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Webcam Servers

Hardware/software/hints and tips/discussion/webcam links etc
Hillbilly
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby Hillbilly » Sat Feb 06, 2010 10:03 am

I'd like to set up a webcam but I don't know much about them. Luckily I found this thread as a starter. I'll need one that will be indoors, but will have to be upstairs and my weather station console and computer is downstairs. So presume I need a wireless one with an IP address.....Gina, being UK based, where did you get yours from and what sort of price would I need to pay?

I wanted to be able to use my own page rather than others that I have seen which display in a pre-built manufacturer's page, so these look good. From what I can (barely) understand, the alternatives shown here seem to be either to have the image embedded directly into a web page, or to transfer an image from somewhere else via ftp. Are their any pros and cons to either of these methods?

Your page looks closest to what I would like to do Gina. Can you give me a few more pointers on what I would need to do to extract the image and upload via ftp? It's outside my knowledge.
Many thanks
Helen

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TNETWeather
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby TNETWeather » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:27 pm

Depends on what you are attempting to accomplish.

To many, a webcam page displays a "moving" webcam image, meaning you can see changes to the image in a short period of time. To do that, you need to embed the image and have the source updated fairly regular (once a second, several times a minute...). So you can see the wind blow so to speak.

Others, just want to show a recap image which is what Gina is doing.

Bandwith for the former is much higher and can be influenced by the number of visitors that are looking at the page at the moment. 1-5 is not much, but 300 visitors at the same time might make a bit of a difference to your sites performance and might even hit your workstation as well.

The latter is simpler to setup and use and gives a snap show of what things looked like when it was taken.
Kevin
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Hillbilly
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby Hillbilly » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:38 pm

Thanks Kevin, that's really clear. I'm unlikely to have more than 1-5 people on the site an any one time so looks like I could use either method - although simpler is always more attractive!

To use the former method, I could use code along the lines of what has been shown in the post then? If we want to show our bird feeding station in the pic too, I guess a sense of movement would be nice. Do you recommend any particular webcam?

I'd still like to understand Gina's method too so I can decide, so hopefully she will be along at some point.
Many thanks
Helen

La Locherie Weather

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nking
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby nking » Sat Feb 06, 2010 1:51 pm

You might like to take a look at this site http://www.yawcam.com/. I haven't yet put it through its paces but it may be what you're looking for ;)

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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby Gina » Sat Feb 06, 2010 5:07 pm

Hi Helen :)

Love your web site, very pleasant to look at :) Also, nice to see another lady on here :)

The webcam I'm using is nothing special though a bit above the most basic. Note that it is NOT a wireless one. I bought it from Maplin some time back. This is it :- http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=228786 I thought they'd discontinued it but I was wrong. I bought that model because it works well in low light (even without the led lights) has reasonable resolution and is fairly small. Also, they said it didn't need drivers as it was standard USB. And contrary to what they are saying on that page now, it DOES work with Linux (edit - I see they've taken that off now). Amazon.co.uk seem to do very similar ones much cheaper eg. http://www.amazon.co.uk/MiniGadget-Nightvision-Webcam-with-Microphone/dp/B002OI1GS6/ref=sr_1_34?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1265477826&sr=1-34 I don't know what the performance of that one is actually like, but the spec looks similar. Different make on it - mine was Sweex.

The software I'm using is Linux based and called simply webcam. It captures images from the webcam and uses FTP to upload them to a web site as a JPG image. You can set the resolution and capture rate etc. and specify the FTP server particulars, in a setup file, in plain text. On the server you have an image folder/directory where the image file is uploaded and supply a simple web page containing that image. Two extra lines of HTML code tell the client's web browser to refresh the page - so that the webcam is automatically refreshed.

Here is the HTML code for the webcam page :-

Code: Select all

<html>
<head>
<meta content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1" http-equiv="content-type">
<title>Webcam</title>
<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="120">
<meta http-equiv="expires" content="0">
<link rel="stylesheet" href="http://ginad.org.uk/weathergd/normal.css" type="text/css">
</head>
<body style="background-image: url(../../weathergd/images/BlackdownHills.JPG);">
<h1>Blackdown Hills Weathercam</h1>
<h2>View across the Otter Valley looking South -&nbsp;updates every 5 minutes</h2>
<div style="text-align: center;">
<img style="width: 640px; height: 480px;" alt="Weathercam" src="images/webcam.jpeg"><br>
<br>
</div>
</body>
</html>


Although I use Linux (currently Ubuntu v8.10 for the webcam) I would think there's Windows software that would do much the same thing.

I have the webcam mounted in a waterproof box with a perspex window for the webcam lens, on the outside of the wall about 7ft up under the eaves but not so close as to obscure the sky. This is a bungalow and we don't have an upstairs. The webcam is connected by USB cable directly to the computer. I'm planning to add all this info to my weather web site in due course together with the location and altitude plus the various modifications I have made to the weather station sensors.

