The extension of macOS Continuity Camera feature in macOS Ventura and iOS 16 to turn your iPhone into a webcam is welcomed by many people. The biggest problem that comes with this feature may be finding a suitable way to mount or position your iPhone! (See this article for tips.) But for some people, you might not want to use the full frame of the wide-angle (or standard) rear camera on your iPhone either.
Apple doesn’t yet offer accommodations for cropping and zooming, or for selecting from the other rear-facing cameras or the front-facing one. You can turn to third-party software to help you. Which software you need depends on whether you need FaceTime, QuickTime, Safari, and other Apple compatibility, or whether you’re using a webcam only with third-party video software.
No FaceTime required
Apple does not yet support generic virtual webcams, which are software-managed video streams from other video streams or composites. The most popular of these packages is the free, open-source Open Broadcaster System (OBS). OBS now includes virtual camera software; Previously, you had to go through a few technical steps and now it’s just a simple click.
In OBS, you can select your iPhone as the video source just like you would in FaceTime or other apps. Below Sourcesyou click on the plus sign, choose Video capture devicethen select your iPhone in Device Contextual menu. If it works correctly, you see a preview of the iPhone view. Click on OKAY. You can now drag the handles of a red rectangle to crop a smaller portion of the video stream than appears by default. Click now Start virtual camera under the Controls menu (by default in the lower right corner of the screen). In Zoom or other video or video conferencing apps, select OBS virtual camera. (OBS can overlay titles, audio, windows, and more; check out its extensive documentation and forums.)
If OBS seems too much to handle or you find it difficult, you can try mmhmm, a video presentation system that lets you combine audio, video, slides, screens, and other sources. The free tier should suffice if you’re just looking to frame your iPhone’s input as an enlarged or cropped video that you can export to video conferencing software.
If you need to use FaceTime with your video camera, Reincubate’s Camo is currently the only virtual camera software I know of that’s fully integrated with Apple’s macOS video inputs.
With Camo, you install an app on your iPhone or iPad and your Mac. iOS 12 or later and macOS 10.13 or later or required. There is also a version for Windows 10 or later. You can connect your device to your Mac via USB or, for the past few weeks, via Wi-Fi.
The Camo Studio app in macOS lets you select which camera on your iPhone or iPad you want to use as a source, then apply zoom, rotate, effects, watermark, or image adjustments. The output becomes a virtual camera that you can select from any video application. (I use Camo as a video streaming source with my iPhone because of its many configuration options.)
Camo has a free tier that allows up to 720p video but does not include zoom and most other features. You can test the free version to see how you like it, though. Camo costs $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $79.99 to unlock forever. The paid license covers up to two computers and allows watermark removal.
This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Bradley.
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