Have Some Cheese with that Webcam

Cheese Webcam Booth will make you smile because it's fun and free and it works.

Since the launch of Linux Magazine TV (LMTV) in February of this year, my interest in video has increased beyond any reasonable limits. I’m obsessed with video and our efforts in this new area for us. For weeks I’ve tried to find a way to use my new Panasonic HM-TA1 pocket video camera for new LMTV entries and my own projects. Last week I discovered Cheese Webcam Booth (Cheese), which is the topic of this week’s article. Using Cheese is intuitive and closely resembles the Apple iPad2 Photo Booth app. The difference in price between Cheese (free) and Photo Booth ($499+ for the iPad2) is significant, which definitely gives you something to smile about.

The current stable version of Cheese is 2.32.0 and was originally part of Google’s Summer of Code 2007 and the Panasonic HM-TA1 is a pocket-sized, high-definition video camera. The Linux system is Ubuntu 10.10, 4GB RAM, AMD Athlon(tm) 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 4800+, and a 500GB SATA disk.

The Basics

The prerequisites for Cheese are: GNOME 2.28+, GStreamer 0.10, a camera with webcam capability, and according to the website, a brain. Optionally, you can install postr for Flickr support, f-spot for F-Spot support, and nautilus-sento for improved export functionality.

Download the source code from http://projects.gnome.org/cheese/download and compile it or use your distribution’s package manager to grab the latest stable version and install. The Ubuntu package installs as Cheese Webcam Booth under Sound & Video.

Getting Cheesy

When you first open cheese, your webcam is a real time video monitor. Figure 1 demonstrates the initial screen with its minimalistic interface.

Figure 1: Cheese + Linux Nerd = Broken Camera?
Figure 1: Cheese + Linux Nerd = Broken Camera?

As you can see from Cheese’s options in Figure 1, the default mode is Photo. To take a photo, click the Take a Photo button. Your new photo displays in the temporary photo display area below the live video window as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Cheese, Ken, and Mini Ken.
Figure 2: Cheese, Ken, and Mini Ken.

Your new picture isn’t saved yet. To decide its fate, right click the photo and click Open, Save As, or Move to Trash. Now that you know how to take a photo with Cheese, look at its options by clicking Cheese from the menu. As you can see from Figure 3, Cheese has few but powerful configuration options for photo, video, and burst mode.

Figure 3: Cheese Options and a Pensive Host.
Figure 3: Cheese Options and a Pensive Host.

The first two options, Countdown and Flash describe how Cheese takes your photo after you press the Take a Photo button. Countdown is exactly as described. You see a countdown from three before your photo is taken so that you can make those final tweaks to your hair. The Flash option flashes the screen in an attempt to emulate a camera flash. Cheesy, yes, but it’s up to you to use it or not.

You can change to Fullscreen or Wide mode for viewing the Cheese application. Neither of these settings have anything to do with recording in fullscreen or wide (16:9) mode.

Click Edit->Preferences to find more configuration parameters as shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Miscellaneous Cheese Preferences
Figure 4: Miscellaneous Cheese Preferences

Change resolution, brightness, contrast, saturation, and hue options in this window. Burst mode is for taking multiple photos one after the other at a specified interval. Four photos, one second apart, is the default. The effect of burst mode is that you capture a series of photos to create a sort of “choppy” movie effect similar to a stop motion video.

To switch between photo, video, and burst, use the icons on the main screen.

Cheesy Effects

This is the part of Cheese that reminds me of the iPad2 Photo Booth app. Click Effects on the main screen to see the available effects. Figure 5 shows the different photographic effects. Effects are stackable. That is to say, that you can select multiple effects for some eerie images and movies.

Figure 5: Cheese Optional Effects for Photos and Video
Figure 5: Cheese Optional Effects for Photos and Video

For fun, I’ve demonstrated my favorite effects. Figure 6 is the Dice effect in the main photo Window and Warp in the temporary queue window.

Figure 6: Dice, Dice, Baby and a Little Warp.
Figure 6: Dice, Dice, Baby and a Little Warp.

Figure 7 demonstrates the Saturation effect and my favorite, Hulk is happily shown in Figure 8.

Figure 7: Ken-L Faces His Home Planet's Red Sun.
Figure 7: Ken-L Faces His Home Planet’s Red Sun.

Figure 8: You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry.
Figure 8: You Wouldn’t Like Me When I’m Angry.

Cheese is one of those programs that can burn an entire Saturday, if you aren’t careful. It’s fun and simple to use. It also just “works,” which makes users at any level happy. Have fun with Cheese and remember to post some of your own videos using it to LMTV as video responses. Yes, you can do that. Say, Cheese!

Comments on "Have Some Cheese with that Webcam"


Four to six times a week I have to connect PolyCom from a WindowzeXP box to a big LCD monitor 300 miles away, at Little Big Horn College on the Crow Indian Reservation. Those PolyCom connections (and IE testing) are the only times I ever boot the dreaded OS.

Could I use Cheese to display myself (and occasionally my desktop) to a remotely-located Windows machine?


