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Devices Configuration

Linux Stopmotion can capture your frames from webcams and MiniDv cameras. Herman Robak set up an experimental grabber for DSLR cameras.

Tools and devices for capture will not be set automatically. Capture settings must be set up manually in the Settings -> Configure Stopmotion window, using only the first two tabs:

Video device: to set the camera you are using.
Video import: to set the external command line application you are going to use for grabbing.

The external command line applications used for grabbing must be installed separately.

Capture from webcams

Video device

Plug in your webcam and open Stopmotion. It should be automatically detected and listed in the Video device tab.

Video import tool

Option 1 - VGRABBJ

Install vgrabbj with the following terminal command:
sudo apt-get install vgrabbj

In the video import tool select vgrabbj VGA daemon

If you put your webcam in front of you, attached to the opposite end of the table you are sitting at, you might want to rotate the image 180 degrees. In that case, select vgrabbj rotated as your import tool.

VGRABBJ issues

Unfortunately vgabbj is a stalled project. It was developed untill 2008. For this reason it supports only Video for Linux 1 (V4L1) devices. V4L1 is now deprecated, in favour of V4L2. Modern kernels (like the one shipped with Ubuntu 11.10) have dropped the support for V4L1.

Fortunately in 2010 Debian packagers modified vgrabbj to support also V4L2 cameras through the libv4l library.

For this reason vgrabbj may have some issues, depending on the age of your system:

Option 2 - UVCCAPTURE (recommended)

Install uvccapture with the following terminal command:
sudo apt-get install uvccapture

Go back to the Stopmotion configuration window, Video import tab.

Select uvccapture - grab from V4L devices.
Click on Apply and Close the configuration window. Stopmotion is now ready to capture from your webcam.

Stopmotion will grab your frames with a resolution of 640x480 pixels by default.
If you want to capture at a different resolution:

Only for old source code (before March 3, 2012)


uvccapture counts the time in seconds. For this reason the smaller supported framerate is 1 fps. This will give you a pretty slow preview, with frames updated every second. This problem is being addressed.

See also the uvccapture related Stopmotion bugs

Capture from MiniDV cameras

Video device

Video import tool

The tool to use for capturing is dvgrab. The dvgrab package available in Ubuntu (up to 11.10 at least) misses a very important improvement added to the code: the possibility to capture JPEG images in high quality. For this reason I recommend you install dvgrab by compiling it from source. Use svn revision 1464 or a more recent one.

How to compile latest dvgrab

Get the latest source code with the following terminal commands:

sudo apt-get install subversion
svn checkout

(if you think nothing is happening, just be patient for a few seconds)

Get dependencies with:

sudo apt-get build-dep dvgrab
sudo apt-get install autoconf

Compile it with:

cd dvgrab
autoreconf -i --force
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

Only for old source code (before March 3, 2012)

To know more see the dvgrab related bug reports.

Connect your MiniDV camera to your computer using the firewire cable. Remember that to avoid the risk of burning your camera firewire card you should do this operation with both camera and computer off.
Turn the camera on and set it on record mode.

Stopmotion is now ready to capture from your MiniDv camera.

Capture from DSLR cameras

Stopmotion can support capture from the DSLR cameras that have the live view feature. At present Stopmotion captures frames from the live view, allowing a good but not HD resolution.
In the future it would be nice to make Stopmotion work with proxies, saving HD pictures and previewing low res pictures.

So far only a few DSLR cameras have been tested:

Video device

Video import tool

The tool for grabbing from DSLR cameras is gphoto. Install it with the following terminal command:

sudo apt-get install libgphoto2-2-dev

Unfortunately gphoto has not all the functionalities needed for a proper frame capture. For this reason Herman Robak made up a small command line tool to make gphoto the right tool for the task. It is called StubGrabber. As the name suggests it is a prototype.

Get the latest StubGrabber from our SourceForge repository with the commands:

sudo apt-get install git-core
git clone git:// linuxstopmotion-fe09-code 

Compile it with the following terminal commands:

cd linuxstopmotion-fe09-code/stubgrabber
gcc -o stubgrabber preview-capture.c -lgphoto2

Now we can go back to Stopmotion configuration window, Video import tab.

Stopmotion is now ready to capture from your camera.

DSLR tips


Normally you have to prepare your DSLR camera before connecting it to the computer (e.g adjusting white balance and exposure) because once connected to the computer most setting will be locked out. You'll be left only with adjustable zoom and focus. Alternatively, you can use gpcont, an utility that allow adjusting the settings of your camera directly from your computer. To install and use it follow the instructions below.

You need to look at the camera's screen to see the effect of the sliders adjustments. If you don't see any change, then I bet you run gpcont before connecting the camera and turning it on.

To update the util source use the following commands:

cd linuxstopmotion-fe09-code
git pull


When you turn on the camera Ubuntu will likely automount it. You have to unmount it to make gphoto work.

When you connect Stopmotion to the camera and click with your mouse on the Stopmotion camera button you'll hear a click-sound from the camera.

Raffaella Traniello -- Last modified on Mar 8 2014