Change Field of View on Webcam?
May 14, 2024 4:35 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying to zoom in with my webcam (aka change my field of view) so that my whole room is not visible in conferences on Zoom / Teams / Google Meet. Is there no easy way to do this?

Team, Zoom and Google Meet do not seem to offer the ability to crop what I'm showing.

I have a Logitech webcam with Logitune software that allows me to adjust zoom level sometimes, but other times it mysteriously does not. For other webcams the only solution seems to be creating a virtual camera using OBS software which (a) is complicated in Windows and (b) crashes on MacOS.

Surely I am not the only person who wants to show less? Is there no easy way to do this?
posted by musofire to Computers & Internet (14 answers total)
In my experience zooming in would be a webcam function. But if you're trying to keep your space more private, blurring it might help.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 4:39 PM on May 14

This may be culturally dependent but in my world of video chat (mostly academic and personal use), it's very common and acceptable to see a view of someone's eyes and forehead and the top corner of their room. Or the side of their face and a window. They may duck in and out too.

My point is you can usually achieve limiting field of view for privacy , comfort and convenience by adjusting angles and distances and not fiddling with software at all, ymmv.
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:11 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]

If all you really want is cropping, would judiciously blocking the relevant areas of the lens with post-its or tape be an option?
posted by teremala at 5:19 PM on May 14 [2 favorites]

Google Meet at my work supports framing, which automatically zooms in on your face when the call starts. I find framing combined with a blurred background good enough for privacy.
posted by shock muppet at 5:37 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

I often use OBS for things like this. You can compose the scene however you would like and then share it as a virtual webcam in most apps.

Edit: Sorry about that. I missed your mention of OBS on my first read through. For what it's worth, OBS has been rock solid for me after virtual webcams became a core feature and not a plugin.
posted by phil at 5:55 PM on May 14

If you have enough computing horsepower, NVIDIA Broadcast, which is best known for audio noise suppression, also does visual filtering through "auto frame" effect, which basically does "zoom in". It also offers background blur or outright replacement.
posted by kschang at 7:38 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Sounds like I may have a similar set up to yours for work, and the webcam zoom function I'd been using for over a year mysteriously vanished recently. A little gaff tape and a lot of patience gave me an acceptable fix.

The drawback is that it doesn't give a clean border - the edge of the tape is irregular enough to diffuse the light - but nobody's asked why I look like a dageurrotype yet, so I'm rolling with it.
posted by EvaDestruction at 7:58 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

For my webcam, I use an Android phone running the Iriun Webcam app. (There's also a corresponding program that runs on my PC, which receives the video stream from the phone. )

I use the phone's front-facing camera, and the phone screen shows me what the camera is seeing when I'm in the app. I can use 2 fingers on the screen to zoom in and out as desired.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 7:59 PM on May 14 [1 favorite]

Best answer: At work I run my Logitech webcam feed through the free version of Camo, which lets you adjust zoom and framing and shows in apps as a virtual webcam. I haven't tried OBS, but Camo was pretty simple and straightforward to set up, and it's been reliable so far.

Previously I used the Logitune software but it would lose my settings every few days, just like you describe, and it utterly got on my nerves.
posted by doctorpiorno at 2:56 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

My solution has been to just swap out the background with a different location or random photograph, which works in all of the video meeting apps mentioned.

An alternative if you’ve got a mirrorless camera is to check if it can be used as a webcam. The video quality can make it look like you’re in a movie, and it is easy to zoom in as needed depending on the lens used.

If you’re on a Mac and own a recent iPhone, it can also be used as a camera - which opens up more location and angle choices, as well as alternative lenses depending on the model. (There are also 3rd party apps that can do it on both macOS and Windows.)
posted by rambling wanderlust at 4:14 AM on May 15

Artiface Eternity, thank you for that recommendation! I just downloaded/installed everything and it is ridiculously easy and effortless. I've been looking for an alternative to my personal laptop camera, which is inexplicably at the bottom of my screen. This is perfect!!
posted by cooker girl at 7:13 AM on May 15 [1 favorite]

I ran into this problem a few years ago with a Logitech C920, and found the best solution for me was to use the old Logitech Camera Settings software. The tool lets you zoom in as well as control brightness, contrast and color intensity. I start it up before Zoom or other software, and make adjustments. So far, it works with all platforms I’ve tried, including Zoom, MS Teams, Webex and Google Meet.

The only caveat is that the settings aren’t sticky, and you have to readjust them after a computer reboot.
posted by SteveInMaine at 12:20 PM on May 15

cooker girl: Glad it works for you! I do find that I'll occasionally get brief dropouts, where Zoom or Teams or Google Meet or whatever video meeting software I'm using loses the video stream from the phone. But it usually returns after 5 seconds or so. If the problem persists, rebooting the phone often fixes it. And for context, I had a nearly 2-hour Zoom meeting today and I don't think I had a single problem.
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 6:52 PM on May 15

I specifically didn't want my room to be shown on Teams meetings. After doing a lot of research I bought this Logitech webcam, which, although it says is widescreen, actually has a very narrow field of vision. In the reviews, some people have complained the field of vision is too narrow, others - like me - have been pleased at how little of the room it shows.
posted by essexjan at 5:09 PM on May 17

« Older When is it safe to play with a diabetic cat?   |   Put a bird on it Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments