Surveillance system with Motion
There is a time when you are leaving your home empty and you don’t have an expensive security and alarm system. You need to be protected and be aware if there are any changes or visits that you do not approve of while you are gone. There is an easy way to achieve just that with Motion. What you need is:
- Linux OS (ex. Ubuntu)
- Motion (free)
- Internet (optional)
- Hosting (optional)
- Smartphone with data plan (optional)
After you have your computer ready, webcam installed and working, go and download the Motion project or use Ubuntu’s apt to get it (check to get the latest version):
sudo apt-get install motion
Run the program (Motion) with root privileges, like sudo motion, however please note that you should probably run it with sleep or cron, otherwise it will activate immediately and most probably detect you while you are exiting the room.
Now you are all set for the basic surveillance with just a webcam which will record when there is a movement in front of the camera, however there are some more advanced options which could help a lot.
Email you when there is movement detected
For this you will need to install sendmail and mutt, assuming you are on Ubuntu
sudo apt-get install sendmail mutt
The basic settings for sendmail are enough for most users, but if you are an advanced user feel free to modify it as you desire.
Open the file /etc/motion/motion.conf in your favorite text editor (ex. vim), then locate the text on_even_start value and change the value part with:
echo "This is the body of the message" | mutt -s "Motion has been detected" email@example.com
If there is a ; (semi-colon) on the beginning of the row, remove it, also if there is any empty space before the on_event_start.
Sending images to a webserver
It would be good to have the images taken from the motion to a webserver so that you can check from a remote location what is there on the images and report to the police if needed.
Open the /etc/motion/motion.conf file again in a text editor and locate the text on_picture_save value and change the value part with:
scp %f firstname.lastname@example.org:/path/for/images/
If there is a ; (semi-colon) on the beginning of the row, remove it, also if there is any empty space before the on_picture_save.
Enable login without password on your webserver
You need to create a ssh key on your machine with the following
sudo ssh-keygen -t dsa
Upload the key to your webserver:
sudo ssh-copy-id -i /root/.ssh/id_dsa.pub email@example.com
Tips and tricks: if you have a LED light on your camera, put a plastic electrician tape (isolation tape) on it so that the camera is not noticeable. Also, make sure you have some light in the room, unless the camera has a feature for night vision.