Friday, January 25, 2008

(Bump) Webcam

(Thanks so much for your help...I think I've got lots of info to work with so far, so I'm disabling the comments since many of them seem to be suggesting the same things. I'll let you know what we figure out...talked with the NICU docs again, and a 24/7 camera is definitely not doable, but I should be able to either take something in with me, or keep something in there and turn it on when I'm in there, so we're definitely going to do something. Thanks!)

I need your help again (please, only respond under this post if you seriously know about this stuff so that we can keep it on point)!

We'd like to try to set up a webcam at Gwyneth's bed so that Tricia can watch her whenever she wants. The NICU doc mentioned this yesterday, so I'm assuming that it will be OK (and I'll check for sure).

I know nothing about webcams, so I need some help from those who do. Tricia has her laptop and we have (slow) wireless internet access in the hospital. What should I look at buying, and how exactly would it work?



PS. This has nothing to do with a new computer...I'm not going to leave a computer (and I don't think they'd allow me) down in the NICU, and I don't think Gwyneth really cares much about trying to see/hear us while she's in the incubator. We just want to be able to watch her, and we don't mind if it's a slow/delayed connection. :)


bdodge said...

We went to best buy to purchase the cheapest one available so our cousins could talk with each other (South Carolina and Michigan cousins). It was awhile ago; but I think it was like $39.99. They were very helpful at our bestbuy and didn't try to shove anything in our basket. :) Now my laptop has it built in which is nice. Maybe it's a good oppertunity to upgrade your laptop.

The Dodges

Elizabeth Fanco said...

I can't recommend one to buy b/c I've always just gone with what's cheapest, but when it comes time to stream, for a slow computer I would recommend Microsoft Netmeeting (free download). It works well on the slowest computer, and you can keep the stream running for an indefinite amount of time. The only thing is if your computer runs Vista, it is no longer compatible with Netmeeting.

Kristi said...

If I were you, I'd purchase a webcam that does well under low light situations, since I know the nicu is pretty dark. I'd also buy one with good video resolution. We purchased 2 microsoft webcams for around $60, and they work great when there is light in the room, but not so great if there's not.
We connect using MSN messenger, but there are lots of ways to connect. The webcams come with software that's very simple to use. With slow internet connection, the video will be pretty slow, but she'll still be able to see Gwyneth.

If I were you, I'd just go to Best Buy or somewhere and ask them about the webcams, and which ones are of the best quality.
That's such a great idea, I hope they get to "see" each other soon!

Kristi and the triplets

Holloway Clan said...

We use the program Skype to communicate with all our family back in the States. Now a year and a half in, I'm pretty familiar with webcams. You can contact me through Facebook or email me through my blog. I'd be happy to help you out. Just a quick word of note though, webcams do not do well with slow internet connections.
Becky Holloway

Anonymous said...

We use a Microsoft lifecam for letting the kids communicate with grandparents. We have fast internet, so it works really well. If your internet is too slow it will look more like a stream of still pictures. But, she would at least get to see her...

Kristi said...

Just read your update about not leaving a computer in the nicu. I don't know of any webcams that work without a computer. :( Hopefully someone can chime in and give you some advice.

Christy said...

I purchased a webcam while my husband was overseas (somehow, the base he was stationed on had web cams!). I went to bestbuy and was given assistance, that was extremely helpful as I knew nothing about webcams either. I was on fast access, though, so the webcam that I purchased may not work for you guys. I'll include a link to best buy's web cam page so that you can take a better look. Maybe you can find a local store in a directory and ask for better assistance. They were great with helping me find what I was looking for. Praying that you guys find what you're looking for so that Tricia can keep an eye on her lil sweet pea. >:0)

Deb said...

I dont know about which one is best, but my husband orders all his computery things from The prices are way cheaper and he's never had any problems coming from there. He ordered some that hook onto laptops (so maybe it could hook onto something in her incubator?) for Christmas for his sister that have been working well.
Praying for your sweet baby girl to be okay today!

Anonymous said...

What about one of these?

Anonymous said...

Why don't you look in to the baby monitors that have video? I don't know if it will work from one floor to the next in the hospital. Since you don't want to leave a computer in the NICU this might be an option.You can get them at Babies R Us. If you go online there are reviews by people who have used them.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so the link that I just posted for you didn't's for a baby video monitor. You know how they make ones that give you the sound, well they also make ones that give you video. They cost under $200.

Google some of these...

