Home surveillance cameras

I want a security camera for my house, for when I’m away. Nothing too creepy or serious, just some peace of mind so I can see if a package got delivered or if the propane delivery guy came.

tl;dr; I’m going to try ZoneMinder with an Axis M1034-W camera.

The mainstream product everyone recommends is Dropcam. But it and its competitors all work by uploading a video feed 24/7 to a server they host which then does the processing to do useful things like only show video clips of motion, etc. They tend to charge $10/month for the hosting. And it’s a lot of bandwidth. So I’d rather roll my own, using my own Linux server. (Yes when Jack Bauer breaks in, Chloë will be able to knock my surveillance offline with a Linux zero-day. That’s not my threat model.)

The hacker solution for this stuff is surprisingly unclear. On the Linux video collection side, motion(1) is a popular low level tool for doing motion detection from video feeds. ZoneMinder seems to be the high end tool of choice for managing multiple cameras. It works with a lot of stuff including video capture devices hard-wired to the machine and network cameras.

I’m baffled by the choice of camera hardware. I decided to try Axis because they have a developer program, ZoneMinder works well with them, and they have a reputation for being good but expensive. I only need one camera so expensive is OK. The M10 line seems to be the low end stuff, $200 instead of $400+. The M1034-W is the WiFi option. They also make wired POE stuff which seems like it’d be good for outdoor use.

That’s all research. I ordered the camera, will tinker with it next week.