View from Caedmon Hall onto the Acre

The image should refresh itself automatically. If it does not appear, then reload the page.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

A few Problems

In recent days, there have been a few problems:

The automatic gain control of the camera seems not to operate properly. In the morning, after sunset when the image gets very bright, the gain control does not properly adjust and instead remains on a very high sensitivity setting, therefore completely overexposing the picture. The reason for this is not clear; it may be that the PC is not powerful enough, because the gain control appears to be done through the software device driver. I had to restart the camera capture, then the gain control worked again.

Today the weather here in Leeds was so warm and sunny, that the room in which the camera is hosted, heated up significantly. This prompted some people in the room to open the window - and this knocked down the camera, so for a while the image was taken while the camera was simply dangling from its cable. I did now place the camera at a higher location, so that opening the window would not disturb its mounting.

Right now the cam is operating properly, but it needs a close watch, in terms of the faulty gain control and the mounting position.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Small Problems - Solved

This morning there had been a strange problem: the images were captured, but were all white. This had to do with the automatic camera exposure control, which failed to work. so the image was on "night" setting, with open aperture and full exposure, then hereby overexposing when the sun came out. It should automatically correct, because the auto-exposure setting is on. But I noticed this behavior already earlier some time ago: the exposure control does not always work, when the framerate of the camera itself is set to a low value (10 pic per second). I had to restart the camera, then the problem solved itself.

The other issue had a different cause: It appeared that when loading this blog web page, then in the beginning, there is no image shown. Only after the first refresh the image appeared. The reason for this error had not been apparent; in separate test of the script, the image appeared always the very first time; only in the blog there seemed this issue. The principle of the image display had been that in order to save bandwidth, a temporary image was created on the server, based on the requests for image size. This ensured that when only a small image is requested, for example from a mobile phone, then only the image in the resized form would be transmitted. This works fine - except in the blog when loaded for the first time. It appears that the image file creation takes too long, and the file is not ready when it is supposed to be shown. Still, not yet explainable, as an earlier PHP query for the file shows its size, indicating that it already exists. But for some reason, the <img> tag then is still not able to produce the image. The solution: I abandoned for now the image resizing, and the script is now sending the full image out, independent for the size request. This at least works, and the image is available without delay.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Camera again showing the Acre

Finally, the web cam again shows the James Graham Building and the North end of The Acre at the Headingley Campus of Leeds Metropolitan University. After much popular demand for this view, I did set it up again this afternoon. This time, the view is even better than the previous Acre view, showing the scenery from the 2nd floor of Caedmon. This is definitely a more glorious view than the one onto the back parking lot from my window. I hope the webcam and the software will run reliably for a long time!

Friday, September 16, 2011

After more than 6 months of inactivity, the Headingley Caedmon webcam is active again. The camera had broken at the end of February, and since the setup (camera and computer) was in a different office than mine, I did not replace it. Now because of a restructuring of office locations, that office where the camera was located is now vacant again, and I got the system and set it up in my own office. The view from there is not as grand as the one onto the Acre, instead it goes onto the back of the Caedmon building, onto the parking lot between Caedmon Hall and Priestley Hall. In the back is the building of the Student Union visible. Well, better than nothing! At least I do have the camera and its setup again under my immediate control, and hopefully I will be able to maintain it properly.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Camera broke

Unfortunately on 25.February 2011 the camera of our Headingley Caedmon webcam broke. I was on travel at that time and noticed that only through an email notification which was sent automatically. Upon return I checked the system, and it was still running, except that there was no image, and the camera did not show up in any of the driver settings.

For lack of time I have not yet sourced another camera, so for a while the camera will still show that still image of the bus in front of the James Graham Building...

Friday, November 19, 2010

Recent Problem

Today the webserver with the Caedmon webcam pointing to the Acre and the James Graham Building was restarted again. It had been off for an unknown time, probably due to a temporary shut-down a short while ago. Since I no longer have an office in which this webcam is located, I was not able to immediately restart it after I had noticed the shut-down. Another issue hid this shutdown from me for a while: due to a wrong configuration of the 2nd webcam server (which points to the parking lot between Priestley and Caedmin), the picture of that server replaced the one from the main webcam, with the result that the supervisory process (which checks if there is no new image within 24 hours) has not detected a lack of images, and therefore has not sent a notification about the webcam outage.

