Cambience is a program designed to allow people to network their webcams and monitor motion on the periphery through the use of ambient sound effects. Cambience allows you to create your own mappings in real time between video and sound through a visual programming environment.

Cambience can be useful for:

  • Peripheral awareness among distance-separated social or work groups.
  • Non-critical security monitoring, or a supplement to an existing security system.
  • Interactive audio artwork, or a supplement to performance art.

Similar to the Community Bar, Cambience allows for custom modules to be loaded without requiring a program recompile. This leaves the possibility open for programmers to add their own modules to Cambience as they wish. (Documentation and Template Project coming soon.) Cambience comes standard with the User, Audio, Camera, and Tools modules.


Basic Instructions

To add webcam regions:

  1. Click on the green "+" symbol below the webcam image in the top lefthand corner, so that it is depressed.
  2. Draw a new rectangular region onto the webcam image. The Region Properties box will be visible in the Camera tab below.
  3. Give your region a name and description. You may also change the color of the region if you wish.

To edit webcam regions:

  1. Mouseover the edge of the region in the webcam image until the cursor changes. Click on the edge. (Alternately you can select a region by name using the dropdown box.)
  2. A border with resizing anchors appears around the region. Use the 4 corner anchors or 4 edge anchors to alter the size. Click on the hatched edge to move the whole region.

Saving/Loading Region Schemes

  1. Click on the ... button above the webcam image to make the Local Camera Settings window appear.
  2. Click on the Region Schemes tab.
  3. Click on the Save As button to save your current region configuration in a .cam file.
  4. If you have already saved the scheme, click Save to overwrite with the current configuration.
  5. You may quickly flip between existing schemes by clicking on the .cam files in the Saved Schemes list.
  6. You may clear the current scheme and start anew using the New button.

Mirroring/Flipping the Camera Image

  1. Click on the ... button above the webcam image to make the Local Camera Settings window appear.
  2. Click on the Settings tab.
  3. In the Camera Image groupbox, use the Camera Flippage dropdown to select your desired flippage.

To monitor webcam regions:

  1. Find a region in the Remote Regions box, in the Camera tab below the webcam image. You may click on the camera to view all regions, or click on each individual region to view it's positioning relative to the webcam image. Note: this box will contain both the local webcam regions and the remote webcam regions of any other users.
  2. Drag the region into the Ecology workspace to the right. A region item will appear.
  3. Click and drag the hooks and sockets (filled circles and circle outlines on either side of the region item) and drop on other sockets and hooks to make connections. Note that a hook can have multiple connections emerging from it, but a socket may only have one connection entering it.

To add audio:

  • You may drag a .WAV, .MP3, or .M3U/.PLS file onto the ecology, OR
  • Browse for Audio:
    1. Click on the Audio tab on the lefthand side of the screen.
    2. Browse for the desired Audio file. Currently Cambience only supports .WAV, .MP3, or .M3U/.PLS file formats.
    3. You may double click on the audio file to preview playback.
    4. Drag the desired file into the Ecology workspace. Depending on the file you selected, an Audio Item or Wave Item will appear.
    5. Connect the sockets on the item to any desired hooks (ex. Region Item Over All Motion -> Audio Volume). Note that you may need to use an intermediate item such as a Booster or Threshold to produce the desired audio effect.
    6. Press the Play button on the audio to begin playback. By default the audio file will play through only once (one-shot) but you can set it to Looping by clicking on the arrow button on the righthand side of the item.

To control signals using Intermediate Items:

  1. Click on the Toolbox tab on the lefthand side of the screen.
  2. The toolbox contains a list of utility items that can be dragged to the Ecology. Click on an item in the list to view a description of what it does.
  3. Some items such as the Threshold and Booster have a details pane that is hidden. Click on the arrow at the bottom of the item to expand the details pane, or right-click to pin it open.
  4. The Time Item is useful for making Cambience respond to the time of day (or year, month, week, hour, minute). The Booster Item has a special input for time adjustment, and can be used to compensate for varying lighting conditions between day and night.
  5. The Threshold and Booster items can be used to morph a low signal to a higher range. This is useful if you want a region's Over All Motion to affect Audio Volume, so that the Audio can reach maximum volume even with a small amount of over all motion.

Download and Installation

  • Download the latest version: Version 3.4.1 (updated July 25, 2007)


  • Please report bugs or crashes so that I can fix them for future releases.


