How to Use a Camcorder as a Webcam

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Updated September 12, 2022

If you haven’t heard yet, the verdict is out: webcams are here to stay. The best webcams are so popular that they have changed the way people interact and work forever. Because of this, many without a webcam might feel left out. But don’t worry! Did you know you can transform many older devices into webcams? It’s true! Stick around as we show you how to use a camcorder as a webcam.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Setting up your camcorder as a webcam requires it to have a USB or HDMI port.
  • Before launching a video feed, users must download compatible streaming software to their computers.
  • Once the right software and proper connection are established, you can plug in your device, launch the webcam program and begin recording.

And camcorders aren’t the only devices that can be used as webcams. We have a similar resource on how to use a DSLR as a webcam.

Insider Tip

Always fully charge the camcorder battery or hook it up to a power adapter before using it to facetime, as webcams won’t charge by plugging into the computer.

How Do I use my Camcorder as a Webcam?

Whether you’re looking to play around with that old hand-held kicking around the house or are frantically trying to find an alternative to your computer’s broken webcam, this project is super useful. And the good news is that figuring out how to install a webcam, camcorder, or otherwise is often simple and quick.

Bear in mind there are other things not covered in this article. However, after you’ve completed the setup, it’s helpful to know how to update the webcam driver. If you’d instead rather read up on something with a built-in webcam, we have an article on how to use a camera with a Google Chromebook.

Step 1 – Check that You Have a Webcam Compatible Camcorder

To ensure your camcorder works as a webcam, the first thing to do is check for either an HDMI or USB port.

Step 2 – Download Compatible Webcam Software

Check your manual to ensure that your specific webcam comes with webcam software (also known as a streaming driver). Then, check that the software works with your computer’s operating system. After downloading the software, restart your computer.

Step 3 – Connect the Camcorder to the Computer

Plug your video cable (HDMI/USB cable) into the video capture device and computer.

Step 4 – Set Up Camcorder

Power on the camcorder, and turn the USB streaming function ON in the camcorder menu settings.

Step 5 – Open the Webcam Software

Enter your computer’s webcam program to begin the video feed. You can adjust the webcam settings within the software program to achieve better video quality.

Warning

Remember that not every camcorder model can be used as a webcam. Check your user manual or call the manufacturer to confirm this spec.

STAT: Camcorders are still manufactured and sold today, costing anywhere from $50-$4,000. (source)

How to Use a Camcorder as a Webcam FAQs

Where can I find webcam streaming software for my camcorder?

There are some free options available online. Additionally, your camcorder may come with a software program to insert into your computer's disc slot and download that way.

How do I get audio with my camcorder webcam?

You will need to set up an external microphone and plug it into a USB port to get audio.

Do camcorders produce a better image quality than built-in webcams?

The quality of video output all depends on the resolution of a device. However, many camcorders offer 4k resolution, which is rare among built-in webcams.
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