something moves in sight of the webcam, the program will act according to your instructions (more on that later). But first, it’s sensible to adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection by clicking the Train button to the left followed by Start Countdown. When the countdown reaches zero the analysis of camera footage will start.
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