Capture multiple web camera inputs off one computer?

Hi,
What hardware would I need to capture many web camera inputs at the one time? I currently have a dual core processor and a 9500GT NVIDIA graphics card which allows me to capture only 2 at a time (USB web cams).

Thank You,
Dan
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  1. How many webcams are you talking about? What method are you using now to capture video? Please expand on what you are doing in order to get better advice.

    Good luck!
  2. Thanks for the reply.

    I just want to use more than 2 web cams... ideally I want to use 12. They are USB cameras and I am using Eyeline Video System (detail found here) http://www.nchsoftware.com/surveillance/index.html.

    I am trying to work out what is the limiting factor on the number of USB web cams that I can have. I am guessing it is one of four things.
    1. USB bandwidth (though I tried reducing the allowed bandwidth for each camera, didn't help)
    2. Graphics Card
    3. Number of processors/processing power/or some components on the motherboard
    4. Windows Vista?
  3. I understand better now what you are attempting. From looking at the software's support forum, it looks like a software limitation/defect to me. It is certainly not any of the 4 factors you listed. It seems odd that so many of the postings are of a similar nature to your question.

    I suggest you contact the vendor or find another product.
  4. I've tried using multiple web cams on 4 different programs. That includes running multiple instances of Windows Media Encoder which also claims to be able to run unlimited web cameras. Once again I was able to run 2 and only 2.

    If you dont think its any of my 4 reasons. Maybe because im using the same 4 USB cameras (and therefore drivers)... that leads me to believe it is either a driver issue or a register issue?
  5. While it could be a driver issue, that too seems unlikely. If your OS recognizes the devices, then it shouldn't be an issue.

    What make/model of webcam(s) are you using? Also, how are you physically attaching the various cameras to your computer (directly to USB ports on the mobo, to USB ports attached to mobo headers, to USB hubs, etc)?

    This is definitely not a processor, GPU/video card, Vista issue, nor a bandwidth issue. This is an app/driver issue.

    What other security surveillance apps have you tried? Will research this some more and see what I can come up with for you.
  6. BTW, just found this article (http://www.ehow.com/how_2097767_set-up-multiple-webcams-lifecast.html). Looks like the same software you tried was used, but there is one MAJOR difference.....the switcher mentioned (VERY expensive).

    Still looking.....
  7. Here is another product link. Looks like this app does software switching for up to 4 webcams.

    http://www.deskshare.com/Resources/articles/wcm_UsingMultipleCameras_MonitorEffectively.aspx
  8. Curioser and curioser...

    For my project, I need them all to be running simultaneously, so a switcher wont suffice. They are all plugged directly into the back of my computer, I have tried plugging them into a HUB as well.

    So I have managed to borrow another USB web cam of a different brand. There is no problem running it at the same time. So I can run 2 of the same USB cameras and 1 different one (using Eyeline).

    On the other hand I have managed to find a program that claims... "AMCap. This simple tool grabs the video signal coming from your webcam and records it straight away to your hard drive, in MPEG2 or AVI format, provided you have the necessary codecs."

    I don't know how this differs from other software, but for some bizarre reason, I can run/record off up to 3 identical USB web cams (running multiple instances of AMCap)... but unable to run 4!! (running 3 plus the different brand USB web cam was no problem)

    So now I am completely confused!

    Thank you COLGeek for helping me out... I feel like we are becoming detectives with all the research/searching we've been doing.

    (All cams a definitely working, they are "Inki1 2.0 USB PC Camera" the other cam was some cheap Logitech cam)
  9. dan886150 said:
    Curioser and curioser...

    For my project, I need them all to be running simultaneously, so a switcher wont suffice. They are all plugged directly into the back of my computer, I have tried plugging them into a HUB as well.

    So I have managed to borrow another USB web cam of a different brand. There is no problem running it at the same time. So I can run 2 of the same USB cameras and 1 different one (using Eyeline).

    On the other hand I have managed to find a program that claims... "AMCap. This simple tool grabs the video signal coming from your webcam and records it straight away to your hard drive, in MPEG2 or AVI format, provided you have the necessary codecs."

