Saturday, September 3, 2011

How to choose a webcam

I am biased. I prefer Linux. So i am going to talk about webcams which work in Linux.

To test my webcam and adjust its brightness I use vlc and v4l2ucp. Cheese and v4l2upc combo can also be used. Here's what I do. (vlc needs to be installed)

vlc v4l2:///dev/video0

In another terminal open v4l2ucp, the Video 4 Linux v2 control panel.


Now in the v4l control panel all the sliders like brightness etc. are self explanatory. So, keep adjusting and put an eye on the image in the vlc/Cheese screen.

The webcam is generally installed at /dev/video0 location. If it is not, then go to the /dev directory and hunt for it. If it not detected at all then do

lsusb -v > output.txt
gedit output.txt

Look for "camera"(ctrl+f). Some lines before there should be a "idVendor". That is your vendor id. Now, see if a driver is being loaded for it.


If you see uvd or gspca loaded then it should work otherwise either install spca or UVD. Goto their website and find it out if your webcam is supported. Or search in Google and figure it out how to make it work.

To know what resolution your webcam is capable of capturing use vlc again.

Have fun (especially with vlc)

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