This has now been fixed, and both webcams run properly as intended. The Headingley Caedmon Webcam has indeed been running for several months without me ever visiting or maintaining the server.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One week camera outage

The webcam (with its PC) had been running continuously since March 2010 - quite robustly without any problems. On Friday 23.July 2010 in the afternoon a brief power outage occurred at the Headingley campus. And after that the webcam image was no longer updated. I had no opportunity to fix this problem before now, so the cam image remained steady for more than a week - apologies!

When I checked today, the computer was completely shut-down. It might have also been that the PC was shutdown by someone, unrelated to the power outage. Restarting it had a slight problem, due to two different webcam software version that had been installed. Version 1.0.5 was the one that ran now properly. In any case the camera is up and running now fine.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Work-around for camera capture problem

I was able to find a work-around for the problem of the camera capture software: After the porting of the software to the "new" computer it sometimes went into a state where the DirectX camera preview just stopped. This did not manifest itself as an error, but instead the software kept running as if nothing had happened - and kept uploading the image that had last been captured ok. Only a restart of the software helped - so I programmed into the software an automatic restart at midnight.

This seems to work - I noticed yesterday that the image had again been frozen; now, however, the image is being updated ok.

Is not an ideal fix - I would like to explore what the true reason for this error is... but at least for now the camera capture works as intended.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Some Problems...

Since the porting of the webcam onto the new PC at the beginning of this year, there have been some instabilities: the image appears suddenly not to be updated, while the software still sends new images in a regular time interval to the server. But these images are constant - so on the webcam viewers (embedded images in websites such as this blog) the image appears not to change, while the timestamp is constantly being updated.

On the capture PC, this problem shows up as the software running properly, but the image just being black. No error message or exception was reported. The same version of the software runs fine in the Back-Caedmon camera; so I assume that the problem lies with the PC in 101 Caedmon which may be too slow. Today I have reduced the image capture size from 1280x1024 to 640x480, in order to reduce the requirements of bandwidth, image storage and processing for each captured frame. I will have to monitor if this solves the problem.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Back-Caedmon Camera Off

The camera in my new office facing into the back parking lot between Caedmon Hall and Priestley Hall has been switched off over the weekend - the USB cam is needed for another project. So for the time being, there will be the only the most recent image shown in the top right corner of this blog.

I assume that I will be able to switch this camera on again on Monday morning.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New Software Testing

The latest version of the camera capture software is now under beta test with the Back-Caedmon camera in my office (see top right small image on this blog).

The main feature of this version is that it measures the change within an image with respect to a reference image, and when this change exceeds a threshold, it automatically captures a new image. This will change the picture automatically more frequently when there are activities in the scene.

There is a baseline capture frequency, set at 10 minutes. When 10 minutes are over, a new image is captured, independent of the change, and it is then used as the new reference image. This reference baseline capture could be extended to longer times.

From first experiments today, it can be seen that the time interval for the automatically captured images is around 3-7 minutes, when the threshold for change is set to a value of 10 (this value is normalised to 255: a max value of 255 would mean that all pixels in an image change from completely black=0 to completely white=255).

I will keep the Back-Caedmon camera running with this software, and if it runs stable I will then update the regular Headingley-Caedmon Webcam with this version.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Problem with the Webcam

There appears to be a problem with the webcam system: the communication between the camera and the capture software stops, and no new image is captured. This happened now already for several times in the last few days - the current image, for example, is one from during the day. It appears that the software keeps running and uploading the same file - hence the new image date/time. But the image itself remains the same.

The reason for this could be either the cold which influences the camera itself, or the new PC and its OS environment where the capture software is running. I can now compare this PC with the "old" PC which now runs the Caedmon-Back-Camera. This one also had shown the connection error today during the day, but now appears to run stable. I will check tomorrow.

New Software Version - and Additional Location

The capture software has been upgraded to allow a slightly easier use.

In addition, a second instance of the webcam has now been set up in my office, showing a view onto the parking lot between Caedmon Hall and Priestley Hall. This webcam will not be advertised much, but will be embedded in a few of my sites for esperimentation. It also will allow me to test new features before releasing them onto the main webcam which points to the Acre.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Webcam Running with Acre View Again

The Leeds Met Caedmon Webcam is again at its location in office 101. After I had moved office in the beginning of November 2009, I had to dismantle the camera setup and take it with me to my new office location, which did not have such an attractive view (into the back of the buildings Caedmon Hall and Priestley Hall). However, the plan was to setup a new PC, and the webcam would be operated further.