BeBe Video and Sounds Baby Monitor

Baby's Quiet Sounds Color Video Baby Monitor by Summer Infant

Bebe Sounds TV900 Portable Color Video & Sound Monitor, 900 GHz with Sound (this one has two cameras)

Renee' said...

I was going to suggest a video baby monitor too. Another option might be a cheap security camera. We had several given to us and my 13 year old son places them around the house and we can watch them on our TV or computer. We have one in the babies room even though it wasn't specifically made as a baby monitor.

Nathan Reimer said...


First, thanks so much for blogging. It's really inspiring.

99% of webcams require computers. They use them for power, image/video storage, and image/video transmission. The other 1% are very expensive, and are typically used for video surveillance. I have heard of camcorders having a "webcam" like feature, but I don't know about uploading to the internet.

I guess you have to check with the NICU about having a computer in Gwyneth's room. Maybe somebody has a cheap desktop or laptop they aren't using anymore.

Most decent webcams (Logitech or Creative) include streaming software, that can post to a web server automatically, to be viewed by anyone around the world. However, server space can fill up depending on the resolution and frame/second settings.

good luck and God bless

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

I think someone already mentioned it, but instead of a webcam, how about a video monitor?
They seem to have a good picture and work in low light situations. Then there is no worry and internet connection or webcams.

Good luck...we are pulling for you guys, and baby Gweneth is BEAUtiful!

Anonymous said...

I am a New Media Specialist at the Renaissance Computing Institute in Chapel Hill. My wife is Nicole and she posts on here often and asked if I could recommend something.

This is the way to go and they have wireless options as well as built in little microphones and what not.

here is the main page with all their cameras

These little guys are self contained units and could easily sit next to her and access the wireless network to stream vid/audio.

Let me know if you need anymore guys are amazing


secarden said...

Extremely easy to use & set-up:

how it works:

Anonymous said...

There is a program called "Skype" and there is a 60 day trial version (Version 3.6) that is free and can be downloaded from and this would host and allow basically any type of webcam to be connected. Both yours and Tricia's laptops would need to have the program downloaded on them. The program operating with a webcam connected to one of the laptops would work basically like an internet phone call. The program will automatically assign a phone number and once you have downloaded the program you would dial up that phone number from the laptop computer keyboard that Tricia would have and it would connect to the computer and webcam in the NICU where Gwyneth is. I would highly recommend the Logitech Life Series webcam (which is the very best) you can get it from Best Buy, and it is $99.00 and it would clip onto the top of the laptop. You've said that you would not leave a computer, unfortunately it won't work without doing that. A computer would be required at both places.

Anonymous said...

Our NICU had something in place for parents to view their child from home, although I never actually used it. I checked their website, but don't see any info on it - sorry. If it helps at all, it's Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh....maybe they could help you get something set up? I'd reccomend having someone contact the Child Life Staff there.

Anonymous said...

I know they make a baby monitor that is a camera/closed circuit TV. Maybe it wouldn't work through the three floors? Just an idea.

Anonymous said...

i know very little about web cam's...i just want to share a lil' something with you
last night and all morning i have been thinking to myself...there has got to be a way Tricia can see her beautiful Gwyneth Rose and i come back to computer hit refresh and there i see your questions about the web cam...WOWWEE
i hope it is easy for you to find and to set up...
NOW THAT will be HUGE for Tricia
=)of course i know u know that =)
God Bless
Showering you 3 with prayers
Long Island New York
p.s. now all i can think of, is when Tricia first lays eyes on Gwyneth..
the joy you two are going to share,oh my goodness it is going to be beautiful and i am sure there will many tears of is going to be wonderful

Anonymous said...

Nathan, try this store - I bet if you call them they would know exactly what you need...

I think Best Buy isn't going to have something as specialized as what you need, especially if you aren't leaving a camera in the room...

Good luck and my best to your family.

My Diabetic Sweet Life said...

Hmmmm - seems like I left my comment under the wrong post....see the one above ;o)

deenuhz said...

what about a video baby monitor? Not sure of the distance that it can reach. might be worth a look into. Because, I am not sure if you can have a wedcam in baby's room without being hooked up to a computer (how would it communicate to your computer?)

Anonymous said...

How to install a web cam for person to person viewing.

Items Needed:
1. Two computers
2. Internet connection. (DSL or Cable is better)
3. (1) Web Camera
4. Two Instant Messenger Programs (one installed on each computer)
5. This instruction assumes you have a working knowledge of computer basics: installing software/hardware and using the Internet to download and install programs.

