Instructions

Thank you for buying one of our Webcamera Nestboxes!

Full instructions on setting up your nestbox and using the webcamera
are set out below.

These instructions are also available as a printable PDF file
in case you prefer to have things on paper!
Download the PDF file by clicking here:

(To view this pdf file you will need to have Adobe Reader version 6 or above
on your pc. Get it here: Download for Adobe PDF Reader)

LETS GET STARTED!

  We strongly recommend that you set up and test the camera and all connections to your laptop/pc before hanging in desired position outdoors. For full installation instructions please read the PDF or the leaflet that came with your birdbox. Here is a precis:    

  1. If you do not have webcam capture software you will need to download this from the internet. There are links below to the providers of free software that we recommend. You can also use Windows 7 movie maker, Yahoo, Skype, MSN messenger and similar programmes to capture and share footage. Our top choice for watching & listening live is VLC Media player, a totally free (open source) softare programme. Get it here: VLC DOWNLOAD. There is further information about downloading webcamera capture software at the end of this page.

    If you are using an Apple Mac product disregard the above instructions - you can only view the camera using the Photobooth application on your pc.

  2. Next check that the webcamera is working with your webcam capture software (see also notes on using VLC and Debut software further down this page).

  3. If you have a 1.5m or 7m lead on the camera you will have been supplied with a 5m extension. The 7m camera may not, in fact, work without its extension because it includes a repeater to boost the signal down the extra length. In either case attach the extension supplied to the computer and to the camera's cable and test the complete system before hanging outside!
    With the 10m webcamera you have nothing to do except plug it into the pc. The LED lights are controlled automatically and will come on in low light situations. If the light in the box is too dim to give a good picture adjust the camera settings on the software programme on your pc. See below under Lighting for help in doing this adjustment in VLC and NCH debut, the software we use for our own nestbox cameras.

  4. Now check that the whole floor of the nestbox is visible on your computer screen. If not you may need to adjust the camera position slightly as it has moved in transit! Depending on the nestbox type there will be a section that unscrews (Birdboxview - roof, Cottage - side, Gardman - front panel) so you can reach in and do this.

  5. The focus on the camera was carefully checked by us before posting but if it has slipped out of focus you can adjust this by very gently turning the circle round the camera lens.

  6. Once you are happy with the view inside the birdbox disconnect it from your pc and hang where desired.  Either leave the lead undone (if keeping the end inside the house) or tie up the end in polythene to protect it from water damage. Disconnect any extension cables and store indoors until required.

    NOTE: WHEN CLEANING NESTBOXES AT THE END OF THE BREEDING SEASON IT IS ADVISABLE TO UNSCREW AND REMOVE THE WEBCAMERA FROM THE BOX TO KEEP THE LENS CLEAR OF DIRT.

  7. Please browse through the answers on our FAQ and TROUBLESHOOTING pages for more useful information about installation and, if any of the above baffles you, just drop us an email - we are more than happy to advise and help you get the best out of your webcamera nestbox purchase!
    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE TO GO TO YOU TUBE WHERE YOU CAN WATCH RACHEL SHOWING HOW TO SET-UP THE DIFFERENT WEBCAMERA NESTBOXES, CLIPS OF HOW TO INSTAL SOFTWARE AND, OF COURSE, OF NESTING BIRDS!
NOTE: WHEN CLEANING THE NESTBOX AT THE END OF THE BREEDING SEASON IT IS ADVISABLE TO
UNSCREW AND REMOVE THE WEBCAMERA FROM THE BOX TO KEEP THE LENS CLEAR OF DIRT.

 

SOFTWARE YOU MAY NEED: 

You may, of course, have, and wish to use, webcam capture software already installed on your pc in which case read no further here!

DOWNLOAD A FREE VIDEO CAPTURE PROGRAMME:

Please note before you start to download a "free" programme that it will either be "open source" or "shareware". VLC which we recommend is open source and therefore designed to be made available for free. Some shareware comes with optional "extras" - toolbars and other additions which you will almost certainly want to OPT OUT of before installing the programmes so untick any extras boxes!

WATCH, LISTEN & RECORD ON VLC PLAYER:
We really like VLC's media player. VLC is open source software so it is totally free.
There is a tutorial at their download site - spend some
time going over it and bookmark it on your pc for future
reference. VLC is not only great for watching and making
recordings from your birdbox but is also a useful all
round media player. Get it here: http://www.videolan.org/

Click here for a useful you-tube video tutorial on recording using VLC capture software.

Please note that the record menu bar at the bottom of the VLC screen is only visible if you go to the View menu and tick on Advanced Controls. More info is at the bottom of this page.

