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Creative Live! Socialize HD

Cameras, lenses, drivers, IR illumination, hardware modifications.

Creative Live! Socialize HD

Postby martintall » Sun Sep 05, 2010 11:43 pm

The Creative HD webcam can be found online for around $40-50. It offers a maximum resolution of 1280x720 at 30 frames per second. It's rather easy to modify and has a convenient desk stand that makes it suitable for remote tracking.

Image

I've modified it by removing the original lens and replacing it with a M12 16mm lens coming from the Dealextreame lens kit. This is placed in the "lens holder", a simple piece of plastic with the right diameter and adhesive tape on the back. Found it at the local hardware store, Home Depot, where it sold as "1 inch by 1 inch Mounting base", manufactured by Commercial Electric, product ID 296-153 and comes in 10 or 100 pcs. packages (really cheap, mine were $0.5)

Image

Sample images:
Creative HD 1280X720
Creative HD 800X480

The increase amount of noise present in the higher resolution mode severely deteriorates the image quality. The effect of this becomes apparent when inspecting the calibration results.

Image
Creative HD 1280X720 Calibration full view.

Image
Creative HD 800X480 Calibration full view.

Overall this is a pretty good camera that offers true 30fps HD video, stepping down from 1280 to 960 or 800 provides less noise. Reducing the exposure and increasing the output on the illumination also improves image quality.
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Re: Creative Live! Socialize HD

Postby armanhb » Thu Oct 07, 2010 10:55 am

Thanks for the article, Martin. However, I was wondering if you could give more details about how you removed the existing lens and mounted the new one. Also, do you have an idea of how much the accuracy would improve if two of these were used in binocular mode?

Thanks,
Arman
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Re: Creative Live! Socialize HD

Postby atrofimo » Tue Dec 07, 2010 3:27 am

Hi Martin,

In reference to: "M12 16mm lens coming from the Dealextreame lens kit." Can you please confirm that this is it? http://www.dealextreme.com/details.dx/sku.15774

Thank you.
Alex
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Re: Creative Live! Socialize HD

Postby martintall » Tue Dec 07, 2010 4:28 am

Yes it is.
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Re: Creative Live! Socialize HD

Postby atrofimo » Thu Dec 09, 2010 4:34 am

I got my Creative Live! Socialize HD webcam today. It looks like the lens is glued on. Did you simply apply some muscle and twist it off? Did you pry it off with a flat head screwdriver? Or some other method?

EDIT: The silver front piece came off after I pulled on it (not twisted). This piece was a covering. The lens then simply screwed off, but the lens was a little deep in there and I needed a small plier to get started on turning it.
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Re: Creative Live! Socialize HD

Postby atrofimo » Mon Dec 20, 2010 8:10 pm

Since the dealextreme.com lenses come from China and take awhile to arrive, I'm planning to experiment with lenses from other sources.

I'm about to order some now, but am still wondering: Does anyone know of an alternative to the dealextreme.com 2.8mm~16mm Fixed IRIS Lens Set?

EDIT: I came across the exact same lens on eBay. It was $4.75 ('Buy It Now'), free shipping out of Florida, USA.

Auction URL: http://cgi.ebay.com/16mm-CCTV-Lens-Fixed-Board-Camera-US-SELLER-/280530748362
Seller URL: http://myworld.ebay.com/sds-miami/
Last edited by atrofimo on Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Creative Live! Socialize HD

Postby atrofimo » Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:48 pm

Hey Martin,

Did you have to open the camera, or shave off anything inside the chamber to make room for the lens? Did you have to cut a hole in the lens mount? My initial result was blurry, hence the questions.

Happy New Year,
Alex
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Re: Creative Live! Socialize HD

Postby martintall » Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:31 pm

Hi Alex,

You'll have to cut out the inner ring from the "lens mount" so that you can screw in in further. I used a small carpet knife, first cut through the adhesive layer and then scrape the legs util it comes off.

It's a hack but works fairly well once done.

Happy New Year!
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Re: Creative Live! Socialize HD

Postby vance23a » Mon Jan 03, 2011 3:41 pm

Are there drivers written for this cam?

thanks
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Re: Creative Live! Socialize HD

Postby atrofimo » Mon Jan 03, 2011 4:33 pm

I have Windows XP 32bit Service Pack 3, and I did not need any kind of driver installation with this camera. Their software works right away with the camera. They provide a great tool. I'm having some trouble with calibration. Three of my issues might be: (1) my 23" monitor -- I will try my smaller monitor later on today. (2) Maybe I am not focusing the lens right. (3) I might need a second IR source for this camera.

My setup includes: (1) a single Sony HVLIRM Battery IR Light, (2) Opteka 37mm HD R72 720nm Infrared X-Ray IR Lens Filter, (3) 16mm CCTV Lens for Fixed Board Camera, and (4) 1inch x 1inch Mounting Base (from Home Depot, SKU: 296-153).

EDIT: I was able to improve my calibration as you will on the next page. I wanted to mention that if you have XP and load up Windows Update, it is a good idea to install the updated drivers. It looks like Creative software you have to download, but it's drivers that will further improve the webcam.
Last edited by atrofimo on Fri Jan 14, 2011 2:01 am, edited 2 times in total.
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