8 new uses for your webcam

Thanks to the pandemic, video calls are more common than ever. People who have never had a video call before are now using the technology to stay in touch for work, school, or just a virtual happy hour.

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

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

1. Turn your webcam into a security camera

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

RELATED: This App Lets You Fake a Bad Connection During Zoom Calls

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

2. Remember that the “cam” in webcam stands for camera

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

Windows cameraAvailable for free from Microsoft, it features panorama mode, HDR, frame grids, photo timers, and more.

3. Spice up your video chats

You can add filters, accessories, and backgrounds to your feeds to spice up your virtual gatherings. However, it is up to you to read the room. This may not be the best idea during an important meeting!

There are plenty of options when it comes to filtering apps, and we love photo camera. This lens works with Zoom, Google Hangout, Google Meet, Skype, OBS (Open Broadcaster Software), and Twitch. You can even turn yourself into a cartoon character. Tap or click here to learn more about how Snap Camera works.

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

The holidays are coming and people are gathering to celebrate it. You can set up a photo booth with your webcam. People can walk up to your computer and take solo or group photos that can be shared with everyone at the party. Throw in some cute accessories that people can wear if you want.

Photo Booth Pro is a free app for Windows that allows you to add real-time effects to your images and videos and create single photos or photo strips. The 33 high-definition camera effects include Grayscale, Flip, 3D Flip, Fisheye, and Pinch. The footage is stored locally or on OneDrive.

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

Why should your phone get all the useful security features? You probably use a password to unlock your computer, but you can take your privacy a step further with facial recognition.

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’ll need a compatible webcam.

6. Turn yourself 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 lets you use your body movements to control games. You can play directly in your browser!

7. Use your body as a mouse

You can relax and monitor your actions on your computer without bending over a mouse. This is especially helpful for people with mobility issues.

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

8. Create Time Lapse Videos

Time-lapse videos are fun to make 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

Video Speed lets you record time-lapse video from any webcam. You can take snapshots of 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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