ImWatcher is a free Windows application for monitoring and recording webcams.
The program is simple, straightforward and easy to use, but it also has one or two more advanced features that we really weren’t expecting.
The good news starts on launch, when you can point the program at any connected webcams, IP cameras, as many as you have.
You’re able to choose a preferred resolution and frame rate for each camera, and optionally give it a caption to remind you where it’s pointing (“Front Door”, “Back Garden” and so on).
Once you’re set up, live thumbnails of each camera feed are displayed in a sidebar. Click the one you need and it appears in a larger preview area.
If something interesting happens then you’re able to start and stop video recording, or save a frame, with a click.
And if you’re not going to be around, no problem– there’s a built-in motion detection system which can spot some “interesting” events all on its own.
Double-click a camera, click Actions > On Motion Detection > Configure, and the program displays your video feed, while also calculating the current level of motion.
A slider allows you to set the trigger point for motion detection, hopefully ensuring it fires on significant events (someone drives into car park), but ignores anything smaller (stray cat runs through the shot).
You can also define an action to perform when motion is detected: capture and save a frame, or record a video for the next (xxx) seconds.
Lightweight, easy to use, webcam and IP camera support, overlaid captions and timestamps, configurable motion detection– there’s a lot to like here.
There’s also a potential issue in the likely cost. ImWatcher is free right now because it’s in beta, but a “Purchase” button in Help > About suggests that won’t last forever. What will they charge? We’ve no idea.
Still, if you’re interested in this type of application, there’s enough here to justify trying it out, and there’s no adware, registration or other hassles to get in your way.
ImWatcher is a free (during beta) application for Windows XP and later.