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You're here: How to guides Creating a web cam feed with Webcam32

How to create a live web cam feed with Webcam32

This section of my website describes how to create a live web cam feed using Webcam32. You can download a trial version of Webcam32 from http://www.webcam32.com. Webcam32 is available for PCs running Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, ME or XP.

About Webcam32

Webcam32 is reasonably intuitive to administer and operate on your PC, and allows you to encode video and sound from your a web cam and microphone connected to your PC. Webcam32 allows you to create the following two sources of web cam simultaneously:

  • live streaming web cam images with clients connected directly to your computer's Webcam32 built in streaming application on a port number that can be defined by the Webcam32 application
  • web cam images images that can be transferred to your website via FTP at an interval defined by the Webcam32 application

The ability to broadcast your web cam simultaneously using both the methods mentioned above is a real added bonus to the Webcam32 application, and is another reason why many people choose to use Webcam32 opposed to Windows Media Encoder. The result of broadcasting your web cam simultaneously using both methods means that people viewing your web site can choose the viewing medium they desire. For, example some people with high speed Internet access may choose to view your live streaming web cam images, wheras someone with a slower Internet connection could opt to view your web cam images transferred via FTP.

Webcam32 is fairly resource hungry, so you want a pretty modern PC if you intend to do other things while broadcasting your live web cam feed. The minimum specifications posted on the Webcam32 website are 32 Mb RAM, 486 CPU or higher and 4 Mb hard disk space available. However, I suspect at least a Pentium II or Celeron based PC is preferable. The output from Webcam32 can be viewed in any JAVA enabled web browser. It is for this reason why many people prefer to use Webcam32 opposed to Windows Media Player.

Prerequisites

Before creating your live web cam feed get a "fixed domain presence" on the Internet by using a free service provided by no-ip.com or dyndns.org. I discuss more about getting a fixed domain presence here. In the examples below I use wisbey.hopto.org for the name of my fixed domain name that I have registered with no-ip.com.

Also, before creating your live web cam feed I suggest you examine your existing configuration to determine if you need to "open" particular ports on any firewall software you may be running. If you have a network address translation (NAT) device such as a broadband Internet you will have to "forward" particular ports to your computer streaming your live web cam feed. I briefly discuss configuration of broadband Internet routers here. In the example below I broadcast from port 8888, so in this case you would want to ensure that port 8888 is not closed down by your firewall software, and if you have a broadband Internet router you would want to ensure that port 8888 is forwarded to the appropriate PC on your local area network.

Configuring and running Webcam32

I will not go into great detail about configuring and running Webcam32 since it is a very simple application to use. I simply want to mention some important aspects of configuring and running Webcam32 that may not be obvious at a first glance.

TCP/IP Settings for live web cam feed

The default port number for broadcasting found withinTCP/IP -> Access is 8888, which I believe is fine and does not need to be changed. There are some default settings you may wish to change within TCP/IP -> Server Push part of Webcam32, as the default values mean that someone viewing your live feed will only be able to watch you live feed for a certain period of time. In order to allow viewers to watch your live feed for an inifinite period of time, you want to change the TCP/IP -> Server Push settings all to zero (i.e. Maxiumum push interval = 0 Seconds, Maximum push size = 0 KBytes, Frame delay = 0 mSec).

FTP Settings for FTP web cam feed

The WebCam32 application FTP preferences allows you to set:

  • where you want to FTP your image to (i.e. your web hosts FTP server name, your username and password)
  • the name of the image (default is webcam32.jpg)
  • the frequency at which the image is sent via FTP to your web space (I have set to 2 seconds)

You also need to set the image quality size from the Device -> Format preferences. A reasonable resolution to choose is 320 x 240, which should result in an image size of about 8 kbytes.

With an image size of 8 kbytes, a 56 kbit per second modem connection (7 kbytes per second) cannot quite handle an 8 kbyte image every second. Hence, why the FTP update frequency should be set to 2 seconds and NOT 1 second. This way you are catering for people who only have a 56kbit per second modem connection.

Authoring your web pages to display your web cam feed

The HTML that is listed below in listing 1 is for the FTP version of the Webcam32 output. The HTML that is listed below in listing 2 is for the live brodcasting version of the Webcam32 output.

Embedding the web cam output : web cam HTML Listing 1 for FTP

The Live Cam is basically an image which is sent via FTP (file transfer protocol) to my web space every 2 seconds. The HTML required for the image sent by the WebCam32 application is as follows, and should be placed where you want the updated image to appear in your web page:

<applet codebase="http://www.robertwisbey.com/" code="JavaCam.class" width="320" height="240">
<br>
<param name="interval" value="2">
<br>
<param name="url" value=http://www.robertwisbey.com/webcam32.jpg>
<br>
</applet>

In the HTML listing above, the text in bold are values which you must change in order to match your WebCam32 settings and your web host settings. The URL, http://www.robertwisbey.com/ should be replaced with the URL of your web site's default location for the web page, image, and associated Java applets. The width and height values must match what you have set in the WebCam32 application. The interval value must match the frequency value you have set in the WebCam32 application. Finally the URL http://www.robertwisbey.com/webcam32.jpg should be replaced with the URL of the image which is sent to your web space.

You will also notice in the HTML that JavaCam.class is referenced. When you FTP your HTML up to your web space, you will also need to FTP the associated Java applets, JavaCam.class and JavaCam.java in the same location as your HTML. You can down load these files here.

Click here to see the type of web cam stream that Listing 1 presents in your browser (note: if my webcam is not running, then the last webcam32.jpg image will appear and update with the same image every 2 seconds).

Embedding the web cam output - web cam HTML Listing 2

The following is the HTML listing (listing 2) which you would place in your HTML where you want the image to appear.

<applet code="JavaCamPush.class" codebase="http://wisbey.dnsalias.com:8888/applet"
archive="JavaCamPush.jar" width="320" height="240">
<param name="URL" value="http://wisbey.dnsalias.com:8888">
<param name="cabbase" value="JavaCamPush.cab">
</applet>

In the HTML listing above, the text in bold are values which you must change in order to match your WebCam32 settings and your IP address or domain alias settings. The address and port number, wisbey.dnsalias.com:8888 should be replaced with the your IP address or domain name of your Internet connection, and the port number you specified in Webcam32. The width and height values must match what you have set in the WebCam32 application.

You will also notice in the HTML that JavaCamPush.class and JavaCamPush.cab is referenced. However, these files are based on your local PC and the Webcam32 appliaction uses them locally on your PC when somebody has connected to your live broadcast. Therefore, when you FTP your HTML up to your web space, you do NOT need to FTP the associated JavaCamPush.class and JavaCamPush.cab files.

Click here to see the type of web cam stream that Listing 2 presents in your browser (note: if my webcam is not running, then this will appear as a grey box).

 



Last modified May 1, 2007 | © 1997 - 2007 Robert Wisbey | Top | Site Map