This did not work initially, as there were some technical issues with that PC, and I did not have the time to take care of these issues during the past 2 months. Yesterday, however, I was able to setup the software properly and to reinstate the web cam setup at its original location. Since this morning, camera images from the Acre and the James Graham Building are sent again to our web server.

As you see, there is now a winter wonderland here in Leeds - a snow blanket of at least 15 cm is covering everything, making road traffic a nightmare, but providing a wonderful sight!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Webcam at Temporary Location

A happy New Year 2010 to everyone!

In the past two months the webcam has been down. The reason for this was that a new PC had to be used in order to keep the webcam at the same location, and there were some issues regarding the installation of that software which I had no time to address, due to other work that I had to do. I am now addressing these issues, and I hope to have the webcam up and running again at the previous location.

As a temporary fix, I am now using the previous PC where the functioning release of the capture software is running. This does NOT point to the Leeds Met Acre and the James Graham building, but points instead to the parking lot between the Caedmon and Priestley buildings. This view is less attractive than the front view of the James Graham building, but since it is currently snowing, the view is not that bad.



The issue regarding the software is quite strange: despite having installed the latest .NET releases, the installation routine requires some particular files to be installed. It could be that these are a part of MS Visual Studio, which had been installed on both the PCs where I had developed and used the webcam before. I hope to figure this out soon. In the meantime, the camera will be operational from this view behind Caedmon Hall. The building in sight (to the right) is Priestley Hall. In the background on the left you can see the Metceno building. And at the extreme right there is a part of Caedmon Hall.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Working on Restarting the WebCam

As I have moved office, the webcam that I had operated from there needed to shut down. However, thanks to our IT support I have gotten another PC and am setting up now the webcam at its old location. There appears to be a problem with missing DLLs; I am investigating and hope to have soon agian the cam up and running. Stay tuned1!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Webcam Shutting Down on 2.November

From Monday morning (2.November 2009), 9:00, this webcam will be temporarily shut down due to office move.

After almost 3 years in office Caedmon 101 I will have to move to another office, because this current office is needed for other purposes because of its particular design. It has not yet been determined what will happen to this webcam: it might be possible that the camera can continue to run in this office. Alternatively it would be relocated to a slightly different viewpoint. This would, however, not be my new office, because that one does not have such a nice view: my new office just faces a parking lot behind the Caedmon Building.

I will keep you updated on the fate and the future of this webcam.

But for now: thanks to everyone who has viewed this website and has enjoyed the camera view!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Webcam server ok again

The server has now been completely upgraded. Image delivery works fine, the images are routed again to the Leeds Met server.

Temporary URL for webcam

Due to the server problems, I have moved the live webcam to another domain. The captured image as shown above is now at http://www.reinholdbehringer.co.uk/_LiveCam/index.php
If you have any links in your web pages, linking to the original site, you might want to update the URL to this one.

Server update - camera is out for a while...

On Sunday, 13.9., an upgrade of the basic server scripting components was carried out. For some reason, this affected the web cam software as well. I am investigating what the problem is.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Problems with Opera Browser on Windows Mobile

As I have just found out, the mobile webcam site that I wrote for displaying the webcam image on a mobile phone web browser does not work well on the Opera web browser (ver. 9.5, build 15445) on Windows Mobile 6.1.

With the default display setting "Mobile View" checked, the image is not shown at all. With the "Mobile View" unchecked, the image is shown, but the whole page is reduced to fit on the screen. This is independent of the setting "Automatic full screen".

The reason appears to be that Opera tells JavaScript an incorrect screen size. The screen on my mobile phone is 240 pixels wide, which is correctly reported by Mobile Internet Explorer. But Opera reports 480 pixels wide. This leads to a too large request of the image, which then is squeezed onto the narrow screen, by reducing also the rest of the web site (text from this blog). Therefore, the text becomes unreadable.

Also, in the process of the size reduction, Opera adds white space to the side of the image. hereby not only reducing it by a factor 2 from 480 to 240 pixels, but reducing it even further, although the web page is set up to show the image as 100% of the page width. Works ok in any browser on a regular PC, but Opera here does something wrong.

