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DIY Dual Webcams

We've developed a way to broadcast our online multiplayer flight
simulator adventures on two cameras simultaneously.  One camera
shows the view from the inside the game, the other is a standard
webcam.   We need to use two cameras to adequately show what's
happening.

Why?
Well if you only see the view from one webcam, you can see the pilot
at the controls, but you can't see the details on the screen very well.  
In some cases you can see the screen at all.

If we only have the view from inside the game, then you don't see the
cool DIY flight sim controls that we're using.  A viewer might assume
that we were just using a simple joystick.....of course we would never
do that.

The solution is a picture-in-picture webcam image.  You can also hear
the pilot's voice, you can hear the other pilots on the radio, and you
can hear the airplane's engine, gunfire, explosions, and so on.

And...it can be broadcasted as a live webcam image on our website.

So after a lot of trial and error, here is a method that works for us.  We
hope this video helps you too. Hopefully you won't run into any
problems.


ITEM LIST

Here are the things we used:
A second computer in addition to the flight sim.  I call this the Admin
computer.  
A firewire cable and a firewire port on the Admin computer.
A digital camcorder.  This Sony camcorder is nothing special.  It's
actually 10 years old.
A regular webcam.
You can use the microphone from the webcam, but it's not very good,
so we're using this one.
And the Super Webcam software.  You can download it free.  Notice
there's nothing exotic here.  This is all pretty basic stuff.


CAMCORDER AS A SECOND MONITOR

We need to see the pilot's view as it's shown in the flight simulator, so
we set up the camcorder as a second monitor.  

This flight sim computer is running Windows XP and has an Nvidia
graphics card.  Your computer may be different, but this is what
worked for us.  

We attached the camcorder to the video card with this S video cable
and turned on the camcorder to the VCR setting.  

Right click on the desktop, choose the Nvidia Control Panel.

From here we selected the Dispay menu and "Set up multiple displays"

We want the same image on both displays.  Select that and you see
the card recognizes the camcorder as a TV.

Ok so now the camcorder is set up as a second monitor on the flight
sim computer.

CAMERA #1

Next we attached the firewire cable from the camcorder to the Admin
computer.  

Now the Admin computer recognizes the Sony camcorder as a
webcam.  You can see it listed here in Windows Explorer.  So one
computer thinks the camcorder is a monitor, and the other computer
thinks it's a webcam.  Pretty cool.

By the way, there are several steps to this process, so we made a
printout of this whole set up.  You can get it from the DIY Flight Sims
website.  The link is in the side bar.

You'll notice the monitor has greater resolution than the camcorder.  
We can move the view around with the mouse to capture the center of
the screen.

CAMERA #2

So the first camera is set up, the second one is easy.  

We're using an inexpensive Winbook webcam.  We attached it to a
tripod to make it easier to move it around the room.

It's plugged into the Admin installed normally.

Now, the Super Webcam software brings it all together.  This is a free
download, by the way.

From the menu, click "Video source" and select the camcorder for the
main view.

Then click this icon for picture-in-picture, and select the webcam.  

That's it.  Now you can broadcast two cameras as a single webcam.  
When you log in to your webcam hosting site, select Super Webcam as
the video capture device.

DUAL WEBCAMS

Here we've embedded the dual webcam feed into our webpage.  Now
anybody anywhere can watch it.

Note the Admin computer is running and broadcasting both cameras,
so it's not taking any precious processing power or bandwith from the
Flight Simulator computer.

Both computers are on a Local Area Network through a simple Linksys
router.

In this video we're flying IL-2 1946.  It is a WWII combat flight simulator.