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.
Would you like to show the world your live view of your Derbyshire village online?
So what do you need?
|Details for each item:
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!
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.
3) Internet connection
|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.
|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 : www.yawcam.com 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
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.
I would recommend that you have a play with the software to see what you think of it.
So what are these different options ?
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.
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. www.yawcam.com/help/routerconfig
|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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
|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.
© Andy Savage © www.derbyphotos.co.uk