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GBIC >> gbWare >> gbWebCam Help

gbWebCam - Online Help

  This page provides the latest online Help information for gbWebCam 5.5. gbWebCam provides an extremely easy-to-use method for capturing images from a webcam and transferring the images to a server for display on a web page. Features include:

  • Webcam preview
  • JPG image capture
  • User-defined capture intervals
  • Single-shot/continuous transfers
  • Title/time captions
  • Image overlay
  • Email images
  • Transfer scheduling
  • Motion detection
  • Internet broadcasting
  • Multiple device support
  • Built-in AVI player
  • Video property adjustment
  • HTML page generation
  • Image archives
  • AVI video file capture
  • Voice announcements
  • Compact footprint mode
  • Special image effects
  • External file insertino
  • Large countdown timer
  • Frames around images
  • Create AVI from single frame captures
  • Online updates

Overview     Menu Selections     Notes/Issues    
Settings     Countdown Window    
 

An activation key for gbWebCam may be purchased online for $20 using PayPal or a credit card (Visa/Mastercard/AMEX/Discover).


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gbWebCam Overview

In basic operation gbWebCam connects to the default video device and displays the video in the upper-left corner of the main screen. Once a capture is made the captured image is displayed to the right of the video preview.

gbWebCam main window can be set for either of two display modes - compact or expanded. In each mode the display consists of the webcam preview, the last image captured, and various settings. The modes differ by whether they show one, or all, twelve groups of settings. The available setting groups are:

  • Program
  • Captions
  • Web Site
  • Email
  • Schedule
  • Effects
  • Capture
  • Motion
  • Devices/Codecs
  • Properties
  • Broadcasting

In compact mode a single group of settings is shown at a time, whereas in expanded mode all setting groups are shown at one time. The expanded mode window is approximately 1000x800 pixels. The compact mode window is aproximately 500x425 pixels.

The window sizes can also depend on the size of the video display. For example, in compact mode the maximum width is twice the width of the video display.

Examples of both display modes are shown below:

Compact Display Mode:
Note that only one setting group is displayed at a time (lower right in window).

Expanded Display Mode:
Note that all twelve setting groups are visible at one time.

(click to enlarge)

In each of the modes the display can be further fine-tuned by three settings:

  • 1. Video preview only
    This is the smallest footprint, consisting of only the video preview window and the common functions beneath it (start/stop ...)

  • 2. Video Preview + Last Image Captured
    In this setting, the last captured image is shown beside the video preview. None of the groups of settings are shown.

  • 3. Video Preview + Last Image Captured + Settings Group(s)
    Depending on whether gbWebCam is in compact or expanded mode, this setting includes display of one, or all, groups of settings.

The << button in the common functions area is used to move between these three settings. Pressing this button moves from setting 1, to setting 2, to setting 3, and then back to setting 1 again. Note that the button symbol changes to >> when at setting 3, indicating that pressing it again will reduce the numbers of options displayed.

The common functions beneath the video preview window are Start, Stop, Reset, countdown timer and indicator, Capture, mode changer and status listbox. Note: the Start/Stop function is supplied by the same button. Its label changes to reflect the function it will perform.

gbWebCam can upload images to the server in two ways - automatically at the end of a timed interval, or immediately by pressing the Capture button.

The various display combinations serve to allow the use to choose between minimizing the footprint of gbWebCam or maximizing the information that can be seen at one time.

The smallest footprint (either mode, without the last captured image and without settings) is shown in the next image. Also shown are the available menu settings:


File
Save As BMP/GIF/JPG
Copy (WebCam)
Copy (Last Capture)
Print
Email (Windows Default Client)
Email (gbWebCam Client)
Exit
Options
Compact Display
Show Countdown
Information
View Log
-
Source
Format
-
Browse Local Single-Image HTML
Browse Local Multi-Image HTML
-
Browse Server Single-Image HTML
Browse Server Multi-Image HTML
-
Play Still AVI
Play Capture AVI
-
Reset Image Counter
Help
Email Author
Web Site
Online Help
Online Update
-----
About
Context (Status Box)
Clear Status
Disable FTP
Disable Captions
Send Email
Disable Sounds

In compact mode, a menu option of Settings is also available, which allows selection of a particular settings group. Command buttons are also available just below the webcam preview to perform the same function.


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Menu Options

gbWebCam provides File, Options, and Help menu selections.

