Here’s a way to turn your Mac into a video surveillance system with a built-in motion sensor. It’s actually a drop dead easy way to add life to an aging Mac and all you need is the right app to capture movement in the Mac’s video camera, and upload clips to be viewed online.
Home Surveillance Made Easy
The only real negative to using Periscope Pro as a home surveillance system is that it’s a single camera system and uses the Mac’s built-in iSight camera.
Once you set it up, the app watches what crosses the iSight camera’s path. When there’s motion, the camera captures video and sound and saves the files to your Dropbox folder.
The app won’t record everything, but only that which moves in front of the camera. It can also be setup with a time recording mode which records video or snapshots every x-number of minutes.
Preferences are extensive but not overwhelming, and include how long each video clip will last, which camera to use, where clips are saved, and even the video clip resolution.
This is a good way to check on what’s going on back at home– monitor pets, check on the babysitter, ensure the fridge isn’t being raided while you’re away, as well as keeping an eye on kids and their friends.
Periscope Pro comes with three basic modes– motion detector, timed or intermittent video capture, and continuous capture.
There’s also a built-in sensitivity setting which can eliminate some movements from being recorded (a pet walking across the floor, for example).
Clips can range from five to 60 seconds in length, and Periscope Pro resides in the background so someone walking by will not be able to see or easily find the app (which can be password protected).
It also supports an external camera (or the built-in iSight camera), and that’s about the only flaw. One camera really isn’t enough for true home surveillance. An option to utilize multiple cameras over Wi-Fi would be a worthy upgrade, though more expensive systems exist for Mac users.
The Dropbox sync is especially useful, because it allows you to view video clips from any remote location which is Dropbox accessible. That presents another issue. Periscope doesn’t have a notification system which would let you know when the motion detector has been set off. Otherwise, it works well and doesn’t cost much.