Rounding off the corners of your camera view is a slick effect one can implement on their stream to stand out. One could achieve this effect in the old days by creating an image mask. Image masks are still great for custom shapes, but there’s an easier way to achieve that effect thanks to an OBS plugin. Here’s how to do it!
By default, your camera feed will appear as a rectangle. But did you know that you can make your camera appear in any shape you want? Yes, it’s possible to just round out the corners, go full-on circle, or any other shape your can imagine. Here’s how you can achieve this look in OBS or Streamlabs OBS!
Your next camera for streaming and video content creation might already be in your pocket.
Yes, it is possible to use a smartphone as a webcam. Wrote a guide in the past on how to do that using Elgato Screen Link. While that solution is still valid if you need to screen capture off your phone, I’ve recently discovered a better way to use it as a webcam that negates most of the input delay. Here’s how you can quickly set up your phone as a camera in a matter of minutes!
Making improvements to your stream doesn’t always have to involve spending money. If anything, the best improvements one can make don’t involve money at all. But for streamers on a budget, knowing where to make adjustments without breaking the bank can truly take you farther than spending money on the latest equipment.
Here are a few thought-starters for ways you can improve your stream without spending big bucks on new equipment!
“Kelsey’s view of herself is…very large.”
I made this observation as my wife was watching KelseyDangerous stream Animal Crossing: New Horizons (she’s a great streamer by the way and you should check out her show!). Unlike the thumbnail-sized streamer views I’ve seen in the past when the streamer has overlaid themselves over-top of their gameplay, Kelsey’s view was a large square that covered up a sizable portion of the screen. It was also cropped in such a way where you could see more than just her face. In this view, you could everything from the torso up.
As I’ve continued to explore Twitch in recent months, it’s become apparent to me that Kelsey’s overlay strategy is not a one-off. Streamers of all sorts are making the view of themselves larger, even if that means you see less of the gameplay underneath.
However, that’s not the only thing the application can do. You can also use it to make your smartphone work as a wireless camera. Though I found this feature to be way more interesting, early tests melted my computer.
Now that I have a modern PC, I revisited the idea of incorporating my smartphone camera into my stream as a vlog cam.
At this point, we’re all familiar with image filters in social media apps such as Instagram. But did you know that streaming software such as OBS and Streamlabs OBS can do filters too? With the power of LUTs, you can apply filters to your image to improve the quality or create a dramatic effect. It might even save you the cost of buying a better camera. Here’s how!
[UPDATE: Seeing a lot of confusion in the comments regarding where I toggle the settings. I use these cameras with my OBS setup, so I make all the changes within OBS. If you’re not using OBS, you can try Logitech’s webcam software. Admittedly, my experience with Logitech’s software is awful and I quickly deleted it when it wouldn’t give me the level of control I needed. However, if you’re not using your camera within the context of streaming or video recording, it might be your only option.]
The Logitech C920 is a great starter webcam. The Logitech BRIO is arguably the best webcam on the market. Even so, I noticed issues with my image with regards to my skin looking washed out and my overall image looking a bit grainy.
Turns out that both of those issues can be fixed by getting more hands-on with the camera’s settings. In case you’re looking to squeeze more out of your Logitech webcams, check out these tips!
I love my Logitech C920. Considered by many to be the go-to webcam for entry-level streamers, it delivers a lot of bang for your buck. However, its limitations became more obvious with time and knowledge. The camera needs a lot of light in order to squeeze out the most optimal image. Even with my studio lights, the picture still comes out a bit grainy when using my full-screen intermission scene on stream. The camera caps out at 1080p 30fps, which may be a hinderance for streamers or video creators in need of more visual fidelity. Also, when compared to higher-end DSLR cameras, the difference in quality is undeniable.
As much as I would love to upgrade to a DSLR setup, it’s quite the expensive path almost any way you slice it. Between the DSLR camera itself, an Elgato Cam Link or an equivalent signal adapter, a wall adapter for the camera, and a tripod or other mounting solution, the cost is orders of magnitude above any webcam. Add in additional lenses, and the sticker shock stings even more. Despite my desire to improve my image quality, I can’t justify spending upwards of $1,000 on a complete DSLR rig at this point in my streaming career.
By happenstance, I got the opportunity to test out the Logitech BRIO 4K Webcam. It became immediately apparent that this is the middle step I’ve been looking for.
The BRIO is Logitech’s most premium webcam to-date. At its ceiling, it can capture footage at a 4K resolution and at 30 frames per second. It can also do 1080p at 60 fps; something that the C920 is incapable of doing. Housed in a casing that’s a bit larger than a C920, it can still clip comfortably on most monitors. This one also features a detachable USB 3.0 cable, making it a bit easier to move or stow away.
At more than double the price, it’s almost a given that the BRIO would be better than a C920. But how much better? I put the two cameras to the test.
The first test I did was a direct side-by-side comparison. Both cameras are in 1080p, using default settings, and with the same lighting. Immediately, the difference is staggering. My C920 looks washed out, while the BRIO provides colour that is more vibrant and accurate.
After that, I did a test of the two cameras at full-width, flipping between the two. Again, the C920 looks incredibly washed out compared to the BRIO. Also, you can see more of the details in view, such as the details in my face and how I’m using black duct tape to hold my busted headset together. In retrospect, you could always see the tape, but it’s even more apparent with the BRIO. Note to self: get new headphones.
One more test between the two cameras. This time, it’s in my 720p streaming layout with all of the same colour correction settings. There were no noticeable differences in CPU performance, and the BRIO is still a cut above. However, the colour correction settings I use for the C920 make the BRIO look a bit more yellow than I would like. Nothing that I couldn’t adjust for next time.
The Logitech BRIO is a cut above the C920 and could very well could be the best webcam on the market. I love the way it outputs video while also supporting 1080p 60 fps. It’s going to look great on my stream and even better if/when I finally get around to creating original content for YouTube. Right after the testing was over, I purchased one for myself.
Even though I jumped at the first opportunity to grab this camera, the BRIO won’t be for everyone. For those just starting out, the Logitech C920 is still the best place to start. The image quality is good enough with some colour correction and it won’t hurt your bank account too much if fall out of streaming. If you’ve got the funds and the reasoning to justify a full DSLR rig, the BRIO can’t match that in terms of image quality or flexibility. But if you need a middle step with improved image quality without the hefty expenses of a high-end camera rig, the BRIO is a great option.
[Purchasing through this Amazon affiliate link gives me a small commission without adding any extra cost or effort to you. Thanks for your support!]