Wacky filters, effects, backgrounds: Your webcam can do more

Beyond depending on video conferencing software, webcams also have a few tricks to shake up your videos. — dpa

Webcams generally do their job just fine. But sometimes you just want them to do more than just film your face. Like what if you want turn into a cat during your next meeting?

Or perhaps the picture somehow always looks bad? And what if you can’t get a virtual background in your video chat service?

If you’re keen on using fun or advanced features that you can’t find in Zoom or whatever video chat software you use privately or at work, then there’s two things you can do.

The first is to look at what else your webcam can offer. Most of us don’t bother looking at the webcam’s software, so long as it works, but some manufacturers supply decent tools with a range of video options that are worth taking a look at.

But of course sometimes the programs are also bad. Sometimes there isn’t even one at all, as the webcam runs fine with standard drivers.

Luckily users aren’t dependent on video chat providers or webcam manufacturers when it comes to missing features.

The second place to look for better video chat is with free third-party programs you can download. These will monitor your webcam’s signal and alter it with effects and backgrounds for you.

This is possible with Webcamoid, a free, open-source webcam software for Windows and Mac as well as for Linux.

If you can’t find the features you need in Webcamoid, you can also try the more playful program Webcammax for Windows. With the free

version, however, you have to live with fewer effects and sometimes a watermark in the picture. On Linux computers, Cheese is another alternative.

Mac users can also experiment with Photo Booth, which comes with MacOS. Originally, it could only be used to take photos or record videos via webcam.

Since MacOS X 10.5 (Leopard), however, the programme can also access webcam streams in order to add visual effects or backgrounds. — dpa

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