Posts Tagged "webcam"

Minor update to check and provide workarounds for some Adobe AIR related issues:

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Logitech webcams

Not all webcams are built the same, so it is important to use the right webcam when setting up your photo booth with Sparkbooth. Here some quick tips and resources to help you with decisions and setup:

  • Do not use the built-in webcam in most Windows laptops. A lot of these cameras are really cheap, and the maximum resolution of the video is typically 640px by 480px which will give you very pixelated photos. Skip the built-in webcam and get a high-quality USB webcam.
  • The Logitech 9000 and Logitech C910 are the most popular webcams for Sparkbooth. Only install the drivers for these cameras, and do not install the accompanying software - they tend to interfere with the performance of the webcam.
  • Some Sparkbooth users prefer the older Logitech 9000 over the newer the Logitech C910, because of its reliability. I have not experienced any failures of the C910, but it has been reported at the Sparkbooth support site. If this happens to you, it is a good idea to have a backup webcam ready as a replacement to swap out the failed webcam.
  • For Mac laptop users, the built-in webcam or iSight is much better than the built-in ones for Windows laptops. But a USB webcam can still improve the video. There is an issue using a USB webcam on Macs with a built-in webcam, Adobe AIR only sees the built-in camera. Try these workarounds - be warned, it doesn't work for all Macs.
  • Also for Mac users, do not install Adobe AIR 3.2 - it does not scale the video correctly so everything looks squished. Rollback to Adobe AIR 2.7.1 to fix this.
  • If your guests are moving around a lot when photos are being taken and resulting blurry photos, try turning on the countdown in-between shots - it will let them know to get ready before the next shot.
  • Finally, lighting is very important when using a webcam. Check out these lighting tips which will help improve the video and photo quality.

With Mac computers, the Adobe AIR 3.2 update changes the proportion of the video for Sparkbooth. For this reason, I do not recommend installing Adobe AIR 3.2. If you have already installed the update and are seeing the changed video proportions, here is what you need to do:

  1. Close Sparkbooth if it is open
  2. Uninstall Adobe AIR 3.2. Run the Adobe AIR Uninstall in Applications > Utilities folder.
  3. Install Adobe AIR 3.1.0 runtime from the Adobe AIR archive page
  4. After Adobe air 3.1.0 is installed, run Sparkbooth and the video will be fixed.
  5. Do not update Adobe air to 3.2 when prompted. If you want to disable these prompts, see "Disable automatic updates of the runtime"

Changes for this update include:

  • Add setting to use default camera only. Some Dell computers with an internal Quanta webcam have a bad driver that is not compatible with Sparkbooth and will cause the error "Sparkbooth.exe has stopped working". You can use an external USB webcam instead, but need to disable the Quanta webcam from the computer's Device Manager and enable "Use Default Camera Only" in Sparkbooth Settings > Options tab > Other from list.
  • Fixed ctrl+L lock so password dialog does not add character on display.
  • Lock is not enabled on start up anymore if lock feature is turned on. You will need to press ctrl+L to enable.
  • Other optimizations and fixes.

To update, click on "Check for Updates" in the Sparkbooth About screen.

This is a major release that includes any fixes including:

  • Improved memory usage. If you experienced any freezing or crashes, this will help.
  • Added new 3-photo landscape layouts
  • Other optimizations and bug fixes
  • No longer checks for updates on start up. Please use check update link in About dialog.
  • Updated Adobe licensing component. Changed to Try and Buy buttons

Download the update, or start up Sparkbooth to update your existing install.

Adobe has just released an Adobe AIR update for Mac only that fixes the camera detection issue. Here is what Adobe said:

Today we posted a very minor update for the Adobe AIR 2.5.1 runtime that addresses a known issue related to interacting with a system's camera on Mac systems. This is a desktop only release for the Mac; Windows and Linux users will not be impacted by this issue and will therefore not be prompted to update.

The build number for the Mac update is AIR We recommend that users update to the latest version of Adobe AIR.

If you are running Sparkbooth on a Mac, do not update your Adobe AIR runtime to 2.5.1 which was released this week. Adobe AIR 2.5.1 for Mac seems to have broken the camera access.

If you do have 2.5.1 installed, you can go back to 2.5.0:

  1. Go to Applications/Utilities and run the Adobe AIR Uninstaller
  2. Go to
  3. Download the Adobe AIR 2.5.0 and install it
  4. Do not update to Adobe AIR 2.5.1 when prompted

Lighting can greatly affect the quality of images produced by your webcam. Here is a great article detailing ways to adjust the lighting of your webcam. Even the cheapest of webcams can still produce good images.