CivilCapture is an acquisition plugin for ImageJ image processing software, based on the LTI-civil Java library. LTI-civil (and thus CivilCapture too) can capture images from a video source such as a USB camera, and supports Windows, Linux (32/64-bit), and Mac OS X via DirectShow, V4L2, and Quicktime.

While the plugin GUI window is open, you can capture frames into a stack, much like the Quicktime Capture plugin does. It can also capture and display a single frame from a macro, without GUI.

This plugin has been adapted from the "Simple GUI to display captured video" class of Ken Larson (developer of LTI-civil). It has been tested mainly on Windows and Macosx, with USB cameras and a Formac Firewire video converter. Linux should work as well, although we found some limitation with low-cost USB cameras. However, Ken Larson is actively developing the library, so that such problems will be surely overcome in the future.


The Civilcapture plugin, compiled and complete with sources, is available here.

The CivilCapture plugin


  1. As a first step, download CivilCapture, go to imageJ/plugin folder and create a eSlide subfolder. Extract here all files.
  2. Then you have to make available the lti-civil library and its native package to ImageJ; download it from the LTI-civil site and extract the files in some place.
  3. After that, configure ImageJ so that it can reach the LTI-civil library. You can find some direction in the README file enclosed with the plugin.


CivilCapture runs in interactive as well as batch mode.

Interactive usage

You can launch the plugin from the imageJ-->plugins menu. While the preview window is open, you can use the following keys:

To work correctly, focus must stay on preview window. Sometimes the stack is not refreshed correctly during acquisition (i.e., image appears white); however acquisition occurs anyway.

Batch mode

To use CivilCapture from a macro, and acquire single frame without opening the GUI, simply add:

run("civilCapture ", "grab");

into your macro.

Hardware notes

The plugin has been only preliminarily tested with just some device (USB cameras and Formac Studio DV), and mainly under Windows Vista and Macosx 10.4.10, so its functioning is not guaranteed. However, LTI-civil takes its input from the host operating system, so that whenever a capture device has drivers (DirectShow, Quicktime, V4L2), it is much likely it will run also through CivilCapture. At present no device selection is implemented into LTI-civil, but it is on the roadmap.


CivilCapture is released under the GPL license.


Written by Nicola Bortolotti under supervision of Vincenzo Della Mea, Medical Informatics, Telemedicine and eHealth Laboratory, University of Udine, Italy -

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