Prepare server

The software additionally needed on a Linux machine is:

  • FTP server proftpd for uploading images from the cam when motion detected (and triggering the recording). You can use another FTP server software. However the ftp access log file and format can be different.
  • Ffmpeg with x264 encoder and drawtext filter for recording MJPEG stream from the cam into mp4 videos
  • AtomicParsley for checking mp4 files for consistence
  • MP4Box for merging the mp4 files into one video file
  • Imagemagick for adding timestamp to single images
  • Inotify tools for triggering the recording

Installing proftpd on Debian Squeeze is very easy:

apt-get install proftpd

I let it run as standalone server. Then open /etc/proftpd/proftpd.conf and change or add following lines.

# chroot for all users of the group ftpuser
DefaultRoot ~ ftpuser

# Enable login only for members of ftpuser
<limit LOGIN>
DenyGroup !ftpuser

# Disable Reverse DNS Lookups and IP6 for more speed
UseReverseDNS off
UseIPv6       off

Now create a group ftpgroup which will contain all the ftp users and allow them to connect using shell /bin/false.

addgroup ftpuser
echo "/bin/false" >> /etc/shells
/etc/init.d/proftpd restart

Installing Ffmpeg with x264 encoder support is not that easy as we have to compile Ffmpeg with x264 and drawtext filter support from the source files. Here it how it works:

cd ~
mkdir videoencode
cd videoencode
dpkg -i debian-multimedia-keyring_2010.12.26_all.deb
nano /etc/apt/sources.list

# Add these two lines to /etc/apt/sources.list
deb stable main
deb-src stable main

# Install some prerequisites
apt-get update
apt-get remove ffmpeg x264 libx264-dev
apt-get install build-essential subversion git-core checkinstall yasm \
texi2htm libfaac-dev libfaad-dev libsdl1.2-dev libx11-dev libxfixes-delibxvidcore4-dev \
zlib1g-dev ttf-freefont
apt-get install libmp3lame0 libmp3lame-dev

# Install x264 encoder library
git clone git://
cd x264
checkinstall --pkgname=x264 --pkgversion "1.0`date +%Y%m%d`" --backup=no --default

# Install Ffmpeg with libavfilter (need to use drawtext filter)
cd ~/videoencode
svn co svn://
cd libavfilter

cd ffmpeg
./configure --enable-gpl --enable-version3 --enable-nonfree --enable-postpro \
--enable-pthreads --enable-libfaac --enable-libmp3lame --enable-libx264 --enable-libxvi \ 
--enable-x11grab --enable-filter=drawtext --enable-libfreetype
checkinstall --pkgname=ffmpeg --pkgversion "0.svn`date +%Y%m%d`" --backup=no --default

# Install qt-faststart tool
make tools/qt-faststart
cp tools/qt-faststart /usr/bin/
chmod 755 /usr/bin/qt-faststart

# Prevent installed packages from autoupdates
echo "x264 hold" | dpkg --set-selections
echo "ffmpeg hold" | dpkg --set-selections

AtomicParsley, MP4Box, Imagemagick and Inotify are straight forward.

apt-get install atomicparsley
apt-get install gpac
apt-get install imagemagick
apt-get install inotify-tools

Good luck!