How to get your village webcam online for Derby and Derbyshire.
It really is very easy to get a webcam of your Derbyshire village online, here is my easy to follow guide
Let's get Derbyshire on the web cam map with lots of local webcams!.
If you are not sure what a webcam is then please visit some of the exisiting webcam sites that are online now around Derby/Derbyshire.
Also Staffordshire Webcams.

simulated webcam view

Would you like to show the world your live view of your Derbyshire village online?
If so this is the guide for you. I have tried to make it as simple as possible to follow, I have even tried it myself to prove how easy it is to get a village webcam online.

So what do you need?
1) A Pc that is running Microsoft Windows.
2) A Webcam that can be positioned to show a view of your village, street scene or your garden.
3) A broadband internet connection.
4) The webcam software (free in my example below)

Details for each item:
1) PC
If you are familiar with Linux operating system then you may prefer to use one of the many free programs available for that system, My guide here will assume you are using a modern-ish PC with Windows XP.
I would recommend that you use an up-to-date system that has all the windows updates installed as well as a good virus checker that is up-to-date. This should apply anyway if you are using a PC on a broadband internet connection!

2) Webcam
There are many different webcams on the market that can be purchased from just about anywhere these days. They cost as little as £6. Which one you buy will depend on what you want to do with the camera. For instance are you going to mount the camera permanently outside in weatherproof housing or are you just going to put your normal everyday webcam pointing out the window of your office.
Most modern webcams use a USB interface to connect to the PC and come with their own driver software (which you must install).
The only requirement is that is uses Video For Windows (most do by the way!). If you would prefer to use an actual video camera rather than a webcam then you would need a TV Card such as a WinTv card by Hauppage, their early WinTv cards (with bt878 chipsets) had VFW, their newer range such as PVR250 etc use WDM drivers instead so can't be used. OldWinTv cards can be found on ebay.

You should ideally mount the camera so it has a good all day view of your scene without getting direct sunlight onto it. Also you need to consider will the camera get knocked and moved about by accident thus rendering the view useless.
simulated webcam
Simulated webcam

3) Internet connection
You can use a dial-up connection for your webcam but this would limit options available to you, You would only be able to offer a static infrequently updated image. Also it would mean it would have to dial up every time you wanted it to update the image this would not be very convenient.
A permanent broadband connection allows you to offer a high quality streaming webcam as well as the static options.
By the way don’t be worried about a webcam using up your bandwidth. Data is only passed when there is a viewer connected and watching. If no one is watching then no bandwidth is used. If you use the ftp option then hardly any bandwidth is used.

4) The webcam software
There are many software packages that will allow you to put a webcam page online. My guide is based on some software called yawcam which I found on the internet which is free to use, you can make a donation if you wish, which will help the author develop it further. Having tried it myself, I found it very easy to use and would highly recommend it. I have tried a few other webcam programs but they were not as easy to get up and running as this software.

How to use yawcam to get your webcam on-line - My easy step by step guide.

I will assume that you already have a webcam attached to your pc with the driver software installed and working. Webcam software normally comes with some software that allows you to see a live image from the camera so you can set it up. On my Logitech webcam there is something called “QuickCapture” which will allow you to see what the webcam sees, you can use this application to setup your view out the window.
Simulated webcam
Simulated webcam
1) First you need to download the yawcam software. This program is written in something called Java so you will need the webcam software and Java to be able to run it.
Its best to get the very latest beta version of yawcam if there is one as this will have more features.
So visit the website : click on the Download link on the left side of the screen.
Click on the link in the yellow rectangle that says “Get the latest beta here!”, this will take you to the yawcam forum where the latest version of the software is available.
At the time of writing this is Yawcam_BETA_2007-03-18.exe (2,97 MB) Click on this link to download the file, putting it somewhere you know you will be able to find it!

Once its completed downloading, locate the file using “My computer” and run it by double clicking on the file. E.g. Yawcam_BETA_2007-03-18.exe
Once its finished installing, run the program using the icon on the desktop.

At this point you will probably get a screen saying “you don’t have Java Runtime installed” and offering to visit the site to download it, if so accept this then.
Download Java Runtime Environment (JRE) 6 (this link is part way down the screen)
Click Accept License Agreement then click the Windows Offline Installation, Multilanguage 12.56Mb, once its downloaded Install Java runtime.
Then re-run the yawcam install program, this time it should complete ok without the warning about Java.
You are now ready to try out the software.
Now run the yawcam program using the icon on your desktop or the quicklaunch icon at the bottom of your screen.
Goto Settings and select ‘detect webcam’, pick your cam from the list (hopefully). My cam shows as “Logitech QuickCam Pro 4000” The preview window should now show a live camera image.
Its worth noting that the webcam may default to a low resolution mode when you first try it. My webcam starts in 320x240 mode, this can be increased to 640x480 by going to Settings - Device - format control and changing it to 640x480 see example and increasing it here.

Simulated webcam
Simulated webcam

I would recommend that you have a play with the software to see what you think of it.
The software allows you to run the webcam in four different ways depending on what you want to do. These are enabled simply by clicking on one of the buttons in the main panel.

So what are these different options ?
File - this is not an option that will be used for a webcam.
1 – ftp – This option allows you to upload a single jpg image to a website at regular intervals.
2 – Http – This offers a web page view of a single jpg image, viewers connect directly with your pc.
3 – Stream – This option offers an almost real-time streaming video of your webcam, Viewers connect directly with your pc.
4 – Motion is something you can use as an intruder detection system and not an option you would use for a village webcam.