That's about all I can think of at present but I'm happy to answer any questions :)
Gina

Sorry, no banner - weather station out of action. Hoping to be up and running with a new home-made one soon.

Hillbilly
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby Hillbilly » Sat Feb 06, 2010 6:46 pm

Thanks Neil, I'll have a look at that site.

Gina, thanks for the comment re the website.

There is a lot to digest in your reply but it will be very helpful. Thanks for the links to the kit, I'll have a good look tomorrow. I haven't braved Linux yet but will do as you suggest and find something similar for Windows.
Many thanks
Helen

La Locherie Weather

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RCE
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby RCE » Sat Feb 06, 2010 7:46 pm

I use the wired version of this http://www.maplin.co.uk/Module.aspx?ModuleNo=256534 works really well, will upload images by ftp at pre-defined intervals, and you can also access it live. Can be set to keep overwriting the old file (which is ideal for a web page).

It does other stuff like motion sensing but the images captured use the time/date as the file name which makes using those on a webpage tricky.
====
Alan

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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby Gina » Sat Feb 06, 2010 9:11 pm

That's a good point - these webcams often come with Windows software - I think mine did. Being used to nothing including Linux software I don't look at the included software :lol: I do still have one PC with Windows (XP Pro) on the HD :)

Regarding Linux and Ubuntu, I would say to anyone using Windows and happy with it, stay with what you know unless (like me) you like playing with new things. IMO both operating systems have their good and bad points. It's just that Linux suits me and the way I think better than Windows - with the bonus that the software is free :)
Gina

Sorry, no banner - weather station out of action. Hoping to be up and running with a new home-made one soon.

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hills
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby hills » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:06 pm

I've been watching this thread with interest as I know nothing about webcams and I'm in the same situation as Helen, where I need to place my webcam a greater distance from my PC than the standard USB cable lengths. I tried using 2 wire CCTV and a video to USB converter but that didn't do the job. I'm very glad you're now putting the exact model webcams & s/w you're using. :clap:

ho66es
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby ho66es » Sat Feb 06, 2010 11:14 pm

I use an ANC-600v ip camera http://www.svp.co.uk/electrical/digital-vision/digital-cameras/sumvision-ip-camera-anc-600v_mte-01027.html all it needs is access to a lan cable if you have a home network. It has its foibles which doesn't surprise me as a budget ip camera but it works well. there are wireless variants around which may be simpler for some to set up especially if you don't have cabling in place.
my weather station is http://www.ho66es.org/weather

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TNETWeather
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby TNETWeather » Sun Feb 07, 2010 1:59 am

Poor Sitting, but I stuck one of my webcams in the windowsill "Inside the sun screen". So it is a horrible picture, but during the day was okay.

Looking for my box which has the older webcam I used to use which no longer has the base to stick back outside in the same location (outside the screen), but I think my son was playing with it.

If I find it, I will replace the current cam. Don't want to use this one outside as I use it for video conferencing.

This is using PySoftware's Active Webcam software.

I set the image to 320x240 to keep the processing down and am running it at 1fps.

With the street lamp you can actually see the street, and the cars driving by. Bit boring.

http://cumulus.tnetweather.com/webcam

I will be out of the office in the other room so I will turn off the lights and it should make the image look better, though not by much.

Time for some online Poker...
Kevin
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All you need is Time, Aptitude and Desire ... and you can build just about anything...

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beteljuice
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby beteljuice » Sun Feb 07, 2010 3:29 am

I'm getting "IE cannot display ...." for the server IFRAME :?
Image
......................Imagine, what you will KNOW tomorrow !

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TNETWeather
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby TNETWeather » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:28 am

Seems my logic for displaying which port was wrong. should be fixed now.

I have to use a different port depending on where I am looking.
Kevin
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All you need is Time, Aptitude and Desire ... and you can build just about anything...

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beteljuice
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby beteljuice » Sun Feb 07, 2010 4:38 am

Yup - That's working fine now :P
Image
......................Imagine, what you will KNOW tomorrow !

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hills
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Re: Webcam Servers

Postby hills » Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:01 am

Woohoo, I got my webcam up and running: http://members.ozemail.com.au/~storerfa ... webcam.jpg

I have just sat the camera in the front window at this stage. Its a MS LifeCam Cinema True 720p HD. I also got a security camera dome which fits it perfectly and a 10m USB extention cable.

At this stage I'm collecteing an image through yawcam as detailed above and using cumulus to send the image to my website. It will stop updating when I start mounting the camera permanently, so this is just a test. I haven't linked it to my home page yet either.

Thanks for the info, this has been a great help.
Last edited by hills on Sun Feb 07, 2010 5:22 am, edited 1 time in total.


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