The mobile webcam site appears to work correctly as intended on MS Mobile Internet Explorer.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Camera Outage

During the summer break, the camera had been running fine, until on 21.August, 7:04, the server restarted. I will have to identify why this happened. Since I was not here to restart also the capture software, the web cam website only displayed the last captured image from that morning.

It is up and running now, currently capturing at a rate of 1 picture per minute, without saving the image series.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Capture Outage Today

Today at 11:20 I had to re-login on the capture PC with another user account name, and therefore had to shut-down and restart the camera capture software. In the course of starting it up, I had put an incorrect FTP password in the parameters... and so the images were captured and stored in a series, but were not uploaded to the webserver. Apologies for this mishap!

This makes me consider to develop a remote control for the camera captue software. I noticed the problem already around 12:30, but was unable to fix it as I was at an out-of-office location. Such a remote control could be web-based and would allow to reconfigure the camera capture module. The next version will have such a remote control.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Free Software Available

This week with its demand on the server and on the capture software was useful for beta-testing the software I wrote for the capture.

I prepared a web site for easy access of this software: http://creativetech.inn.leedsmet.ac.uk/software/.

One software is the capture software itself (which I already announced here earlier). It can be used by anyone who has a PC and wants to capture single images to be ftp-ed onto a web server.

The other piece of software is a small client which takes an image from a remote web server and places it onto the Windows desktop. It is pre-configured to use this Headingley Caedmon Webcam, but can be set to any web URL with an updated image.

--- NO WARRANTY AND SUPPORT WILL BE GIVEN ON ANY OF THESE SOFTWARE PRODUCTS - USE AT YOUR OWN RISK!---

(But if you find a bug, you are welcome to let me know so that I can fix it. Also, if you have a question, do not be intimitated to ask; if I have time, I will certainly help)

Graduation is over - Dismantling the Marquee


The graduation week is over, the students, staff, and guests have left the white Marquee, and the dismantling crews are already emptying the inside installations. The first 4 days the weather has been reasonable, with sunny spells. But today on Friday there was wind and rain.

Time-lapse capture has been done during the week, with the goal to create videos of the activities. Now, the camera has turned again to focus solely on the Acre which will appear once the Marquee has been dismantled. The camera capture rate has been set slower now, to one picture every 5 minutes, and image series will be stored to create a time-lapse video of the Marquee dismantle process and the re-claiming of the Acre.

Next year, according to informal sources, there will be no Marquee here on the Acre, so this is now the last time for a while that this sight is here.

The rain is pounding down on the empty campus, as the students with their guests have left and staff is mostly going on holiday for the next few weeks.

An academic year is over.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Update of Server Scripts

The increased demand of the image capture on our server due to the link to the Leeds Met public web site made it necessary to provide an update to the server code which would improve the "garbage collection" of temporary image files. This has now been implemented. There was a brief outage during the transition to the new version. If there appears a "not found" error, just refresh the whole page, and the image should be there again.

Webcam now on Official Leeds Met Site

The Headingley Caedmon Webcam is now included in the official web site of the Leeds Met Summer Graduation 2009, in the latest news page. The update rate has been increased to one image every 15 seconds.

Increased Framerate

To reflect the importance of the graduation event, the framerate of the web cam capture has been increased to one picture every 20 seconds. This provides a more fluent image capture.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Capture Software Available

The camera capture software is now at a stage that I think it can be distributed - without warranty!

A link for automatic installation is available here (works properly only in Microsoft Explorer).

The software comes without any instructions - I hope that its use is self-explanatory. I will post within the next few weeks some guidance notes about how to configure it properly, but for now I do not have the time to do this. It has been tested only on Windows XP, and only with 3 cameras: Microsoft LifeCam VX-600, Philips ToUCam Pro, and Phillips SPC 200NC.

In principle, the software allows to capture one individual image at a preset time interval, which it stores as a JPG file locally. After the saving, it can also FTP the file to a remote web server, and it can put it on the user's desktop as a background image.


Just a few notes for configuration here:

After start, the software will try to connect to the first camera it finds. If no camera is connected, then it runs a detection thread in the background which will connect to a camera once it is plugged in. So a "hot-plugin" works, but not a hot-plug-out - once a camera is connected, the software will get an error when the camera is unplugged during operation.

