Video Capture Device Library for .NET

Contact: Rob Burke

Video Capture .NET

Updated 7 Oct 04:
  - Released first beta 


Download VideoCaptureNET


Back to Rob Burke's Homepage

Here's a library you can use from .NET to access Video Capture Devices, such as webcams, that are attached to your computer.  You can grab frames off of them and use those frames in your own application.

VideoCaptureNET comes as single DLL that you can add as a reference to a C#, VB, or Managed C++ project.  It is written in a hybrid of Managed and Unmanaged C++, and leverages DirectShow.  However, when you're working with it, you don't need to know that -- it looks and feels similar to the other parts of the .NET Framework.

VideoCaptureNET is released under the GPL.  You are free to use it for non-commercial applications, so long as you provide credit for using the library -- and write to me to tell me how you're using it!

Basic Functionality

Add the VideoCaptureNET DLL to your C#, VB, or Managed C++ project, and you will find the Types you are looking for by using the Allenwood.VideoCaptureNet namespace.

// Get the default device.
VideoCaptureDevice vcd = VideoCaptureDevice.GetDefaultDevice();

// Handle the FrameCaptured event to get new frames.
vcd.FrameCaptured += new VideoCaptureFrameEventHandler(OnFrameCaptured);

// Enable the device to start receiving frames.
vcd.Enabled = true;

Your method to handle captured video frames can look like this:

private void OnFrameCaptured(object sender, VideoCaptureFrameEventArgs e)

// You can obtain the raw RGB bytes from the frame.
byte[] rawFrameRgbBytes = e.Bytes;

// Or, you can obtain the frame as a System.Drawing.Bitmap.
Bitmap frameAsABitmap = e.GetBitmap();


Additional Functionality

// You can change brightness, contrast and other settings like this:
vcd.Properties.Brightness.Value = 60;
vcd.Properties.Brightness.Value = vcd.Properties.Brightness.DefaultValue;

// You can work with a non-default video capture device using something like this:
VideoCaptureDeviceDesc[] devices = VideoCaptureDeviceDesc.GetAvailableDeviceDescs();
VideoCaptureDevice vcd1 = new VideoCaptureDevice(devices[1]);

// You can change the input resolution to one of the valid options for the device like this:
Size[] availableResolutions = vcd.GetResolutionCaps();
vcd.Resolution = availableResolutions[0];

Demo included in the download

I have included in the download a Visual Studio 2003 project, TestVideoCaptureNet, that enumerates the video capture devices attached to your computer, lets you view as many streams as you'd like, and lets you adjust the brightness, contrast, and resolution of any video stream you are watching.

This is a beta release

I have not thoroughly tested this to ensure there are no memory leaks on the C++ side!!  I've developed it so that the user of the library has no access to unmanaged memory.  However, I am not 100% sure that there are no leaks involved in the creation and destruction of the DirectShow graph.  If you are good at this sort of thing, I would be very much obliged if you could check it over and let me know if there is any hidden nastiness (aside from the hideous code itself).

Alas, I'm not going to have time to clean this up any time soon, but I've had a lot of requests for this library, so I thought I'd make it available.  Hopefully you'll find it useful, but it comes with no guarantees, and -- especially before I do a thorough memory-leak test -- please understand that this shouldn't be used in production-quality code. 

Once again, I (Rob) hold the copyright on VideoCaptureNet, as I developed it while not employed by any organization.  I'm releasing it under the GPL, so you are free to use it for non-commercial applications, and I would be very much obliged to hear if you find it useful for a project you're working on!

I welcome comments, requests, suggestions and contributions

Download VideoCaptureNET