I want to let Linux record the webcam as movie files (for instance MPG or anything appropriate).

No UI, running in the background (indicator icon tolerated but none is better).

If possible, the data should be split into files while recording, for instance, 1 hour or 100 GB, so that they stay manageable.

Very technical commands/scripts are OK.

2 Answers 2


You can use video4linux2 & ffmpeg to capture the output from a webcam and to split it into fixed time slices.

A good starting point would be, from here:

ffmpeg -f v4l2 -framerate 25 -video_size 640x480 -i /dev/video0 output.mkv

but with more of the ffmpeg processing options you can split by time into files named for the time & date, see the ffmpeg documentation for how, and of course, once you have this running you can start it as a task from the command line by simply adding & at the end.


I can recommend Xeoma webcam security software.

Camera/sources processing:

  • Compatible with any webcams, analog cams, including WiFi wireless cctv cameras
  • Supports IP-cameras (including H.264, H.265, JPEG/MJPEG, MPEG-4, Fisheye, PTZ and ONVIF, wireless cams, i.e. perfect both for wired and wireless cctv)
  • Any resolution (Mpix)
  • Screen captures from all monitors simultaneously
  • Adjustable sound quality and sound volume
  • Up to 2 000 cameras can be connected on 1 computer!

It has client and server part: http://felenasoft.com/xeoma/en/

  • Is it free? (see gratis tag)
    – Ray
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 2:54
  • Are files split, and available immediately as files on my PC? (no Internet)
    – Ray
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 2:55
  • I know it has free version and it works without Internet. I used archive to get video. You can look this article felenasoft.com/xeoma/en/articles/archive
    – Soft Spec
    Commented Jan 5, 2016 at 16:14
  • The feature list looks great, but be warned the documentation is very poor, to the point of making it unusable. (Been trying for an hour now to get the server running on a fresh Ubuntu install to trial it)
    – sebf
    Commented Apr 13, 2016 at 20:03

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