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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool Apps
One of the first things I thought when I saw the iMac would have a built in isight camera was "the doors have ears and the walls have eyes." If you really want to invite big brother into your home (or be him yourself), you can set your iMac or Macbook to spy on your home and the other users of your computer.

Turn on fast user switching in the Accounts System Preferences panel, set up a few users with passwords, then open a new movie recording in QuickTime Pro. Pretty basic and a no-brainer -- keeping the user logged in who has the QuickTime movie recording will record continuously through any fast user switching.

Set the machine not to sleep, but just to turn off the screen, and your computer will look like it's off while it's filming and recording the audio in the room. Other than the little green light, it works perfectly ... now who out there knows how to politely ask your Mac to turn off that light?

[robg adds: I was intrigued to find that the recording does, indeed, keep right on working after fast user switching. And you don't need a new Mac to try this, just any Mac with QT Pro and a recordable video source. Keep in mind that you'll chew up a lot of drive space doing this -- about 13MB per minute, based on a quick test with my iSight -- so an hour of video would be 780MB. You can use QuickTime Pro to export a finished movie in a more compressed format, of course, and then remove the original.

If you're really interested in something like this, EvoCam is probably a better solution. You'll lose some frames per second, but you get much better recording options, and you can use any web browser to view the image in real time.]
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Evocam link wrong
Authored by: jmacak on Apr 20, '06 07:46:05AM
If you're really interested in something like this, EvoCam is probably a better solution...

The link for Evocam in the above sentence was mistyped. It should be:

EvoCam

Jim M.
Aplle Certified Help Desk Specialist
Macintosh Help - Milwaukee, WI



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Evocam link wrong
Authored by: KSchlz on Apr 21, '06 02:13:23PM

I like KeyCamX, it has motion detection.
Kay



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Evocam link wrong
Authored by: dave1212 on Apr 22, '06 02:32:49AM

So does EvoCam.



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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: oink on Apr 20, '06 08:39:56AM
A freeware alternative is Gawker http://gawker.sourceforge.net/Gawker.html My completely un-protected powerbook was stolen from my home 2 weeks ago, I have since acquired an Intel Imac and implemented several layers of call-home script as well as turning on all the security options (minus filevault, which corrupted my home directory after two days) on the Imac. My next project is to make use of the built-in iSight to send me photos. I will try Evocam next.

---
blurred visionary

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Try BTV Pro
Authored by: badmotivator on Apr 20, '06 10:17:54AM

You might try BTV Pro, another video capture tool, because it has a motion detection mode built in. This means you don't have to scrub through any ginormous movie file to find the relevant parts.

http://www.versiontracker.com/dyn/moreinfo/macosx/12148



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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: meikokun on Apr 20, '06 11:31:57AM

I used to use evocam too, but now use security spy http://www.securityspy.com/
the newest version has audio capture too, but it's a little buggy. The older version though is rock solid, VERY configurable, and just all round peachy. Give it a shot. The licenses are a little steep, but if you need them, they are worth every penny.
(true story time: some little sods came into our [temporarily empty] office one lunchtime, and the chancers, having spotted a laptop, picked up and walked off with it. All caught on a fire-i, attached to a snow imac running security spy. The police loved the video I was able to provide, recognised the perps, and all the little buggers did time.)



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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: clamstrip on Apr 20, '06 12:46:03PM

I remember back when I used a connectix serial camera there was some shareware that monitored the image, and only started recording when it detected motion, or a change in the background sound level. This is the kind of thing to use for surveillance.



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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: unseelie on Apr 20, '06 02:01:00PM
If you're thinking of Digital Radar, it was a Connectix product, not shareware. Great little product too... I'm not sure if there's anything like it any more for the Mac. It's a pity that Logitech seems to have killed it after buying the camera business from Connectix.

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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: AquaX on Apr 20, '06 05:12:32PM

EvoCam supports capturing only when it detects motion.

It also lets you specify areas of motion to exclude, like excluding a fan from triggering the capture, but including the front door.

It's quite useful :-)



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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: oliverlangan on Apr 20, '06 01:47:23PM
Check out wacaw. It is a unix-y command-line tool to grab screenshots from any (quicktime) video source. It can be used with only ssh/rsh access to the machine, and snapping screenshots uses a lot less space than recording a movie. Put it into a shell script with an image-diff program and you can even throw away all the duplicate screenshots, allowing it to work as essentually a motion-capture surveillance device.

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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: FrankPtown on Apr 20, '06 03:01:21PM

EvoCam can be set up to do time lapse movies which will do the trick without using excessive disc space. Most importantly, though is it's ability to use motion detection as a trigger. The latest version can also do motion detection with a buffer. In other words, it records all the time but keeps only the last 15 seconds. When motion is detected it saves the buffer so you won't lose any footage of the disturbance. This way you can have a regular speed movie (not time-lapse) and not use a lot of disc space.

Frank



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Proxi
Authored by: sjk on Apr 20, '06 09:08:00PM
One of many things Griffin Technology's Proxi (free) can do is take periodic screenshots with iSight.

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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: markformac on Apr 23, '06 10:01:19PM
Regarding the surveillance aspect, there are three great tools to use:
  1. Make iChat automatically accept video invitations.
    Start a iChat invitation with yourself from another Mac to see what is going on with your iSight.
  2. Use EvoCam(mentioned earlier)
    ($25 Shareware - 15 Day Free Trial) EvoCam is an outstanding application and well worth the money! The EvoCam application has a built-in server, which allows you to type in a simple URL in Internet browser to view the live video. EvoCam can also be set up as a motion detector with the ability to take still-images and either save them to a folder, upload to a server or be sent via e-mail to your phone or handheld device.
  3. Use QuickTime Broadcaster
    More of a pain in the butt to work with, but it's free. When you sacrifice the easy user interface and options of EvoCam for something that is free, it's going to be a little more difficult to work with.
How to use these can be found at my website #96.

If you are insterested in some surviellance software for you built-in iSight in case your MacBook Pro is stolen, check out Undercover ($30) and iAlertU (free).

---
Mark Brooks


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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: ike147 on Jul 18, '06 01:45:42PM

Whenever I leave the computer while recording on Quicktime, the screen doesn't go black because there is a program running. Anyone have any ideas about how to make the screen go black anyway?



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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: jelwell on Aug 01, '06 04:17:21PM

Has anyone tried opening up their machine and "breaking" or otherwise disabling the green light via hardware?



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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: RoboPodX on Nov 09, '06 04:18:03AM
I think that iSight (and other Mac compatible cams) owners thinking about making surveillance tool out of it should try KeyCamX:

http://www.keywebx.com

Starting from KeyCamX 3 it has very good surveillance functionality and extrimely simple to use.



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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: aanderson on Mar 19, '08 12:22:39PM

Umm, is this possible to us to watch your children while you are away? I need it to run in the background, even if another user is logged in. Is that possible?



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Use an iSight-equipped Mac as a surveillance tool
Authored by: sdmacuser on Jan 08, '10 09:13:02AM

Not 100% certain this will work for you but you might want to look into a third party web cam that has no such light/s. I own multiple web cams which one can address through preferences in terms of using one at a time or multiple cams through multiple apps.



On the other hand, if you'd rather not spend the extra money on web cams then consider Mac OS X Terminal Command lines in order to address turning off the little green light. I personally use such commands very sparingly since they must be typed precisely (if not exactly) in order function properly. Here's a useful website if you'd like more info on learning to write terminal commands:


http://www.snipe.net/2009/01/handy-mac-osx-command-line-tricks/


SDMacUser




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