    I don't know how this differs from other software, but for some bizarre reason, I can run/record off up to 3 identical USB web cams (running multiple instances of AMCap)... but unable to run 4!! (running 3 plus the different brand USB web cam was no problem)

    So now I am completely confused!

    Thank you COLGeek for helping me out... I feel like we are becoming detectives with all the research/searching we've been doing.

    (All cams a definitely working, they are "Inki1 2.0 USB PC Camera" the other cam was some cheap Logitech cam)

    Now I am really intrigued by what you are seeing. From a USB perspective, 12 webcams shouldn't be a big deal. The bus will manage with what ever bandwidth it has available (including power). So this points back to the drivers and the apps. In your 3+1 example, it is possible that the Inki1 driver has a limitation. I am just not familiar with that product.

    I'll keep digging and see if I can come up with a better solution or explanation. BTW, be sure to check out JDFan's link. Good luck!
  10. JDFan said:


    Thanks JDFan. Actually that was one of the first programs that I tested, I have tried about 10 by now.

    I think it has to be a driver problem from what I've found on the net. A lot of people have had problems with identical USB cameras (when they use different types it usually works). Also I found multiple sites that claim this to be a driver issue.

    The thing that confuses me is that regarding many of the problems other's have had, they couldn't simultaneously work more than 1 cam... let alone 2 or 3. What could possibly be the driver issue between running 2, 3 or 4?

    I want to try down-grading one of the drivers running one of the identical cams (resulting possibly, in removing one driver conflict instance?). However, I can't find older version of the required drivers.

    Otherwise I suspect changing the registry might allow for a workaround?

    Is there any driver information I could find and report back here that might suggest a driver conflict? (but as you said the computer can recognise the physical address of all 4 separate identical cams)
  11. Are yall plugging all the webcams on a simple USB hub that is then plugged into a computer?
  12. rookie_99 said:
    Are yall plugging all the webcams on a simple USB hub that is then plugged into a computer?


    I have tried both, using a HUB and using the 8 usb ports on my computer
  13. dan886150 said:
    Thanks JDFan. Actually that was one of the first programs that I tested, I have tried about 10 by now.

    I think it has to be a driver problem from what I've found on the net. A lot of people have had problems with identical USB cameras (when they use different types it usually works). Also I found multiple sites that claim this to be a driver issue.

    The thing that confuses me is that regarding many of the problems other's have had, they couldn't simultaneously work more than 1 cam... let alone 2 or 3. What could possibly be the driver issue between running 2, 3 or 4?

    I want to try down-grading one of the drivers running one of the identical cams (resulting possibly, in removing one driver conflict instance?). However, I can't find older version of the required drivers.

    Otherwise I suspect changing the registry might allow for a workaround?

    Is there any driver information I could find and report back here that might suggest a driver conflict? (but as you said the computer can recognise the physical address of all 4 separate identical cams)



    The identical drivers is definitely the problem. I am experiencing the same problem in an app I am developing. Let windows drive one and let the default driver drive the second. This should work with two different cams the same way allowing 4 and so on but I haven't tested it yet. By default through my investigation and emails to Logitec, drivers are made to work with only one cam at a time or you will get device already in use message. Go into device manager and uninstall default driver for one cam of same model and let windows install their driver. Let the default driver drive the second. Do this in pairs of different models even from same manufacturer and it should fix the problem... Yours anyway. I need the same cams for my app so if you have found another answer please post it.. thanks.
  14. dan886150 said:
    I have tried both, using a HUB and using the 8 usb ports on my computer


    Eagletron's Campanel handles multiple cameras well with no problem SO LONG AS THEY ARE DIFFERENT CAMERAS / drivers.

    One exception I have had working:

    Hauppauge WINTV Go TV tuner cards with NTSC CCTV input signals (Had four of these running in one WinXP machine) will NOT work with WINXPPro or Win7 however.

    Eagletron claims to have had success running multiple Logitech HD910 and HD9000 usb cams simultaneously (I haven't tried this personally - its next on my list) AND claims to have had success with ITuner Spectra-8 card (again CCTV) Too pricey for my play toys.

    Their software will also accomodate IP cameras, but to get true 720p or 1080p in an IP cam is, again, PRICEY.

    Hope this helps.................
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