ECTcamera - Main menu and functionality
Main Menu Navigation
The biggest part of the program window is taken by the image from the camera (when the camera is not selected or capturing is off, the user will see a black area instead of the image). The menu is located in the upper left corner of the window and provides access to all necessary controlling commands and settings.
By using the main menu of ECTcamera (see fig. 4), the user can choose an appropriate video-capturing device, image zoom and resolution, fragments of the image to be zoomed, as well as make screenshots, use the help section of the program, and several additional parameters. All controlling elements of the program are combined into categories, while the most important of them are assigned with hotkeys. The menu can be opened traditionally by using the 'Alt' key and arrows or 'Enter'. The user can also open it with a left-click on the Menu.
Items of the main menu – 'About', 'Check for Update', 'Start' or 'Stop', 'Make Shot (photo)', 'Video', 'Settings', 'Scale', 'Position', 'Localization', 'Exit'.
'About', F1 button. This item opens the About window of ECTcamera, which includes information about the current version, release date, developers, as well as some legal information (see fig. 5).
'Check for Update'. Allows the user to check for new versions of the program on servers of the developer. if there's a new version available, the user will see a window with the information about the actual version of the program (see fig. 6). If there's no new version, the user will also see a notification (see fig. 7). If it's impossible to connect to servers (no Internet connection, no response from the server, or a firewall is blocking connections) the user will see the following message: 'Error in Connection' (see fig. 8).
'Start' or 'Stop', F2 button. This button allows the user to start or stop capturing video from the connected device. If video stream is off after program launch or the user needs to change several settings (choose another device, change video mode or resolution), this item is going to show Start. If video is already streaming (e.g., when automatic video streaming is used for ECTcamera), this item is going to show Stop.
'Make Shot (photo)', F6 button. This menu item, as well as the corresponding hotkey, allow the user to make a screenshot and save it in BMP, PNG or JPEG formats in dependence with current settings. The user can also use settings to choose full screen or only main window screenshots (e.g., for significant zoom usage). Such screenshots are going to be saved in the same folder that was used to run the program. File names will be combined from four parts: ECTcamera + current date (in YYMMDD format) + current time (in HHMMSS format) + hundredths of seconds, which is really useful for comfort browsing and sorting of the screenshots (see fig. 9). When video stream is turned off, this menu item remains inactive.
'Exit', F10 button. Terminates video streaming to the main window of the program and closes ECTcamera.
This submenu contains the list of all video cameras connected to the PC. Each camera has its own submenu with available video formats and resolutions (see fig. 10).
Settings of the camera that have been used recently are marked with a checkmark. The Video submenu is inactive if video from one of the connected devices is already streaming to the main window of the program.
The stability of ECTcamera, in conjunction with its light interface, allows users to create systems with several cameras in use (see fig. 11). Each copy of the program runs as an independent process, while the user can adjust both windows according to their needs (i.e., change zoom and position of the image or make screenshots). Positions and sizes of program windows can also be adjusted independently. In order to use desktop space with maximum efficiency, the software allows users to hide window frames and use pop-up menus.
This submenu contains additional setting parameters of the program, as well as profile loading and saving commands (see fig. 12).
'Show Settings Form', F3 button. The settings panel of ECTcamera contains more than 20 changeable parameters. These parameters allow the user to change the size and position of windows, video position and zoom, image shift step, full or partial screenshots, as well as to select the screenshot saving format and compression ratio (for JPG) and to enable or disable automatic video streaming during the start of the program. More information about program settings can be found in the Settings and additional parameters of ECTcamera chapter of this manual.
'Set Current'. This saves and makes effective all changes that were made in the settings panel.
'Load Profile', F4 button. This item of the menu allows the user to choose and load a previously saved user profile that contains information about video position and zoom, screenshots format and screenshot file name format. User profiles also contain information about ECTcamera windows layout, as well as many other important parameters.
'Save Profile'. This item of the menu allows the user to save all the settings of the program into a separate user profile. Such things as main window, informational window, and settings panel positions are also saved in the profile. This approach is handy when the program is alternately used by several users and each of them requires different settings (i.e., image zoom and position, windows layout). It also provides fast settings transfer when it's necessary to move ECTcamera to any other computer or laptop.
'Reset Profile'. This menu item restores all default settings (including windows layout).
The 'Scale' submenu allows the user to change the size of the image from the web camera (see fig. 13).
Choosing a 0 value (Ctrl+0 key combination) changes the scale to fit image to all available space of the program window. It doesn't save image proportions; however, they can be changed together with the size of the program window.
Other available scale options:
- 50% – Ctrl+1 key combination;
- 100% – Ctrl+2 key combination;
- 150% – Ctrl+3 key combination;
- 200% – Ctrl+4 key combination;
- 300% – Ctrl+5 key combination.
The user can not only select one of the provided scale options, but to change it manually, can zoom the image in or out:
- Zoom in by 10% – Ctrl+6 key combination;
- Zoom out by 10% – Ctrl+7 key combination;
- Zoom in by 100% – Ctrl+8 key combination;
- Zoom out by 100% – Ctrl+9 key combination;
The video scaling feature can be really useful for cameras that support only low resolution. Scaling allows the user to get a pretty clear image in the working area of the program and successfully work with its fragments (for example, track eye movements). Owners of high resolution cameras can use the zoom-out feature to increase sharpness. By stretching the image to cover the whole working area, the user is also able to change its size; proportions of the image can be adjusted by changing the size of the main window of ECTcamera. The settings panel makes it possible to choose any desired scale value with one percent accuracy; however, image size is going to be changed only when the user selects 'Set Current'. The default zoom level for camera video stream is 100%.
The 'Position' submenu allows the user to change the position of the image captured from the camera (see fig. 14). It's recommended to use this command if the size of the video (default or after zooming) goes beyond the border of the main window or when it's necessary to zoom in a specific fragment of the image.
The user can select one of the following options and hotkeys:
- Center – Ctrl+End key combination;
- Top Left – Ctrl+Home key combination;
- Step Left – Ctrl+Left key combination;
- Step Right – Ctrl+Right key combination;
- Step Up – Ctrl+Up key combination;
- Step Down – Ctrl+Down key combination.
In order to provide more flexibility and make work with the program more convenient, it supports several localizations (i.e., different languages of the interface and parameters description). Currently the program supports English, French and Russian languages.
'Set Language File', Ctrl+F2 key combination. When the user selects this menu item, a dialog box of the operating system (OS) is shown, allowing the user to select one of the language files in .lng format. The program language can also be selected in the 24th row of the settings form of the program.
'Set English', Ctrl+F3 key combination. This immediately changes ECTcamera language to English without showing any additional dialog boxes.