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How to Optimize Your Cheapo Webcam's Image

We're getting a little detour today to talk lighting in a context different than still photos.

Every day, untold bandwidth is being applied to transmit truly bad webcam picture quality. This is such a shame when you consider how simple this is to set.

We're talking primary, low-end-theory off-camera flash, folks. same thing we talk about each day. And the webcam is a comfortable way to play around with lighting and view immediate results. That said, here are five general webcam problems and their easy fixes.

1. Please do not use your monitor for a light source

We all have been here, I think. Even worse, you may find yourself on the receiving end here. IMO, this is the worst possible case, and how most webcams work.

Here, you can see the computer monitor acting as our light source. Could you guess my desktop color? Did you guess blue?

Completing that is the fact that the foreground light is more intense than the background light. First, let us correct that.
Solution:
Switch on your flippin' desk lamp. A CFL bulb is installed in mine, which happened to be one of those adjustable engineering lamps. It doesn't matter what kind of bulb you have for these purposes. Once you help out a little with your webcam, it will automatically adjust for it.

Now we are closer to our desired color. And you'll notice that the bright light from the front causes the webcam to turn a tad down its exposure, resulting in less contrast.

However, the harsh light of the engineer's lamp is not doing me any favors. I need some help.

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2. Put on softer lighting

Solution:
Use typing paper to diffuse the light. You can get a softer light source for just two cents worth of office supplies. I taped the paper to the lamp's open front, so now the harsh light has been softened.

There are some differences: The shiny highlight in my forehead now appears less intense, which is due to the larger apparent size of the light source.

Furthermore, the typing paper knocks down the brightness of the lamp, which causes the auto-exposure adjustment
(a) the background to
(b) the computer reflection will occur some.

Variation:
A lamp can be turned around to bounce off of the wall if the room has one. As a result, the light source becomes larger, softer, and dimmer. Because the background light source was so dim in the front, it made the back too bright.

It's up to you whether or not to diffuse the light or bounce it. I usually prefer diffused for extra control and the fact that it retains more light intensity.

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3. You should kill the computer's reflection in your eyes

Have you noticed how the lights seem to rise and fall based on our front light intensity?

Solving the computer glare problem partially by adding light to the monitor has helped. Let's complete the process.

Solution:
Make sure your monitor's brightness and contrast settings are just barely comfortable, so you can barely see while you're using your webcam.

Essentially, the lamp acts as a frontal light source, so it will kill the reflection.

If you do not wear glasses, this step is not important. However, if you do, it might be nice for people to be able to see your eyes.

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4. Provide your webcam with what it needs

Here's a little secret: Sometimes, when I use my webcam, I like to make myself look red by clenching my buttocks tightly together.

What is happening here is that the camera is having trouble with its auto-exposure/white balance, trying to pick up a color balance. The two pictures directly above were taken about a second apart, in the same lighting. Have you ever had that happen to you?

Normal... Green... Bluish... Normal... For a second... Weird again...

When that happens to me, it's my fault. The webcam is just trying to give me nice color and exposure. You only need one thing: A spot of white.

That's the way auto white balance/auto-exposure works. When you take a picture, it assumes you want it to be white, makes adjustments until it is.

It doesn't matter how much white you add to the frontal light zone, it won't balance very well.

Solution:
You'll get better color and exposure when your webcam when you wear a white shirt.

There is no difference between the styles.

As I am sporting, it can be a nice, crisp white oxford. If that is the case, it could be the kind of undershirt some people wear when they're busted in a trailer park.

What works for you is fine.

The webcam's going to try and make something white no matter what it is. Put some whiteness in it, and your problems with exposure/color disappear. Additionally, you cannot meander through the spectrum while talking, either.

A light source in the background makes no difference to the webcam when white is in the foreground.
White clothing is supposed to symbolize innocence and purity, right?


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5. Put the background to work for you

Keep in mind that I am talking about a "visually clean" basement, not a "really clean" one. Your basement may as well still be trashed.

Getting a collapsible background is a great idea for anyone who does any reasonable amount of webcam work. Sources are listed at the end of the post.

You can open them in half a second and they collapse back down in just 23 easy attempts.

(Actually, they are really simple if you know how.)

This is only one of the five tips that will make you reach for your wallet. And granted, I am an extremely frugal person. However, spending $150 on a backdrop and light stand more than paid for itself here. An added benefit: If you're a photographer, this will also give you a portable studio backdrop to shoot the kids or your dog on location.

A 5x6' (or a 5x7') backdrop is better than any backdrops smaller than 5x6'. Even when they are placed in the close back, you can still see the edges.

The wide-angle lenses, BTW, are why I look so goofy in these pictures and not more like Brad Pitt, as in real life. You can prevent this bulbous-headed distortion by not getting too close to the webcam. Just a hint.

Having a neutral grey version will make your auto white balance even happier. You can go for the mottled brown background if you wish, but as long as your webcam has some white to balance, you should make sure it has some white on which to balance. A mottled background makes a great backdrop for still or video photographers alike.

Important: The basement does not need to be cleaned every time you use your webcam.

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Q:1How do I improve my webcam’s quality?

Ans:Here are some tips on how to improve your webcam quality:

  1. You can use studio lightings such as a ring light or LED panel. Even a lamp will help.
  2. The light source should be daylight.
  3. Ensure the brightest part of your light source is facing you.
  4. Your webcam settings can be changed manually.
  5. Add LUT's to your footage in real-time to color grade it.

Q:2 How do I change the resolution of my webcam?

Ans:Your webcam's resolution can be changed.

  1. Click on Cheese - Preferences - Webcam.
  2. From the list of resolutions, choose a different one. Some webcams only support one resolution, so chances are you'll have no choice.
  3. Click Close.

3.How do I boost the quality of my zoom lens?

Ans:Six ways to instantly improve Zoom video quality

  1. Make sure the Zoom app is enabled for HD. Go to the Zoom app settings and turn it on.
  2. Eyeline. No one wants to see up your nose, and if they do, don't go on a Zoom call with them.
  3. Let the light shine.
  4. The audio is probably the most important part of the call.
  5. Declutter your home.
  6. The bandwidth.

As a broadcaster, maximizing the quality of your broadcasts is a must. This post should give you a decent grip on how to improve your Image Quality.

These are only a few of the suggested methods for dealing with the most common picture streaming quality problems.

A terrible webcam picture quality is being transmitted every day over untold bandwidth.
This is such a pity because it's so easy to set.


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