WATCH & RECORD ON NCH DEBUT
(audio only available on playback)

We include Debut by NCH here because it is such easy to use software that we use it ourselves when testing our products. However it comes with some hidden "extras" (see below) and it is unlikely that you will be able to hear the camera microphone live - only on recorded playback, so if live watching & audio is important to you choose VLC Media player. Get the free version here:

http://www.nchsoftware.com/capture/

To get the free version you need to look for the sentence just under the 4 blue icons: Get it Free A free version of Debut video capture software is available for non-commercial use only. If you will be using Debut at home you can download the free version here

DON'T CLICK THE BIG RED BUTTON on the right which says download now!!

Click here for a useful you-tube video tutorial on using NCH Debut free video capture software.

DEBUT is the ideal software for recording the activity in the nestbox in order to watch it at a later date or to share on you tube etc. You can alter the filetype for recording from the default .avi to .wmv (bottom of capture window). This will make it easy to edit in other programmes (eg Windows Movie Maker).

Click here to read our own simple instructions for using both VLC and Debut software with the webcamera birdbox.

Finally, if you find yourself looking at your own face rather than the inside of the birdbox this is almost certainly because your COMPUTER HAS ITS OWN, INBUILT WEBCAMERA and you have to instruct the pc which camera to use. This will either be done by changing the default camera software programme (see next paragraph) or, if that does not work then you may have to change the default device in the pc control panel window.

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LIGHTING: If you have a webcamera with 10m of cable attached you will see that there is no control on the actual camera lead or lens for lighting. This is because the LEDs come on automatically when light conditions are dim but they are not super-bright so as not to disturb the birds, so to ensure enough light in the box for a clear colour image we have fitted a small opaque plastic window in the side of the birdbox.

When testing the cam before hanging it up please put the box in a well lit situation to simulate outdoor conditions (eg windowsill, pointing outwards)

If you need more light from the LEDs you can also adjust the settings in the software programme you are using on your pc. Do this in VLC or Debut as follows:

VLC: Left click on Media, then on Open Capture Device, and then on Configure (its to the right of Video device name). The default button will restore to factory settings if necessary!

DEBUT: Left click on File, Options, Webcam/Capture Device, and then select Device Settings (on right side). A mini window opens up - click on Change Device Settings.
The default button will restore to factory settings if necessary!

If you have the Webcamera with 1.5 or 7m of cable attached and need to turn up the lighting you can use the programme software as above and also the external switch on the camera lead.  The light switch on the cable is very sensitive and requires a careful light touch to adjust.  

Having watched birds nesting in our own nestboxes over the last couple of years we have found that very little activity happens in the box once birds roost down for the night.

We therefore make it a habit to disconnect the camera from the pc once the birds have settled for the night (just after sunset) and thus avoid disturbing the birds' natural day/night cycle.

SOUND:   Wiring for audio is bundled in the usb cable with the video wiring and should work automatically although you may have to select the correct sound input on the software programme you are using.

On some software the sound capture only works during playback not during live viewing (NCH Debut is one like this) and we cannot guarantee you will hear the birds live in the nest. Use another programme (eg VLC) if you want to hear the chicks at mealtimes!
Beware however that nest sounds are sometimes quite disappointing as the box causes quite a degree of echo and the loudest noise is not always the chicks cheeping but the racket the parent birds make entering and leaving!


NESTING BOX:  The instructions for the using the nesting box are attached to the box.  We have mounted our nesting boxes near to downstairs windows about 8 feet from the ground and the lead is passed in through the window to our pc when we wish to view.  To protect the ends of the leads from rust cover the connections between camera and extension leads with small polythene bag or similar and use the ties provided to tie off tightly above and below to keep them dry.  Try to put up the box well before the nesting season to give the birds time to “househunt!”
          

 

CLICK HERE FOR OUR YOUTUBE VIDEO CLIPS OF WEBCAMERA NESTBOX SET-UP AND SOFTWARE INSTALLATION FOR ALL OUR PRODUCTS

 

Selecting, watching and recording the nestbox webcamera in VLC media player  

  1. Log onto the programme with the webcamera plugged into your pc/laptop
  2. The VLC media player window will open and the buttons on the top tool bar will  read: 
    Media    Playback   Audio    Video   Tools    View     Help
    Now left click on Media
  1. In the pull down window that appears left click on the fifth item from the top, "Open Capture Device"
    The “Open Media” window appears with Capture Device (top right) selected.

  2. In this window under Device Selection, you will see the words "Video device name" in the grey box to the right of this is a down arrow. Click on the arrow to see which cameras are available to view.
  3. Your camera should now appear as usb2 device/webcamera. Click on this.
  4. Repeat this process on the next line by Audio Device name, ending up with the webcamera usb2 device selected for both video and audio.
  5. Now press play.
  6. Click here for a useful you-tube video tutorial on recording using VLC capture software.

