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Motion is a program that monitors the video signal from one or more cameras and is able to detect if a significant part of the picture has changed; in other words, it can detect motion. Motion is the perfect tool for keeping an eye on your property, keeping only those images that are interesting.

LinuxMCE has a wrapper that connects to Motion, called "Motion Wrapper". This wrapper is added as a "device" on the "Interfaces" page. You must have this interface installed before setting up cameras.

The program is written in C for the Linux operating system. Motion is a command line based tool whose output can be jpeg or ppm files, or mpeg video sequences.

For detailed info see the Motion website.


  • Takes snapshots of movement
  • Watches multiple video devices at the same time
  • Watches multiple inputs on one capture card at the same time
  • Live streaming webcam (using multipart/x-mixed-replace)
  • Real time creation of mpeg movies using libraries from ffmpeg
  • Take automated snapshots on regular intervals
  • Take automated snapshots at irregular intervals using cron
  • Execute external commands when detecting movement (and e.g. send SMS or email)
  • Motion tracking (camera follow motion - special hardware required)
  • Feed events to a MySQL or PostgreSQL database.
  • Feed video back to a video4linux loopback for real time viewing
  • Lots of user contributed related projects with web interfaces etc.
  • User configurable and user defined on screen display.
  • Controlled via the browser (older versions used xml-rpc)
  • Automatic noise and threshold control
  • Motion is a daemon with low CPU consumption and a small memory footprint.

Changing the Motion Wrapper settings

  • My surveillance camera already has automatic light leveling and I don't need the Motion module to do it for me, so I set auto-brightness off.
  • I wanted my camera to detect movement when just two frames showed a difference, so I set minimum_motion_frames to 2.

Compiling (contributing) to Motion Wrapper in LinuxMCE

In version 0.41 of LinuxMCE I wanted to incorporate a few changes into Motion wrapper. I decided to compile it and described the procedure here.

Interesting related projects

Since there will probably be some discussion about the future of video surveillance under LinuxMCE, I'll enumerate here few interesting projects, which I hope will one day be incorporated into LinuxMCE.