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Webcam Washout - RonO's Ramblings

May. 24th, 2009 05:06 pm Webcam Washout

We've been continuing to have minor incursions onto our property (OK, the landlord's property, but I think we legally have similar rights while we hold a lease) by the neighborhood kids (or "neighbor hoods" as I'm starting to think of some of them). Nothing serous, mostly ringing the doorbell and then running away, knocking over the landscape lights and, we suspect, having their dogs do their doggy business on obscure corners of the front lawn. To see if I could catch some of this action, I attempted to rig the inexpensive webcam I have up to shoot out one of the font windows.

This, alas, turned out to be a failure. At least with the software that came with the camera, it cannot handle the sunlight, and produces nothing more than a white image. I hope I don't have to pay for a more expensive system just to see if we have neighbors who are just a bit beyond polite. On the other hand, it would be nice to actually have proof if they do something worse. (Derrick claims one pointed a BB gun at him, and we did see what Derrick thought was a BB in the driveway the other day -- although I've only ever seen brass ones, and this BB sized ball was bright green. So worse isn't entirely out of the question.)

I hope that once we sell the Bartlett house (Anyone need a house in Bartlett? It might even be a nice ready-to-rent if you can at least offer us enough to make it worth it to us), we'll end up someplace where there are nice kids. Alas, the cynic in me wonders if there are any neighborhoods with nice kids left in this country.

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Comments:

From:madtechie2718
Date:May 25th, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Download the 30day free version of I-Catcher and see if that works for you.

http://www.icode.co.uk/icatcher/

Or the free-for-ever Eyeline:

http://www.nchsoftware.com/surveillance/index.html

Eyeline is a bit more limited, but is free.

My ideal choice is to use a PIR to trigger recording, since motion detection is pretty poor with cheap webcams. Something that supported contact closures on a couple of pins of a serial or parallel port would be good (shough how long we'll see computers with those on is open to question!)


As to camera whiteout, were you trying to use it through a window? That often works poorly, unless you drape the camera from behind to cut reflctions down.

Judicious use of bits of card or plastic to manage the glare - and maybe a filter too - might improve things.