Workshop lodger

Concerned that my new car would attract undesirables, I decided to install a CCTV system covering the front of the house including the drive. As my brother is in the security industry, he recommended a system made by Hikvision which Amazon were selling at a reasonable price for a four camera system.

Installation was pretty easy as the camera wiring could go straight into the garage, where the main recorder would be installed. Alan suggested three cameras would be sufficient and I soon had them fitted and wired up. Setting up was simple and the software allows for zones to be set up to prevent false alarms. The quality of the video capture is excellent, especially in daytime light, and the night vision is sufficient at close range.

As I only needed three cameras to cover the frontage, I decided to fit the spare camera in the garage. I’ve managed to accumulate quite a few tools and equipment over recent years so having a camera looking over them felt like a good use of the last one.

The system has a 1TB hard drive which continually records the output and there’s also an app that can access the live stream as well as review the recorded footage. And I’m really impressed with the system; it was easy to set up and hooking it up to a spare monitor means I have visibility of the cameras whilst I’m working in the workshop.

Within a few weeks of the CCTV system going live it was already being called into action when our neighbours asked us to check the recordings as they’d had a couple of guys trying front doors in the middle of the night. Whilst the blokes could clearly been seen walking across the gardens opposite, the night time camera resolution wasn’t good enough to make out any personal features.

Still, the fact that the camera was able to pinpoint the time and pick out the two chaps was positive.

Anyhow, back to the camera in the workshop. As mentioned, the system has the ability to set movement detectors, which when triggered, places a marker and also sends an alarm to the app. Within a few days of the camera going live I started to notice it was getting triggered at night, often only once or twice. On reviewing the footage it was clear I didn’t have any burglars but I did seem to have a creature flying across the garage at speed. It would always move left to right towards the garage doors and not hover or circle, suggesting it wasn’t a moth or spider. And I never saw it return suggesting once it was out of the garage, it stayed out until morning when the camera system stopped detecting movement.

On one occasion I did actually see it on the drive camera, once it had made an appearance in the workshop but it moved at such speed it wasn’t easy to determine what type of creature it is.

I’ve even tried leaving the workshop light on during the night but my lodger seems to be artificial light camera shy and never appears. I’m pretty sure it’s a large insect of some sort but I haven’t got a clue what it actually is.

I guess it’s not really doing any harm other than triggering my CCTV so as along as it doesn’t start using the machinery during the night it can continue to use my garage as a resting home.

Photo Booth

One of the applications on my iMac that I have used on a daily basis since I switched last October is a programme called Photo Booth. This, as the title suggests, is an app that takes pictures using the camera on the front of the Mac.

Cameras on PC’s have been around for a long time, but they tended to be used for web chat and I can’t remember ever using them for anything else. But for some reason, this little application drew me to snapping myself sitting at my computer each day.

And so over the months I have built up a series of pix of me at my desk either first thing in the morning or later in the day. It captured me tired, happy, ill and doing silly poses.

Of course with so many photos, it then occurred to me that I could create a ‘montage’ of them, which might be fun. I therefore imported then into iMovie and linked them together to make a short story of my times at my desk.

OK, so for artistic content it’s not going challenge ‘The King’s Speech’ for an Oscar but it is a bit of fun. Anyway enjoy!

Producing Movies

It’s a been a couple of weeks since I updated the blog, despite lots been going on I just couldn’t find time to write anything up.

Anyhow,  one thing I have been doing is playing with movie producer; I have uploaded my New York effort  but it’s a bit ‘flashy’ for my liking (too much of the Ken Burns effect I think).

I have also been working on the first part of my Egypt movie (with some 800 photos I have had to divide the show into two parts). I want to put it on YouTube but am a bit loath to upload it with the backing music for fear of infringing copywrite laws, as I have used some dowloaded Egyptian music. Apparently you have to get all sorts of permissions to use other’s music. What a pain!

I have also produced a short film of ‘ A Wright’s Xmas’ using the new trailer feature in iMovie and footage shot using my new video camcorder. The family were a bit reluctant to be willing participants but I got sufficient video shots to produce something.

Editing video footage in iMovie is a bit clunky; I would much rather use the Mac software Final Cut Studio, but at over £800 I cannot justify spending that amount. There is an Express version, perhaps I should check that out instead.

I am looking forward to our holiday trip to California in May; hopefully I will take lots of video footage along with photos to produce an Oscar winning movie; or maybe not!