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Because of Covid-19, streaming platforms like Twitch and video conferencing services like Zoom have seen a surge in numbers. Almost everybody all around the world has had to sit in front of a webcam and face other people, one time or the other, since early 2020.

The reality of in-person interaction being replaced with an online-based platform is that you need a mic and a webcam to interact with other people. If you’re unprepared and your webcam doesn’t work when needed, it bears the risk of making you look unprofessional.

Thus, it is better to check beforehand if your webcam is in proper working order. And if you are feeling a little out-of-loop on how you’d go about testing your webcam, then don’t worry. We’ve got you covered. 

Ways to Test Your Webcam on PC

You can test if your webcam is in working order in a few different ways. Such as:

  • Online, using your web browser
  • With the help of applications built into your Operating System
  • Using third-party apps.

Testing Webcam With an Application in Your Operating System

Whether you use Windows, MacOS, or Linux, they each have a built-in camera application that you can use to test your webcam. You can use these camera applications to test out your webcam.

On Windows

  1. Press Win + R and type in: microsoft.windows.camera: to launch the camera app.
  2. Switch between Photo and Video modes and see if they work alright.
  3. On the left is a Brightness button. When you click it, it brings up a slider, which lets you adjust the camera brightness. Try to find the brightness setting that works best for you.
  4. On the top left corner is the Settings button, where you find options for video and photo qualities and grid settings. Try them out as well.
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On MacOS

  1. Click on the Finder button and click on Applications.
  2. Double-click on the Photo Booth icon, which will launch the camera in your Mac.
  3. Check if the display in the Photo Booth app displays your image. If it does, then your webcam is working fine.

On Linux

  1. Press Alt + F2 and type xterm to open Terminal. If this does not work, then type gnome-terminal instead.
  2. At the terminal, type cheese to launch the webcam application.
  3. Check if the display shows the webcam’s contents. The webcam is working properly if you have a visual.

If you get an error message “command not found” when you type cheese at the terminal, you must install cheese first.

If your Linux distro is SUSE:

  • Launch terminal and type: yast -i cheese

If you have other Linux distros (e.g., Debian, Rasbian, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, … etc.):

  • Launch terminal and type: sudo apt-get install cheese

Trying Out the Webcam With Third-Party Apps

If you’re attending a class, a meeting, or a seminar, there is probably a particular application that you are required to use for that purpose. In such situations, it will be best if you try that very same application to test your webcam feed beforehand. 

Anyway, here are some popular applications and the steps to test your webcam with them.

OBS Studio

OBS Studio is a popular free, open-source, cross-platform broadcasting software used for screencasting and streaming. Thus, if you are considering using OBS Studio, here is how you can ensure that your webcam works perfectly with this software.

  1. Launch OBS Studio.
  2. Go to Sources dock. (You can enable this from the toolbar Docks > Sources).
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  3. Click on the Add (+) button, then select Video Capture Device, then click OK.
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  4. On the next screen, click on the Device drop-down menu and select your webcam. Generic webcams will be listed as “Integrated Camera.” Click OK.
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  5. Check your webcam capture feed. You may also choose to configure video settings if you like.
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Discord

Discord is a popular VoIP and instant messaging platform that supports voice and video calls. These days, it is common for people with similar interests to join a Discord community where you can hang out and discuss.

  1. Launch your Discord app.
  2. From the main screen, click on the gear icon towards the bottom left corner of the screen to launch Settings.
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  3. Scroll to find Voice & Video under App settings. Then, click on it.
  4. Scroll down to find Video Settings. You will see a Test Video button in the middle. Click it.
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  5. Check the feed from the webcam to verify it’s working. As a bonus, Discord allows you to set the background, which you might want to try and test as well.

Skype

Skype is a VoIP and videoconferencing app with features such as a laser pointer, pen, eraser, stamp, highlighter, etc that make giving presentations easier. You also have access to a whiteboard.

Furthermore, it has a real-time translation in 35 languages for free. Thus, it is suitable for online classes as well as business meetings.

Skype was acquired by Microsoft in 2011 and comes bundled as the default messaging app in Windows. As such, many people use Skype because it’s already installed on their Windows machines.

  1. Launch Skype.
  2. Click on the drop-down menu next to the gear icon to the right of Sign in.
  3. Select Tools, then Video Device Settings.
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  4. This will launch Video Device options, and on the right, you should see the feed from your webcam.
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  5. Click on the Camera Settings button to change parameters such as Brightness, Contrast, Hue, Saturation, etc.
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Zoom

Zoom is a VoIP, videoconferencing, and telephony app that got popular during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many people prefer Zoom over other similar solutions because of its ease of use and software reliability.

  1. Launch the Zoom app and log into it.
  2. Click on the Settings icon near the top-right corner.
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  3. Click on the Video tab. You should now be able to see the output from your webcam.
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Google Meet

As the name suggests, Google Meet is a video-communication service developed by Google. It grew in popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic because Google let unpaid users have 60-minute access, which was sufficient for most meetings and online classes. Furthermore, starting and joining a Meet session was easier than other similar platforms.

If you are on a PC, you can start or join a Meet session from your web browser.

  1. Launch your browser and go to the home page of Google Meet.
  2. At the top right corner, you will see a gear icon. Click on it.
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  3. If you are doing this for the first time, you will see a couple of pop-up screens about Meet needing access to your microphone and webcam. Click on Allow on one pop-up, and Dismiss on the other.
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  4. Switch to the Video tab on the Settings window. You should see your selected Camera. To its right is a small screen where your webcam feed is displayed. Check if this is working correctly.
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Check the Webcam Online via Your Browser

There are plenty of online sites where you can check your webcam and microphone to see if they are in working order. We do not vouch for your data privacy nor endorse any such website. In fact, we recommend that you cover your camera while trying such sites and play some music in the background while testing.

Anyway, if you want, here is one such website that we found useful.

  1. Open your web browser and launch the website webcamtests.
  2. The website has Webcam Information to the left, Testing Area in the mid, and Rate your webcamsection to the right. For now, we are interested in the Testing Area.
  3. Click on the Test my cam button located below the Testing Area.
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  4. Wait for the process to finish. You can inspect the feed while the testing process is being carried out.

Once the testing process is finished, you can view information on your webcam such as MegaPixels, Resolution, Aspect Ratio, Brightness, Hue, Saturation, etc. under the Webcam Information section on the left.

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