    Please note that the record menu bar at the bottom of the VLC screen is only visible if you go to the View menu and tick on Advanced Controls.

    PLEASE NOTE: In VLC it takes a few seconds for the picture to appear on your screen so be patient at this stage!

Watch and listen live or record what is happening by pressing the red button at bottom left of screen.

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Selecting and using nestbox webcamera in NCH Debut

1. Log onto the programme with the webcamera plugged into your pc/laptop The Debut window will open and the buttons on the top tool bar will read:  

Device   Network   Screen   Schedule   Recordings   Options   BuyOnline   Help

2. Left click on Options and the Options window will open up and the Video device options are in the top section.

3. Select the button on the left by Webcam/Capture Device and Devices option will also open up.

4. To the right of Name click on the arrow pointing down - there will be a list of available camera devices, Look for a device name including the letters usb2 and left click again on it.

5. Repeat the procedure for the audio settings ensuring you have selected usb2 for microphone.

PLEASE NOTE: When using the Debut programme sounds will only be audible during playback of recordings.
If you want to hear live sound from the nest we suggest you use VLC media player as your main capture software.

6. Now click ok at the bottom of the window, exit the options menu and the view inside the birdbox should appear on screen. Back to top

CHANGING DEFAULT WEBCAMERA ON PC OR LAPTOP:
(sometimes necessary if using pc with an inbuilt webcamera)

If changing the device inside the capture software doesn't work, or if the usb2 device is simply not showing in the programme then it is probably necessary to tell the computer itself to use the new webcamera and this is usually done in the Control panel window.

If you are using Windows 7 press start at bottom left of screen and look for Control panel option on the right. Select large icon in the "view by" menu at the top right of window just below search control panel. Now click on Devices & Printers. Amongst the devices the window should show 2 video or webcameras. Right click to select the one that is not a usb2.0 pc camera and then select the disable option from the list that appears by it. Now return to nch and repeat the first part of these instructions.

If you are using Windows XP  then again press start at bottom left of screen, then click on Control Panel, then Scanners and Cameras. The window should show 2 webcameras so right click on the one that is not usb2.0 pc camera and press disable then go back to nch and repeat the first part of these instructions.

We are hoping to add additional information for Windows 8 shortly, meanwhile please will you refer to the operating system’s own instructions for disabling any inbuilt devices if you are using 8.

Finally, if you have tried all the above and are still not getting the pc to recognise your webcamera it is TIME TO EMAIL FOR SUPPORT, so write to us at support@birdboxview.com and we will get in touch asap to get it sorted.

 

HOW TO GET the basic DEBUT programme 4 FREE If you signed up for the 30 day trial:

Once your 30 day trial of NCH's Debut software has elapsed the programme will come up with a big notice telling you that you now need to purchase the programme to continue to use it, you will also find that they have temporarily disabled the software so you cannot use it at this point.
However this is just a marketing ploy - if they cannot sell it to you they will give it to you in a basic form which will probably provide all the functions you need to enjoy your webcamera birdbox.

You do, however, now have to make a simple change to the programme on the computer in order to get the free software and this, which may surprise you, is done when you ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE PROGRAMME!

Windows XP go to Start Menu and click on Control Panel. In the Control Panel window select Add & Remove programmes. Scroll down to Debut Vido Capture Software. Right click here and the option to "uninstall/change" will appear. Left click on this and a window will open asking if it is ok to make changes. Click on Yes. Now a new window will open showing 5 options - the last one is "Downgrade to the free version". All you have to do now is highlight this option and confirm your selection and the programme will now continue to function.

Windows Vista or 7 - go to Start Menu and click on Control Panel. In the Control Panel window select Programmes & Features. A list of programmes currently available will open - scroll down to Debut Video Capture Software. Right click here and the option to "uninstall/change" will appear. Left click on this and a window will open asking if it is ok to make changes. Click on Yes. Now a new window will open showing 5 options - the last one is "Downgrade to the free version". All you have to do now is highlight this option and confirm your selection and the programme will now continue to function.

 

Download and print a copy of these instructions here:


(To view this pdf file you will need to have Adobe Reader version 6 or above
on your pc. Get it here: Download for Adobe PDF Reader)

 

 

Download Debut athttp://www.nchsoftware.com/capture/

To get the free version you need to click on the link after it says Get it Free and NOT ON THE RED BUTTON which says download now!

PAGE LOOKS LIKE THIS:

Debut Video Capture Software

Record video from a webcam, recording device or screen

Capture video files on your Mac or PC with this easy video recorder software.


Webcam Recording Software

Video Recording Software

Video Screen Capture

Capture Streaming Video

Record from
webcam

Record from
external devices

Record your
computer screen

Record
streaming video

Get it Free. A free version of Debut video capture software is available for non-commercial use only. If you will be using Debut at home you can download the free version here.