Now that Zoom and other video conference software have taken over as our primary form of social interaction, I wondered if there was a way to make these chats… better. The webcam on my Razer Blade Stealth, for example, is really blurry compared to the MacBook Pro webcam, which isn’t that high quality to begin with. And then I remembered: I had an Elgato capture card in my equipment bin. I could use that to connect my camera to my computer and use it as an
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The Cam Link, as well as other USB capture cards, do exactly what the name implies: they capture video. These USB (and PCI) devices are usually used to capture video game footage from game consoles or to capture video for livestreaming on platforms like Twitch, and sometimes both at the same time. But you can also use them to capture video from your DSLR and pipe it into Zoom.
There is one tiny problem, though: video capture hardware is pretty much sold out everywhere. The Cam Link above and the popular IOGear capture adapter are long gone. Initially Elgato told us that there would be another shipment in early March, but it looks like those have sold out too.
Thankfully there are software options for most cameras, but which app you use will depend on the kind of camera you have.
- If you have a Canon camera: EOS Webcam Utility (free)
- Canon or Nikon camera: SparkoCam Virtual Webcam ($69.95) (Windows only)
- Sony camera: Sony Remote and OBS (free) (kind of hacky)
- Fuji camera: Use the X Webcam app with a compatible camera (Windows only)
No matter what kind of camera you have, the important thing is to put your coworkers in their place. Establish dominance with creamy bokeh and soft, attractive lighting. Or maybe just Twitch stream your favorite video game. Just do what makes you happy.
Update: This guide was updated on 5/14/2020 with the availability of video capture hardware, and with software options that don’t require any hardware at all. Happy Zooming!
Update: This guide was updated on 5/27/2020 to include Fuji's new X Webcam app.