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Webcams can be used to take video clips and still pictures. Various software tools in wide use can be employed for this, such as PicMaster for use with Windows operating systems , Photo Booth Mac , or Cheese with Unix systems. For a more complete list see Comparison of webcam software. Special software can use the video stream from a webcam to assist or enhance a user's control of applications and games. Video features, including faces, shapes, models and colors can be observed and tracked to produce a corresponding form of control. For example, the position of a single light source can be tracked and used to emulate a mouse pointer, a head-mounted light would enable hands-free computing and would greatly improve computer accessibility.

This can be applied to games, providing additional control, improved interactivity and immersiveness. FreeTrack is a free webcam motion-tracking application for Microsoft Windows that can track a special head-mounted model in up to six degrees of freedom and output data to mouse, keyboard, joystick and FreeTrack-supported games. By removing the IR filter of the webcam, IR LEDs can be used, which has the advantage of being invisible to the naked eye, removing a distraction from the user.

TrackIR is a commercial version of this technology. Small webcam-based PC games are available as either standalone executables or inside web browser windows using Adobe Flash.


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With very-low-light capability, a few specific models of webcams are very popular to photograph the night sky by astronomers and astro photographers. The lenses of the cameras are removed and then these are attached to telescopes to record images, video, still, or both. In newer techniques, videos of very faint objects are taken for a couple of seconds and then all the frames of the video are "stacked" together to obtain a still image of respectable contrast.

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A webcam's CCD response is linear proportional to the incoming light. The resolution of a laser beam profiler depends on the pixel size. Commercial webcams are usually designed to record color images. However, a color pixel consists of four black and white pixels each equipped with a color filter for details see Bayer filter. Although these color filters work well in the visible, they may be rather transparent in the near infra-red.

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First developed in , a webcam was pointed at the Trojan Room coffee pot in the Cambridge University Computer Science Department initially operating over a local network instead of the web. The camera was finally switched off on August 22, The final image captured by the camera can still be viewed at its homepage. The first commercial webcam, the black-and-white QuickCam , entered the marketplace in , created by the U.

Jon Garber, the designer of the device, had wanted to call it the "Mac-camera", but was overruled by Connectix's marketing department; a version with a PC-compatible parallel port and software for Microsoft Windows was launched in October The original QuickCam provided xpixel resolution with a grayscale depth of 16 shades at 60 frames per second, or shades at 15 frames per second. In , Time Magazine named the QuickCam as one of the top computer devices of all time. Videoconferencing via computers already existed, and at the time client-server based videoconferencing software such as CU-SeeMe had started to become popular.

One of the most widely reported-on webcam sites was JenniCam , created in , which allowed Internet users to observe the life of its namesake constantly, in the same vein as the reality TV series Big Brother , launched four years later. Aggregator websites have also been created, providing thousands of live video streams or up-to-date still pictures, allowing users to find live video streams based on location or other criteria.

Around the turn of the 21st century, computer hardware manufacturers began building webcams directly into laptop and desktop screens, thus eliminating the need to use an external USB or FireWire camera. Gradually webcams came to be used more for telecommunications, or videotelephony , between two people, or among several people, than for offering a view on a Web page to an unknown public. Both sender and receiver of the images must use 3D glasses to see the effect of three dimensional image. Many users do not wish the continuous exposure for which webcams were originally intended, but rather prefer privacy.

Cameras such as Apple 's older external iSight cameras include lens covers to thwart this. Some webcams have built-in hardwired LED indicators that light up whenever the camera is active, sometimes only in video mode [ citation needed ]. However, it is possible for malware to circumvent the indicator and activate the camera surrepticiously, as researchers demonstrated in the case of a MacBook 's built-in camera in Various companies sell sliding lens covers and stickers that allow users to retrofit a computer or smartphone to close access to the camera lens as needed.

The fraudulent process of attempting to hack into a person's webcam and activate it without the webcam owner's permission has been called camfecting. The remotely activated webcam can be used to watch anything within the webcam's field of vision, sometimes the webcam owner itself. Camfecting is most often carried out by infecting the victim's computer with a virus that can provide the hacker access to the victim's webcam.

