May 6, 2009

Capturing Webcam Video in Ubuntu

Last night I received my new Dell Mini 9 netbook in the mail, and I immediately began playing with it. First thing I did was install Windows XP and Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix in a dual boot setup. The second thing I did was pimp out my new netbook with a Powered By Ubuntu Sticker :-P

After that I started poking around in Ubuntu NBR 9.04. A few weeks ago I was looking into software in Ubuntu that I could use to capture video from my webcam. I wasn’t successful finding anything, and decided to capture my webcam stuff in Windows XP. Since my netbook came with a webcam like many do, I wanted to see what was installed to handle that in the netbook version of Ubuntu. That answer is a program called Cheese.

Here is a description of Cheese from the project website:

Cheese uses your webcam to take photos and videos, applies fancy special effects and lets you share the fun with others. It was written as part of Google's 2007 Summer of Code lead by daniel g. siegel and mentored by Raphaël Slinckx. Under the hood, Cheese uses GStreamer to apply fancy effects to photos and videos. With Cheese it is easy to take photos of you, your friends, pets or whatever you want and share them with others. After a success of the Summer of Code, the development continued and we still are looking for people with nice ideas and patches ;)

I have to say that Cheese worked fairly well, especially for the chintzy 1.3MP camera built in. My only gripes were that it recorded to .ogv format, the resolution had to be set at 320x240 in order to get the video to work. (By default the resolution was set at 1024x768), and finally after recording, the audio and video didn’t sync correctly. Here is my test video:

As you can see, it started off okay, then slowly turned into a foreign Japanese flick looking thing where the audio didn’t sync with my mouth. That was even after I ran the video through Windows Movie Maker to try to sync the sound up!

Have any of you had the sound synching problem with Cheese in Ubuntu? Were you able to fix it? If so how? Hit me up in the comments.

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