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Thread: Streaming multiple webcams

  1. #1
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    Streaming multiple webcams

    I attend many rallies and car enthusiast destinations (namely Tail of the Dragon).

    My goal is to be able to capture video from multiple cameras (angles) at the same time. I am aware that there are cameras suited for this purpose such as the contour and the gopro, however I am not sure that this particular hobby is something that I will enjoy long term (video editing, not the driving) so I want to use webcams rather than invest thousands in purchasing several gopro cameras at ~$300/each.

    I first purchased one of the 808 keychain cameras, however there as so many versions of them ( http://www.chucklohr.com/808/ ) that it would be a task in itself to make sure I get the correct one each time.. additionally the reason I was attracted to these in the first place was price point.. The unit I purchased was > $10 shipped to my office. I was not aware however that you must have a memory card whether you are doing webcam recording or regular recording straight from the camera.

    My new idea would be to purchase several inexpensive webcams and place them on various places of my car using a powered USB hub and USB extension cables. I did some quick searching on newegg and then ended up finding this on amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...YVCGFJW2BSF4N9

    The other complication with the keychain camera is that it does not seem to be compatible with any webcam software that I've tried.. webcamxp, amcap, skype, youtube.. none of them worked..

    So ultimately the assistance I'm looking for is being able to capture multiple streams at the same time.. I thought that I could find something by searching for security camera software but have come up empty handed so far.

  2. #2
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    This will let you view and record multiple cameras into the same video file, and it's free.

    http://download.manycam.com/

    The problem you'll most likely run into is that webcams are pretty bad at capturing fast-moving object...like race cars. Also, webcams don't handle adverse lighting very well, such as low light levels, or looking directly into the sun. Since the resolution and frame rate are dependent upon the camera AND your system (which has to do all the processing), how powerful your system is will play a role in determining the quality of the video you can capture.

    Here's a suggestion: buy a couple of inexpensive flip cams ($100-140). They take better videos, handle lighting and fast-moving objects better, and can be mounted and used both in and out of the car. It's not likely you're going to be editing video in the car anyway, so you'll have to move the video from the car to the desktop, so why not cut out the middle man? If it turns out you don't like what you're doing, throw them up on Ebay and recoup most of the expense.

    VegasGuy

  3. #3
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    The desire for the ability to record straight to the hard drive is that I will likely need to store many, many gigabytes of data. The race that I did in October of this year was 250 miles so I can't imagine a flip camera being able to hold the data from just that race alone.

    Also unless I'm missing something it looks like many cam works the reverse of what I'm trying to do.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiR2lBN8FUY

    Different application, same idea

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sc2sick View Post
    The desire for the ability to record straight to the hard drive is that I will likely need to store many, many gigabytes of data. The race that I did in October of this year was 250 miles so I can't imagine a flip camera being able to hold the data from just that race alone.

    Also unless I'm missing something it looks like many cam works the reverse of what I'm trying to do.

    [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiR2lBN8FUY[/media]

    Different application, same idea
    Nope, Manycam can place multiple webcam captures on the same screen and record them (more or less just like your video) as a single file to disk. It's not the most intuitive interface, but I've recorded three cams simultaneously using Manycam.


    Recording time is all about resolution and framerate. The Flip cams wil record VGA for 2 hours on 4gb of space, so a 16gb card would give you 8hrs of recording time, although you'd have to have extra battery packs.

    If you want a cheap, high quality, multi-cam solution, try this: Go to almost any pawn shop in America and pick up a couple of used camcorders with USB out. Most Sonys have that. You'll get a MUCH, MUCH better lens, excellent zoom and wide angle features, better exposure control, infinite recording time through the usb port to disk, since it will appear to your system as a webcam. I bought a Sony digital 8mm that was like new for $40 recently. included the AC charger and one battery pack. Get a AC inverter and power the cams from the car. I use mine to stream live video out of my truck to a media server (VERY occasional storm chaser). I have an Creative HD webcam and under perfect conditions with the sun behind the camera, the images are pretty close. In any other situation, the Sony wins hands down, plus the ability to zoom, pan tilt and easily adjust exposure makes it a no-brainer.

    With the economy the way it is, you can find some REALLY good deals at the pawn shop these days. Just a fact of life.

    VegasGuy

  5. #5
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    I may have to check some out tomorrow before work and see.

  6. #6
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    Did you ever get this figured out?
    I wouldn't mind having some waterproof cameras outside my ute. Would love a series fo gopros but that is never going to happen

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