Many people appreciate the extension of the macOS Continuity Camera feature in macOS Ventura and iOS 16 to turn their iPhone into a webcam. The biggest problem that comes with the feature may be finding a proper way to mount or place your iPhone! (Check out this article for tips.) But for some people, you may not want to use the full frame of the wide-angle (or standard) rear camera on your iPhone either.
Apple doesn’t yet offer an option to crop and zoom, or to select between alternative rear cameras or the front one. You can turn to third-party software to help you. The software you need depends on whether you need FaceTime, QuickTime, Safari, and other Apple support, or if you use a webcam with only third-party video software.
No FaceTime required
Apple does not yet support generic virtual webcams, which are software-managed video streams from other video or composite sources. The most popular of those packages is the free and open source Open Broadcaster System (OBS). OBS now has built-in virtual camera software; Previously, you had to go through some technical hurdles and now it’s just a click away.
In OBS, you can select your iPhone as the video source just like you would in FaceTime or other apps. Under Sourcesclicks the plus sign, chooses video capture deviceand then select your iPhone from the Device popup menu. If it works correctly, you will see a preview of the iPhone view. Click okay. You can now drag the handles around a red rectangle to crop a smaller portion of the video stream than appears by default. now click Start virtual camera in the Controls menu (by default in the lower right corner of the screen). In Zoom or other video or video conferencing applications, select OBS virtual camera. (OBS can overlay titles, audio, windows, and much more too – check out their extensive documentation and forums.)
If OBS seems too much to manage or you find it challenging, you can try mmHmm, a video presentation system that allows you to combine audio, video, slides, screens, and other sources. The free tier should suffice if you’re just looking to frame your iPhone input as a cropped or zoomed video that you can send 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’m aware of that is 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, since a few weeks ago, 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, and then apply zoom, rotation, effects, a watermark, or image adjustments. The output becomes a virtual camera that you can select in any video application. (I use Camo as my streaming video source with my iPhone due to its extensive configuration options.)
Camo has a free tier that allows video up to 720p but doesn’t include zoom and most other features. However, you can try the free version to see if you like it. Camo is $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $79.99 to unlock forever. The paid license covers up to two computers and allows removal of one watermark.
This article on Mac 911 is a response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Bradley.
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