The File menu selections include:

  • Save as BMP/GIF/JPG
    Saves the most recently captured image under the selected format
  • Copy (WebCam)
    Copy the current image to the clipboard (without captions)
  • Copy (Last Capture)
    Copy the most recently captured image, with captions/frames/overlays per user settings
  • Print
    Print the image (normal size, one-up, top/left on the page)
  • Email (Windows Default Client)
    Open an email for sending the image. The last captured image is automatically sent to the clipboard and must be manually added to the new email that is created.
  • Email (gbWebCam Client
    Uses the SMTP client built into gbWebCam to send an email with the most recent transferred image attached
  • Exit
    Close gbWebCam.

The Options menu selections include:

  • Compact Display
    Mimimizes footprint by displaying only a single setting category at a time
  • Show Countdown
    Opens a window that displays, in large font sizes, the status of the countdown
  • Information
    A simply popup messasge box is provided that displays miscellaneous information about the current session. The information displayed will likely increase in future releases of gbWebCam.
  • View Log
    All of the status entries may be optionally saved to a text file, allowing a session-to-session record of events. A simple text file called gbwebcam_log.txt is used. This menu item calls up Windows Notepad to view the file.
  • Source
    Opens dialog window that allows selection of the video source
  • Format
    Opens dialog window that allows selection of the size of the image that will be transferred. gbWebCam will display images up to 320x240 only, but will correctly transfer larger image to the server.
  • Browse Local Single-Image HTML Page
    Displays a web page with the most recently captured image, with captions as set by the user. The file displayed resides on the users PC.
  • Browse Local Multi-Image HTML Page
    Displays a web page with the most recently captured images, with captions and number of images as set by the user. The file displayed resides on the users PC.
  • Browse Server Single-Image HTML Page
    Displays a web page with the most recently captured image, with captions as set by the user. The file displayed resides on the users server.
  • Browse Server Multi-Image HTML Page
    Displays a web page with the most recently captured images, with captions and number of images as set by the user. The file displayed resides on the user's server. -
  • Reset Image Counter
    Resets the image counter to zero (Each time an image is captured the counter is incremented and used as part of the archive image file names)

The Help menu offers the following selections.

  • Email Author
    Calls up the user's default email software with a message addressed to the author of gbWebCam.
  • Web Site
    Opens the default browser at Gary Beene's Information Center
  • Online Help
    Opens the default browser at the gbWebCam Online Help page.
  • Online Updates
    Opens a dialog window from which the latest version of gbWebCam can be downloaded.
  • About
    Shows the revision level of the installed version of gbWebCam

The status listbox supports a right-mouse context menu with the following options:

  • Clear Status
    Clears all entries in the status listbox
  • Enable/Disable FTP
    Toggles ability to send images to the server via FTP
  • Enable/Disable Captions
    Toggles use of captions and overlay on image captures
  • Email
    Sends email using the built-in email client. Currently selected email address is used.
  • Enable/Disable Sounds
    Toggles use of the warning and transfer sounds, including the beep that is used if the sound files names are invalid


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Settings

gbWebCam settings are separated into twelve groups. In expanded mode all groups can be seen at one time and requires a screen size of at least 1000x800 pixels. In compact mode only one group is visible at a time and has a much smaller footprint.

The various groups and their individual settings are shown/discussed below:

Program

  • Enable FTP
    Enables FTP transfer of the file to the server, but allows all other operations to function. Use this to preview the effects of caption and border settings before committing to a transfer of the images to the server.
  • Preview
    Activates animated preview of the video source. Previewing can be processor intensive, so turn this off to speed up operation of other programs.
  • Single-Shot
    Pauses gbWebCam after a single image transfer
  • Keep Log
    Appends the status/log from this session to the log file
  • Local Archive
    Maintain each captured image on the local PC. An HTML file is generated which can be used to view archive files.
  • Remote Archive
    Maintains each captured image on the server. An HTML file is generated which can be used to view archive files.
  • Flip Horizontally
    Flips the webcam image horizontally
  • Stamp Status
    Places date/time before each status/log entry
  • Stamp Image File
    Uses the current time in naming the archive files.
  • Image Count
    Determines how many image files the archive HTML file will display. It displays as many rows of three as needed to display the image count.
  • Delete Local Archive
    Deletes all archive_*.* files from the gbWebCam folder
  • Delete Remote Archive
    Deletes all archive_*.* files from the server
  • Delete Log
    Deletes the log file (gbwebcam_log.txt)
Captions (title and text)

