SDLcam homepage

Last update: Sat Aug 24 20:39:14 EDT 2002

What is SDLcam? | Why I wrote SDLcam | Features | Screenshots | Download | CVS | Thanks | Links

What is SDLcam?

SDLcam is a simple Video4Linux program, that was designed to view video streams coming from a Philips USB Webcam.

It uses SDL, and has a simple user interface. SDLcam can save snapshots in Jpeg, PNG or BMP formats. It also has a lot of video filters that can be combined and applied in real time to the video stream. See Features for more info.

Why I wrote SDLcam?

At the time (in June 2001), for technical reasons, normal video4linux tools stopped working with my Philips USB webcam. So I quickly wrote a simple SDL to support it. But I continued working on SDLcam just for the fun of experimenting with video filters and effects.



This demonstrates the interface, and some features

Here is how the new interface looks like. Here is how the old one looked like.
The RGB2BGR filter swaps the Red and Blue channels. My logitech optical mouse is now brown and has a blue led!
Yes. Using the inverse filter and range filter, you can view your negative pictures.
If you put a uniform white light source behind the picture(like a computer screen), you should get good results.
Rotation demo featuring the linux penguin: Tux.
The BlueBox filter, by Thomas Lussnig.
The Edge filter, by Thomas Lussnig.
The threshold dithering filter added in 0.4.7
Lower depth filter in 3bit. This is how life would be with an 16 color EGA adapter.
If you start SDLcam with the --minimode option, you will get a frameless/guiless window. Useful to monitor what is going on outside while working. :)
Realtime color levels analyser.
SDLcan can decode UPC-A and UPC-E barcodes and dump their value to the console!
Since version 0.8, EAN13 barcodes can be decoded. Thanks to Marcus Wolschon for this.

Here is how you can enhance images in very low light condition:

1: Almost in total darkness.
stretch contrast
2: Enable range filter
noise filter
3: Enable Noise filter


sdlcam-0.8.2.tar.gz SDLcam is now built completely with autotools (autoconf, automake..). Big thanks to Mike Frysinger for this. Mon Oct 8 12:31:21 EDT 2007
sdlcam-0.8.1.tar.gz Applied patches from Gentoo:
  • Fix TSC issues on Pentium M's (patch by Tobias Klausmann), see
  • Always include jpeglib.h in dump_thomas.c
  • Fix function prototype mismatches
  • Improve makefile (remove many warnings)
Sat Oct 6 17:01:15 EDT 2007
sdlcam-0.8.tar.gz First release in 5 years! Main changes in this release:
  • Added EAN-13 barcode support (contribution from Marcus Wolschon)
  • Improved barcode recognition code (dynamic thresholding)
  • Added a configure script. The script detects missing dependencies. When some libraries are missing, the configure script will abort with a human readable error. Much better than getting 500 lines of gcc errors :)
  • Fixed inline assembler for GCC4
  • Fixed misc warnings and small bugs
Thu May 31 22:59:25 EDT 2007
SDLcam-0.7.3.tar.gzSource code for Linux. SDL, SDL_image, SDL_ttf 2.0+, and libxml2 required. I suggest using the latest philips webcam driver.Sat Aug 24, 2002
SDLcam-0.7.0-2mdk.i586.rpmrpm package for Mandrake 8.2Wed May 9, 2002
SDLcam-0.7.0-2mdk.src.rpmsource rpm package for Mandrake 8.2Wed May 9, 2002
SDLcam-0.4.7.tar.gzSource code for Linux. SDL, SDL_image, and SDL_ttf 2.0+ required.Sat Mar 9, 2002
SDLcam-0.4.7-1mdk.i586.rpmrpm package for Mandrake 8.2Wed May 9, 2002
SDLcam-0.4.7-1mdk.src.rpmsource rpm package for Mandrake 8.2Wed May 9, 2002

libxml2 can be found here:
SDL, SDL_image and SDL_ttf can be found here:
libfame can be found here:


Thanks to Thomas Lussnig for the new GUI, many C optimisations, MMX and 486 Assembler filters, new and faster color conversion code, the bluebox filter, the config file parser, bug fixes... See CHANGLOG for more details.

Thanks to Sir Pingus for contributing Mandrake rpms on a regular basis.

Thanks to Marcus Wolschon for the EAN13 barcode decoding code.

Links : Philips USB Webcam Driver for Linux Old linux Philips USB Webcams driver homepage. No longer active.
SDL library homepage (My Homepage)

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Questions and/or comments about SDLcam? You can contact me:
Raphaël Assénat <>