If several cameras are connected, the user can chose one with "Devices". The compressors there have not been tested - it is recommended to leave them at "none".

The "Options" menu allows to access specific camera options. These are provided by the camera drivers and are unfortunately not stored, so each time the software is restarted, these options have to be selected again.

Do not use the "Audio Capture" - this is not yet implemented.

The "Video" tab shows the live video from the camera in preview mode. A few cameras allow the selection of the capture size with the combobox, but this is not working very stable - it is better to select the image capture size and the framerate with the Options>PropertyPages dialogs.

The actually captured single image can be shown in a "separate window" and also can be placed on the "desktop" as a background.

The "Timer" tab allows to control the timer for the single image capture: the capture rate is set by the interval between the image captures, and the file name for this image and its location directory can be selected. An image series can be stored by automatically adding a number to the images, and the starting number can be entered. There is also a start/stop timer for indicating time of series capture in case of absence. And with a check box, the image can be automatically sent to an FTP server.

The "FTP" tab allows the configuration of an FTP server: server name, user name and password can be set. Further, the remote folder on the server can be set. Precede the folder directory by "//" for an absolute path from the server root; otherwise the "home" directory of the server for the particular user will be used as a root. The local directory can be also set here - it is usually the directory where the capture software stores the captured file.



Again, no warranty, and no support for using this software!!!

Capture Irregularities

Due to software upgrades, it has not always been possible to maintain a framerate of one picture every 30 seconds. Also, this morning the PC rebooted around 7:05 am, which stopped the capture process until restart at 9:30.

Since then a new version of the capture software has been installed, which has a few improvements on the back-end interface (no change in the web image distribution). The latest software running now is 1.0.1.57.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Graduation this Week

This week, every day a graduation ceremony is taking place here in the white marquee in front of the James Graham Building at the Headingley Campus of Leeds Met. The web cam is now set to capture every 30 seconds, and the images during the day are stored. If you want your picture taken by the webcam, just pose anytime at the black pillars on the driveway. Please contact me then by leaving a comment to this post, with your email address and the precise time when you think you were at the picture.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Open Day at Headingley Campus

Today is Open Day at the Headingley Campus. The white marquee is being used to its fullest extent, many visitors are here.

The camera viewpoint has been changed slightly towards the right, to show less of the marquee tent, but more of the James Graham Building.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Webcam Outage

On 2. July 2009, 7:05, the PC was for some reason rebooting. Since I was not available for logging in, the image capture had been interrupted since then, and it only resumed after I restarted the PC yesterday on Monday, 6.July.

The image capture is now running at an increased frame rate of 1 pic per minute. There is no longer a storing of each image, as the time lapse sequence for building the marquee has been completed. I will switch the recording on again next week for the graduation ceremonies, with an increased framerate of one picture every 30 seconds.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Camera Paused for two Days

On Wednesday evening, right in the final preparations for my upcoming travel, I found an email in my inbox, from webcams.travel, where I had registered our Leeds Met Caedmon webcam: the email stated that the status of my webcam has changed, and that it was not active. That surprised me a little, because I had just seen it running ok before I left office. So I checked the live image on our web site - and indeed, it showed a picture from Tuesday morning! Since I had seen the capture on my PC working ok, I concluded that the problem must be with the ftp process onto the web server.

So just before travelling to the airport at 3:00 am, I stopped at Uni, asked the guards to let me into my office, and had a look at my PC. Indeed, the capture software was running fine, the image sequences were captured ok. But for some reason the check box for "ftp image" was unchecked... I corrected this and left for the airport.

Apologies to everyone for this mishap. The camera is now running ok. Fortunately the image series capture had been running all along, so there is no problem of missing images when I will assemble the time lapse series video.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Slower Capture Framerate

The web camera framerate had been set to 1 picture per minute, and all images since the beginning of the Marquee construction have been saved.

From tomorrow on (Thursday, 18.7.) I will be on travel for a few days, and in order to avoid a problem due to the HD filling up, I have reduced the capture frame rate to 1 picture every 5 minutes. Everybody who is using the widget for this camera on their website, will get the new framerate set automatically.

Current image setting is 640x480.

