Webcam setup

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Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: Several drivers in this article are available as built-in kernel modules, and shouldn't require special packages. (Discuss in Talk:Webcam setup#)

This is a guide to setting up your webcam in Arch Linux.

Linux webcam support

Most probably your webcam will work out of the box. In that case you may skip to section #Webcam configuration if you want to configure color, brightness and other parameters. Otherwise follow the steps below.

Identify your webcam

Identify the name of your webcam (using, for example, lsusb) and find a proper driver. Below is a list of webcams, and what drivers they work with. If you get your webcam to work, add the name of the webcam and the driver you used to the list!

pwc

  • Creative Labs Webcam Pro Ex
  • Logitech QuickCam Notebook Pro (only the "Pro" models)
  • Logitech Quickcam Pro 4000
  • Philips ToUCams (not confirmed at the moment, but it is using the pwc driver if I remember correctly)
  • Philips SPC900NC

qc-usb

  • Dexxa Webcam
  • Labtec Webcam (old model)
  • LegoCam
  • Logitech Quickcam Express (old model)
  • Logitech QuickCam Notebook (not the "Pro" models)
  • Logitech Quickcam Web

qc-usb-messenger

  • Logitech Quickcam Messenger
  • Logitech Quickcam Communicate (for Communicate MP/S5500 or "for Business" see the linux-uvc section below)

It is now in the community repo.

Note:
  • If qc-usb-messenger does not work use the gspca module, by installing the gspcav1 package.
  • Now this driver is a module included in kernel 2.6.27.

zr364xx

This driver can be used for many webcams like:

  • Aiptek PocketDV 3300
  • Creative PC-CAM 880
  • Konica Revio 2
  • Genius Digital Camera
  • Maxell Maxcam PRO DV3

You can find the full list of supported devices here.

sn9c102

  • Trust Spacecam series
  • Maxell Smartcam (for notebooks): 352x288 max. resolution @ 3fps

gspca

An extensive list of supported webcams is available [1].

Note: This driver does not have V4L1 support.

stv680

Many cheap no-name cameras that came out Asia in the last couple of years use the stv680 chipset. Most of these cameras were novelty items (i.e. Pencam, SpyC@m and LegoCam).

  • Aiptek PenCam series
  • Digitaldream series
  • Dolphin Peripherals series
  • Lego LegoCam
  • Trust SpyC@m series
  • Welback Coolcam

A more-complete list of webcams that use the stv680 chipset is available here.

linux-uvc

  • Genius iLook 1321
  • Logitech Webcam C210
  • Logitech Webcam C250
  • Logitech Webcam C270
  • Logitech Webcam C600
  • Logitech HD Webcam C525
  • Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920
  • Logitech Quickcam Pro 5000
  • Logitech Quickcam Pro 9000
  • Logitech Quickcam Orbit AF
  • Logitech Quickcam Orbit MP
  • Logitech Quickcam S5500
  • Microdia Pavilion Webcam (on MSI PR200)
  • Logitech Quickcam Communicate MP/S5500 or "for Business"
  • Chicony Electronics CNF7051

You can find a full list of supported UVC devices here.

As of kernel 2.6.26 linux-uvc is part of the kernel. Just load the uvcvideo module.

Note:
  • This driver does not have V4L1 support.
  • With WebCam SCB-0385N (usb ID 2232:1005), WebCam SC-0311139N (usb ID 2232:1020) and WebCam SC-03FFL11939N (usb ID 2232:1028), you might need to add some configuration to the module if the usage of the camera makes the system freeze :
/etc/modprobe.d/uvcvideo.conf
options uvcvideo nodrop=1

ov51x-jpeg

  • Sony EyeToy
  • Chicony DC-2120
  • Chicony DC-2120 pro
  • Trust Spacecam 320
  • Hercules Webcam Deluxe
  • Hercules Webcam Classic
  • Creative Live! Cam Notebook Pro VF0400
  • Creative Live! Cam Vista IM
  • Creative Live! Cam Vista IM VF0420
  • Creative Vista Webcam VF0330
  • ASUS webcam Model?
  • Philips PCVC820K/00
  • NGS showtime plus
  • HP VGA Webcam with Integrated Microphone

For me to get my "Creative Live! Cam Vista IM" working with Skype, I had to add this line to /etc/modprobe.d/modprobe.conf:

options ov51x-jpeg forceblock=1

r5u870 (Ricoh)

  • HP Pavilion Webcam
  • HP Webcam 1000
  • Sony VAIO VGP-VCCx

The Ricoh webcam is built into most new Sony laptops.

