(Disclaimer: I am by no means an expert at computers or any type of OS. Please treat me as a complete beginner. Any information or advice I post may be completely erroneous and I ask that you double check with other sources before doing anything I may suggest. All changes you make in your system, you make at your own risk!!! Anything I post is my own opinion and may differ greatly from others’.)
When my uncle and I first installed Linux Mint 10 on my mom’s old and virus dead-ed Dell Studio it was wonderful. The computer ran like a dream, I could get my old files off of the Windows partition so nothing was lost, and – the best part in my opinion – I could endlessly customize it.
The next thing I needed was a decent webcam application. So, after doing my research, I installed Cheese. And I was content.
Well, maybe for a little bit.
NOOO, WHY IS THE VIDEO RECORDING LATENCY ON CHEESE SO BAD??? I had had Cheese for several weeks and I was no longer a starry-eyed fan. My main grievance was the video recording. For some reason, (this may only be true for my computer) there was some pretty bad latency with that. It was so bad it looked like I was taking a stop motion video. A really really bad stop motion video. I could only take a few frames per video and it was really getting to me. My other objection was the lack of camera effects. This was only a minor problem since I don’t really use them, but I was still a little disappointed that there weren’t that many. My final objection was that every time I used Cheese, QUIT it, and then tried to use Skype video calling, my friend would just get a black screen, and the only remedy that I knew of was to do a complete system restart. Now, that again may only apply to my computer, but still, I did NOT want to have to restart my computer every time I wanted to talk to my friend. So I went on a quest to find a good webcam app that (a) had no latency when taking videos, (b) did not interfere with Skype, and (c) if possible, one with a good range of camera effects.
You probably know the drill: Google, google, google, read post, google again, search forums, read forum thread, forum thread, and a blog post, head back to google, about.com, various blogs, and google one more time, close all unnecessary tabs and decide. First man up: Wxcam. Wxcam looked pretty good, it was light and simple, I could manually customize the lighting settings and stuff. However, it had one problem. It couldn’t detect my microphone. Grrrr. . . If I had wanted to take the time I could probably have fixed it, but I did not want to take the time, I was impatient and wanted something that would work straight out of the proverbial box. Soooo, it was back to Google.
App number two: Kamoso. I tried it out and again it looked pretty decent, but once again, when I tried to record video, it was unable to detect my microphone. I knew my microphone was working as I had been able to use it several times with other applications, so I was starting to get rather annoyed. I considered going back to Cheese and enduring the atrocious latency, but thankfully, a thread on one of the Linux forums caught my eye.
“Hmmm, what is this guvcviewer, and how come I never saw this before? I mean, everybody who uses it says it’s great, maybe I should check it out!” So I installed guvcviewer. As soon as I saw it, I was hooked. The icons looked pretty good, the interface was intuitive, and “YES!!! It’s got negative effects AND manual adjusters!!!!!” And of course, that was the clincher. BUT, there was still one more thing to test. I clicked on the Cap. Video button with some apprehension, made some test noises (the technical term for grunts), and stopped the recording. I opened the video with Mplayer, and watched and listened carefully. Latency was good, there was virtually none. Uh oh, the sounds in the vid were nothing like the sounds I had been making. About this time I was thinking again, “*sigh* back to google.” Luckily, I took a second look at the options window before I closed it and saw a tab marked Audio. Intrigued, and with a growing feeling of excitement, I discovered that the input device was not set to pulse, which was my sound manager app. I set it to the proper settings and tried the video capture one more time.
“MWAHAHAHAHAHA I AM A GENIUS!!!!! BOW DOWN BEFORE THE GEEK OF THE FAMILY!!! EAT IT WEBCAM APPS!!!! YOU ARE NO MATCH FOR THE AXEMAN!!!”
As you can probably tell, it worked. I had found an app that met the first and third of my criteria, and luckily when I Skype called my friend later, I did NOT have to reboot. So now, once again, I am content. Of course, what worked for me may not work for others. What problems I have had others may not. In the end, it’s all about finding the application that works for you and your computer, whether it’s KDE, Gnome or something else. Again, please remember to make sure that anything you install is safe, compatible and will not – in other words – completely mess up your system, thank you in advance.
Next problem, bring it on. . .