Author Topic: Easy way to capture analogue video on Android  (Read 818 times)

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Offline Ultrapurple

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Easy way to capture analogue video on Android
« on: March 18, 2021, 03:43:38 pm »
I have one of the Easycap-type video grabbers and had been tearing my hair out trying unsuccessfully to get it to run on Windows 10. There are several different chipsets hiding under 'Easycap' exteriors and mine was one of the ones that is no longer supported by Windows.

Then I remembered that I'd installed some software on my old phone that had worked with 'most' USB webcams ... could there be something similar for Easycap devices? Answer yes! I found "USB Camera - Connect EasyCap or USB WebCam" by ShenYao China on the Play Store, installed it, plugged the Easycap in via a micro USB-USB2 adapter lead and hey presto! Pictures onscreen, and easily recorded!

I did a quick proof-of-concept capture from the FLIR Integrator 5/20 camera that I'm working on (it wasn't pointing at anything in particular, and was out of focus) but I was definitely able to view and record analogue video on my mobile phone's screen. Video is saved in MP4 format and plays fine on my Windows PC (and on the phone). Note that the black borders around the picture appear to be a feature of the camera - I saw the same effect when I connected the camera to a monitor.

The Easycap may be a bit of a battery-drainer but that doesn't worry me unduly as the Samsung Galaxy S7 supports charging via QI at the same time as the USB port is in use for OTG.

It's likely that there are other apps out there that can perform the same trick and drive an Easycap or similar USB dongle; the one I mention here is simply the one I tried first and as it worked there didn't seem to be any need to try others.

One final note: I connected video to the Easycap before connecting the Easycap to the phone. This seems to have made the app default correctly to PAL (25Hz), though sometimes it incorrectly selected composite input 2 rather than composite input 1 (which is where the camera was connected). Thankfully it's easy enough to select the 'Standard/Input' setting from the app's menu (3 vertical dots) and set it correctly.
« Last Edit: March 18, 2021, 04:01:19 pm by Ultrapurple »
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Offline Ultrapurple

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Re: Easy way to capture analogue video on Android
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2021, 03:46:51 pm »
My 'Easycap' identified itself as USB\VID_1C88&PID_0007 in Windows 10, which refused to run the driver because of what Windows said was a compatibility problem. I suspect the only incompatible part is the one that starts with a 'W'...

Apparently the chipset also identifies itself as type SMI, from Somagic Inc, and the serial number is a suspicious-looking "SMIGRABBER9876543210"
« Last Edit: March 18, 2021, 03:59:28 pm by Ultrapurple »
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Offline DaJMasta

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Re: Easy way to capture analogue video on Android
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2021, 09:18:10 pm »
Interesting, since you needed a driver I suppose it wasn't a UVC capture device, but I wonder if that app would work for a variety of analog grabbers, and if other apps that use UVC could more or less be used with any old camera.


At this point it may actually be cheaper to get a USB dongle and an old phone or tablet than actually buying a small analog lcd for using these cameras on the go.  Maybe could even rig it up to provide the USB power to the camera and make it quite portable.
 

Offline Ultrapurple

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Re: Easy way to capture analogue video on Android
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2021, 09:31:30 am »
While I was searching for Windows drivers I recall reading something along the lines that some 'Easycap' devices had onboard firmware and others didn't and it was the latter type I was having problems with.

I'm not sure that an old phone and Easycap is necessarily cheaper than an inexpensive 640x480 monitor, but on the other hand very few monitors include recording facilities! I presently use a four or five inch 640 x 480 monitor with one of my cameras (an eVet, based on a VOX sensor) but I'm seriously considering trying the video capture route for that too. I have far too many old phones lying around ... almost as many phones as thermal cameras!
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Offline 1os

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Re: Easy way to capture analogue video on Android
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2021, 01:09:48 pm »
there is an easier way to connect any thermal imagers to transfer to a smartphone
 

Offline 1os

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Re: Easy way to capture analogue video on Android
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2021, 01:25:52 pm »
i use a video to USB converter it costs a couple of dollars
 

Offline Hydron

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Re: Easy way to capture analogue video on Android
« Reply #6 on: May 24, 2021, 02:04:54 pm »
Black box around the video is definitely a FLIR thing - they are probably not bothering to scale to the full resolution of the output video. I have a vague recollection that putting the camera into NTSC mode (and saving the setting to NVRAM) will fix it due to the lower video output resolution, pretty sure I documented it but then I left that company so don't have my notes anymore :(
 

Offline Ultrapurple

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Re: Easy way to capture analogue video on Android
« Reply #7 on: May 24, 2021, 02:50:58 pm »
@Hydron

Yes, you're right: if I change the camera's video standard to NTSC then the black borders disappear.

Frankly, I think FLIR got it right: rather than scaling 240 lines of IR video to 288 lines of ('PAL') picture (with commensurate loss of vertical resolution), they just letterboxed it, thus maintaining the 1:1 relationship between scan lines and IR pixels. Although it looks odd at first glance, it does lead to a better onscreen image quality.
« Last Edit: May 24, 2021, 04:24:14 pm by Ultrapurple »
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Offline Bill W

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Re: Easy way to capture analogue video on Android
« Reply #8 on: May 24, 2021, 06:02:45 pm »
Same as Raytheon did with the BST in PAL.  The positive is that you can then put the user graphics over the black bit instead of obscuring the image.

Bill

Offline Ultrapurple

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Re: Easy way to capture analogue video on Android
« Reply #9 on: May 25, 2021, 08:15:04 am »
... a very sensible move that FLIR, unfortunately, chose not to follow (at least in this instance).

It was probably patented, or something!
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