Raspberry Pi as a low-cost IP camera

Well, it seems there is no end for the amount of things one can do with the Raspberry Pi… this time my intention was to turn it into an inexpensive IP camera with a cheap webcam I have lying around.

After fiddling around with the stream server components of ffmpeg (with whom I had no luck whatsoever), and giving ZoneMinder a try (a good software for a full CCTV set-up, but a bit overkill for what I intended – plus, I had no luck either with this one), I settled for a simpler configuration using motion and some ffmpeg components.

I updated the installation I had on the SD card with the latest Raspbian image (they recently announced in their blog overclock support for the Pi using this latest image, plus the video4linux compiled binaries are already present, saving me the hassle of compiling them for ARM). After that, it was pretty easy to set up everything, since motion is present in the standard Debian repository.

Right now, I have a cheap USB camera from Lidl connected to the Pi, and outputting 352×288 pixel video at 1-2 fps. The quality isn’t great (probably due to the camera itself), but it does work acceptably! And I was amazed on how easy it actually was to set everything up – the motion package is quite easy to configure, and it allows for very interesting functionality (e.g., motion detection on the image feed, which can trigger various actions).

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