8 new uses for your webcam

Thanks to the pandemic, video calls have become more common than ever. People who’ve never even made a video call are now using technology to keep in touch for work, school, or just a virtual happy hour.

You probably notice the difference in care between your friends, family and coworkers during a video call. Aside from the effort they put into their clothes (nothing wrong with pajamas for casual conversation), some people just seem to look better. You don’t need a makeover or filters to enhance your virtual appearance. Tap or click here for Kim’s tips for looking good on video calls.

But your webcam can be used for more than just making video calls. It is a useful gadget that can help with safety and add fun and entertainment to your day. Read on to discover eight ways to get the most out of your webcam.

1. Turn your webcam into a security camera

Security cameras can get expensive, but you can start a basic surveillance system using your webcam and an app. Look for an app that has motion detection and alerting features. Also check if the footage is stored remotely or locally. In the second case, you will need storage space on your hard drive.

RELATED: This app allows you to simulate lousy connection during Zoom calls

We recommend Critter.Camera, which allows you to turn your old devices like tablets and smartphones into security cameras. Tap or click here for a step-by-step guide on setting up security cameras using your existing technology.

2. Remember that the “cam” in webcam means camera.

Your webcam can record video, but it can also be used to take still images. Your webcam may come with software for taking photos, but you can also search for apps to accomplish this and get editing tools to go with it.

The Windows Camera, available for free from Microsoft, offers panorama mode, HDR, framing grids, photo timers, and more.

3. Bring flavor to your video chats

You can add filters, props and backgrounds to your feeds to bring some fun to your virtual dating. It’s up to you to read the piece, however. This might not be the best idea at an important meeting!

There are a lot of options for filtering apps, and we love Snap Camera. This lens works with Zoom, Google Hangout, Google Meet, Skype, OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) and Twitch. You can even transform into a cartoon character. Tap or click here for more details on how Snap Camera works.

4. Why rent a photo booth when you have a webcam?

The holidays are approaching and people are gathering to celebrate. You can set up a photo booth using your webcam. People can walk over to your computer and take solo or group photos that can be shared with everyone at the party. Add some fun accessories to wear if you like.

Photo Booth Pro is a free application for Windows that allows you to add real-time effects to your images and videos and capture individual photos or photo strips. Its 33 high-definition camera effects include Grayscale, Mirror, Flip 3D, Fisheye, and Pinch. The footage is saved locally or to OneDrive.

5. Unlock your computer the same way you unlock your phone.

Why should your phone have all the cool security features? You’re probably using a password to unlock your computer, but you can take facial recognition a step further.

Windows Hello lets you use a PIN, facial recognition, or fingerprint to unlock your Windows 10 and 11 devices. Windows Hello Face uses infrared technology to scan your face, so you need a compatible webcam.

6. Turn into a game controller

Motion detection in video games is nothing new, as the technology was popularized by the Nintendo Wii and continued with Microsoft’s Kinect for Xbox and Sony’s PlayStation Move. You can do the same with your computer and webcam.

CamSpace allows you to use your body movements to control games. You can play directly in your browser!

7. Use your body like a mouse

You can relax and control your actions on your computer without being hunched over a mouse. This is especially useful for people with mobility issues.

CameraMouse is a free program that allows you to use your head to move your mouse pointer around the screen. The software was developed for people with cerebral palsy, spinal muscular atrophy, ALS, MS, brain damage and various neurological disorders.

8. Shoot time-lapse videos

Time lapse videos are fun to create and share. You can time-lapse your face over a year or compress your 2-hour house party into a 20-second time-lapse video. The only limit is your imagination.

RELATED: Weekend Project: 5 Easy Ways To Make Your Home Safer

VideoVelocity allows you to record time lapse video from any webcam. You can take snapshots from the images and do whatever you want with them. The program is free, but you can upgrade to the HD version for $ 98.


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