Take the 2-minute tour ×
Ask Ubuntu is a question and answer site for Ubuntu users and developers. It's 100% free.

I want to use ffmpeg to store images taken by my USB web camera on my Ubuntu 11.10. lsusb outputs:

Bus 002 Device 003: ID 0c45:6028 Microdia Typhoon Easycam USB 330K (older)

The camera works fine using cheese but I want to use command line tools to make it scriptable but if I try:

ffmpeg -i /dev/v4l/by-id/usb-0c45_USB_camera-video-index0 image.jpg

The output is:

user@box:~$ sudo ffmpeg -i /dev/v4l/by-id/usb-0c45_USB_camera-video-index0 image.jpg
[sudo] password for user: 
ffmpeg version 0.7.3-4:0.7.3-0ubuntu0.11.10.1, Copyright (c) 2000-2011 the Libav developers
  built on Jan  4 2012 16:21:50 with gcc 4.6.1
  configuration: --extra-version='4:0.7.3-0ubuntu0.11.10.1' --arch=i386 --prefix=/usr --enable-vdpau --enable-bzlib --enable-libgsm --enable-libschroedinger --enable-libspeex --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-pthreads --enable-zlib --enable-libvpx --enable-runtime-cpudetect --enable-vaapi --enable-gpl --enable-postproc --enable-swscale --enable-x11grab --enable-libdc1394 --enable-shared --disable-static
  WARNING: library configuration mismatch
  avutil      configuration: --extra-version='4:0.7.3-0ubuntu0.11.10.1' --arch=i386 --prefix=/usr --enable-vdpau --enable-bzlib --enable-libgsm --enable-libschroedinger --enable-libspeex --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-pthreads --enable-zlib --enable-libvpx --enable-runtime-cpudetect --enable-vaapi --enable-gpl --enable-postproc --enable-swscale --enable-x11grab --enable-libdc1394 --shlibdir=/usr/lib/i686/cmov --cpu=i686 --enable-shared --disable-static --disable-ffmpeg --disable-ffplay
  avcodec     configuration: --extra-version='4:0.7.3-0ubuntu0.11.10.1' --arch=i386 --prefix=/usr --enable-vdpau --enable-bzlib --enable-libgsm --enable-libschroedinger --enable-libspeex --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-pthreads --enable-zlib --enable-libvpx --enable-runtime-cpudetect --enable-vaapi --enable-gpl --enable-postproc --enable-swscale --enable-x11grab --enable-libdc1394 --shlibdir=/usr/lib/i686/cmov --cpu=i686 --enable-shared --disable-static --disable-ffmpeg --disable-ffplay
  avformat    configuration: --extra-version='4:0.7.3-0ubuntu0.11.10.1' --arch=i386 --prefix=/usr --enable-vdpau --enable-bzlib --enable-libgsm --enable-libschroedinger --enable-libspeex --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-pthreads --enable-zlib --enable-libvpx --enable-runtime-cpudetect --enable-vaapi --enable-gpl --enable-postproc --enable-swscale --enable-x11grab --enable-libdc1394 --shlibdir=/usr/lib/i686/cmov --cpu=i686 --enable-shared --disable-static --disable-ffmpeg --disable-ffplay
  avdevice    configuration: --extra-version='4:0.7.3-0ubuntu0.11.10.1' --arch=i386 --prefix=/usr --enable-vdpau --enable-bzlib --enable-libgsm --enable-libschroedinger --enable-libspeex --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-pthreads --enable-zlib --enable-libvpx --enable-runtime-cpudetect --enable-vaapi --enable-gpl --enable-postproc --enable-swscale --enable-x11grab --enable-libdc1394 --shlibdir=/usr/lib/i686/cmov --cpu=i686 --enable-shared --disable-static --disable-ffmpeg --disable-ffplay
  avfilter    configuration: --extra-version='4:0.7.3-0ubuntu0.11.10.1' --arch=i386 --prefix=/usr --enable-vdpau --enable-bzlib --enable-libgsm --enable-libschroedinger --enable-libspeex --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-pthreads --enable-zlib --enable-libvpx --enable-runtime-cpudetect --enable-vaapi --enable-gpl --enable-postproc --enable-swscale --enable-x11grab --enable-libdc1394 --shlibdir=/usr/lib/i686/cmov --cpu=i686 --enable-shared --disable-static --disable-ffmpeg --disable-ffplay
  swscale     configuration: --extra-version='4:0.7.3-0ubuntu0.11.10.1' --arch=i386 --prefix=/usr --enable-vdpau --enable-bzlib --enable-libgsm --enable-libschroedinger --enable-libspeex --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-pthreads --enable-zlib --enable-libvpx --enable-runtime-cpudetect --enable-vaapi --enable-gpl --enable-postproc --enable-swscale --enable-x11grab --enable-libdc1394 --shlibdir=/usr/lib/i686/cmov --cpu=i686 --enable-shared --disable-static --disable-ffmpeg --disable-ffplay
  postproc    configuration: --extra-version='4:0.7.3-0ubuntu0.11.10.1' --arch=i386 --prefix=/usr --enable-vdpau --enable-bzlib --enable-libgsm --enable-libschroedinger --enable-libspeex --enable-libtheora --enable-libvorbis --enable-pthreads --enable-zlib --enable-libvpx --enable-runtime-cpudetect --enable-vaapi --enable-gpl --enable-postproc --enable-swscale --enable-x11grab --enable-libdc1394 --shlibdir=/usr/lib/i686/cmov --cpu=i686 --enable-shared --disable-static --disable-ffmpeg --disable-ffplay
  libavutil    51.  7. 0 / 51.  7. 0
  libavcodec   53.  6. 0 / 53.  6. 0
  libavformat  53.  3. 0 / 53.  3. 0
  libavdevice  53.  0. 0 / 53.  0. 0
  libavfilter   2.  4. 0 /  2.  4. 0
  libswscale    2.  0. 0 /  2.  0. 0
  libpostproc  52.  0. 0 / 52.  0. 0
/dev/v4l/by-id/usb-0c45_USB_camera-video-index0: Invalid data found when processing input

How do I make this work?

share|improve this question

2 Answers 2

Take your pick:


ffmpeg -f video4linux2 -i /dev/v4l/by-id/usb-0c45_USB_camera-video-index0 -vframes 1 test.jpeg

Prefer taking two frames and using the second one:

ffmpeg -f video4linux2 -i /dev/v4l/by-id/usb-0c45_USB_camera-video-index0 -vframes 2 test%3d.jpeg


This is a very nice program, it has a delay option:

fswebcam -r 640x480 --jpeg 85 -D 1 shot.jpg


mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:device=/dev/video0:width=1600:height=1200:outfmt=rgb24 -frames 3 -vo jpeg

P.S. If your usb webcam stops responding or takes "greenish" pictures, unplug it and replug it back. Mine got stuck at "The driver changed the time per frame from 32767/1 to 2/5" with ffmpeg

share|improve this answer

Actually this works with me but only the 3rd picture not green.

mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:device=/dev/video0:width=1600:height=1200:outfmt=rgb24 -frames 3 -vo jpeg

The 1st and 2nd just green. A little trial and error i've set to

mplayer tv:// -tv driver=v4l2:device=/dev/video0:width=640:height=480:outfmt=rgb24 -frames 5 -vo png

The result is 1st and 2nd files are green but the 3rd-5th are rgb and properly taken.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.