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A Dynamic Near Real-Time Webcam Delivered via Flash

I initially discovered a handful of ways to get this working back with Flash 5, and have refined the method using improvements and new features available in Flash MX. You may already be familiar with Claus Wahlers and his Jpeg2Swf solution (found at http://wahlers.de/webcam.html) that may be perfect for some of you. There are several other potential methods as well, involving solutions such as Macromedia's Generator or FlashGap's Jgenerator, and similar products that allow conversion of JPEG images on the fly to the Flash .swf format. A favorite method of mine involves the use of some code put together by Stefan Schuessler. He released a very effective and compact PHP script to dynamically convert JPEGS to .swf files on-the-fly. It is available from his site at http://www.stefanschuessler.de/flash/02.php. It has a few limitations, but for a webcam in Flash, it is up to the task. I visited his site while writing this article, and found that he has recently dramatically improved it, renamed it to FlashWriter Toolkit, and included several example Flash files that show how it might be integrated.

When I first came up with the idea and began tinkering with this project last year, I used a modified version of Stefan's original script, along with Webcam32 from http://www.surveyor.com/, to display my webcam on my site in Flash format. This was an ideal coupling of technologies, and worked perfectly for me. It's a great starting place for those of you who want to experiment with delivering webcam feeds in Flash.

From here on out, I'll describe my first pass at the project and then describe how my current solution, utilizing Flash MX and WebCam32, work to display my current webcam. You can take a look at a variation of it in action on my personal site: http://www.impossibilities.com/.

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