How do I set up a basic, 1994-style webcam?
February 27, 2014 1:49 PM   Subscribe

I need to set up a basic webcam stream for a gallery exhibition. I'm looking to have a live-ish still image of the gallery space (ideally just a JPG that refreshes every 30 seconds or so—no video, no audio, like this) that can be viewed via a web browser at a second, off-site location. I think I have any hardware I would need — is there a piece of (Mac) software or some other option that can handle the capture and upload/broadcast with minimal headache?

Available hardware:
I have access to a weathered but functional Macbook and a similarly-aged Mac Mini. The Macbook has a working iSight camera, but I also have a USB webcam and a DV camcorder (both computers have Firewire connections). Any combination of these is an option.

There will be a wireless Internet connection in the gallery, but I can't guarantee that the terminal where the webcam image needs to be displayed will be on the same network (which seems to rule out some options I had looked at, like EvoCam, which is for video streaming anyway). I need to be able to embed the image on a website hosted on my run-of-the-mill shared Dreamhost account, whether directly on the page itself (preferred) or using an iframe.

Something that would just upload a refreshed image via FTP once a minute would be terrific, but I don't know if that's something that exists.

The exhibition runs for a month — I'm willing to pay for some kind of hosted service if absolutely necessary, but I'd prefer not to. Assume that any solution involving a command line is beyond my capabilities.

posted by wreckingball to Technology (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I think Google Hangouts on Air is what you're looking for. It will allow you to stream live to a youtube video, and you can set it up ahead of time so you can embed the link anywhere.

I don't know if there's a limit on video size, but I'd think you'd want to stop and start it each day rather than running 24/7?
posted by pixiecrinkle at 2:14 PM on February 27, 2014

Thanks! I'll look into Hangouts, but I would really, strongly prefer a static image (the gallery feed is being paired with a number of other webcams, all of which are regularly-refreshing JPEGs). Ideally it *would* run 24/7, as I can't be there at the gallery twice a day for a month to stop and start it.
posted by wreckingball at 2:25 PM on February 27, 2014

An unused Android Phone with Webcam software can be scheduled to snap pics and send to a FTP site location at intervals.

Probably alot less bulky, and the quality of the pictures is pretty good since it uses the built in camera (2-5 megapixels)

It can be setup to do snapshots, but also a video stream would be available, but the latter would require router fanagling that your gallery may or may not give you access to.

Added bonus, if you get Virgin Mobile service you can ensure it wont rely on the wifi and allow you to send the data continously over 3g. (they have a unlimited data plan that tops out at 2.5GB/mo but lets you continue sending data at a slower rate)
posted by edman at 3:07 PM on February 27, 2014

« Older Where to make big prints of oil paintings?   |   Keeping my iTunes "Music" folder in my DropBox Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.