What is a Virtual Camera & how to use it?

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What is a Virtual Camera?

A virtual camera is not a real hardware camera but can be selected like any other camera on your computer. The virtual camera can be used in programs like Skype, websites like YouTube, Facebook and so on. Some virtual cameras like that in Finncast Studio have drivers like real cameras & other hardware and will work in any program & some do not, which maybe not be found in programs & websites. In such cases like Skype using any older version of Skype will usually work but the new version of Skype (app) for Windows 10 will only see a virtual camera that has a driver. So, when choosing a program with a virtual camera check or ask, does it have a driver? Or you may be disappointed with the result.

What exactly does a virtual camera display?

It displays some sort of visual display which can be video, static images, your computer desktop etc. In Finncast Studio as an example it has an output of what is being transmitted from it’s built in video switcher via the program output. This output is the final footage the viewer will see. This output is fed into the virtual camera in real-time. Wherever you select this camera from a software program (app) or a website you will see this output. This is extremely useful for many purposes. Imagine you are streaming a live show on YouTube & you have a live interview with your guest via Skype. With programs like Finncast Studio where you maybe in a Virtual Studio that is exactly how the Skye caller will see you in your virtual studio rather that just what the real camera is picking up. Finncast Teacher is another program for online teaching and it also uses a virtual camera (usually for lessons via Skype), this allows the student to see the built-in smart board when the teacher selects it and here also a virtual camera is used to achieve this.

Who would use a virtual camera?

People who live stream online use virtual cameras all the time. For example, you maybe use one program such as Finncast Studio for switching cameras, video players, static images basically controlling your video footage, then if you had a preference to use another program like OBS Studio to live stream, you can just select the virtual camera from Finncast Studio in OBS Studio and stream live. Virtual cameras are becoming more popular as it gives the end user much more control over what is being displayed. Professional video producers, online teachers, producers of YouTube channels are just some of the people using virtual cameras. It is without doubt an easy option to work with multiple software programs & websites without needing any additional hardware.

Who would use a virtual camera?

People who live stream online use virtual cameras all the time. For example, you maybe use one program such as Finncast Studio for switching cameras, video players, static images basically controlling your video footage, then if you had a preference to use another program like OBS Studio to live stream, you can just select the virtual camera from Finncast Studio in OBS Studio and stream live. Virtual cameras are becoming more popular as it gives the end user much more control over what is being displayed. Professional video producers, online teachers, producers of YouTube channels are just some of the people using virtual cameras. It is without doubt an easy option to work with multiple software programs & websites without needing any additional hardware.

If I use a virtual camera how is the audio streamed?

Just like when you use a real microphone your can select your audio from a connected microphone or in some programs your sound card. There are also virtual microphones & virtual sounds cards free online such as VB cable. VB cable will also allow you to send all audio including mixed audio, usually a combination of microphone & sound card together. This lifts the restriction on selecting a traditional hardware microphone which will only send your voice or whatever the microphone is picking up. With a virtual microphone you can send all audio out using the VB virtual microphone. VB cable is very popular with many sound engineers, video producers, gamers & online streamers.

Virtual cable

How do I install a virtual camera?

Usually the program such as Finncast Studio that has a virtual camera as standard will automatically install the virtual camera at the same time you install Finncast Studio. Other programs may require you to install it as an additional plugin. Again, I mention it is best to use a virtual camera that has a driver as this will be seen like a real camera in programs like Skype. Another thing to note is, if the camera will only work on 64-bit operating systems, which is usually the case. Having said that, most people today when purchasing a computer or laptop will receive a 64-bit system as it is very rare for new computers to have a 32-bit system.

What features does a virtual camera have?

Some Virtual cameras just like real cameras allow for selection of different resolution but in most cases, it should not be necessary as the streaming program will also have settings of video bit rate. Also controlling brightness, gain & contrast which is always helpful.

If I am using a virtual camera can I use my real camera at the same time in the same program?

Yes & No. Directly no, in programs like Skype, YouTube, Facebook. Yes, when using programs like Finncast Studio as it has the ability to send the real camera also through the virtual VC and even overlay the real camera on top of the VC via the built-in video switcher. For example your output from the VC might be a video playing or a game you are playing (online gamers) with Finncast Studio you can downstream (overlay) the real camera on top of the output display in any size including split & multi-screen. Of course, this is great when live streaming as you can place yourself via the real camera in the top or bottom of the screen when needed and also switch the real camera in full screen, you could say it is the best of both worlds.


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