Wednesday, February 3, 2016

DIY Video Security

Have you ever thought that having video cameras set up would increase your security, but were just too expensive to add to your home?
Sure, who wouldn't like to have a birds eye view real time, or recorded footage when we're not home?  But who wants to spend thousands on a CCTV setup, not to mention having some technician in our home for a day installing it?

Well, the days of out of reach video security systems are over.  Most likely, you already have most of the hardware you need.  If you are reading this, then most likely you have an internet connection, a computer of some sort, and a wireless router up and running in your home.  All you need is some free software and a camera (or 2 or 3, or how many you wish).

In response to a growing market, there are many affordable cameras on the market.  A quick search on Amazon or EBay will reveal a selection of cameras offering some interesting features, such as wifi, sound, PTZ control(Pan/Tilt/Zoom) and of course infrared night vision.

Pairing these up to free software (I like ISpy) is simple as most softwares out there have all the parameters for the popular camera brands and models built in.  Many will even support some neat features such as motion detection, follow object, talkback, message alert and more.

Let's face it, if you could install a camera that will automatically record video footage, send an alert to your desktop, follow the moving object, and announce to the intruder whatever message you record, for under $100.00 would you?  Why not?

Imagine an unwanted visitor approaching your front door and hearing your voice saying "your image has already been recorded and the police have been notified", and all this happens while you're away stocking up on supplies at Walmart!

For a monthly fee, many of these free softwares will notify you by text when motion detection activates your camera, and upload the video for you to view online. If you have a bit of scripting knowledge on your PC, then you could easily set this up yourself and avoid those charges.  A simple remote desktop app on your smart phone or tablet will further eliminate the need to rely on someone else monitoring your data.

But is it legal you ask?  We all know that video cameras exist almost everywhere in today's society.  So much so that it has been generally accepted that you have no expectation of privacy beyond the confines of your front door.  Believe it or not, this includes your private property known as your yard.
As preppers, we want to know BEFORE someone comes to our front doors, but can you monitor your neighbors yard where it meets yours?  The short answer is yes, so long as your cameras can't see into any windows of neighboring buildings.  This may seem a bit disturbing, but you can see the obvious advantages.

Inside your home is a bit of a different story, and if you plan on using video security inside, you may want to seek legal advice before doing so.  You can, of course record yourself doing whatever you may want to do in your own home, however there are instances where visitors may have a reasonable expectation of privacy so be careful about what you record or monitor.

In a grid down situation, your system will still work, so long as you can provide power to the electronic components of the system.  You don't even have to have an internet connection in order to monitor and record from inside your home as your router will still connect to the cameras within range, so long as they, and your computer are all powered up.

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