DIY Webcam Surveillance Systems – Some of the Best Downloadable Software

Have you ever wanted to catch that person you suspect is snooping around your office? Peek in on the cleaning lady while you’re away? Or check up on the kids while at work or out for the night?

There are many options available to choose from when selecting a video surveillance system. Professional surveillance systems can cost hundreds of dollars. Or you could just try out many of the free and low cost downloadable software applications available for use with everyday web cameras.

Since webcams are affordable and easy to connect, it’s a great place to start with a DIY home or office surveillance project. Some of the best downloadable webcam software is available as freeware or comes in under $70.

1. Yawcam (Freeware)

Short for Yet Another WebCAM software, Yawcam is simple, easy-to-use surveillance software that supports live video streaming from a webcam or digital video camera. It’s perfect for use at home or in a small office. Yawcam includes all the regular features one would want in a basic system.

Major features include:

  • Video streaming
  • Image snapshots
  • Motion detection
  • Text and image overlay
  • Built-in web server
  • Scheduler for online time
  • FTP uploads
  • Time lapse movies
  • Multi-language support
  • Runs as a Windows service
  • Java-based

2. WebCam Monitor by Deskshare (Free Trial, Purchase for $69.95)

WebCam Monitor by Deskshare allows you to monitor, preview and record one camera at a time. It’s ideal for monitoring a small area such as a dorm room or office. This software offers a step up in features and camera functions including centralized camera management.

WebCam Monitor not only offers motion detection, but sound detection too. This is a nice feature not found in many low cost monitoring software systems. Recording can be scheduled at set time intervals to capture time sensitive activity. If you’re looking for multiple camera support, try Security Monitor Pro, the professional-grade version by Deskshare. There is also a free stripped down version called IP Viewer.

Major features include:

  • Support for over 100 Web and IP cameras
  • Motion and audio detection
  • Video buffering records before motion is detected
  • Pan-Tilt-Zoom support
  • Time and date stamp
  • Mask unwanted motion detection areas
  • FTP upload
  • Schedule monitoring times
  • Remote viewing
  • Audible alarms
  • Email alerts
  • Image/video quality adjustments
  • Easy set-up and configuration wizard
  • Storage optimization
  • Auto-server upload
  • Windows compatible
  • Technical support knowledgebase and tutorials

3. Willing Webcam by Willing Software (Free Trial, Purchase for $39.95)

Not just surveillance software, Willing Webcam has features that enable you to use it as a video capture and distribution solution as well. You can stream live video or time-lapsed images from your webcam or other video sources to a web site. It’s compatible with most USB-based or Firewire (IEEE 1394) video devices. So not only can you connect and view your webcam, you can connect and share video from camcorders, TV and video capture cards, TV tuners, Cannon digital cameras and IP cameras. It also supports the PTZ capabilities of Logitech webcams.

Willing Webcam offers essential surveillance features like motion detection, alerts, remote management and stealth mode. Add watermarks and date stamps to images and video and archive safely via FTP upload. Create webcam image effects with colorful text captions. Willing Webcam comes in both a “Lite” and full-featured version. However, the Lite version doesn’t offer some of the convenience features such as email or MMS (multi-media messaging services) alerts, remote management, FTP upload or video streaming.

Major Features Include:

  • Live streaming video
  • Image snapshots
  • Motion detection
  • Sends email/text/image message alerts
  • Time lapse record feature
  • Remote management
  • Video output for Skype & IM
  • FTP/HTTP upload
  • HTTP server, video streaming
  • Stealth mode, password login
  • Gamer view
  • Windows-based
  • Supports USB-based cameras and Firewire video devices

4. DigiWatcher – Free download with time limits; No time limits, $39.

DigiWatcher combines four main features in one system. It supports video recording, motion monitoring, remote video surveillance and webcam broadcasting. It saves compressed clips and can auto-upload to FTP, send an alert via email or phone. Watcher comes with a free optional Remote View download that enables remote access for Watcher. The newest version of Watcher doesn’t include stealth mode, but the company still offers the previous version for download if you want this feature.

Major features include:

  • Live streaming video and audio
  • Motion detection
  • Buffering records before motion is detected
  • Supports IP/USB cameras and RSTP (real-time streaming protocol) video sources
  • Email, phone or FTP upload alert
  • Remote viewing and management
  • Video broadcasting
  • FTP upload
  • Multi-camera support
  • Minimized mode with password protection
  • Record Scheduler

5. Genius Vision NVR – Freeware (noncommercial use)

Worth mentioning, this full featured professional-grade surveillance software has lots of bells and whistles that are sure to thrill any tech geek. However, this freeware does not support webcams, but IP/CCTV cameras. It’s ideal for performing surveillance on larger homes or offices where you want to view and control multiple cameras from various locations.

Since this product operates as a NVR (Network Video Recorder), you should consider running this system on a dedicated PC with a good amount of hard drive space. It runs on Windows, requires no registration and has no time limit on full functionality.

Major features include:

  • Live, remote viewing and control
  • Supports multiple cameras
  • 3G Mobile phone video streaming
  • Tutorial guide
  • Intelligent and motion detection
  • Digital Pan-Tilt-Zoom
  • 360 Degree panoramic live and playback viewing
  • 25-Channel synchronized playback
  • Supports multiple monitors
  • CMS (Central Management Station) for large scale installs
  • Group-based, multi-level permissions
  • Trigger options
  • Smart search
  • User tree
  • Windows-based
  • Runs as a Windows service
Madison Parker is the editor for Created out of a passion for helping others become more protected individuals both inside and outside of their homes – Read more on how to protect yourself here!

2 thoughts on “DIY Webcam Surveillance Systems – Some of the Best Downloadable Software”

  1. SebecTec IP software to make time-lapse from an IP cam. Runs on Windows and stores the images to a local hard drive. Images can be sent to a website via FTP if desired. The time-lapse can be made each day and hourly. Running a second instance of the program allows you to make a third time-lapse that can span longer time periods. Has watermark, and on image weather option.


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