This attack is specifically targeted at the victim's webcam, and hence the name camfecting , a portmanteau of the words cam and infecting. In January , some search engine queries were published in an online forum [21] which allow anyone to find thousands of Panasonic - and Axis high-end web cameras, provided that they have a web-based interface for remote viewing.

Many such cameras are running on default configuration, which does not require any password login or IP address verification, making them viewable by anyone.

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In the Robbins v. Lower Merion School District "WebcamGate" case, plaintiffs charged that two suburban Philadelphia high schools secretly spied on students - by surreptitiously remotely activating iSight webcams embedded in school-issued MacBook laptops the students were using at home — and thereby infringed on their privacy rights. School authorities admitted to secretly snapping over 66, photographs, including shots of students in the privacy of their bedrooms, including some with teenagers in various state of undress.

Webcams allow for inexpensive, real-time video chat and webcasting , in both amateur and professional pursuits. They are frequently used in online dating and for online personal services offered mainly by women when camgirling. However, the ease of webcam use through the Internet for video chat has also caused issues.

For example, moderation system of various video chat websites such as Omegle has been criticized as being ineffective, with sexual content still rampant. YouTube is a popular website hosting many videos made using webcams. News websites such as the BBC also produce professional live news videos using webcams rather than traditional cameras.

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Webcams can also encourage telecommuting , enabling people to work from home via the Internet, rather than traveling to their office. The popularity of webcams among teenagers with Internet access has raised concern about the use of webcams for cyber-bullying. Videophone calls also: videocalls and video chat , [32] differ from videoconferencing in that they expect to serve individuals, not groups.

In general everyday usage the term videoconferencing is now frequently used instead of videocall for point-to-point calls between two units. Both videophone calls and videoconferencing are also now commonly referred to as a video link.

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Webcams are popular, relatively low cost devices which can provide live video and audio streams via personal computers, and can be used with many software clients for both video calls and videoconferencing. A videoconference system is generally higher cost than a videophone and deploys greater capabilities. A videoconference also known as a videoteleconference allows two or more locations to communicate via live, simultaneous two-way video and audio transmissions. This is often accomplished by the use of a multipoint control unit a centralized distribution and call management system or by a similar non-centralized multipoint capability embedded in each videoconferencing unit.

Again, technology improvements have circumvented traditional definitions by allowing multiple party videoconferencing via web-based applications. A telepresence system is a high-end videoconferencing system and service usually employed by enterprise-level corporate offices.

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Telepresence conference rooms use state-of-the art room designs, video cameras, displays, sound-systems and processors, coupled with high-to-very-high capacity bandwidth transmissions. Typical use of the various technologies described above include calling or conferencing on a one-on-one, one-to-many or many-to-many basis for personal, business, educational, deaf Video Relay Service and tele-medical, diagnostic and rehabilitative use or services. New services utilizing videocalling and videoconferencing, such as teachers and psychologists conducting online sessions, [37] personal videocalls to inmates incarcerated in penitentiaries , and videoconferencing to resolve airline engineering issues at maintenance facilities , are being created or evolving on an ongoing basis.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Play media. Main article: Image sensor. Further information: Videophone , Videoconferencing , and Videotelephony. See also: History of videotelephony. Main article: Privacy. Editors: Solomon Negash, Michael E. Hintsmth just to make sure, you did have the webcam connected when executing the command and it was working in other applications at that time? Hintsmth can you post the output of v4l2-ctl --list-formats --list-devices and v4l2-ctl --all as well as the qtox log when working on Lubuntu?


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Hintsmth you can get it with sudo apt-get install v4l-utils. Diadlo maybe that's a duplicate of the bug fixed in 92def And that really upsets me, but what can I do? Hintsmth thx, I think I have an idea now where to look. Hintsmth Can you also try this:. The command should capture a video from a webcam.

Then, please, check if the result file is correct. Sorry for not answering for so long. Diadlo the result file is correct. Hintsmth can you run qTox from the CMD and copy the log output from there? The file could be missing some important part as in comment. Hintsmth Should be fixed with Yep, I've tried, but the same -- no image.