Webcams are becoming increasingly important for both personal and professional communication. More people than ever are using video conferencing instead of voice calls.
It is very important to be able to see what your webcam is showing to other people before engaging in a conversation. Maybe you want to make sure you look good, or move your messy bedroom away.
Here are almost all the ways to test your webcam before using it.
Test your webcam on the Internet
If you are connected to the Internet, perhaps the easiest way to test your webcam before using it is with the Online Mic Test Webcam Tester. These sites are one of the easiest ways to record webcam videos on the Internet.
Open the page and click the play icon in the media box on the right side of the screen. Your browser will ask you for permission to use your webcam. After you click “Allow”, you will see a live preview. You can view live preview in windowed or full screen mode and get real-time frame rate data in the upper left corner of the image.
Test your webcam with Skype
Skype is still preferred by many, and it lets you preview your camera in the app’s settings menu:
- Open Skype
- Open Settings Menu
- Open Audio & Video
You will get an instant live webcam image in the audio and video settings window.
Use Zoom to test your webcam
Zoom has skyrocketed in popularity in 2020. While there is no way to check your video through the settings menu, you can start the meeting without other participants to check the webcam image:
- Sign in to your Zoom account.
- Select Start Meeting.
- Select Start With Video.
You will get a preview of how your webcam will look to others during a Zoom hangout.
Check your webcam on Windows 10
Windows 10 has a built-in camera program for taking photos and videos with a connected or built-in camera. You can access the Camera program from the Start menu.
The Camera app also has a variety of options to control how your webcam works. Click on the settings bar in the lower left corner of the window to access the webcam settings.
Test your webcam on macOS
Checking your webcam on Mac is easy thanks to the built-in Photobooth app. If the app is installed in your dock (it looks like a bunch of passport photos), clicking on it will open the Photobooth window and get an instant live stream from your webcam.
If it is not on the dock, you can open it in two ways.
- Click Applications.
- Select Photobooth.
Or for a quicker approach:
- Open Spotlight with CMD + Spacebar
- Type Photobooth
- Select Photobooth app from the list
Test your webcam on Ubuntu Linux
Checking your webcam in Ubuntu is easy thanks to the inclusion of the free Cheese photo booth app.
- Press the Windows / Option key to open the search menu.
- Find and open Cheese
You will immediately see what your webcam sees.
How to check your webcam on a Chromebook
Chromebooks have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, offering a wide variety of options to suit any budget. Chrome OS has its own application for capturing images and videos called Camera.
Opening the Camera app is a simple process:
- Click the launch button in the lower left corner of the screen, or press the launch key.
- Enter Camera in the dialog box
- Select the Camera application.
You will be greeted with a live preview of your webcam, with which you can inspect your surroundings before an important call or take photos or videos.
Use VLC Media Player to test your webcam
VLC media player is one of the best free media tools available. A lesser known feature of VLC is the ability to stream live media from a variety of sources. While it is commonly used to stream online media, you can also use it to keep track of what your webcam is currently filming.
You can check your webcam using VLC by following these steps.
- Open VLC
- Click File> Open Media Device.
- Select a webcam from the video. device name dropdown menu
After selecting the webcam, you should see the live webcam playback in the VLC video playback section. Optionally, you can use the More Options menu (located in the Open Media Device dialog box) to change the capture frame rate for smoother real-time playback.
Use OBS to test your webcam
Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) is the most popular software for streamers and video creators. It’s easy to use, powerful, open source, and free.
Linux command line webcam test
Not everyone uses a webcam for meetings. Many home security systems use standard USB webcams to save money. If you find yourself in a position where the camera is not working, you may not have easy access to the computer on which they are installed. To make matters worse, many servers run “offline” without a graphical interface to help debug problems.
In situations like this, using FFmpeg to capture a snippet of your camera from the command line can be a useful skill.
- Open a terminal with a keyboard shortcut.
- Install FFmpeg using sudo apt-install ffmpeg
- Find out which port your webcam is connected to by typing v4l2-ctl list-devices
- Enter the command ffmpeg -f v4l2 -framerate 25 -t 10 -video_size 640×480 -i / dev / video0 output.mkv to capture a 10 second video clip.
You are left with a 10 second output.mkv file that you can check from your remote computer.
Get more from your webcam
Webcams are more important than ever, and if your computer doesn’t have one, there are plenty of high quality cheap options to choose from.
With a webcam, you can do a lot more than make video calls. You can access your webcam remotely using a variety of apps, and an old webcam can be the centerpiece of a DIY security system.