JpegCamera – JavaScript webcam image capture library
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Latest commit 04779fd Apr 18, 2018

Project Status

This project is no longer actively maintained. The main selling point of this library was that it worked with either Flash or HTML5 – it abstracted both technologies behind a simple API. In 2018 Flash is irrelevant and the simple API of this library is a limiting factor of what one can do with a camera in HTML5.

Thanks to everyone for the interest over the years.


JpegCamera is a JavaScript library that allows you to display a camera stream on a web page and then capture, show and upload JPEG snapshots to the server. It uses HTML5 in Chrome, Firefox and Opera and falls back to Flash in less capable browsers. The video stream is placed without any UI in a container of your choice and you control it through JavaScript API and your own UI elements.

The idea is based on a similar JpegCam library which was Flash only. Beside working without Flash and offering a cleaner, more modern API, JpegCamera has some nice, new features.


  • Works natively in Chrome, Firefox, Opera and with a Flash plugin in all other browsers.
  • Manage and upload multiple snapshots at once. You don't have to wait for the first upload to finish before capturing the next image. This means you can take a few shots in a short interval.
  • You can get snapshots for display outside the camera container in browsers that support canvas element - even when using Flash fallback.
  • Allows you to retry failed uploads.
  • Easily read server response text and code after upload.
  • Send CSRF tokens to secure your user's session from Cross-site request forgery
  • Prevents users from messing with HTML5 VIDEO or Flash object elements by overlaying transparent DIV over them after initialization.
  • Makes sure the camera is really ready by checking stream's color standard deviation. Safeguard from weird all-black or all-white snapshots.


Check out the demo page.


  • Canvas-to-Blob polyfill for the standard JavaScript canvas.toBlob method.
  • SWFObject for embedding the Flash-based fallback.

For convenience these scripts are packaged with JpegCamera.


You can load JpegCamera directly on any web page, but if you're writing Rails 3.1 application consider using a gem. In either case you have an option of loading full library that includes HTML5 implementation with Flash fallback or HTML5 version only.

Standalone app

Copy all the files from dist into jpeg_camera directory under your server's root.

Load JpegCamera and it's dependencies in the HEAD section of your page.

<script src="/jpeg_camera/swfobject.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/jpeg_camera/canvas-to-blob.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>
<script src="/jpeg_camera/jpeg_camera.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

SWFObject and Canvas-to-Blob are stored in separate files so that you don't have to load them again if you already use them in your project. If you want to cut down on HTTP requests then there is a concatenated version you can use.

<script src="/jpeg_camera/jpeg_camera_with_dependencies.min.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

If you want to use HTML5-only version you can load jpeg_camera_no_flash.min.js. There is no "with dependencies" version of this file, so you have to remember to also load Canvas-to-Blob. You don't need SWFObject for HTML5.

Ruby on Rails apps

If you use Ruby on Rails version 3.1 (or higher) then you can use a gem and take advantage of the assets pipeline.

gem "jpeg_camera", "~> 1.3.2"

Create a file somewhere in the app/assets/javascripts tree.

#= require jpeg_camera/swfobject
#= require jpeg_camera/canvas-to-blob
#= require jpeg_camera/jpeg_camera

$ ->
  if window.JpegCamera
    JpegCamera.DefaultOptions.swf_url =
      "<%= asset_path "jpeg_camera/jpeg_camera.swf" %>"
    JpegCamera.DefaultOptions.shutter_mp3_url =
      "<%= asset_path "jpeg_camera/shutter.mp3" %>"
    JpegCamera.DefaultOptions.shutter_ogg_url =
      "<%= asset_path "jpeg_camera/shutter.ogg" %>"
    JpegCamera.DefaultOptions.csrf_token =

SWFObject and Canvas-to-Blob are stored in separate files so that you don't have to load them again if you already use them in your project. The assets pipeline will take care of minifying and concatenating everything into one script.

If you want to use HTML5-only version then change the jpeg_camera require directive into this one:

#= require jpeg_camera/jpeg_camera_no_flash


var camera = new JpegCamera("#camera");

var snapshot = camera.capture();; // Display the snapshot

snapshot.upload({api_url: "/upload_image"}).done(function(response) {
  response_container.innerHTML = response;
  this.discard(); // discard snapshot and show video stream again
}).fail(function(status_code, error_message, response) {
  alert("Upload failed with status " + status_code);

A detailed documentation using in-code comments is maintained for JpegCamera and Snapshot classes.

User privacy

Respect your users privacy. Make sure they understand why you want to capture their webcam image and what you're going to do with it. A useful information is whether you're only going to use the image on the client side or if you're going to upload it to some server.

To protect their identity and their data host your app on HTTPS servers. JpegCamera does not enforce this, but some browsers promise to do so in the future. Google Chrome already forbids HTTP websites from accessing camera through getUserMedia in their Canary release channel. Read more.


To use Flash fallback your camera container must be at least 215 pixels wide and 138 pixels tall. This is the minimum to display privacy settings dialog.

With Flash in some browsers it's impossible to read response body for requests that finish with status codes from outside the 2XX range (like 404 Not Found or 422 Unprocessable Entity). If you're using version of JpegCamera with Flash fallback your application should not rely on reading body of these responses. The status code number is always available.

Current stable versions of Firefox and Opera support getUserMedia, but do not support Web Audio API. I have decided against loading a Flash object in these browsers so JpegCamera will be silent.


The source code is available on Github. Please send pull requests on topic branches.

To build dist files from source you need npm — Node Package Manager.

npm install              # install required dependencies
npm install -g grunt-cli # install grunt command
grunt dist               # build js & swf files
grunt js                 # only builds js files
grunt swf                # only builds swf file
grunt doc                # update documentation
grunt                    # build dist files and update documentation

To build swf file you need to have mxmlc available in your $PATH. It comes in the Flex SDK.


Thanks to Joseph Huckaby for creating and Matt Clements for maintaining Flash-based JpegCam library which I have been using until HTML5 became a viable solution. If you're interested here's Matt's repo and here's mine. Thanks to everyone else contributing to that project.

Copyright Adam Wróbel, released under the MIT License.