Sunday, 23 June 2013

Webcam Bird Watching

My son has been begging me to rig up a camera to record the birds on the back garden bird feeder.

I lashed up arrangement of a small HP netbook running Ubuntu 12.04,  an old webcam and my camera tripod on some old bricks.  My first attempt was to use the "webcam" tool from the xawtv package, but the camera kept on falling offline and closing prematurely when the light levels dropped too low.   So, I just ran the "cheese" webcam tool and set it to video record mode and this worked reliably.

We left the rig to record about 40 minutes worth of video and then copied the video over to a more powerful laptop to edit the video using mplayer to allow me to skip to the interesting frames and ffmpeg select and re-code the webcam feed into mpeg video.  The quality of the webcam is not great as it was an old second hand one I picked up for free several years ago.  We've ordered a cheap webcam with higher resolution, hopefully we will get better results next weekend.

Here are the edited bird feeding high-lights:

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