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Too catch a thief

By Macdf2 ยท 4 replies
May 30, 2007
  1. Hey Tech,

    Ive usually asked you to help me clean out dirty files from risky surfing, but this time I come seeking information about how I can catch these thieves that have been breaking into the school I teach at every weekend. I know which boys it is, but I havent been able to get any evidence to prove it. That is until this past weekend. I went and bought a web cam and hid it in the room over the holiday break. My problem is you can watch the 10.3gig recording on windows media player, but when it comes to the part where they break in, its way dark and alot of snow. However, I have adobe premiere elements and wanted to try and brighten it up with that before i seek more professional software. The problem is how can i break the file up in smaller bits so I dont freeze everytime i try to open in elements. I have the file on a school pc with low ram and basic perfformance. Ive been trying to to save it on my creative zen and i get wrong format>?? lol its a wmv... then i just went bought a 120 gig external drive and it says file too big?? lolol Is there a way i can just break this file up without having to pull it into a editing software first. The file says 10.3 gig but Im thinking it must be bigger. Afterall, it recorded from friday afternoon until 8 am tueday morning. It loads in media player and starts shiowing recording right off with no buffering. Is there a way to slice up the video without having to pull it into a program, it dont like that! lol any help would be appreciated. these lil bratts are so brazen and stole over 500.00 worth of stuff from me and over 20 dells with 17 inch flat panels from the school. Macdf2
  2. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Wow, it seems like you've got a huge problem there.

    File is too big because you're using FAT32 file system I think. That would limit your files to... 4.3gb max? You'll have to reformat it to NTFS if thats the case.

    Unfortunately I don't think premier elements would help in identifying these guys, if you can't identify them anyway through the dark. Its worth a shot though to brighten the pic a little to see if more details show up.

    Webcams usually have low res, so if the cam is placed far from where they broke in, you won't be able to see much.

    Unless you bought a high quality one, and set it to capture at high quality, you'd get alot of static (or snow, I believe you're referring to). You can't get rid of that.

    My suggestion is that you send the file off to the local police, but I'm not sure of the legality of webcam recordings....

    Another suggestion would be to install security cameras around, some fake and some real. Maybe just one or two real ones, and flood the school with a whole lot of fakes. Make sure they're identical. And make it public that the school has started to record from these cameras. Its a great deterrent mostly, and the real ones can be used to monitor important places (school entry/exit points?). Fake cameras are cheap, but getting the real ones professionally installed would cost quite abit, but worth it IMO.
  3. Macdf2

    Macdf2 TS Rookie Topic Starter

    to catch a thief

    Thankyou for the response. Good advice re fake cameras too. The camera I used is the logitech quickcam Fusion 1.3 mega pixels with the real light technology. The door shot that I want to clear up is bright for an instant as they came in room and only about 15 to 20 feet from camera . The rest of the video is pitch black except for figure outlines and flashlights as they walk about the room. I did a google search for a program that is known for lighting up dark videos and saw some dramatic samples. However, I figured adobe premiere could probably do as well since it cost more and adobe software you would think would be leading the cutting edge of technology. Ive considered a screen recorder, however the clip i get from it will be limited to the quality of the graphics card on the pc rather than the webcam recording. thx again for the time to respond! Macdf2
  4. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Your graphics card has nothing to do with the quality of the clip. You'll be dissappointed if you bought a new graphics card just to see if the quality of the video would increase...

    Megapixels are just marketing when it comes to devices that small. Besides, that would be the quality of still shots, not video. I'd be surprised if it took video quality of 640x480, which is 0.45 megapixels.

    Are you sure it is the kids? One way you might try is a public announcement saying you have done (hiding the camera in closet), and you've got a video of them breaking in. Then say you're letting them confess in private in your office/etc, or you'd release that footage to the police to handle. Your thief might just give him/herself up.

    And you can still give it to the police and see what they can do about it.

    Btw, the fake camera thing only works if nobody saw them being installed, and no word going out about them being fake. If all the teachers knew, sooner or later word is going to leak to the students, making them pretty much useless. And if students saw them being installed, they'd realise there's no wires/etc, and it'd be worthless. I know if you've got something you really want to protect, you'd have the fake one there, and a hidden real one watching the same place from somewhere else, but thats not going to be the option here I guess.
  5. halo71

    halo71 TS Rookie Posts: 1,090

    Have you considered buynig a better camera that is designed for security? Maybe even a wireless camera? That way you could "plant" the camera in several different places, with little attention being drawn to yourself. I have used small wireless ones at work in years past to catch theives. Not sure what you would need to run it to a computer. I used a timelapse digital video recorder when I was trying to catch my thief. But if your search Google, you will find package deals. And for what they have already stolen from you, it may pay to invest in something like this. Just a thought......

    EDIT: Keep in mind that color and nightvision camera's can get very expensive! But I still think they are worth the cost. I caught my thief the 4th day I was running the wirelesss camera. He was stealing Fiber to CAT5 data converters.
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