Webcamoid is a surprisingly versatile open-source webcam suite for Windows, Linux and Mac.
Launch the program and it looks very simple. The image from the default webcam is displayed, there’s a small transparent toolbar at the bottom of the screen, and nothing else at all.
The toolbar seems basic, at least initially. There’s a Camera icon, clicking it takes a snapshot of the current screen and offers to save it as a PNG. Useful, but nothing special.
Click the “Record video” icon, though, and the program gets more interesting when a left-hand sidebar offers a choice of more than 30 destination video formats, as well as animated GIF.
Webcamoid provides a huge number of configuration options for each format, although they’re not exactly accessible. You’ll need a good understanding of FFMPEG command line switches and some low-level video fundamentals to figure out most of them. But if you do, they’re very useful; and if you don’t, it doesn’t matter, as the options only appear if you open the relevant dialogs.
If your images or videos aren’t up to standard, an Adjust” option enables configuring your device, maybe adjusting the resolution, frame rate, brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, sharpness, gamma, white balance and more.
Alternatively, you can just mess around with the picture by applying 60 “effects”. There’s nothing too surprising or special, it’s mostly colour changes and visual transforms, but they’re fun to explore.
Webcamoid’s features aren’t restricted to the default webcam. A “Sources” option enables switching from the initial camera to any other compatible device you can access, including across the network.
The program can use any connected display as a source. Select “Screen 0”, for instance, and Webcamoid will display your desktop in real time (drag a window and it’ll move on the screen). You can then adjust its colours, brightness, contrast, apply effects, take snapshots or record videos, just as you can with a webcam.
There’s support for using media files as sources, too. You could select a video and set it up as a virtual webcam, which would then be accessible by any other application which can use a webcam feed.
We had a few issues using the portable Windows edition of the program. Startup times were often so slow we would launch Task Manager to see if it was running at all (it was, we just needed to be patient). The program crashed a few times, too, though not for any obvious reason. Still, this could easily be due to some issue specific to our test system, and if you’re interested in this kind of tool we’d recommend giving Webcamoid a try.
Webcamoid is available for Windows 7 and later, Linux and Mac.