  • Title
    User-defined text caption to be placed on the image when it is transferred. The time caption is automatically generated.
  • Font Name
    Dropdown selection of any font installed on the PC
  • Font Size
    Dropdown selection of font size for title and time captions, limited to 6-20 points
  • Frame Size
    Dropdown selection of the border size. The border will be contained within the image dimensions. Frame thickness of 2-20 pixels are supported.
  • Time/Title Caption
    Enables display of the time or title caption over the captured image
  • Split/Reverse
    By default the time is printed above the title, both at the top of the page. The split option places the time at the top of the image and the title at the bottom of the page. The reverse setting exchanges position of the time and title captions.
  • Bold/Italic
    Sets format of title and time captions as bold or italic
  • Underscore
    Sets format of title and time captions as underscore
  • Auto-Effects
    Automatically applies the currently select effect to any capture
  • Transparent
    Determines if the backgrounds of the title and time captions are transparent
  • Centered
    Centers the title and time captions
  • Frames
    Enables application of the frame to the capture images
  • Auto-Refresh
    When checked, automatically presses the 'Capture' command whenever a capture setting is changed. Note: I suggest that you disable FTP while adjusting the caption settings, then enable it once you're happy with the settings.
  • FG/BG/Frames
    Opens color dialog window to select colors for foreground (text color), background (color behind the text) and the frame. The colored background is only displayed if the Transparent setting is not checked.
Web Site

  • Server
    The name of the server to which the image will be transferred.
  • Folder
    The folder on the server to which the image will be transferred. The local files is always named "gbwebcam.jpg". It is renamed during the transfer to the server.
  • p_h
    Some servers do not allow a URL to contain "public_html" where this is the root directory for a user. Selecting this will cause gbWebCam to delete the "public_html" from the URL used to view the HTML pages.
  • User/Psw
    The user name and password needed to access the server
  • Image File
    File name of the image, on the user's PC and on the server.
  • HTML/Psw
    Name of HTML file to be placed on the local PC and the remote server for viewing the most recently transferred image. The HTML page generated for viewing archive images is named "archive_" plus the remote file name. If an entry is made for the password, a visitor to the page must enter the password to be able to view the page. Note: This is a weak security measure. It will keep out the typical visitor but there are methods around this approach.
Email

  • Server
    The POP3 server where you receive your email
  • User/Psw
    The user name and password needed to access the server
  • From:Auth
    Sender's email address and authentication type (1-PoP3, 2-Auth Login, 3-Auth Plain)
  • To:
    Address of the person to whom you're sending the email. This is a dropdown list. Entering a value and pressing enter adds it to the list. Pressing the delete button beside the list deletes the currently selected email address.
  • Email (button)
    Sends the selected image, still video, or capture via email. Warning: the still and capture files can be very large!
  • Message
    Multi-line message to send with the email
Schedule

  • Schedule
    Tells gbWebCam to monitor the time and deny any FTP transfer that is outside the window defined by the other schedule settings
  • Between
    Tells gbWebCam to allow FTP only between the two times or only outside the window
  • From:
    Starting time of the schedule window
  • To:
    Ending time of the schedule window
  • Warning Sound
    Select the check box to enable playing a sound 5 seconds before the image is captured and transferred to the server. The file name must be a .wav file. A full path name is required unless the file is in the gbWebCam installation folder. If the file name does not exist, a simple beep is used (unless silent mode is selected).
  • Transfer Sound
    Select the check box to enable playing a sound when the image is captured. Once captured, the image will be transferred to the server. Status of the transfer is shown in the message label.

    The file name must be a .wav file. A full path name is required unless the file is in the gbWebCam installation folder. If the file name does not exist, a simple beep is used (unless silent mode is selected).

  • ActiveSound
    Select the check box to enabl playing a brief sound each second while a countdown is in progress. This lets a user know, from anywhere in the room, that gbWebCam is active and in the countdown mode.

    The file name must be a .wav file. A full path name is required unless the file is in the gbWebCam installation folder. If the file name does not exist, a simple beep is used (unless silent mode is selected).

  • Silent Operation
    Disables the warning and transfer sounds, including the beep that is used if the sound files names are invalid
  • Progress
    Enables the display of a progress indicator beneath the video preview. The progress indicator is a red line whose length reduces to zero as the countdown likewise counts down to zero.
  • Interval
    Dropdown selection of pre-specified intervals, ranging from 5 seconds to 60 minutes. The time may also entered manually in two ways, through the countdown text box (next to the Start button) or in the Custom textbox. Only the value entered in the Custom textbox will be kept for the next session. Time may be entered as seconds or in a mm:ss format. gbWebCam will convert all entries to the mm:ss format.
  • Custom
    Allows user to manually enter an interval. The value will be save and can be called from the dropdown Interval control
Special Effects

