What will solve my red-face-on-Zoom problem?
February 1, 2023 5:43 PM   Subscribe

As mentioned in my last question, I have a new work MacBook Pro for work. I look like a normal person in the built-in webcam, but like hilariously, ludicrously red in the face on my Logitech webcam, which on the previous Windows setup functioned acceptably. The Logitech webcam software is no longer being updated and apparently doesn't work with M1 computers anyway. I need a camera that is up on the top of my external monitor. Is there a way to look normal on the Logitech or do I need to buy something different, and if so, what?
posted by HotToddy to Computers & Internet (23 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: [Sorry for typos, it's been a rough day]
posted by HotToddy at 5:43 PM on February 1

I'll follow with interest, but probably won't do anything beyond changing settings (if that's a possibility). I mostly want to commiserate; as I have rosacea, I often look a little ruddy, but in Zoom meetings I look like I've been bobbing for French fries. You're not alone.
posted by kate4914 at 6:22 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]

What's your lighting setup? If you have a ring light handy, see what happens when you turn it onto its bluest setting, maybe?
posted by humbug at 6:29 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

Bad (or no intentional) color space conversion can cause this issue. It happens all the time with 4k YouTube videos that are actually using the Rec.2020 color space but are being displayed as if they were using the Rec.709 color space.

Are you sure that others are seeing things the way you are? It's entirely possible that someone on a Windows machine would see less red in the video even though the red is enhanced on your own screen. Point being that there may not be a real problem here if you are only concerned about what others are seeing and not what it looks like on your end.
posted by wierdo at 6:40 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

Which Logitech?

One solution may be to feed it through OBS or NDI so you can adjust the capture settings and/or apply filters. That's what I do to keep using the ones I have (which have always had iffy Mac support, even before Apple silicon--very, very laggy in Teams and etc when used natively).

If you have a recent phone its camera may very well be better quality; you can try using it as a webcam with software like Camo. Or on an M1 if you're using a recent iPhone, that's what the Continuity Camera feature does. (If it works, you'll need a clamp mount or tripod.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:56 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

A few years ago I bought this affordable monitor clip on light and it makes a big difference for me with my reddish face. It has two different color options so I can choose the one that looks better.

I have a Logitech at home and the office, each with this same ring light.

You could also try a few different lamps behind your computer monitor (set them on some books to make them higher perhaps) to see what works, just on Zoom not during a meeting.

If you are a person who wears lipstick, you might try experimenting with different colors and bolder colors. I find that a bright lipstick does a lot for my whole appearance on Zoom.
posted by bluedaisy at 7:02 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: - Lighting setup is my desk has windows (with optional semi-sheer cellular blind) immediately to my right and left, with overhead light on a dimmer. It used to work to just dim the light and manually adjust the exposure in Zoom, but no more. I usually keep the shades down.

- I have confirmed with co-workers on both Macs and PCs that I look super duper red.

-Logitech C930e

- My phone is an iPhone X. Is that recent enough?

- Lipstick on my lips doesn't help but I actually had this problem to a lesser degree on the old PC and found that rubbing a little on my neck somehow tricked the camera into showing me in a normal color! However this problem is way more severe and that's not the answer.
posted by HotToddy at 7:21 PM on February 1

Camo worked acceptably on my iPhone 6s, so an X should be new enough.
posted by meowzilla at 7:30 PM on February 1

I found a review stating that the c930e has color issues and that you might be better off with c920 model. The downside to that is c930e has better noise canceling features.

Definitely interesting - reviewer says he was wearing pale red shirt that showed as bright cherry red.

Who would pay for a new camera? Would you be out or does your employer have a pool of money for office equipment?

I think you could probably get a new camera in the $60 range.
posted by MadMadam at 7:53 PM on February 1

I have a version of the C920, so I can confirm the default handling in Zoom and Teams with that one is horrible as well, and it's never getting fixed natively.

NDI and/or OBS will work, via their virtual camera output, but it's a lot to deal with just to get a webcam to work. I have call for OBS anyway (so I can superimpose my cam over documents, or have two people on two cams in one pane of the meeting, etc).