The current version of the software is 1.0.0.374 - a small bugfix has been applied to correct an error in the automatic image numbering while saving an image series.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sometimes Over-Exposure of Cam Image

The webcam sometimes does not properly expose the image. This happens despite all setting being on automatic. Most often this happens when the frame rate is set quite low: at 5 fps this seems to happen constantly, while it very rarely happens at 30 fps.

Today early aftenooon I noticed this overexposer and have reset the framerate from 5 to 30 fps - now the exposer appears to be ok.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Preparation for the Graduation Marquee

This morning, the Acre has been fenced off, for the preparation of the building of the Marquee. Yesterday I had turned the camera towards the Acre, to show how students are enjoying the warm and sunny weather in the grass.

I now leave the camera pointed towards the Acre, and I have set the camera to record the images in a series. This will document the building of the marquee from the very beginning.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Viewing on Mobile Phone

A new portal to the webcam image has been installed, allowing access through mobile phone (currently only tested on Windows Mobile):

http://creativetech.inn.leedsmet.ac.uk/m/webcam.php

The script for this page has been radically simplified, for fast loading and wide compatibility. It embeds the usual IFRAME method for including the picture and is therefore also automatically refreshing. The image size is automatically adjusted to the browser window size.

This access portal works also on any other web browser on a "normal" PC, providing just a simple window with the webcam image only.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

New Script Version

The PHP script for sending out the captured image on request has been modified:
  • The maximum sent image dimensions have been increased from 640x480 to 1280x1024. The previous version only sent 640x480, even if the originally captured image would have been larger.

  • The refresh time has now been changed from a fixed value of 60 seconds to a variable value. The value depends on the time since the most recent image was captured and is set to twice the time difference between now and the file date of that image. A limiter sets the range of this refresh time result from 5 seconds to 10 minutes, to avoid either too rapid refresh or too long delays. This will now enable the distribution of image capture to be adapted automatically to the speed of the actual image capture. To show the currently used refresh rate, the caption text line has been amended.

  • The size of the output image is now limited to the actual captured image size.


All these measures are seamless, because the next image refresh through the IFRAME will refresh the whole script, so that these new features are immediately available for anyone who has implemented the IFRAME image capture on their web site.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

New Capture Software Version

A brief outage today from 10:03 until 11:17 was caused by an upgrade of the capture software. The new version has no effect on the captured web image, but only provides some improvements for the GUI. There is now an optional real-size preview, showing exactly the image that was captured. Earlier versions had a scaled down preview which fits on the small Dialog window.
A problem had occured in handling the video property pages. It appears that parameters that have been set within the property pages are lost when the video device is opened again. A work-around has been implemented avoiding multiple initialisations of the video.

Anyway, it works fine now :)

Friday, April 17, 2009

New Webcam: 1280x1024 capture

The previous webcam has now been replaced by the Microsoft LifeCam VX-6000. This camera has a much larger wideangle field of view, which now allows to see the front of the James Graham building (to the right) and part of the Acre (to the left). It also can capture at a high resolution: it is currently set to the maximum at 1280 x 1024 pixels.

Image from the MS LifeCam VX-6000:



Image from Philips ToUcam Pro:



Image from the Philips SPC 200NC camera (here only 320x240):



Also, the capture software is constantly being revised and updated, as the development for this tool provides me with additional code for other projects. The current revision 104 allows to select a camera from a set of connected cameras, makes accessible the property pages, and allows to set a compressor.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Change of Camera

Yesterday I connected again the Philips ToUcam Pro to the video capture. It provides a better image quality, despite the problem with the vertical stripes in high contrast. Right now the weather is foggy and hazy, so not much contrast.

The new version of the video capture software was extended to include the property pages. This now allows again to set the image size. These past few days it has been set at 320x240; now it is set to 640x480.

Setting up a Microsoft LiveCam VX-6000 did not work yet, as the USB cable is too long, and as a consequence too little power arrives at the camera (needs 500 mA at 5V). I will have to add a USB power booster. This camera would allow 1280x1024 image capture, at a much better quality than the current capture.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

New Version of Capture Software

I have rewritten the complete capture software for grabbing the webcam image and ftp-ing it to the web server. This was necessary, as the old code in Visual C++ v.6 become difficult to handle. Also, I wanted finally to have a video capture class in C# for my further software development activities.

For the webcam functionality and the outer web interface there is no difference: the image is captured as before and uploaded to the server.

