A webcam is a digital camera that connects to your
computer. The images taken by the camera can be
transmitted and displayed on a web site with the
use of software.
You will need the following:
- a computer
- a connection to the internet
- a web camera
- webcam software
- a webpage and web host
A webcam is a digital camera designed to take digital
photographs and transmit them over the internet.
The camera connects to your computer and takes a
snapshot image that gets saved to your computer's
hard drive. Webcam software allows you to control
how often the camera takes a photo and updates(sends)
that photo on your web server. It uploads a photo
(.jpg) to your web host. A web
host is a company
that provides you with server space to host your
web site files. The web hosts and serves (displays)
your web pages to visitors who request your web
page by accessing your Domain Name (www.yourname.com).
A Snapshot or a Streaming Webcam?
Snapshot webcams take a snapshot image and refreshes
that images (uploads) at set intervals. Image quality
is very sharp and they are very easy to set up.
Streaming webcams: the nice part of the streaming
webcams is that they stream (or at least try to).
Streaming means you see the images of the webcam
in a continuous motion (like in a TV) but the reality
is that the image quality tends to be poor and the
motion is not as smooth as the TV. This method consumes
a lot of resources and it's not as easy to set up
as the snapshot webcam...
LittleBeasts.com uses a Logitec Quickcam Pro 4000
webcam software by Bill Oatman.
Now that you have your webcam, the next step is
to publish your images on the web. You need to tranfer
the image saved to your computer to your web host.
This is done with webcam software (Spycam, Chillcam)
Some cameras include trial versions or full versions
of their own webcam software.
How does the software work?
The software uses your Internet connection (dial
up, DSL, cable, satelite) to upload via FTP (File
Transfer Protocol) a single snapshot captured from
the camera set up on your computer. You can set
the file transfer to occur at set intervals (every
30 or 60 seconds). You will connect to your webhost
using your username and password issued by your
web hosting company.
The Web Page
How will your viewers see your webcam?
They will visit your webpage. You create a webpage
(webcam.html) that has your webcam image inserted
Once you have created the HTML page that displays
the webcam image in it, you need to know how to
make the HTML page refresh the image. The webcam
will be uploading a new image and anyone already
viewing your HTML page will want to see the new
images as they are updated.
Refreshing the Image
To get the latest shot captured by the webcam,
users connected to your page will have to reload
it or hit the refresh button to see the new image.
applets to your webcam HTML page you can make it
auto-reload the picture after a user-definable period.
META tag command: The simplest
and oldest method (still in use though) of refreshing
a webcam image on a webpage is made via a set of
HTML commands set in the <HEAD> tag of your
There is a META tag than can make a web page to
auto reload after a period of time (in seconds)
is reached. The syntax for this tag is as follows:
<META HTTP-EQUIV=REFRESH CONTENT="seconds">
Set the "seconds" to equal the number
of seconds it will take the browser to Reload the
<META HTTP-EQUIV=REFRESH CONTENT="60">
would refresh the page every 60 seconds.
The disadvantage of this method is that the whole
page is reloaded, If you are using this method it
is recommended that you keep the HTML page simple
and with limited graphics so the page will reload
If you're new to HTML you may want a template to
start your webcam site as soon as possible. Here
are two resource sites that offer free templates.
LittleBeasts.com is hosted by Dreamhost. We have
been on Dreamhost for more than six years - we highly recommend
them for stability, uptime, value and generosity.
Plus they have the funniest newletters ever!
If you sign up with Dreamhost, use LittleBeasts
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on a yearly plan.
webcam software by Bill Oatman.