[hackerspaces] Webcam setups, for security and community?

Will Bradley will at heatsynclabs.org
Thu Nov 3 18:40:12 CET 2011

I'd look at IP based webcams instead of USB since USB has a max run
length of about 20 feet, but IP cams can end up being more expensive
than a closed-circuit system. Check out live.heatsynclabs.org to see
what I've done with two $100 webcams from Amazon, but be warned it
isn't easy to set up.

As you know, hackerspaces are more about tinkering and doing things
yourself versus simply purchasing a plug-n-play solution; this might
not be what your museum wants and so the hackerspaces mailing list
likely isn't the right place for you. Especially because this list is
more for discussing national hackerspace things, not necessarily our
personal projects. At the very least, find your local hackerspace on
hackerspaces.org and talk with them; but I suspect you should start by
contacting a local security camera installer unless you really want to
get your hands dirty.

On Nov 3, 2011, at 10:07 AM, "mars at redecho.org" <mars at redecho.org> wrote:

> Forgive me if this topic has been beaten to death already: I am new to
> this list and have found it difficult to search through the archives.
> I am affiliated with Air Light Time & Space here in Seattle. We want to
> set up some webcams, both as a security measure and as a way of promoting
> community engagement. We think that people will be more likely to "just
> stop by" if they can check in first and see what to expect.
> Commercial security camera systems look complicated and expensive. We were
> thinking that we could get a bunch of cheap USB webcams and plug them into
> a cheap PC and run some free software on it. Of course none of us actually
> know how to do this, which is why I am asking for advice.
> Have any of you set up such a system? Can you give me any pointers on
> hardware or software that I should look into? What is the state of Linux
> camera drivers - are there certain models which should be favored or
> avoided? Is there such a thing as a weatherproof USB webcam? How far can
> you stretch a USB connection? (It'd be cool to put a camera over the front
> door, but that's a good 80 feet from where the PC would live.)  Video
> would be great, but we would be happy with still frames.
> Thanks for any pointers you can offer!
> Mars Saxman @ ALTSpace
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