1. You can find a good, cheap web cam at Wal-Mart, Best Buy or Office Depot among many other stores. It will cost anywhere from $30.00 to $150.00 depending on the features and quality of picture.

2. After you purchase the web cam it should be easy to install.

a. The web cam will plug into your computer via the USB port. (The same type of port your mouse is probably plugged into. Most computers today have several USB ports, some on the front, and some on the back.

b. The web cam will come with installation instructions from the manufacture and probably an installation CD. Follow all instructions carefully.

3. After your web cam is installed and working you will need a program to share your web cam over the Internet. (the web cam may come with it’s own Internet sharing software as well)

a. You can use any Instant messenger (IM) program to share your web cam. (AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo Instant Messenger, Microsoft Instant Messenger. )

b. They are all free to download and install. Connect to the Internet; type ‘Yahoo Messenger download’ (for example) in your search box and it will bring you to a web page where you can download the program.

c. The download is quick (depending on your Internet speed) and the installation is automatic with just a few clicks necessary by you. (You will need to accept the user agreement and default settings…)

d. You will need to create two separate IM accounts: One for you to share the web cam on one computer, and one for you to view the web cam at the other computer.

4. After you have your IM accounts on both computers:

a. Connect to the Internet

b. Sign onto the IM account on each computer and start a chat session between the two accounts.

c. At the computer with the web cam:

i. Depending on the type of IM program used, select ‘share my web cam’ or something similar.

ii. The other computer IM program will receive a message inviting it to view the web cam.

iii. Select accept, or agree and the video window will open up and you will now be able to watch what is going on in the other room at the camera.

d. Depending on the type of camera, computer processor and memory, and Internet connection speed, the picture may be jumpy, or appear as a series of still slides.

Anonymous said...

What about using a video baby monitor. It would only work one way but you and your wife would be able to watch the baby. We have one and it even works with the lights off. The brand that we have is Summer and it was about $100 and then you would be able to use it when everyone's home. I'm not sure of the range though. Ypu would have to look on the box. I hope this helps.

Kristi said...


I believe you're going to want to buy a video baby monitor or a security camera not a web cam. I don't know of a web cam that doesn't require a computer on both ends and, like you said, you're not going to leave a computer in the NICU.

You're going to have to look at the distance you can have the camera from the monitoring unit and also take into consideration any hospital regulations regarding electronic equipment.

Beth Anne said...

This type of camera should work as long as the hospital's wireless internet access would allow you to access it.

and of course you'd need a place to plug it in.

Anonymous said...

i didn't read through all the comments, so this might be repeating information....

you can buy a video monitor for pretty cheap at a baby store. this wouldn't be attached to the internet, but would stand alone, so you won't have to worry about a slow connection.

you just plug in the the video camera at the NICU and then use the TV monitor to see what's happenin!

this may not work depending on how far away the two rooms are, and the radio interferrence....

but, i might be worth a try....

Anonymous said...

some baby monitors now have screens...? I don't know how powerfully they are and if they'd work between 3 floors...just a thought for you. :)

Anonymous said...

had the thought that you go the "tv/video baby monitor" route instead, don't know how that would work in the hospital though. there are some you can connect to your computer instead of tv and that way you won't need a computer on both ends.

Sheri said...

Oh, you'll love it! We got a webcam after Sam was born for the the time we had dial up connection and that didn't really work:) ha my guess is the connection speed might impact the quality, but I think as long as you don't have dial up it will work. We have the Logitech brand. There were three "grades" a cheap one around 30-40, a mid grade one around 70 and a more expensive one around 99 or so. We have the middle one and have been really happy with it! I think the guys at the store said there wasn't much of a difference from the top two , but that there was from the cheapest one and the mid grade....but that was about 1 1/2 years ago now.... Good luck, I think Trisha would LOVE it!!!!

Nathan Reimer said...

Here's a link to one that might do the trick! Thanks to Josh Coyle's comment above.

Anonymous said...

I have very little experience with video baby monitors but my wife and I did own one at one time, and the picture was very choppy and that was only like 75 feet away. Perhaps we just had a poor quality one...

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My husband says the video baby monitors would be a good way to go if Tricia's room is close enough to Gwenyth's
Here is a link:

Anonymous said...

The IT guy at the hospital should be able to point you towards something.... He'll know what will interfere, etc. Maybe he even has something laying around!

Anonymous said...

