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Industrial-Strength Wireless Webcam
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Setting up your web page

I think an attractive web page serves as a nice frame for your webcam pictures. Be sure to include links to other areas of your site, add your logo, write some text about the event that establishes the situation, list the date and time for your next scheduled webcam broadcast, and offer archived copies of past events for download.



Don't forget to add a couple lines of HTML to the head of your document instructing the page to automatically refresh at a specified interval. I like the page to reload every 60 seconds, so here's the way I write those instructions:


<head>
		<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="60">
		<meta http-equiv="expires" content="0">
                <meta http-equiv="pragma" content="no-cache">
		
		<title>My Webcam Page</title>
</head>

In the body of your page, just add the image source link so your page grabs the uploaded pictures:


<body>
<p><img src="webcam_images/webcam.jpg" alt="Webcam image appears here"></p>

Don't bury your webcam page too deep in your directory structure. You want to keep the URL easy to remember so site users can go back to it. Use something like:

www.yourwebpage.com/webcam.html

The CoolCam software allows you to set the size of your JPEGs and their image quality. If many of your viewers are using dial-up, then keep those file sizes to 50k or below so they have snappy screen refreshes.

Hitting the road

Now that you have freed your webcam from your clunky tower computer, let your artistic juices flow. Look for good compositions. Zoom in for tight portraits, and zoom out for establishing shots. Position your camera so you get the best lighting possible on the subject. Use the captioning function of CoolCam to add bits of information that help viewers follow the action.

I know in my house we'll be using our webcam this holiday season to share some of the moments with relatives all across the states. And the nice thing about using wireless to do so is that we won't have to open gifts and eat dinner in my office next to the dusty, old workstation.

Happy shooting!

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit www.thedigitalstory.com.


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