Webcam Software Chellenge Challenge

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

The webcam software I use is called Webcam32. I found it in late 1999 and purchased a copy for twenty-five dollars (it eventually got up to around forty dollars). Not only does it have a lot of really great features, but new versions of the software are free.

Pretty great, right?

The last update happened years ago, but several features still don’t work that well (and never have). From time to time, I would check out the website of Surveyor Corporation, the company who made Webcam32, to see if there were any updates. About a week ago, I checked and found this:

“After September 15, 2006, we will no longer be selling Webcam32.”

They’ll continue to support registered users (like me), but they’re selling their source code (which, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, means that no further updates are coming).

In light of this, I have been looking around at other webcam software. Webcam32 will continue to work for me for a while, but eventually I’m going to have to make a change. With that in mind, I’d like to get the upper-hand on the situation. I could buy another program, but the one I like the best (webcamXP Pro) is about eighty dollars.

So here’s where I’m going with this. I know at least one of my readers is a programmer. I’m hoping that he (and perhaps a few others) will join me in attempting to create webcam software that is both good and open source.

I say “both good and open source,” because there are a few open source webcam programs out there, but they’re all pretty mediocre. I found three (for Windows), and they are:

Fwink – This is by far the best of the three. It has the most features and a fairly decent UI.

Dorgem – This seems to be the next best. The UI is pretty dull and the features are limited.

Webcam2000 – Boring UI and basic features.

So what features would I want to see in webcam software? This isn’t a comprehensive list, but a few obvious ones are:

  • Works in Windows 9x+
  • Support for pretty much any camera that you could plug into the computer.
  • FTP uploads
  • Upload images in multiple formats (jpg, gif, png, etc)
  • Upload multiple images (main, thumbnail, etc)
  • Ability to define size of main and thumb (640×480, 320×240, etc)
  • Overlay – text and images (esp. png files with alpha channels)
  • Upload timer (e.g. Once every N seconds)
  • Countdown timer
  • Local save
  • Motion capture (based on % change)
  • Basic image processing (flip, rotate, etc)
  • Support for multiple video sources (camera rotator)
  • Offline image (with rotator)
  • Minimise to tray

Take a look at the features in Fwink to get an idea of what I’m looking for.

I think we have a unique community who will be able to develop a program that will look good and operate well. I don’t really have a timeline or a deadline, so this isn’t a high priority. It’s pretty much a, “whenever you have time to work on it,” type of thing.

So, who’s on board?

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  1. Phoenix


    My work day is from 8am to 10pm, so I don’t have enough time to write the whole thing. Here’s something to get you started (this is the entire program):

    from VideoCapture import Device

    cam = Device()


    (Python is a wonderful language. ^_^)

    Looking at what you want, it’s kind of hard to believe that there’s not a better open source solution already. Especially in Python, where it’s dead simple.

  2. Phoenix

    You need to allow pre tags in comments…

    Anyway, on that last line, you can use:

    img = cam.getImage()

    to get a PIL image you can manipulate (convert, resize, thumbnail, overlay…). Seriously, it would be incredibly easy to write, for someone with a bit more experience in Python than me. ^_^

  3. Phoenix


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