Thursday, May 27, 2010

One Line Cat, and a webcam visualier

This is me trying out my webcam/netbook setup, to see if it serves as an emergency visualiser for events.
It's a cat in one line.

(Technical stuff follows, for anyone else who is thinking about trying to use a webcam as a visualiser)

Is it working? No it isn't quite working yet, annoyingly, for silly technical reasons. You can see how it kind of jumps...
The webcam itself is ok, it's a HUE HD webcam I bought for half price off Amazon.
Webcams have become higher res since this first came out - but this one is cheap, just-good-enough and has a swan neck. You'd still have to put it on a box or a stack of boxes to show anything larger than a postcard, and maybe have some sellotape handy to stabilise it, but that's ok.
They have some free software to download on their site that actually also works with other webcams which helps to use it as a visualiser - makes it go full-screen and adjustable in some useful ways.

Annoyingly, however, it seems the latest version of OSX Snow Leopard is a bit iffy with usb webcams, and so I can only make it work full-screen under Quicktime, and not with a good framerate neither. It works fine on my desktop mac which runs an older OS. Shall do some more tinkering later.
I think it would work nicely with a microsoft netbook or laptop - haven't got one to test it on. So, not a very stable or easy solution on a mac, I'm afraid! But not a total failure at £25.
Very much worth checking out, I'd say, if you are running Leopard or Windows. Or Linux, possibly.

Other people have had nice results with higher spec webcams, particularly the Logitech Quickcam Pro 900, but you'd have to make some sort of structure to hold it above your workspace (I couldn't be bothered, also it's quite dear).

I still refuse to spend £700 on a fully fledged portable visualiser, shall make do with this and wait until they've become a bit more sensibly priced!


Eric Orchard said...

This is really wonderful! More please...

Viviane Schwarz said...

Heh heh. Thanks. - I'll add more as I do more tinkering with the set-up...