Turn A Webcam Into A Motion Sensing Security Camera

If you have a webcam (especially a cheap one), chances are that it came with only very basic webcam software. However, a standard USB webcam can be changed into a motion sensing webcam (to use as a security camera or just for fun) with the free software Yawcam.

Yawcam is short for ‘Yet Another WebCAM‘. It is free webcam software for Windows that is easy to use but includes a host of advanced features.

Download Yawcam from the developer’s website here. There is plenty of help available on Yawcam settings in the online help page here and a useful forum too. Key Features include:

  • Video streaming – stream continuous video footage across the web e.g. streaming video of your pet/child at play or keeping an eye on your house whilst you’re out.
  • Image snapshots – capture individual images at a set interval (or combine with the motion detection feature below to take a picture whenever motion is detected. Ideal for home security or for turning into a time lapse movie.
  • Motion detection – choose an action to take if motion is detected (sensitivity can be set and tested).
  • Built-in webserver – turn your computer into a webserver capable of streaming the captured video or snapshots across the web so you can access the footage remotely.
  • FTP upload – instead of sending snapshots to a webpage, upload them to an FTP server for storage and later review.
  • Text and image overlays – automatically overlay text (e.g. time/date) or an image (e.g. logo) over each snapshot.
  • Password protection – add password protection to a web stream to prevent unauthorized access (essential if you are streaming private pics of your house as you would not want just anybody to be able to see from the feed that your house is empty!)
  • Scheduler for online time – decide when the output types and the motion detection shall be enabled e.g. switch off whilst you are at home.
  • Time lapse movies – convert a series of snapshot images into a quicktime movie file (similar to stop motion animation, can be really fun to play with).
  • Multi languages – you can download additional languages for Yawcam here – follow the instructions at the bottom of that page to install the new language.

Yawcam System Requirements

1.  Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6 or later. Most computers already have Java installed – you can check if you have it here. If not, you will be prompted to download it. If you have an old version (current version is Java 8 update 31), see our article why you should update Java.

2.  DirectX 9 or later and Windows Media Player 9 or later – Vista and Windows 7 have both included and even very old XP computers will be almost certain to have both already.

Tip: the Yawcam installation file will tell you if you are missing something when you run it.

3.  Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7 or 8.


Yawcam provides a lot of advanced features but is great fun to play with and can save money compared to expensive remote monitoring webcam software for home security.

Let us know how you get on with Yawcam – and if you have an interesting or funny video stream let us know!