Only on my desktop there is a difference: instead of a separate capture window (from the old VideoForWindows preview window) there is now the preview included into the GUI of the main window. The tabbed controls look much cleaner now. The FTP client shows status messages. And I do now have C# classes for video capture and FTP upload.

Hopefully this new version runs as reliable as the previous version!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Change of Camera

The web cam which had been used since the server has been set up, displayed some visual artefacts in areas of high contrast. I have now replaced this camera with another one which does not seem to have this problem. Unfortunately, the image quality is more blurry than the precious camera, and the lens has a smaller aperture angle, which means that a smaller segment is shown. But it seems to have a backlight compensation, which may be useful in the evenings when the camera points in the direction of the sun.

Webcam up again

After the crash of my PC last week, I now have a new one. The boot HD had failed, for some unexplainable reason. Got the new PC yesterday, and today I set up the camera capture.
There is an inexplicable problem: the newer versions of the camera capture software do not work anymore: no video device is being recognised. Strangely enough, the version 1.6 from 7.April 2008 (exactly one year ago) works just fine. So I am reverting to running that one, before I identify and fix the problems of the latest version. The frame rate is now set to 2 minutes, to keep the likelihood for potential problems down. Will be increased when a stable camera capture will have been developed.

I hope to leave the camera running over the Easter holiday.

Happy Easter to everyone!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Server Down

On Saturday, 28.3.2009, 2:27am, something must have happened to the server where the camera video capture is running: the capture stopped grabbing and updating images. It was noticed during the day that the PC appeared to have rebooted, but an HD failure did not allow the boot process to complete.

So at the moment, the camera server is down, until the hard drive has been fixed.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Camera Stopped

This afternoon, 15:38, the software for capturing the continuous image from my web cam stopped operating. My PC did have some trouble around that time, applications running sluggish. But I noticed the web cam failure just now... so am rebooting now, the camera should be up in a few minutes again.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy New Year!

The web cam and the server appear to have been running fine during the holiday shutdown.

Happy New Year 2009 to all of you!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Webcam up again

After the "switch-off" over the weekend and my two-day absence from work due to illness, the webcam is again up and running.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Webcam down over the weekend

This weekend, we do have a test going on at Leeds Met: shutting down all unnecessary equipment, and measuring the consumed power under these circumstances. Since this webcam is not really deemed "necessary", it will remain shut-down over the weekend and will only be restarted on Monday, 24.11.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

On Travel - Update stopped

I am on travel since 1.November. The server appeared to run fine until 6.November, 4:51 - since then no new image was uploaded. I will only be able to find out what happened, after my return - which will be 17.November.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Server restart - camera update stopped

This morning at 5:07, the camera server in my office decided to shut down, probably because of some pending Windows Updates. Therefore, no new image was uploaded to the web server until now (10:55). The server now is up and running ok again. There still may be occasional outages, as I am currently getting more Windows updates.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Monday, October 13, 2008

Marquee has been dismantled


The marquee has now been dismantled. A time lapse sequence of more than 7000 individual images has been recorded which can be integrated into a fast-forward-running video. The recording has now stopped, the camera has been turned to show again the James Graham Building, and the image capture time period has been shortened from 2 minutes to 30 seconds.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Webcam Recording: Dismantling of the Marquee

The webcam has now been set up to record an image series (timelapse) of the dismantling of the Marquee on the Acre, here at the Leeds Met Headingley Campus. Yesterday, the direction of the camera was moved slightly to the right, to get a better view of the marquee, instead of the walk way ikn front of it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back from travel

After 2 weeks of travel, I am back at Leeds Met. The webcam and server were running nicely, no crash occured.

The campus is quite empty now during the summer holiday, so the webcam picture often looks the same, like this scene below.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Graduation - Increased camera framerate

After returning from a more than one-week-long absence, the webcam and the server are running fine - no crashes or problems had occured.

The framerate is now increased to one image every 15 seconds, to account for the increased activity during the graduation ceremonies. The images are being recorded, with the potion to integrate them into a time-lapse movie at a later time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Webcam unsupervised until 23.July

Again, the webcam will run without me being able to restart it until 23.July. The Graduation week will commence on 21.July, and therefore the camera will be set to record images. To avoid memory problems, the capture rate is set to once per 2 minutes.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Brief Problems

After an update fo Windows XP Service Pack 3, the video capture software did not run anymore. This seemed to happen due to an incorrect assignment of the used camera. Unfortunately there was no way to select explicitly a camera, so I had to access the source code and force the selection of a particular video capture device. Not very elegant, but it works. There is room for improvvement: e.g., implement a convenient camera selection dialogue. I thought that I had done that when writing the C++ class for video capture, but apparently it did not work corectly - will have to check that out later.

