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This artcle will provide information on setting up and using webcams on Gentoo using v4l-utils.



The following kernel options need to be activated:

KERNEL Needed Kernel options
Device Drivers  --->
<*> Multimedia support  --->     
       Media device types  ---> 
        [*] Cameras and video grabbers 

Video4Linux options  --->
[*] V4L2 sub-device userspace API

Media drivers  ---> 
 [*] Media USB Adapters  ---> 
   <M>   USB Video Class (UVC)
   [*]   UVC input events device support

USE flags

Recommended USE flags for v4l include: opengl, qt5, and udev - at least qt5 will be needed to follow on with this article.

USE flags for media-tv/v4l-utils Separate utilities ebuild from upstream v4l-utils package

bpf Enables support for IR BPF decoders.
dvb Add support for DVB (Digital Video Broadcasting)
opengl Add support for OpenGL (3D graphics)
qt5 Add support for the Qt 5 application and UI framework
udev Enable virtual/udev integration (device discovery, power and storage device support, etc)


Install media-tv/v4l-utils:

root #emerge --ask media-tv/v4l-utils


v4l-utils is used here to check/set the camera's preferences.

Configuration GUI and settings test

user $qv4l2

Get settings from video device

user $v4l2-ctl --list-formats-ext

Settings example

Some Cheap USB Cameras (like integrated models in thinkpad latops) always use a 640x480 resolution but are able to use 720p, it is possible to set this in v4l2-ctl:

user $v4l2-ctl --set-parm=30 --set-fmt-video=width=1280,height=720,pixelformat=MJPG --device /dev/video0


--set-parm = Framerate (integer)

--set-fmt-video = Resolution + Compression

Check settings

user $qvidcap

Make options persistent

Getting device info:

root #lsusb | grep Cam
Bus 003 Device 007: ID 5986:0268 Acer, Inc SunplusIT INC. Integrated Camera

Creating a rule:

FILE /etc/udev/rules.d/99-v4linux.rulesExample udev rule
SUBSYSTEM=="video4linux", SUBSYSTEMS=="usb", ATTRS{idVendor}=="5986", ATTRS{idProduct}=="0268", PROGRAM="/usr/bin/v4l2-ctl --set-parm=30 --set-fmt-video=width=1280,height=720,pixelformat=MJPG --device /dev/%k"