Given that we live in the Age of the Video Meeting, there’s a good chance you’ll need a good video camera from time to time if you’re using a computer without a webcam. However, before you go out and buy a new webcam, think about turning your Android phone into a high-resolution camera. It’ll perform far better than the crappy webcams that come standard on most laptops—and it’ll save you some money.
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What you need to use an Android phone as a webcam
We don’t recommend purchasing a brand new smartphone solely for the purpose of using it as a webcam. If you have an old or spare Android phone, you should use it to make video calls.
You should be fine as long as your phone’s rear camera works properly. In terms of money, you’ll have to spend a little on a smartphone tripod and an Android app.
You can either buy a good tripod for your smartphone or make your own if you’re handy. However, a good tripod will come in handy every time you want to record videos, so it’s a wise investment.
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How to use an Android phone as a high-resolution webcam
On Android, there are a plethora of webcam apps, but DroidCam is free, dependable, and highly rated in the Play Store. The app is free to download and use, but there are some restrictions, such as a 480p video resolution, ads, and some video options that are missing, such as the ability to rotate or flip the camera. The paid version of DroidCamX ($5.49) removes these restrictions, but the free version is perfectly adequate.
After you’ve installed the app on your phone, boot up your PC or Linux machine and install the DroidCam desktop client. Open DroidCam on your phone and PC once both apps are installed. Check the IP address and port on the DroidCam app for Android. Check if your phone is connected to wifi if the IP address field contains a bunch of zeros.
Click the wifi icon in the top left corner of DroidCam for PC. Then, in the appropriate fields, type the IP address and port number, and press Start.
On your PC, you should be able to see a camera feed. You can now point the rear camera at yourself using any tripod or phone stand, and use this feed for video calls via Zoom or other video meeting apps.
Note that when DroidCam’s phone and PC clients were on different frequencies on our wifi network, we had connectivity issues. If your phone is on the 5GHz band and your PC is on the 2.4GHz band, for example, the setup will fail. You should be fine as long as both devices are connected to the same wifi network and are on the same band.
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DroidCam also supports wired connectivity via USB cable, but the steps are a little too complicated for most people, so it’s probably not worth the trouble. If you really want to try it, go to the app developer’s website and this page (click Connect via USB (Android)) for more information.
Finally, while using the Android phone as a webcam, it’s a good idea to keep it plugged in. You don’t want it to run out of battery during a crucial video call because your video feed will be cut off abruptly.