Install r5u87x-hgAUR[broken link: archived in aur-mirror] (provides firmware too) and run the r5u87x-loader command.

stk11xx (Syntek)

  • Integrated camera in lot of Asus laptops
  • Asus A8J, F3S, F5R, F5GL, F9E, VX2S, V1S, A6T

Just install stk11xx-svnAUR. It contains the right kernel module.

Make sure the module is loaded for your webcam

Add your webcam's kernel module in /etc/modules-load.d/webcam.conf so it will be loaded into the kernel during init stage bootstrapping.

If your webcam is USB, the kernel should automatically load the proper driver. If this is the case, check dmesg after you plug your webcam in. You should see something like this:

$ dmesg|tail
sn9c102: V4L2 driver for SN9C10x PC Camera Controllers v1:1.24a
usb 1-1: SN9C10[12] PC Camera Controller detected (vid/pid 0x0C45/0x600D)
usb 1-1: PAS106B image sensor detected
usb 1-1: Initialization succeeded
usb 1-1: V4L2 device registered as /dev/video0
usb 1-1: Optional device control through 'sysfs' interface ready
usbcore: registered new driver sn9c102

Permissions

Permissions to access video devices (e.g. /dev/video0) are handled by udev, there is no configuration necessary.

Webcam configuration

If you want to configure brightness, color and other webcam parameters (e.g. in the case when out-of-the-box colors are too bluish/reddish/greenish) you may use GTK+ UVC Viewer (guvcview), available in the Official repositories as package guvcview. Just install it and launch, and it will present you a list of configurable settings. Changing these settings will affect all applications (e.g. Skype).

Webcam resolution

#Identify your webcam, for example:

$ lsusb
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 5986:0241 Acer, Inc BisonCam, NB Pro
...

Then use the Bus and Device numbers to get more information on that device:

$ lsusb -s 001:002 -v | egrep "Width|Height"
wWidth    640
wHeight   480
wWidth    1280
wHeight   1024
...

Which should print the height, width pairs the camera is capable of - in this case, 1280x1024 plus some smaller ones.[2]

Get software to use your webcam

Version 2.6.27 of the Linux kernel supports many new webcam drivers. Legacy Video4Linux API has been dropped, and these drivers now only support Video4Linux version 2. Pixel format decoding has been pushed to user space, since Video4Linux version 2 does not support kernel space decoding. The libv4l library provides userland applications with pixel decoding services and will be used by most programs. Other compatibility layers are also available.

If your device is created but your image looks strange (mine was nearly completely green), you probably need this.

If the application has V4L2 support but no pixelformat support (eg: cheese) then use the following command:

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/v4l2convert.so cheese

If the application only supports the older version of V4L (Skype is the most popular of this kind of software) then use this command:

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype
Tip: You also might want to put a line like the following into /etc/profile or xprofile so you do not have to type that long command all the time:
export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/'$LIB'/libv4l/v4l2convert.so

or

export LD_PRELOAD=/usr/'$LIB'/libv4l/v4l1compat.so

For 32-bit applications (e.g. Skype) within Arch64, install the lib32-v4l-utils package.

If the webcam works fine on guvcview, but it does not work in Skype, you may also need to set

export XLIB_SKIP_ARGB_VISUALS=1

before starting it.

Cheese

cheese is the GNOME photo/video taking client. It is similar to Photo Booth in macOS. It is in the official repositories.

Tango-inaccurate.pngThe factual accuracy of this article or section is disputed.Tango-inaccurate.png

Reason: cheese depends on clutter-gst2. The following is either outdated or indicates a packaging problem. clutter-gst may still be required by other software. (Discuss in Talk:Webcam setup#)

In case of the following error:

Error during camera setup: One or more needed GStreamer elements are missing: cluttervideosink.

First close cheese, then run the following commands:

# pacman -R clutter-gst
$ rm -r ~/.cache/gstreamer-1.0/

Then reopen cheese.

QtCAM

QtCAM is an Open Source Linux Webcam Software that enables users to capture/view videos/images from any USB camera or any V4L2 compatible device with attractive features such as Color space switching, Displaying Frame rates, over 10 image control settings and extension settings for select cameras.

fswebcam

fswebcam is a tiny and flexible webcam app which can be called from the command line. Install it from the official repositories as the package fswebcam.

GTK+ UVC Viewer (guvcview)

In addition to being a convenient way to configure your webcam, guvcview also allows capturing (with sound!) and viewing video from devices supported by the Linux UVC driver. Available in the official repositories as package guvcview. Just install it and launch, and it will present you a list of configurable settings. Changing these settings will affect all applications (e.g. Skype).

Kopete

Kopete is the KDE instant messaging (IM) client. As of KDE 3.5, it has support for MSN and Yahoo! webcams, but not every cam works yet. It is included in the kdenetwork package.