Camo should work; Continuity requires a 2018 or newer iPhone model (so XR, not X).
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:55 PM on February 1

I had this issue with an old setup and just used some third-party camera settings software to tweak the color settings (RGB, contrast, etc.) Logitech is standard enough that I'd imagine a lot of third-party apps should be able to support it. Not sure if M1 changes that equation, though.
posted by trig at 7:58 PM on February 1

Most Windows webcams and my unadjusted Logitech c920 show me in my usual range of pinkness, but Apple makes me super extra pink in the macbook and iPhone built-in cameras.

I recommend Logitech Capture, which is a free download that lets you adjust colour settings. System requirements show that the 930e should probably work with it, but you'll have to check your OS. I find that on Windows 10, my Logitech colour adjustments carry over to Zoom and Teams.

If the software doesn't work, change your room's lightbulbs to the warmest colour temperature you can get.
posted by maudlin at 8:37 PM on February 1

Intel macs only. Unsupported after Mac OS 11 (Big Sur).
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:01 PM on February 1

Seconding a ring-light. I got this cheap ring light on Amazon, and I'm usually able to find a setting that makes my face tolerable in all lighting conditions.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:45 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]

While your iPhone is too old for the continuity camera feature, I’d seriously go with using your iPhone as the webcam using any of the available 3rd party apps. It should be head and shoulders above almost any webcam, and compete favorably with mirrorless camera. I use a gorilla pod with a phone adapter hanging off the back of my iMac, looking like some sort of alien baby staring at me…
posted by rambling wanderlust at 5:25 AM on February 2

Following this with interest because I have the same issue. And still, no matter what ive tried, i have a reddish/purplish face even though I'm more yellow/olive skinned and my tan walls look greenish.

Things I've tried

lights clipped to my monitor facing me that vary in brightness and warmth from very blue-white daylight to a very warm yellow.

changed the lighting in the room. Tried daylight bulbs, very warm yellow light, and one type in between.

bought a new webcam (old and new both logitec).

Switched the hub that the webcam plugs into.

Ive tried quicktime, zoom, and google meet. I've also tried with and without the auto filter built in to some of these.

No luck with any combination of the above. Yet when I use my built in webcam on my M1 Mac, everything looks fine.
posted by CleverClover at 7:04 AM on February 2

google 'logitech mac webcam colorspace'

Logitech has a lot of brand goodwill from longtime Mac users going back to when they were one of the few companies making ADB peripherals.

Their webcams suck on modern macs; and it's a combination of neither Apple, or Logitech or the app makers (Zoom, MS) caring. It's been like this for a number of years now.

You can run a Logitech cam through anything that gives you lower level control over its capture settings and/or do processing on it, and then use a virtual webcam output to feed a videoconference app. That works fine, if it doesn't intimidate you (and your hardware is up to the load without the virtual webcam stream lagging).
posted by snuffleupagus at 7:06 AM on February 2

Can you use the laptop's camera by putting it behind and above the external monitor, almost vertically, with a stand and a riser, and using an external keyboard? I use a $15 laptop stand and anything I can find as a riser (books, box, bucket).
posted by at at 8:30 AM on February 2

Logitech Capture, linked above, is the easy answer to this. Open it before your meeting, adjust the color (I think it will remember your settings), and choose it as your webcam in Zoom/Google Meet/whatever. It always works flawlessly for me.
posted by nosila at 1:03 PM on February 2

I use this: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/webcam-settings/id533696630?mt=12 Even though it hasn't been updated in a while, it works with the latest OS. It's a lot less hassle than a lot of the solutions above, although I do recommend trying the Logitech apps first.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:11 PM on February 2

fwiw, the Razer Kiyo is an excellent webcam. Zoom, Teams. About $80 USD?

It comes with a built-in ring light but it's low light performance is excellent and I rarely ever need it. Colour repro is good. Very crisp image.
posted by porpoise at 5:15 PM on February 2

The AnkerWork B600 is pretty nice - has a built in light with color temperature adjustments, but costs a bit of money. Maybe you could order it and return it if it doesn't make a difference for you.
posted by oceanjesse at 8:01 PM on February 3

I manage a small fleet of MacBooks, and yeah, the M1/M2 ones seem to have issues with white balance on many USB webcams. The fix I suggest is a little piece of free software called CameraController that uses standard UVC controls for things like focus, brightness, saturation and white balance.
posted by drumcorpse at 7:20 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]

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