For now, the capture is running again well. Capture rate is set at 1 image per 15 seconds, recording is for now disabled.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Open Day at Leeds Met

The view of the camera has been adjusted to cover only the front of the marquee and the James Graham Building, no sky is visible. This provides a larger view of the area where pedestrians are walking. At the Open Day today, we expect several 1000 visitors.

The recording has been set to four images per minute. This should give nice material for a good time laps video.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Recent Camera Blockage

On 1. July2008, at 8:56, a window cleaner moved the vertical blinds of the windows in office 101 Caedmon. This resulted that the sun shield of the camera was shifted, and partially blocked the view since then. The images from the past 2 days were therefore partially obstructed. This problem has been solve dnow, and the camera view is fine and well.

Besides from that glitch, the server ran well, and the camera images were sent without any problems. There was a recording set to capture one picture each minute, which worked great. Have now a couple of sunset and sun rises for a nice time laps video montage. The recording has now stopped - images are now only shown on the web without being recorded.

The view of the camera is now slightly adjusted to give more view of the area in front of the marquee tents.

This coming weekend is an open day. There will be quite some activity going on here at the campus. I may set the camera again to recording, to get a video of the "buzz".

Friday, June 20, 2008

Webcam "unsupervised" until 3.July

For the next 2 weeks, the webcam will remain in an unsupervised state. This means that it might be possible that due to a power outage the server would shut down, and no new images would be uploaded. The current refresh rate is set to one image per minute. This means that it can be seen from the date of the last image upload if the server is live or not.

During the past 2 weeks, one image has been recorded every minute. This allows that a video can be constructed from this image sequence, documenting the building of the Graduation Marquees on the Acre. Since there is still some construction / clean-up being done, this image storing will continue during the next 2 weeks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Refresh Time Reduced: 60 seconds

During the Carnegie Great Student Run, the webcam was set to a refresh time of 10 seconds, so that viewers could get a rapid update of the acrivities in the Start/Finish area, where the camera was pointing to.

Now we have reduced the camera refresh time to 60 seconds, because the server bandwidth will be used for other purposes. This means that even if the refresh is set by an external website to a faster rate, there will only be a new image available every 60 seconds.

Since one week, the camera has slightly been turned towards the Acre, giving a vew of the Marquee tent which is being built for our upcoming Graduations and the Leeds Met Staff Development Festival in September. So for the next few months, the camera will show those big white tents.

I have set up the system to record a picture every minute, so that one can create a time-lapse recording of the tent contruction. We will see how this comes out...

Live image - embedded in any web site




This live image was embedded here with the following code:

< IFRAME src="http://creativetech.inn.leedsmet.ac.uk/_LiveCam/index.phph=240&w=320" 
height='270' width=320 frameborder='0' >
< IFRAME >


This code snippet can be embedded in any other website. In this specific code it will show a 320x240 image, with the refresh time being encoded in the web site (this will be sometimes subject to change).

The users who embed the image can also parametrize this image more:
< IFRAME 
src="http://creativetech.inn.leedsmet.ac.uk/_LiveCam/index.php?w=320&h=240&r=120&t=Leeds Met"
height='270' width='320' frameborder='0' >
< IFRAME >


The parameters in the URL mean:
w = image with (both width and height parameters will create a resized image)
h = image height
r = refresh time in seconds (if the user wants the update in a certain interval)
t = caption text

In addition to the URL parameters, the IFRAME parameters need to be set properly to include the imave completely (height, width).

A full 640x480 image is shown when no h/w parameter appears in the URL:
< IFRAME 
src="http://creativetech.inn.leedsmet.ac.uk/_LiveCam/index.php"
height='510' width='640' frameborder='0' >
< IFRAME >

Webcam Blog setup

This blog will serve simply as a log of activity re. the webcam. It appeared to be necessary to inform viewers about changes, outages, etc.
Nothing very deep here, just simple technical info.