  • Effect
    List of the available effects
  • Auto
    Automatically applies the effect when selected from the dropdown list
  • Settings
    Depending on the effect to be implemented, a variety of controls will be displayed for adjustment of the effect (up to 3 sliders and 1 color selector)
  • Refresh
    Eliminates any special effect and displays the most recently transferred image
  • Apply
    Applies the effect to the image. May be undone using the Reload button.
  • Lock
    Applies the current special effect and makes it permanent. Once this is pressed, pressing the Refresh will get the results of the special effect as applied to the prior image. This is used to compound special effects.
  • Upload
    Permanently applies the effect to the image and sends the image to the server
  • Load
    Loads the selected external file
  • External File
    The name and location of an existing image file which can be place in the position of the last captured file. Once there, effects can be applied to it.
  • Overlay
    Determines whether an image will be superimposed over the webcam image (prior to application of any captions or frames)
  • Overlay File
    Image file to be used as the overlay
  • Transparent Color
    A single color may be selected which will be transparent, allowing the webcam image to show through the overlay image
  • Position
    Sets the top/left position (in pixels) where the overlay image will be placed
Capture Video

  • JPG Quality
    Image quality to be transferred to the server. Pre-set values of 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 90%, 95% and 100% are supported.
  • Time Limit
    Because AVI files can be large, the AVI capture can be limited to conserve disk space
  • Frame Rate
    Determines the frame rate at which a video may be captured. It does not affect the video preview.
  • Time Limit Combo
    Select from pre-defined time limits
  • Capture File
    The name and location of the capture file
  • Overlay File
    The name and location of the overlay image file. Pressing the button beside the file name will delete the file.
  • Still File
    File where the single image captures will be appended to create an AVI. When replayed, the AVI file will display images at a rate of one frame per second. Pressing the button beside the file name will delete the file.
  • Start
    Press once to start the capture and again to stop the capture (ahead of any time limit). When AVI capture is taking place, a countdown timer is shown to the left of this command.
  • Audio
    Includes audio in the capture file (only the video file, not the still file).
  • Still
    Enables creation of an AVI file consisting of all the single frame captures. Note: gbWebCam can create a still AVI and a standard motion capture AVI - but only one can be active at a time. When one is stopped, images can not longer be added to it. Starting up a new still or standard capture AVI creates an AVI file from scratch.
Motion

    Once a motion event is detected one or more selected actions are taken. Then a 15 second delay is used before automatically re-activating the motion detector.

  • Motion Detection
    Turns on motion detection
  • Audible Alarm
    Sounds an alarm using the specified file.
  • Email
    Captures the current video image and sends and email to the currently selected email recipient.
  • 10-Second AVI
    Captures a 10-second video. Does not email it. Subsequent motion events write over any prior 10-second vidoes. Use the same file as the Capture Video settings
  • Sensitivity
    Determines how sensitive the detector is. Zero is low sensitivity. 15-30 is a typical setting.
Devices / Codecs

    These lists show the video and audio devices and codecs available on the user's PC

  • Video Devices
  • Video Codecs
  • Audio Devices
  • Audio Inputs
  • Audio Codecs
Properties

    Provides options to edit various video, audiot, and camera properties. Not all properties are supported by all video/audio devices (a warning note is provided in these cases). Video ProcAmp Properties

  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Hue
  • Saturation
  • Sharpness
  • Gamma
  • Color Enable
  • White Balance
  • Gain
  • Backlight Compensation
  • Slider

    Audio Properties
  • Delay
  • Input Level
  • Output Level

    Camera Properties
  • Pan
  • Tilt
  • Roll
  • Zoom
  • Exposure
  • Iris
  • Focus

    Video Size - as supported by the camera, such as:
  • 160x120
  • 240x180
  • 320x240

Broadcasting

    To view a broadcast Windows Media 9 is required (or any other streaming WM video application that can connect to a URL.

  • WM Server
    Turns on the WM broadcasting
  • Profiles
    Determines the profile to be used in the broadcast


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Countdown Window

To help users see status of the countdown at a distance from their computer, gbWebCam provides a window that provides, in the largest font that will fit the window, the minutes/seconds left before an image is captured and transferred (see the image below). Four countdown window size may be selected. The Start/Stop/Reset/Send Now commands on the countdown window function the same as their counterparts on the main window. A small thumbnail of the most recently capture image is also shown on the countdown window.


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Notes/Issues/Future Features

gbWebCam has been tested on Windows XP and Windows 2000.

If you have any problems using it on your system, please let me know.