Instructions
for setting up & using your Webcamera nestbox

 

TERMS & CONDITIONS

Thank you for buying one of our Camera Nestboxes!

(If you have a CCTV camera in your nestbox please
click here: Instructions for CCTV camera installation
)

We do have to warn you that this is a very long page - due to Rachel never finishing
her webmistress training!
However you probably won't need to read all of it at first. It contains three sections:

  1. Basic startup instructions including links to free camera capture software from Debut and other possible programmes

  2. More detailed instructions for successfully downloading the above software programmes

  3. Instructions for using Debut once downloaded (if required!)


LETS GET STARTED

  We strongly recommend that you set up and test the camera with your laptop or pc
before hanging in your chosen position outdoors.

  1. If you are using a Windows computer and do not have webcam capture software you will need to download this from the internet.
  2. If you are using an iMac with Apple's OSX10 software you can probably skip this stage and use the Photobooth app. Photobooth will bring up the new camera as USB2 camera and you just need to select this option to view the webcam. Alternatively, if your Mac operating system is OSX 10.7 or later you might like to try a freesoftware app such as DwayneCam which was recently recommended by one of our customers (thanks to Chris Whittaker for this info!) Get it here: DwayneCam for Mac OSX 10.7 or later

  3. WINDOWS SOFTWARE: Here are some free (or virtually free) programmes to get you started:

    a) NCH's Debut software. Get it here for Windows. We use this programme a lot as its easy to navigate and brilliant for testing cameras! There are free and paid-for versions of Debut so when downloading from them be sure to click on the link to download the free one and be aware that after 30 days they will ask you to get the upgrade (but they will let you keep the basic programme for free - just ignore their "time up" message! please see example text at the very bottom of this page).  You will probably not be able to hear nestbox sounds live but they will be there when you play back the recordings. We have added a few notes on how to start using NCH Debut further down this page. PLEASE FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS BELOW TO ENSURE YOU GET THE FREE VERSION FIRST TIME!

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

    To get the free version you need to click on the link JUST AFTER IT SAYS "GET IT FREE"

    DON'T CLICK ON THE RED BUTTON which says download now!

    THE TOP OF THE DOWNLOAD PAGE WILL LOOK 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.



  4. b ) Free2X Webcam Recorder Get it here.
    This is a lovely, open source (free) and simple programme to operate, just plug the webcamera into your computer and click on the programme icon in your taskbar. On the top of the programme window you will see Connect and if you click there your camera view will appear. The big red button allows you to record footage and file manager at the bottom of the view window will take you straight to the recordings made. You can even set timers for when you want to camera to record if you are going to be out and don't want to miss anything. The only bad things about Free2X are that you cannot hear the webcamera microphone when watching live, only in replaying mode and the small size of the view window compared to some other programmes.

  5. Also you can try using the new Windows camera app (aimed more at mobile users its probably not going to be popular for webcamera capture) YawCam, and other free programmes you may find via web searching to capture the camera footage, although, again, some of these will only capture the picture and not the sound. We continue to test and recommend suitable software to our customers as it is developed - so watch this page from time to time!

  6. The webcamera drivers will load automatically with all Windows operating systems later than '98, however, with laptops, and especially if you are using an Apple Mac device it can take some cunning to convince the pc that you really do wish to view an external camera rather than the inbuilt webcam.  Don't forget you can always "call Rachel and Keith" if you are having problems with this! Ring us on 01503 263316. Mac pcs (older than OSX10) can be especially awkward about using peripheral cameras but you may find this you tube tutorial helpful: How to make an external PC webcam work with your mac
    With a windows pc the camera needs no driver but if you are using a Mac pc you may also find the free programme Macam useful, it can be downloaded at Sourceforge free Macam download.
    Once that is sorted, instead of the software mentioned above you might choose to use apple's programme Photobooth to view the webcam which will probably be pre-installed or which you can download from the apple app store for free or software such as VLC for Macs and DwayneCam which were mentioned above.

  7. BEFORE HANGING THE NESTBOX OUTSIDE IT IS ESSENTIAL TO TEST that the webcamera is working with your webcam capture software (see also notes on using Debut software further down this page).

  8. NESTING BOX:  Some instructions for the hanging 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, of course, near to bird feeding stations. The lead is passed in through a ventilation shaft which has saved the need to open the window whenever we wish to view. We know that some customers prefer to use an open window and yet others have actually made a hole in a wall to pass the cable through!  Try to put up the box well before the nesting season to give the birds time to “househunt!”

  9. 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.

  10. 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. Nest sounds are sometimes a little disappointing due to the echo effect in the birdbox - the loudest noise is not always the chicks cheeping but the racket the parent birds make entering and leaving!

  11. SETTING UP a 1.5m or 11.5m webcamera nestbox:

    You will have been supplied with a 5m or 10m extension cable.   Test that the camera works with the capture software of your choice and the extension connected. 

    Although we set it before posting you may need to alter the level of the lighting.  You should have reasonable vision inside the nestbox in average dull light conditions (indoors with the lights off will be similar).  The LED lights are controlled by a switch on the camera cable, move it gently.

    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, Gardman - front panel) so you can reach in and do this. 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.

