In order to enable others to see live images on the internet, the PC acts as a server using the i-catcher wildlife software. This software has a multitude of features including motion detection, scheduling, archiving, and in built web server The i-catcher software fully integrates with the Euresys Capture cards .
Before I get into the technical stuff, I have to make it clear that this has all been done on a budget! The single most expensive item cost no more than £70. As a result of this a few sayings apply - ' you get what you pay for', 'horses for courses', and 'it all adds up'! What I'm saying is its been a learning curve over the last few years and knowing what I know now I may have done things differently. Cameras for instance, the cameras I have are cheap - typically from Hong Kong via e-bay - costing anywhere between £10 and £35. The picture quality is very variable, some are excellent, some are not! That said, some british suppliers are simply marked up Hong Kong ones so beware price doesn't necessarily mean quality! I would suggest that purchasing a medium priced camera from a british supplier who will offer support (see links) is a good starting point. Cables! Again, don't skimp on cables, I have had more problems with down time caused by low quality cables than with any of the electronics. And finally go for 'quality not quantity' , when I started I wanted cameras every where! If anything I am now reducing what I have, that is, I would rather have a single good quality camera producing worthwhile images then three not so good ones producing poor pictures!
I currently have 12 cameras positioned in the garden. Not all are active at any one time, for instance, the nestbox cameras are only active in the spring when the birds are nesting. All the cameras are analogue cctv types, either CCD or CMOS, 1/3" or 1/4" , 360 lines or 420 lines. All are cabled. Most have 6mm lenses, nestbox camers tend to have 2.8mm wide angle lenses. Some have Infra Red (IR) lamps fitted, these will switch on in darkness to give a black and white image.
I use Euresys capture cards to process the images produced by the analogue cameras. I use two types of Euresys cards, the'Diligent' which is capable of streaming 4 cameras all at 25fps - this is very useful for camera positions requiring high speed such as bird baths and feeders. The second card I use is the 'Picolo Pro 2', this allows 1 camera at a full 25fps or up to 4 cameras at 3/4fps - useful where a high rate of capture is not so important such as bird box cameras. Specifications
Multiple pictures are achieved by feeding the cameras through a video multiplexer and then to the capture card. A typical multiplexer is available here