Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Manually Control Your Mac USB Webcam with Webcam Settings

The Mac program Webcam Settings gives you manual control over all of the relevant settings of a USB webcam like the Logitech C920 webcam.

Webcam Settings Panel and Quicktime Player
Image: Webcam Settings Panel and Quicktime Player

More info from the Webcam Settings Mac App Store page:
• True hardware level control of your webcam.
• View changes in Real-time to your video as you move sliders and change other settings.
• Fully plug-and-play; Webcam Settings, automatically recognizes your USB webcam when it’s connected to your Mac.
• Automatically identifies various settings that your webcam supports.
• Feel free to try any different settings as “Reset to Default” button brings back original settings from your camera.
• Works with almost every video or photo app such as Photo Booth, FaceTime, iMovie, Skype, iStopMotion, Wirecast, Sparkbooth, GoToMeeting, WebEx, Jabber, Flash based webcam app and many others.

Supported Settings (varies between cameras)
• Auto-Exposure Mode
• Exposure Time
• Gain
• Aperture
• Brightness
• Contrast
• Hue
• Saturation
• Sharpness
• Gamma
• White Balance Temperature
• Power Line Frequency (anti-flicker)
• Backlight Composition

Advanced Settings (Only Microsoft LifeCam Studio, Cinema, Logitech HD Webcam C525, C615, C910 and C920 support Zoom, Pan and Tilt, please check our website for camera support.)
• Focus
• Zoom
• Pan
• Tilt

* Webcam Settings support UVC (USB Video Class) webcam only; FireWire camera such as external iSight is not supported.
* Your USB webcam must be working on your Mac properly (function normally with FaceTime, iChat/Messages, and Skype) before it can be used with Webcam Settings.
I gave Webcam settings a quick trial run with a Logitech C920 and was immediately impressed with a few things.


Image: QuickTime Standard View, No Extra Lighting


Image: Webcam Settings

As noted above, there are A LOT of SETTINGS that you can control. Brightness and contrast work fine and are the two settings that I'll probably use most.


Image: Webcam Settings - Shut Off Auto Focus

Having a webcam auto focus can be a problem, especially when you don't want it to. ;-) I'll be shutting off auto focus a lot.


Image: QuickTime Standard View Zoomed with Webcam Settings

Also on this panel is Zoom, which I might play with. I'm not a big fan of the zoom feature on any camera, in general, but it's something good to have in case I'm live streaming and want to get closer to the subject without moving the whole laptop closer.

Backlight compensation is a very good feature to have in case you need it.

You can get Webcam settings in the Mac App Store.

You can get the C920 on

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920, 1080p Widescreen Video Calling and Recording (960-000764)

[Review] Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920. Does it work on a Mac?

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:04 AM

    Hello Steve,

    How did you find the zoom function with this app? I tried zooming using the program camtwist but the quality degrades instantly with graininess. I'm using a C920 and would love to do a bit of zooming without a huge quality drop.