Here I talk about my experiences with a Logitech Quickcam 3000 USB 1.1 "webcam" camera. This camera originally had "out of the box" Linux support, but no longer (I know, reverse from the usual) as the author had a bit of an argument with the Linux kernel dev team.
As a result of this, the author no longer maintains the code, but having said that, the code is still available (and Gentoo still has it in portage), which is good.
Seems someone else has picked up the project and is working on it, all the latest kernels have support for it, so you might not need to emerge the kernel modules spcified below (setpwc is still really useful though).
The original site of the driver, with explanation of where it all went wrong: www.smcc.demon.nl/webcam/
The slashdot article about it: click here
setpwc can be found here: http://www.vanheusden.com/setpwc/
And the new driver project page: www.saillard.org/linux/pwc/
And the new driver wiki: www.lavrsen.dk/twiki/bin/view/PWC/WebHome
For a 2.4 kernel: "emerge usb-pwcx" for a 2.6 kernel "emerge usb-pwc-re" I also recommend emerging "setpwc" as this allows you to set the parameters without module reloading.
mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l:width=320:height=240
mencoder tv:// -tv driver=v4l:width=320:height=240 -ovc copy -o ./filepath.avi
Allows for longer capture time by having a slow framerate (typically 1 fps, but you can set it to anything below the camera's running fps, which is in turn set using module parms or "setpwc"):
mencoder tv:// -tv driver=v4l:width=320:height=240:fps=1 -ovc copy -o ./temp.avi
Note that leds=off disables the led (makes the camera look like it's off), but if you use setpwc, it re-enables the LED:
modprobe pwc leds=off:fps=XX
setpwc -f 15; mencoder tv:// -tv driver=v4l:width=320:height=240 -ovc xvid -xvidencopts bitrate=350 -o ./temp.avi
For PNG output:
For JPEG output:
Differences between PNG and JPEG are immense in mplayer. I was suprised. The PNG would be a minimum 400k per frame, while the JPEG 200k per frame at 100 quality (at 90, which is what I set, it would be ~80k per frame).
Due to this huge difference I am using the JPEG format for the kitten webcam.