We bought something like that so my parents could watch my kiddos when they lived away. Was a tad stalker-ish, but no computer was necessary. The device simply plugs in the wall and your computer picks it up( through a specified address). I actually have it still, and don't use it and would be more than happy to mail it up. The only things I would note are: lighting needs to be good ( shouldn't be a problem in NICU), and getting it all connected if using a router can be challenging. Once your computer is reading the device is amazing!! You can even schedule your computer to record at certain times. I can e-mail specifics on device type and all if you would like. Great idea though, why didn't I think of this?!?! I think for a infant its perfect, ours became obsolete when the crawling began.
Take care,

Anonymous said...

It looks like you've gotten some good advice. If it doesn't work, ask again and I'll have my husband, a computer freak (handsome nonetheless!) give you some ideas. He's out of town a few days or I'd ask him now.
You don't know me--I found your blog through Patience and Jordan's blog. I'm a friend of Patience's fabulous mom.
Good luck--
Kathy H

Love my boys! said...

What about the visual baby monitor that they sell in the baby stores? I'm not sure how far away the baby is from Tricia's room. We used to turn the monitor on in the baby's room and be able to watch our son from the little tv screen while we were in our back yard. It's just a thought and may be cheaper and less cumbersome than a webcam. Good Luck. Continuing our prayers for all of you.
Catherine Midgett Christiansen

Jamey said...

Have you asked the hospital if they supply them? I work in an NICU and we have cameras (and monitors) that we give to the parents in situations like this so they don't have to spend time or money getting their own. I have been following your story and praying for your family.

Amber said...

We have a contraption that my dad bought for us ... like a webcam, but different. It was actually a small video camera in our son's room that we could watch through our TV downstairs. It may not work in the hospital though since it runs off some sort of "wireless" connection. You can HAVE it, if that's something you are interested in. Contact me and I'll be glad to dig out the manual and find out more. God bless you all!

Andy Lawrenson said...


I highly doubt a baby video monitor will work in the hospital. We are talking 3 floors of concrete and steel to interfere. Our has problems in the 30 something feet and 3 walls it has to go through.

I think the big problem is going to be the internet speed at the hospital. Is there a way to find out the speed before you go and buy something?


Bobbie said...

you might want to look at your camera if you have a digital one. It might already have that option on it. Just a thought. Other than that I have no idea.

Anonymous said...

Skype is the best program to use, once you've figured out the webcam (the Logitech middle of the road one works great for us)--we found MSN messenger would have issues at times and get stuck or really slow down. Once we signed out of MSN messenger and just used Skype it all worked so much better. Skype is totally free, too, for what you'll be using it for--it only costs if you're going to use it for phone calls and such. We use it with family, just to see each other and talk for free and it works great. You can also make the image fill the whole computer screen (a little grainier) but that would make it easier for Tricia to see Gwyneth. Hope that helps!

Anonymous said...

My friend Stacie has the entire Tennessee Temple Univ. praying for you. I have been following your story very closely and praying for you often. Since Gwyneth doesn't need to see you, why don't you look into a video baby monitor. These are like your normal baby monitor, except they have a camera in them as well which you set up to face the baby. This seems like it could work for you since it doesn't run through the internet and wouldn't be affected by the slowness of the wireless connection. I am not sure though how far apart the monitor and receiver can be, you might want to look into that.

Anonymous said...

you have a large number of replies but out of 43 comments at this time only 4 are of any use to you. i'll summarize them to try and help with your "information overload" here.

since you can't have a computer at both ends, you need a webcam with a wireless internet access that will act as a separate entity to your wireless router.

2 people have suggested specific models and 2 people have generously offerred to send you theirs.

since there appears to be no method to link to a specific comment i will copy the url's of the two products that are useful and mention the two others by name

"josh coyle" suggested which appears suitable

"beth anne" suggested which also looks suitable

"blogfreys" (about 3/4 way down) has offerred to send you a device similar to the above two.

"adam & mommy" has offerred to send you a device that might also be similar to the above (although it's similarity is less certain)

in general, you can google on "wireless webcam" or "wireless ip camera"

if you want to run out and find something quickly in the local shopping area then perhaps a well know brand would help - the well known creative brand has the following product:

"Creative Live! Wireless for Remote Monitoring"

Anonymous said...

We used a video baby monitor for our little munchkin. Although, I was only down the hall, and not several floors away. I am sure they have some with longer ranges - but they make them with a night vision light too, which would work nicely in the NICU. That way you won't need a computer!

Continuing to pray for you and your girls.... I pray that Gwyneth's next x-rays shows improvement.


lost2society said...

I don't have any ideas, but wanted to tell you I think this is a great idea!! :) I do hope something works out!