Capturing image from webcam in java?

0 votes
asked Nov 9, 2008 by divide-by-zero

How can I continuously capture images from a webcam?

I want to experiment with object recognition (by maybe using java media framework).

I was thinking of creating two threads

one thread:

  • Node 1: capture live image
  • Node 2: save image as "1.jpg"
  • Node 3: wait 5 seconds
  • Node 4: repeat...

other thread:

  • Node 1: wait until image is captured
  • Node 2: using the "1.jpg" get colors from every pixle
  • Node 3: save data in arrays
  • Node 4: repeat...

14 Answers

0 votes
answered Jan 10, 2008 by goldenmean

I believe the web-cam application software which comes along with the web-cam, or you native windows webcam software can be run in a batch script(windows/dos script) after turning the web cam on(i.e. if it needs an external power supply). In the bacth script , u can add appropriate delay to capture after certain time period. And keep executing the capture command in loop.

I guess this should be possible


0 votes
answered Jan 10, 2008 by karl

Java usually doesn't like accessing hardware, so you will need a driver program of some sort, as goldenmean said. I've done this on my laptop by finding a command line program that snaps a picture. Then it's the same as goldenmean explained; you run the command line program from your java program in the takepicture() routine, and the rest of your code runs the same.

Except for the part about reading pixel values into an array, you might be better served by saving the file to BMP, which is nearly that format already, then using the standard java image libraries on it.

Using a command line program adds a dependency to your program and makes it less portable, but so was the webcam, right?

0 votes
answered Jan 10, 2008 by arnauvp

I have used JMF on a videoconference application and it worked well on two laptops: one with integrated webcam and another with an old USB webcam. It requires JMF being installed and configured before-hand, but once you're done you can access the hardware via Java code fairly easily.

0 votes
answered Jan 10, 2008 by dan-monego

There's a pretty nice interface for this in processing, which is kind of a pidgin java designed for graphics. It gets used in some image recognition work, such as that link.

Depending on what you need out of it, you might be able to load the video library that's used there in java, or if you're just playing around with it you might be able to get by using processing itself.

0 votes
answered Jan 15, 2008 by rics

Here is a similar question with some - yet unaccepted - answers. One of them mentions FMJ as a java alternative to JMF.

0 votes
answered Jan 5, 2009 by rose

Recommand using FMJ for multimedia relatived java app.

0 votes
answered Jan 8, 2010 by sam

JMyron is very simple for use.

myron = new JMyron();
myron.start(imgw, imgh);
int[] img = myron.image();
0 votes
answered Jan 18, 2011 by hugo

You can try Marvin Framework. It provides an interface to work with cameras. Moreover, it also provides a set of real-time video processing features, like object tracking and filtering.

Take a look!

Real-time Video Processing Demo:

You can use the source below. Just save a frame using MarvinImageIO.saveImage() every 5 second.

Webcam video demo:

public class SimpleVideoTest extends JFrame implements Runnable{

    private MarvinVideoInterface    videoAdapter;
    private MarvinImage             image;
    private MarvinImagePanel        videoPanel;

    public SimpleVideoTest(){
        super("Simple Video Test");
        videoAdapter = new MarvinJavaCVAdapter();
        videoPanel = new MarvinImagePanel();
        new Thread(this).start();
    public void run() {
            // Request a video frame and set into the VideoPanel
            image = videoAdapter.getFrame();
    public static void main(String[] args) {
        SimpleVideoTest t = new SimpleVideoTest();

For those who just want to take a single picture:

public class WebcamPicture {
    public static void main(String[] args) {
            MarvinVideoInterface videoAdapter = new MarvinJavaCVAdapter();
            MarvinImage image = videoAdapter.getFrame();
            MarvinImageIO.saveImage(image, "./res/webcam_picture.jpg");
        } catch(MarvinVideoInterfaceException e){
0 votes
answered Jan 6, 2012 by andrei

You can try Java Webcam SDK library also. SDK demo applet is available at link.

0 votes
answered Jan 9, 2012 by extjstutorial-info

Try using JMyron How To Use Webcam Using Java. I think using JMyron is the easiest way to access a webcam using java. I tried to use it with a 64-bit processor, but it gave me an error. It worked just fine on a 32-bit processor, though.

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