    Finally we strongly recommend that you use the plastic sheath provided to protect the joint between camera cable and extension cable – push the top inch of the tube under the nestbox lid and screw the lid down to secure it, tie-off the bottom end below the cable connection (you may wish to store the extension cable indoors until required in which case you can tie off the sheath below the camera cable end when not in use).  You should still be able to alter the lighting by turning the switch through the protective covering - but hopefully this will not be necessary once the box is hung.

  12. 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 or give us a ring - 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 AND 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
    REMOVE THE WEBCAMERA FROM THE BOX FIRST, TO KEEP THE LENS CLEAR OF DIRT.

DOWNLOADING FREE SOFTWARE

You may, of course, have, and wish to use, webcam capture software already installed on your pc in which case skip the following!

GET A FREE VIDEO CAPTURE PROGRAMME:

Please note before you start to download a "free" programme that it will either be "open source" or "shareware". 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 & RECORD ON NCH DEBUT
(audio only available on playback)

We recommend Debut by NCH here because it is really easy to use software. 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 another programme.

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

To get the free version you need to look for the writing just under the 4 blue icons: Looks like this:

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

PLEASE 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).

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 further down this page for help with this) or, if that does not work then you may have to change the default device in the pc control panel window.

WATCH & RECORD YOUR WEBCAMERA ON OBS STUDIO

OBS software is a new programme to us so we have only outline information to share at present. However it is open-source (designed to be free) and the view on our webcameras is looking good so far! It will be especially of interest to anyone who wants to stream the output from their nestbox online. However it is a lot more complex than programmes such as Yawcam and Debut so may only be of interest to the technically curious!

Get OBS here: https://obsproject.com/

Make sure to download the correct version for your pc (Windows, Mac and Linux version are all available).

Once you have opened up the OBS studio on your pc you need to add your nestbox camera as both a "scene" and a "source".the birdbox camera as a source. Do this by clicking on the + sign at the bottom left of the Scene box at the bottom left of the OBS screen and type in a name (eg birdbox) for the scene. In the sources box next to this again click on the + sign and In the list that appears click on Video Capture Device. A new window opens offering "create new", click on OK. In the next window make sure that usb2 camera is showing in the list next to Device and again just click on OK at the bottom of the window.

To select the webcamera's microphone to go with this "scene" you will need to go to the settings tab at the bottom right of the OBS window, click on this and then on Audio in the list that appears on the left. Go to the list on the right by Devices and click on Mic/Auxillary Audio, then select any microphone that has usb2 in its name! Click on ok to close the settings window and return to the main OBS screen.

A small screen with a red border will appear, showing your birdbox interior. To enlarge this just click on the red square at the bottom right and pull it diagonally until it fills more of the window. To get rid of the controls surrounding the image right-click on the image and selecting the option Fullscreen Projector.

If you are going to stream your webcamera a good place to start learning how is this video tutorial on you tube: how to use a webcam with OBS studio

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CONTROLLING LIGHTING FROM THE PC :

In some software programmes if you need more light from the LEDs you can adjust the settings from your pc. Do this if using Debut as follows:

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 need to turn up the lighting you can use programme software where available but will probably get better results using the external switch on the camera cable if you can do this without disturbing the birds.  The light switch on the cable is very sensitive and requires only a light touch to adjust.  

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

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Selecting and using the nestbox webcamera with 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:  

Webcam Device   Network   Screen   Recordings Camera Overlay Effects   Options Audio Settings Mouse Settings Upgrade

1. Click on Webcam (screen may now show the view from any inbuilt webcamera on your laptop, but you can change this as follows.

2. Left click on Options and when the Options window appears click on the down arrow in the grey box next to "Name" to show all available webcam options.

3. You are looking for a device with name that includes the letters usb2. Left click again so that this is highlighted.

4. Now go to the next tab at the top of this options window, marked Audio. The box by "Microphone" should have a tick in it. Go to the bottom where it says "only show dB levels during recording" and UNTICK this box, that will allow you to check that audio is working when watching in real time. PLEASE NOTE: When using Debut sounds will only be audible during playback of recordings.

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

6. To record the webcam press the red circle on the bottom bar of the Debut screen. In recent versions it refuses to record but this is because the default format is MP4. JUST CHANGE THE RECORDING FORMAT in the box where it says "Record Web Camera as" at bottom left of Debut screen, try WMV or similar format and it will record happily! Your recordings will be listed under the Recordings icon at the top of the screen and opening this allows you to save files to your pc.

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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.

In Windows 8 and 10 click on the little window bottom left and then go to Settings, select the Devices option and at the end of the list on the right you will see Related settings, click on Device Manager (do not go to Devices and Printers as this gives very different options!) You will see a pull-down window with a long list of devices - double click on Imaging Devices and it will show any webcameras in use (printers will also appera in this list). Check that there are two webcameras, then a right click will give you the option to disable the one you don't wish to view at this time.

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.

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.

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

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 START THE PROCESS TO REMOVE THE PROGRAMME!

Windows Vista, 7 or 8 - 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.

Windows 10 - go to Start Menu and click on the window at bottom left of desktop. Select Settings and then double click on System. Now double click on Apps and Features and an alphabetical list of programmes will appear on the right. Scroll down to the VideoPad Video Editor icon. A single left click on icon will give you the option to uninstall. Left click on this and a window will open asking offering to uninstall. Now follow instructions as above.

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

DON'T CLICK ON THE RED BUTTON which says download now!

THE CORRECT DOWNLOAD 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.

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