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How to use a web cam in C# with .NET Framework 4.0 and Microsoft Expression Encoder 4

, 4 Jul 2011 CPOL
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How to use a webcam in C#.



If you are interested in using your webcam from C# in an easy way, this little article is for you. In order to achieve our goal, we need Microsoft .NET 4.0 and Microsoft Expression Encoder 4. You can get the latter for free, using the 'Microsoft Web Platform Installer', that can be downloaded from here:


After that, we need to create a Windows Forms application and add the following references to the project:

Assembly Microsoft.Expression.Encoder
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Expression\Encoder 4\SDK\Microsoft.Expression.Encoder.dll

Assembly Microsoft.Expression.Encoder.Utilities
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Expression\Encoder 4\SDK\Microsoft.Expression.Encoder.Utilities.dll

Assembly Microsoft.Expression.Encoder.Types
C:\Program Files\Microsoft Expression\Encoder 4\SDK\Microsoft.Expression.Encoder.Types.dll

Using the Code

Here is the code to enumerate the video and audio devices:

foreach (EncoderDevice edv in EncoderDevices.FindDevices(EncoderDeviceType.Video))
foreach (EncoderDevice eda in EncoderDevices.FindDevices(EncoderDeviceType.Audio))

Here is the code to preview the video and the audio:

// Starts new job for preview window
_job = new LiveJob();

// Create a new device source. We use the first audio and video devices on the system
_deviceSource = _job.AddDeviceSource(video, audio);

// Sets preview window to winform panel hosted by xaml window
_deviceSource.PreviewWindow = new PreviewWindow(new HandleRef(panel1, panel1.Handle));

// Make this source the active one

Here is the code to record the video and audio to a .wmv file:

// Sets up publishing format for file archival type
FileArchivePublishFormat fileOut = new FileArchivePublishFormat();

// Sets file path and name
fileOut.OutputFileName = String.Format("C:\\WebCam{0:yyyyMMdd_hhmmss}.wmv", DateTime.Now);

// Adds the format to the job. You can add additional formats
// as well such as Publishing streams or broadcasting from a port

// Start encoding

Streaming the webcam over the network

Here is the code to stream the video (and audio) of your webcam over the network:

// Sets up publishing format for file archival type
_job = new LiveJob();

_deviceSource = _job.AddDeviceSource(video, audio);

// Finds and applys a smooth streaming preset        

// Creates the publishing format for the job
PullBroadcastPublishFormat format = new PullBroadcastPublishFormat();
format.BroadcastPort = 8080;
format.MaximumNumberOfConnections = 2;

// Adds the publishing format to the job

// Starts encoding

To view the broadcast, you can create a WPF application and use the MediaElement. It is just one line of code! Here is the whole code of the WPF application:

<Window x:Class="WpfApplication1.MainWindow"
        Title="Show Broadcast" Height="350" Width="525">
        <MediaElement Name="VideoControl" Source="http://localhost:8080" />


A piece of cake, isn't it? This is the new frontier of how to manage video and audio from C#. In the early days of C#, using a webcam was not so easy. I hope this will help those who want to play a bit with a webcam. Thanks for reading my first article :-)


This article, along with any associated source code and files, is licensed under The Code Project Open License (CPOL)


About the Author

Massimo Conti
Software Developer
Italy Italy
No Biography provided

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Comments and Discussions

GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
naseer baloch1-May-13 22:13
membernaseer baloch1-May-13 22:13 
QuestionNice Demo, but where is the audio when preview ? Pin
Johnson.Gao.12623-Apr-13 1:20
memberJohnson.Gao.12623-Apr-13 1:20 
Questionviewing stream on a remote computer Pin
Member 95262384-Apr-13 4:42
memberMember 95262384-Apr-13 4:42 
AnswerRe: viewing stream on a remote computer Pin
Member 1008220412-Jun-13 10:05
memberMember 1008220412-Jun-13 10:05 
QuestionWebcam is showing black image in preview Pin
Member 79864943-Apr-13 23:51
memberMember 79864943-Apr-13 23:51 
AnswerRe: Webcam is showing black image in preview Pin
Member 202563013-Jun-14 21:15
memberMember 202563013-Jun-14 21:15 
GeneralThanks! Pin
wcuthbertson8-Mar-13 9:52
memberwcuthbertson8-Mar-13 9:52 
QuestionI am getting black screen while previwing Pin
sudheendra pavan sundar8-Mar-13 1:53
membersudheendra pavan sundar8-Mar-13 1:53 

I downloaded and executed the code.
But, I am getting a black screen for preview.
While recording, I am able to record the videos.

Please help me.
QuestionHelp Pin
makhondi4-Mar-13 6:22
membermakhondi4-Mar-13 6:22 
QuestionError on winfows 8 Pin
Tub-9520-Feb-13 4:10
memberTub-9520-Feb-13 4:10 
AnswerRe: Error on winfows 8 Pin
Member 44347192-Apr-14 8:40
memberMember 44347192-Apr-14 8:40 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
Wanararbrio16-Jan-13 9:33
memberWanararbrio16-Jan-13 9:33 
GeneralMy vote of 5 Pin
XtErMiNaToR10210-Jan-13 23:56
memberXtErMiNaToR10210-Jan-13 23:56 
Questionusing Microsoft.Expression.Encoder.Utilities; not found help me Pin
Member 964439429-Dec-12 19:10
memberMember 964439429-Dec-12 19:10 
QuestionDoes not detect my usb Genius Camera Eye 312 Pin
Luis Zeta4-Dec-12 5:39
memberLuis Zeta4-Dec-12 5:39 
AnswerRe: Does not detect my usb Genius Camera Eye 312 Pin
Luis Zeta4-Dec-12 6:22
memberLuis Zeta4-Dec-12 6:22 
QuestionWebcam detector in c# Pin
Member 798053425-Nov-12 18:28
memberMember 798053425-Nov-12 18:28 
QuestionIP cam Pin
rodey vincent22-Nov-12 19:17
memberrodey vincent22-Nov-12 19:17 
QuestionAdjustement with wcf Pin
Andéol_0014-Nov-12 5:45
memberAndéol_0014-Nov-12 5:45 
GeneralMy vote of 4 Pin
Member 94807894-Oct-12 16:30
memberMember 94807894-Oct-12 16:30 
QuestionUnable to create Device Pin
harmurk20-Sep-12 3:15
memberharmurk20-Sep-12 3:15 
QuestionHow to implement in existing project Pin
Member 943991418-Sep-12 12:43
memberMember 943991418-Sep-12 12:43 
QuestionLive video display in c# .net Pin
Member 900485711-Jul-12 18:36
memberMember 900485711-Jul-12 18:36 
Questionincrustation Pin
gefkuz23-Jun-12 2:11
membergefkuz23-Jun-12 2:11 
Questionurgent please i need simple security camera application in c# or Pin
kaydyonis21-Jun-12 8:39
memberkaydyonis21-Jun-12 8:39 

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