  • Cambience SFX Library: Version 1.0 (updated May 1, 2006)

Update History

  • NEW in 3.4.1
    • FIXED: Statistic Item now defaults to Maximum function when created.
    • FIXED: RangeItem and ScaleItem now work properly - will allow you to specify values as it should!
    • FIXED: Meter Item bug when changing max/min for the first time.
    • FIXED: Time Cycle Item no longer throws exception when closing.
    • FIXED: Arithmetic Item now properly saves/loads Z-value and displays addition formula on startup.
    • CHANGED: Label coloring on sidebar controls.
  • NEW in 3.4.0
    • MAJOR UPDATE: May not be compatible with previous versions of Cambience.
    • Added: Detail panes on Toolbox items to hide unnecessary parameters. Items start with usable defaults.
    • Added: Camera Items can now be dragged from the Remote Regions list (the root camera node). Place video windows anywhere on your desktop. Transparency can be adjusted through an input socket!
    • CHANGED: Overhaul on Camera Settings. Camera Flippage can now be changed.
    • CHANGED: Video window now available for local webcam. Good for seeing what is happening when you are a distance away from the computer monitor.
    • Added: Audio items can be created by dragging media files from Explorer onto the ecology. Existing Audio Items can be given new sounds by dragging and dropping media files onto them.
    • Added: Region Items and Camera Items can be substituted for others by dragging and dropping other regions or cameras onto them.
  • NEW in 3.3.2
    • FIXED: Connection exceptions and orphan connections have now been resolved (hopefully!!)
  • NEW in 3.3.1
    • FIXED: Camera options menu stopped working in previous version - now working again!
    • FIXED: Unhooking and dropping connections could result in program exceptions - no more!
    • ADDED: TimeCycleItem allows for programming control based on time of year/month/week/day/hour/minute.
    • CHANGED: ThresholdItem graph features can now be altered by clicking and dragging.
    • CHANGED: Ecology workspace size now defaults to a larger area that can be scrolled
  • NEW in 3.3.0
    • MAJOR UPDATE: May not be compatible with previous versions of Cambience.
    • ADDED: Toolbox control added to Sidebar. Contains a bunch of brand new tool items!
    • ADDED: Camera Settings window now contains interface for saving/loading camera schemes! Camera menu removed from main menu.
    • CHANGED: MIDI Settings menu remove from main menu - now accessed from MIDI tab.
    • CHANGED: Local Camera view is now visible even when the Camera tab isn't active!
    • CHANGED: Region Metrics now output signals accurate to the location/size of the region.
  • NEW in 3.2.7
    • FIXED: Cambience no longer crashes on a fresh installation without a settings.ini file already present.
  • NEW in 3.2.6
    • ADDED: Audio module now supports Playlists (*.pls, *.m3u)! Use playlist items to control music playback volume and control track advancement. Use the Cambience Player window to control playback outside of the Cambience main window.
  • NEW in 3.2.5
    • FIXED: Camera Change Threshold in Camera Options fixed - no longer crashes when set to minimum.
    • ADDED: Frame transmission can be completely disabled for privacy - see Camera Options menu.
  • NEW in 3.2.4
    • ADDED: Help > About Cambience menu added with copyright and contact information.
    • FIXED: Installer now deploys Collabrary merge module. No separate install required.
  • NEW in 3.2.3
    • FIXED: Duplicate instance message appears if a user attempts to run more than one copy of the program.
    • FIXED: Save menu item is properly enabled when a new Ecology is saved.
  • NEW in 3.2.2
    • All graphics now done using GDI! Better performance, no flicker.
  • NEW in 3.2.1
    • Ecology Shares are remembered between sessions.
    • Ecology Shares can be easily refreshed (reloaded) with the Refresh button.
  • NEW in 3.2.0 Major changes to Ecology Editor
    • Multiple Ecology Tabs, now scrollable for oversized layouts.
    • User Module with Ecology Sharing.
  • NEW in 3.1.2:
    • Ecology > Sound Settings... menu allows you to change the audio output device and speaker configuration.
    • FIXED: Regions can no longer be drawn, sized, or moved out of bounds.
    • FIXED: Installer deploys some .dll files in Assemblies folder causing missing dependency. Can be manually fixed by moving any file that is not named *Assembly.dll out of the Assemblies folder to be adjacent to Cambience.exe.
  • NEW in 3.1:
    • FIXED: Problem with User Name and User Location not updating properly.
      • Not a hindrance to program usage - will fix later.
    • FIXED: Ecology background fails to update.
      • This occurs sporadically where the hooks and sockets (filled and empty circles) are not drawn beside the Ecology items, or they do not follow when an item is moved.
      • Work Around: Please save your ecology and restart Cambience to solve this problem.