In this chapter, we covered video capture with webcams inexpensive, low-resolution video cameras, which have become nearly ubiquitous PC peripherals. Despite their low-quality imagery, webcams provide an important portal between the real world and the PC. They can turn any PC into a moviemaking workstation and they can send your image around the world in just a few clicks or a few lines of DirectShow code.
Although DSWebcamCap seems very simple, it is the foundation of everything you d need to add video capture and video e-mail capability to any Internet-based application. All the essentials video and audio capture, video monitoring, and data compression are included in this demonstration program. Although the program lacks the nicety of a user interface, line for line it s an incredibly powerful multimedia authoring application, and it could easily be integrated within any application, including e-mail, a Web browser, a peer-to-peer file sharing program, and so on. DSWebcamCap is a good example of the power that DirectShow brings to the application programmer; many tens of thousands of lines of code are under the hood, hidden away in DirectShow filters that we need know nothing about to use them.
Webcams are the low-tech end in the world of digital video. They re commonplace but not very powerful. Digital video cameras are the high-end hardware of this world, and it s now time to examine how to use DirectShow to control these increasingly popular devices.