It is possible to activate all of these options at the same time, they will all function simultaneously! The great thing about this software is that it allows you to try out the different options and test them within seconds.
By going to the Help drop-down menu and selecting “Am I online?” it will perform a check live to see if your webcam can be viewed. You can then goto the Help drop-down menu and click “What’s my URL?” and it will list the web address that you need to supply to anyone you want to be able to view your webcam.
If you use a router on your broadband internet modem then it will even list the web addresses to use to view it from inside your local network.

simulated webcam view


If you use a broadband router then you may need to alter the settings to allow connections to be forwarded through it, as detailed in the help pages and the forum.

If your router supports UPnP then its simplest if you log onto your routers admin page (read your manual for the router, this normally means using a web browser and typing in the routers address into the address bar as numbers) and ensure it is UPNP enabled See example, the yawcam software has an option in the Settings panel (Connection) “Use UPNP to open up ports on router” If you tick this then the webcam will work without having to manually forward ports etc.

There are many options in yawcam which I have not even tried yet. Options to allow the program to start when you boot the pc up so you don’t have to run it everytime. This is ideal if you only use your webcam pc during office hours for instance.

The htpp and the stream options rely on your pc being a web server, if you do not like the idea of this then you may be best to select the ftp option. This allows a jpg to be uploaded to a website.
Now don’t worry if you don’t have a website as you may not be aware but just about everyone has some free webspace that they probably don’t even know about.
To explain...
Basically when you join up with an ISP such as Tiscali, AOL, Bulldog, NTL, Orange etc etc they will give you 20-100Mb of what is known as "user webspace". This is an area on the internet that you can use to design your own website. Most people don’t know about this space and probably never use it, but this is an ideal area to put a webcam image. The advantage of using this webspace for a webcam image is that it does not matter if your IP address changes, the webcam will still function correctly.
Simulated webcam
Simulated webcam

For information on using your free webspace you would need to look for the word webspace on your ISP’s homepage. Each ISP defines the users webspace address differently and some have to be activated to use the space.
Some examples… On Tiscali the webspace would be
On VirginMedia
You do not need to download any ftp software or web design software to use your webspace for the purposes of a webcam, all you need to do is make a note of the settings to ftp things to your webspace as these will need to be typed into the yawcam settings page.

To use yawcam in ftp mode you need to goto the Settings drop-down menu and select Edit Settings… Goto the Ftp option in the Output Catergory. Don’t be put off by the fields you have to fill in, its very easy.
Leave the Type as JPG
Set the Image Qualty slider to 70%
In the ftp server field you need to type in the ftp server as per your ISP’s webspace help page.
The username and password fields will normally be your username and password that you use for your e-mail.
The directory field can be left blank. This means it will place the jpg file in the root of your websapce.
Leave the filename as out.jpg
The Upload interval is how often it will update your webcam image. I would recommend keeping this around 60 seconds.
Click on OK.

Simulated webcam
Simulated webcam

Now goto the control panel and click the enable button next to Ftp. The checker thing built into yawcam can not be used to check its working.
All you need to do to check it it visit your wespace address and add out.jpg on the end of the address and hopefully you should see your webcam image.

So if you were a VirginMedia customer using your free webspace then the url to the image would be..
* replace the words with your username (i.e. the first part of your e-mail address before the @ symbol)

If you have successfully managed to follow my guide and get it running ok then please drop me a line and let me have the details of your webcam and I will be more than happy to add it to my Derby/Derbyshire webcam page.

Please ensure you supply all the details about your webcam such as..
1-Location. i.e. Derbyshire village, street name (if you wish to disclose it)
2-What can be seen in the view, well known local buildings etc?
3-Type of wecam i.e. Streaming, static, ftp, Schedule. i.e. How often is it updated? Every 30 seconds?
Is it online 24/7 or just 9am to 4pm weekdays etc
4-And finally the full URL address. If you are using the streaming option then the url will be something along the lines of..
If you are using the ftp option then please supply the full address to your webspace including the filename if you have changed it from the default out.jpg name.
I can create a webpage on for your ftp’d image to sit on which will include the webcam information you want as well as an auto-refreshing page so it shows the latest image from your webcam. It will be added to my webcam list.

There are many other extra features in yawcam such as the scheduler which allows to to setup in hour segments when you want the webcam to run, it even allows you to enable/disable the different types of webcam modes at different times.
If using the streaming mode then you can change the design of the webpage that is served, you have complete control via the settings panel in yawcam.
To start Yawcam when Windows starts without having to run it every time, copy the Yawcam shortcut from your desktop to your startup folder in the Windows start menu. This will make Yawcam start automatically when Windows starts. If you then also select Stealth at startup from the view menu then it will hide itself.
Hopefully my webcam guide will have made you realise just how simple it is to get your village online.
Just think how many people out there in Derbyshire have a PC connected to the internet and a great view out of the window, why not put it to good use and share that view here. This can also apply to any businesses out there in Derby/Derbyshire, you are bound to have PCs running all day with internet connections, how about hooking one of them up to a webcam, using the webcam software and getting it online.
I am more than happy to give you a plug on my webcam page and provide a free advert for your company too!

Please get in touch if you plan to startup a local webcam. We need more cams for Derby. Surely someone out there can create live web cams for Allestree, Sinfin, Allenton, Wilmorton,Mackworth, Darley Abbey etc etc.

Get yawcam here.

© Andy Savage ©