Cheese is a great software, it´s very simple to use. It cames by default on Ubuntu Netbook Remix.


Good software. I use it on Ubuntu


I think “motion” will do what you want. I use it to power my webcam as a surveillance camera for my home. It has a built-in webserver so you can monitor the camera using a browser from wherever you are.


Motion won’t do remote desktop, though. When I’m helping my Windows colleagues from my Linux machine, I’ve been using “Teamviewer” which runs under Wine.


baughmankr: Teamviewer also runs under Linux. Yeah!


as: I recently started running Arch and didn’t find it in the regular repositories but there it is in the AUR. This is great! Thanks for the prod!


I have used ekiga to successfully connect to a polycom video conferencing system. Unfortunately it does not support all the modes of operation.

My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right.
This post actually made my day. You can not imagine just how much time I had spent for this information!

hi!,I really like your writing so so much! proportion we be in contact more about your article on AOL?
I need a specialist in this house to resolve my problem.
May be that’s you! Taking a look ahead to see you.

Also visit my web site: my free web cams

One of the extremely lucrative businesses women may go into could be the creation of accessories.
By doing so, you might be reinforcing that negativity and
attracting to yourself MORE. Now, movies aren’t the thing that piracy trackers allow links too.

Hi, i think that i saw you visited my website thus i came to “return the favor”.I’m trying to find things to enhance my website!I suppose its ok to use a few of your ideas!!

Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I’m going to watch out for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

Superb post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Bless you!

You are my aspiration, I have few blogs and infrequently run out from brand :). “‘Tis the most tender part of love, each other to forgive.” by John Sheffield.

Hi my name is Emily and I just wanted to drop you a quick note here instead of calling you. I discovered your Have Some Cheese with that Webcam | Linux Magazine page and noticed you could have a lot more hits. I have found that the key to running a popular website is making sure the visitors you are getting are interested in your website topic. There is a company that you can get keyword targeted visitors from and they let you try their service for free for 7 days. I managed to get over 300 targeted visitors to day to my website. Check it out here: http://sirrico.net/yourls/p7j6

Some genuinely prime content on this website , saved to fav.

What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this I’ve discovered It absolutely useful and it has helped me out loads. I’m hoping to give a contribution & assist different users like its helped me. Great job.

I truly apprwciatwd your own podt articlw.

This is just the quality of writing I like to read. I like how well this has obviously been researched. The main points are tangible, interesting and well thought out. This is really good reading.

Check beneath, are some entirely unrelated web sites to ours, nonetheless, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use.

Here are some of the websites we recommend for our visitors.

The information and facts talked about in the write-up are some of the most effective readily available.

I always was interested in this subject and stock still am, regards for putting up.

T8Gb2o veux garder ta que le monde tot il marchait, je ne

Here are a number of the internet sites we suggest for our visitors.

Some truly wonderful information, Gladiola I found this.

If you need more traffic to your Have Some Cheese with that Webcam | Linux Magazine website you can try a keyword targeted traffic service free for 7 days here: http://mariowelte.de/8ajy

Below you will come across the link to some web-sites that we think you ought to visit.

Hello very cool website!! Guy .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your site and take the feeds additionally…I am happy to seek out so many helpful information right here within the put up, we want work out more strategies on this regard, thank you for sharing.

Here are a few of the web pages we advise for our visitors.

Here are some of the internet sites we advocate for our visitors.

Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine several unrelated information, nevertheless really really worth taking a search, whoa did one learn about Mid East has got extra problerms at the same time.

That could be the finish of this report. Here you will come across some sites that we assume you?ll enjoy, just click the links.

We like to honor quite a few other world wide web web-sites around the net, even when they aren?t linked to us, by linking to them. Beneath are some webpages worth checking out.

We came across a cool web page that you simply may well take pleasure in. Take a search in case you want.

Sites of interest we have a link to.

Every after inside a although we pick out blogs that we read. Listed below would be the most recent sites that we pick out.

Very handful of websites that come about to become detailed beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly properly really worth checking out.

We came across a cool website that you could possibly delight in. Take a look in the event you want.

Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a couple of unrelated data, nonetheless truly worth taking a search, whoa did 1 find out about Mid East has got much more problerms as well.

The time to study or go to the content or web-sites we’ve linked to below.

Below you?ll obtain the link to some websites that we think you should visit.

Sites of interest we’ve a link to.

Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine a few unrelated information, nonetheless truly worth taking a appear, whoa did 1 find out about Mid East has got far more problerms as well.

Although sites we backlink to beneath are considerably not related to ours, we feel they may be basically really worth a go by, so possess a look.

Usually posts some pretty fascinating stuff like this. If you?re new to this site.

Please go to the sites we adhere to, like this one particular, as it represents our picks through the web.

Usually posts some pretty interesting stuff like this. If you are new to this site.

Check below, are some completely unrelated web-sites to ours, however, they are most trustworthy sources that we use.

Always a large fan of linking to bloggers that I like but don?t get a whole lot of link like from.

Leave a Reply