Monitor your PC with a webcam or IP camera

If you want to monitor a home, you don't have to immediately invest in a very expensive video surveillance system. You can also easily monitor your PC with a cheap IP camera or webcam and the free program iSpy. From now on, it's easy to keep an eye on the computer!

Tip 01: Installation

Before you get started with iSpy, it is wise to connect the camera to your computer or home network. In the case of an IP camera, you plug an Ethernet cable into the back of the housing or you register the device on WiFi. Continue through the configuration settings. With recent products, this is usually done via a mobile app. You can connect an external webcam to the computer via USB. If necessary, install another driver for this. A big advantage of iSpy is that it can handle almost all cameras. The English-language program is only available for Windows. Surf here and click Download iSpy. Depending on your computer, you can choose between a 32bit or 64bit version of this freeware. Extract the downloaded zip file and double click iSpySetup.exe to start the installation. By checking the checkbox, you agree to the terms and conditions. Confirm with install and after a while click launch to open iSpy.

Tip 02: Add webcam

As soon as you open iSpy for the first time, an English introductory window will appear. Read the information and click it with OK away. You will now first add a camera to the program. In the case of a webcam, navigate to Add / Local Camera. rear Video Device the name of the webcam is listed. Choose at Video Resolution the desired resolution. The higher this value, the clearer the video images. Keep in mind that sharp images require more storage capacity. This is important if you are going to record the surveillance images later in this article. With a high resolution, make sure there is sufficient storage capacity on the PC. Finally click OK.

Tip 03: Add IP camera

Adding an IP camera is a bit more difficult compared to registering a webcam. Fortunately, iSpy has an extensive database with almost all available IP cameras. An advantage, because you do not have to manually enter all kinds of settings. Go to Add / IP Camera With Wizard and type back make the camera brand, for example D-Link, Foscam or Edimax. While typing, a list of camera models appears. Select the correct product and click Next. Then enter the username and password. If you've never changed the password, you can usually find the login details in the manual or on the back of the camera. Incidentally, it is safer to set new login details in the camera yourself.

Through Next click on Scan Local Network. All IP addresses of devices within your home network appear on the screen. You point to the IP address of your camera and then choose Next. If you do not know the IP address, first read the box 'Find out the IP address'. click on Yes to request an overview of the addresses of the available video streams. In most cases, select the mjpeg video stream, then click Next.

iSpy has a database with almost all available IP cameras

Find out IP address

For the configuration of an IP camera you need the IP address of this device. Don't you know? If you have configured the camera with a mobile app, you will find the current IP address in the settings. Alternatively, request a device list with the corresponding IP addresses from the management panel of your router. You can also install an IP network scanner on the PC. Examples include Angry IP Scanner and Advanced IP Scanner.

Tip 04: Rotate camera

After you have added a webcam or IP camera, a settings window will immediately appear. You have to go through it completely to configure the surveillance system correctly. Is this settings window invisible, but do you have an image? Then right click on the video frame and choose edit. Especially when you add multiple cameras to iSpy, it is useful to give each device its own name. Top up Name Enter a logical name, for example garden or garage. It is often necessary to rotate the camera image, for example when the device is mounted on a wall or ceiling bracket. Choose in the drop-down menu behind Transform for example for Rotate 180 Flip when you want to rotate the image 180 degrees. Finally, it is wise to increase the refresh rate during recordings. Fill in behind When Recording for example, enter a value of 30.00 to capture smooth video. click on Next.

Tip 05: Motion Detection

You are now on the tab to configure motion detection. This function is already active by default. As soon as iSpy detects movement, the edge of the video frame turns red and a recording icon can be seen at the top right. You can set some things to your liking. The freeware supports several detection options. If you leave this setting on Two Frames, iSpy will continuously compare the last two frames. As soon as the program detects deviations, the recording starts immediately. This detection option works fine, so you don't need to change anything here. Via the slider below Trigger Range set the sensitivity of the motion detection. Does the recording start when a leaf falls from a tree? In that case it is better to move the left slider slightly to the right. At the part Detection Zones view a preview of the camera. Optionally, you can let iSpy only search for movement on a specific part of the video image. Use the mouse to draw a rectangle over the part you want to check. click on Next.

Let iSpy look for movement on a specific part of the video image

Tip 06: Alerts

As soon as iSpy detects movement, the program may alert you. Check the options at the top if necessary Alerts Enabled and Messaging at. Bee Fashion make sure the option movement is selected. Click at the bottom Select Action. As you can see, there are several options for receiving an alert. Choose Play Sound when iSpy should play a sound clip on your computer when it detects motion. You confirm this choice with Add and select a wav file on the hard drive. Then click OK to activate this alert type. You can also choose to start a specific file or open a website when you move. Receiving an email or text message requires a paid iSpy Connect account, so you can't just activate these features. click on Next.

Tip 07: Recording Settings

On the tab recording adjust the recording settings to your liking. It is important that under Recording Mode the option Record on Movement Detection is enabled. Furthermore, adjust Max. Record Time possibly in how many seconds a recording may last. That way you prevent iSpy from storing heavy video files. Add Quality the desired video quality with the slider. Bee Profile you can adjust the video format as needed. The default setting (H264 MP4) also offers excellent video quality. At the part Time Lapse Recording you can also make video recordings based on time intervals, although this function is not that interesting for surveillance purposes.

Tip 08: Other options

You can adjust a few more options in the remaining tabs of the settings window. When using a so-called pan & tilt camera, the tab is PZT very helpful. Changes the camera angle remotely by using the arrow keys. You can also use the magnifying glasses to zoom in and out. Go to the tab scheduling when you want to record according to a fixed schedule. Through Add select you at Action of Recording: Start and Recording: Stop the desired times. It is useful that you can also specify separate recording days in the week. Finally, navigate to the tab Storage. rear Media Location you can see in which folder iSpy saves the recordings. The default folder has been chosen rather unfortunate, because it is located deep in the system. Click on the button with the three dots and Add. Use the button with the three dots to select a different location. Confirm your choice with Select folder and click twice OK. rear Media Location select the new file location via the small arrow. Close the settings window with Finish. All changes are now saved. An additional action is required afterwards to activate the time schedule. Right click on the video frame and confirm with Apply Schedule.

Tip 09: View recordings

All images appear as thumbnails in the lower pane. The program works with the well-known media player VLC to play the images. You can also use your own media player instead. Right click on a thumbnail and choose Play in Default Player. The default video player on your computer will now directly open the recording, for example Windows Media Player.

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