Kamoso

Application to take pictures and videos out of your webcam for KDE.

xawtv

This is a basic v4l device viewer, and although it is intended for use with TV tuner cards, it works well with webcams. It will display what your webcam sees in a window. Install it (xawtv) and run it with:

$ xawtv -c /dev/video0

If you are using an nVidia graphic card, and you get an error like

X Error of failed request:  XF86DGANoDirectVideoMode
 Major opcode of failed request:  139 (XFree86-DGA)
 Minor opcode of failed request:  1 (XF86DGAGetVideoLL)
 Serial number of failed request:  69
 Current serial number in output stream:  69

you should instead run it as:

$ xawtv -nodga

VLC

VLC can also be used to view and record your webcam. In VLC's file menu, open the 'Capture Device...' dialog and enter the video and audio device files. Or from the command line, do:

$ vlc v4l:// :v4l-vdev="/dev/video0" :v4l-adev="/dev/audio2"

This will make VLC mirror your webcam. To take stills, simply choose 'Snapshot' in the 'Video' menu. To record the stream, you add a --sout argument, e.g.

$ vlc v4l:// :v4l-vdev="/dev/video0" :v4l-adev="/dev/audio2" \ 
  --sout "#transcode{vcodec=mp1v,vb=1024,scale=1,acodec=mpga,ab=192,channels=2}:duplicate{dst=std{access=file,mux=mpeg1,dst=/tmp/test.mpg}}"

(Obviously a bit overkill with regard to the bit rates but it is fine for testing purposes.) Notice that this will not produce a mirror on the display - in order to see what you are recording, you would need to add the display as a destination to the argument:

... :duplicate{dst=display,dst=std{access= ....

(Though this can tax older hardware somewhat...)

MPlayer

To use MPlayer to take snapshots from your webcam run this command from the terminal:

$ mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:width=640:height=480:device=/dev/video0 -fps 15 -vf screenshot

From here you have to press s to take the snapshot. The snapshot will be saved in your current folder as shotXXXX.png. If you want to record continuous video:

$ mencoder tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:width=640:height=480:device=/dev/video0:forceaudio:adevice=/dev/dsp -ovc lavc -oac mp3lame -lameopts cbr:br=64:mode=3 -o filename.avi

Press Ctrl+c to end the recording.

mpv

To use mpv to take snapshots from your webcam run this command from the terminal:

$ mpv tv:// --tv-driver=v4l2 --tv-device=/dev/video0

From here you have to press s to take the snapshot. The snapshot will be saved in your current folder as mpv-shotNNNN.jpg.

FFmpeg

See FFmpeg#Recording webcam.

ekiga

This is very similar to Microsoft NetMeeting. Install the ekiga package from the official repositories. The configuration druid will set everything up for you.

Sonic-snap

sonic-snapAUR[broken link: archived in aur-mirror] [3] is a viewer/grabber for sn9c102-based webcams only.

Skype

The newest version of Skype has video support. Check Video Devices in the options for a test image which you can double-click to make full screen. Install the skypeAUR package. If you get a green or disorted picture with skype read the section #Get software to use your webcam above.

If you're running x86-64 you might actually need to install lib32-v4l-utils and then run skype with

LD_PRELOAD=/usr/lib32/libv4l/v4l1compat.so skype

You can either set an alias for skype, or rename the original skype binary in /usr/bin and create a text file containing the above option, or you can simply adjust the Command line in the options for the Skype icon in your favourite desktop environment.

Motion

Motion is a program that monitors the video signal from cameras. It is able to detect if a significant part of the picture has changed; in other words, it can detect motion.

motion can only handle v4l2 devices so if you need to use a camera that only has v4l1 drivers you need to preload v4l1compat.so as previously mentioned. Otherwise you will get loads of errors about motion not able to find a suitable palette.

Tip: If you need to load webcams in order (i.e. get the /dev/video0..n device order) or set ownership or permissions, take a look at writing rules for writing udev rules.

MJPG-streamer

mjpg-streamerAUR takes JPGs from Linux-UVC compatible webcams, filesystem or other input plugins and streams them as M-JPEG via HTTP to webbrowsers, VLC and other software.

Troubleshooting

Microsoft Lifecam Studio/Cinema

Under certain configurations, the Microsoft lifecam studio/cinema may request too much usb bandwidth and fail see Uvcvideo FAQ. In this case, change the buffering by loading the uvcvideo driver with quirks=0x80. Add it to /etc/modprobe.d/uvcvideo.conf :

/etc/modprobe.d/uvcvideo.conf
## fix bandwidth issue for lifecam studio/cinema
options uvcvideo quirks=0x80
Note: If delays are visible in the logs, or the camera works periodically, this workaround should apply generally. Bigger values such as quirks=0x100 are possible.