So, a while back, I wrote about making your own video baby monitor. This has worked very well, with one exception: at night. The webcam I used doesn’t cope very well at night, and since you are going to want to monitor your baby mostly at night, then I guess that is pretty fail. So, I got myself a new IP / Network webcam, this time a real cheapo Chinese joby from eBay. One of these:
Now, this camera actually isn’t half bad. It’s got 10 IR LEDs for night vision, it claims to be 10MP, but I am not so sure about that, however the picture quality is fine. It also has audio in and out. Now, sadly, the audio in is pretty terrible, very smothered and fuzzy. I think that is partly down to the low bit rate it uses, but also because the microphone is blocked by the bodywork, which I’ll try and fix one day. The cool thing is that it has pan and tilt built in, so you can move it around to get something in picture, so you haven’t got to get up to move the camera if your baby has moved around somewhere.
The only issue I came across, was getting a video feed WITH audio out of this thin on Linux. It offers an ActiveX solution for IE, but only a video feed for FireFox, without audio (the fact it offers any FireFox compatibility at all is pretty cool). Now, the webcam doesn’t advertise what it is, since it turns out it is a rip off a webcam made by Fosscam. It is actually a Netwave IP camera. This was my major hurdle in working out how to use it. After literally hours and hours or googling and posting on metafi I finally found out how to get an video stream with audio out of it. It turns out the solution is quite simple, you just use this address in VLC’s streaming media source input:
Of course, if you changed the username, change it here and if you have a password, then add &pwd=PASSWORD or whatever it is. I found this address from an awesome PDF that lists all the Fosscam’s cgi commands and since the Netwave is a ripoff of the Fosscam, it uses the same commands.
You can find the PDF here: http://www.drivehq.com/file/df.aspx/publish/bubbah/PublicFolder/IPCAMCGISDKV1.7.pdf
There are loads of other options, you can basically configure the whole camera through cgi calls, though, beware, you can mess up and lock yourself out of the camera if you don’t know what you are doing. Here are a snippet of some of the commands:
Take a photo: /snapshot.cgi[?user=&pwd=&next_url=] Parameters user:username pwd:password next_url:the name of snapshot
Use server push mode to send videostream (no audio) /videostream.cgi[?user=&pwd=&resolution=] Parameters user:username pwd:password Resolution:8:320*240 32:640*480
Send videostream in asf format, only support vlc player and mplayer (with audio): /videostream.asf[?user=&pwd=&resolution=] Parameters user:username pwd:password Resolution: 8:320*240 32:640*480
Get device status info: /get_status.cgi Parameters now:The count of seconds form 1970-1-1 0:0:0 to now alarm_status: 0:no alarm 1:motion alarm 2:input alarm ddns_status:DDNS status upnp_status:UPNP status
Get camera params: /get_camera_params.cgi[?user=&pwd=] Parameters user:username pwd:password Resolution: 8: 320*240 32: 640*480 Brightness: 0-255 Contrast: 0-6 Mode: 0: 50hz 1: 60hz 2 outdoor format Flip: 0: initial 1: vertical rotate 2: horizontal rotate 3: vertical + horizontal rotate
Set misc parameters of camera: /set_misc.cgi?[led_mode=&ptz_center_onstart=&ptz_auto_patrol_interval=&ptz_auto_patrol_type=&ptz_patrol_h_rounds=&ptz_patrol_v_rounds=&next_url=]
Parameters Led_mode: 0:mode1 1:model2 2:shut off the led Ptz_center_onstart: =1 Ptz_auto_patrol_interval, =0: no auto rotating Ptz_auto_patrol_type: 0:no rotate 1:horizontal 2: vertical 3: horizontal + vertical
I can also access the camera through it’s http interface or by using an Android app called IP Camera Lite, which allows me to pan and tilt the camera remotely.
Anyway, using this method, I now have a remote controllable camera that has really good night vision and with audio, all viewable via VLC. Sample nigh time pictures to follow 😉