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How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

custos
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 315
Thanks: 47
Fixes: 1
Registered: 28-06-2007

How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

I have used Linux for a while, mainly with a 'live' CD or pen drive to access crashed Windows systems (Puppy is my favourite) but  have recently installed Ubunto 9.10. On the whole it seems like a user friendly system that might actually be usable by a normal (non geek) human being and the installation was easy, but......!
I have managed to get most things working OK although my Lexmark printer was rather a challenge! However I have totally failed to get a webcam working. I have three, one of which claims to be fully compatible with Ubunto/Linux but none will work. As this is such a basic requirement for most users I am very disappointed that it seems so difficult to resolve.
I was brought up on MS DOS so am reasonably confident using the terminal although I am not familiar with all the commands.
Is there anyone out there who can help please?
10 REPLIES
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,773
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

What do you want to do with it?
Try installing cheese ("sudo apt install cheese" or search in synaptic) and it should "see" the web cam and let you capture stills & video from it.
Skype should work as well, I however don't use video on skype so can't help there.
Superuser
Superuser
Posts: 6,475
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

I've got an Acer Aspire One with a built-in webcam. Ubuntu 9.04(Jaunty) just saw it , Skype and Cheese work fine.
I guess it will depend on your webcam h/w...
You need to check if your webcam is being detected. I assume its a USB webcam,plug it in and..
In a terminal, type
Quote
lsusb

you should see something like
Quote
Bus 001 Device 002: ID 046d:0896 Logitech, Inc.

Again in a terminal, type
Quote
ls /dev/video*

If that shows no file found then type this in a terminal shortly after the webcam is plugged in and post the output.
Quote
dmesg|tail -30

This will show more detail of what is happening when the webcam is detected ( or maybe why it isnt! )
Hope that helps , for starters anyway...
custos
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 315
Thanks: 47
Fixes: 1
Registered: 28-06-2007

Re: How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

Thank you very much for the response guys. I have just installed Cheese and much to my surprise it found my old Creative webcam and the new 'Linux compatible' one and both work well. When first tried Skype (after installing Cheese) it still said it could not find any device but now it has found both webcams! What can I say? I am about to re-boot Ubunto and see what happens!
VileReynard
Seasoned Pro
Posts: 10,828
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Registered: 01-09-2007

Re: How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

A re-boot wouldn't be required (it's not windows) Grin

custos
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 315
Thanks: 47
Fixes: 1
Registered: 28-06-2007

Re: How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

No, the reason I wanted to re-boot was to make sure that it would still work afterwards :-) I am pleased to say that it does. Now about getting my HP scanner to work and oh yes, those 3GP files with no sound...............
Community Veteran
Posts: 6,773
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Registered: 16-02-2009

Re: How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

For your HP scanner look <a href="http://hp-linux.cern.ch/support/devscanner.php3">here</a> Most are supported OOB (Just install xsane)
Cant help with 3gp video don't have any, but a trip to the medubuntu repo's usually fixes most codec issues (that and/or vlc)
Ben_Brown
Grafter
Posts: 2,839
Registered: 13-06-2007

Re: How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

Have you tried mplayer? That plays pretty much everything I've ever thrown at it, I've not used 3GP though, so YMMV
custos
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 315
Thanks: 47
Fixes: 1
Registered: 28-06-2007

Re: How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

Re: the 3GP (mobile phone) files:
Totem plays the video but not the sound. It says it need a plugin (Adaptive Multi Rate (AMR) decoder) that is not available.
VLC also plays the video but not the sound and says 'No suitable decoder module: VLC does not support the audio or video format "samr". Unfortunately there is no way for you to fix this.'
MPlayer won't play them at all and neither will RealPlayer.
I have tried various 'fixes' that I have found on the Net but so far without any luck!
Never mind, it all helps with the learning curve :-)
I guess this should really be another topic now?
Superuser
Superuser
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

It sounds like ffmpeg will allow you to convert to/from gp3.
Take a look at  these links for more info
http://parallaxed.net/article/howto-convert-3gp-to-avi
http://da.vidr.cc/2009/02/28/converting-videos-to-3gp-in-ubuntu-intrepid-810-with-ffmpeg/
Looks like 'Mobile Media Convertor' http://www.miksoft.net/mobileMediaConverter.htm will provide a Gui if you need one rather than running ffmpeg from a terminal
Ubuntu .deb can be found here http://www.miksoft.net/mobileMediaConverterDown.htm
Hope that helps
custos
Aspiring Pro
Posts: 315
Thanks: 47
Fixes: 1
Registered: 28-06-2007

Re: How do I get a webcam to work with Ubuntu?

Thank you MisterW, I have installed Mobile Media Converter.
www.miksoft.net/mobileMediaConverter.htm
It is very easy to use and it works well.
Judging from the huge number of posts I have found on other forums looking for the same answer I am surprised that such a simple and free solution is not better known about. I should have known to come here first!