Why Does My Webcam Keep Flickering?

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Updated August 29, 2022

If you are brand new to the world of streaming video, you may wonder, “Why does my webcam keep flickering?” Some of the best webcams, after all, are still susceptible to various maintenance issues, flickering among them. So what causes webcam flickering, and what can you do about it? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Webcam flickers are a true annoyance, getting in the way of successful work meetings and the like.
  • Your first step when troubleshooting this issue is to adjust the camera’s refresh rate, shutter speed, and frame rate via the settings.
  • Other potential solutions include downloading new driver software via a USB device, changing up the settings on your preferred videoconferencing app, and increasing natural light and power lights.

Why Webcams Flicker

There are many reasons a webcam flickers, including both software and hardware issues, with causes similar to when learning why your webcam lags. Once you internalize the exact definition of a webcam, you see how common flickering is. It could boil down to the refresh rate or the quality of the camera itself if you are comparing a laptop webcam vs an external webcam. It could also be a simple matter of webcam frame rates, which are easily misunderstood.

Insider Tip

The camera itself could be experiencing hardware issues, necessitating a replacement.

No matter the cause, don’t fret, as there are multiple ways to fix this frustrating issue.

How to Stop a Webcam From Flickering

There may be many causes behind webcam flickers, but there are just as many potential solutions. Here are some useful troubleshooting steps worth considering.

Adjust the Refresh Rate and Frame Rate

You may think you have no control over various parameters of your webcam, but that is not true. You can easily adjust the refresh rate and frame rate to eliminate flickering by heading to any dedicated settings application affiliated with your webcam. Experiment with higher and lower refresh rates to see if that solves the issue, though in most cases lowering this rate is the correct move. You can also sometimes change up the refresh rate and frame rate in the settings affiliated with your PC or laptop.

Check the Settings on Your Video Chat App

Your preferred video chat application, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, could be causing the flickering by simply asking too much of your webcam. Open up the software and head to the settings tab. Lower some settings, such as resolution or frame rate, to ease some of the burdens on your camera. This should fix the issue of flicker, at least when you are using this particular conferencing software.

STAT: Of those living in a household where the total income was 100,000 U.S. dollars or more per year, 58 percent said that they owned Canon products. (source)

Download Drivers

Downloading and installing new webcam driver software is always a good move when troubleshooting any issue. Check the settings of your camera to check for a software update. Barring that, manually download new software at the manufacturer’s web portal.

Flickering Webcam FAQs

What causes webcam flickering?

Webcam flickering has many causes, from pulses of power, faulty USB ports, outdated webcam software, and more.

Why do LED lights flicker on a camera?

Interaction between lights, such as LED lights, can certainly lead to flickering, particularly if the LED light is plugged into a USB port. Try switching from the built-in webcam, adjusting the webcam settings, or removing the LED light.

Webcam flickering on game startup no matter what I do?

This could be an issue of not matching the game's exact frequency regarding resolution and refresh rate. Head into the game settings and make some adjustments.
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