With the global pandemic forcing many of us to work and study from home, video conferencing apps have become the need of the hour. If you have ever tried attending a meeting from your laptop, you probably would have realized what a joke the in-built webcam on your laptop is. In most cases, buying a dedicated webcam will significantly boost your video quality. But the good news is you don’t need to shell out money on a webcam; you already have a good one in the form of your Android smartphone.
Our phones are already packed with some impressive camera hardware, and it makes sense to repurpose them for video calls on computers too. Unless you are a streamer or someone who has to attend multiple video conferences every day, investing in a dedicated high-quality webcam does not make a lot of sense for infrequent meetings. Our smartphones can make a pretty decent wireless webcam that’s guaranteed to be miles better than the VGA laptop webcam.
Using DroidCam to repurpose an Android phone as a webcam for your PC
You could use your existing phone or repurpose an old one that’s collecting dust in your drawer. Both works. When it comes to turning your phone into a full-fledged webcam, there are several tools out there that claim to do a better job than their competitors. If you have time and patience, by all means, check them out and settle for the one that works best for you. But to save you time and effort, I have tried out several options briefly and found that DroidCam was the best among all the options. It has a very straightforward onboarding experience and offers all the essentials in its free version. In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through how you can use DroidCam to create your own portable webcam that you can use for your next video meeting.
- Download the DroidCam on your Android phone from the below link:
- Next, you’ll need to download the desktop client of DroidCam on your laptop/desktop.
- Open DroidCam on your phone and grant video and audio permissions. Make sure your phone and PC are connected to the same WiFi network.
- Install the DroidCam app on your PC. Agree to the license agreement, choose the installation location, and click install.
- Now run the PC client. You’ll see a small pop-up box with three options to connect your Android phone. The Wi-Fi connection is selected by default, and that’s what we’re proceeding with here.
- You’ll need to enter the IP address and port in the fields below. Go back to the mobile app and look for the WiFI IP and port values. Enter these values in the Device IP and DroidCam Port fields, respectively, in the PC client.
- Make sure both video and audio boxes are checked, and then hit the start button. If everything was set up correctly, you will see a preview of the video feed in the DroidCam desktop client.
- By default, the app will use your rear camera, but you can also use the front camera if you want. You can change the camera by clicking on the camera icon located beside the three-dot menu in the mobile app.
- The next step is to configure your video conferencing app to use the DroidCam feed. Launch the video conferencing app of your choice and start a meeting. By default, the app will be using the in-built webcam. To change that, open the settings and change the video to “DroidCam source 2” or “DroidCam source 3” (if Source 2 does not give you output).
- For audio, you can either use your phone’s microphone or rely on your computer’s microphone. To change the microphone input to your smartphone, go to audio settings in your conferencing app, and under the microphone option, choose “DroidCam Virtual Audio”.
- The only thing now left is to figure out the place for your smartphone. You can use a simple phone cradle or those fancy ones that let you adjust angle and height to your liking. For me, my aluminum phone holder did the job. You can also mount your phone onto a mini tripod if you have one.
- This basic stand is adjustable and fully collapsible and can hold your phone, tablet, iPad Mini and Kindle.
- This phone stand has an anti-slip base and aluminum alloy rod. It’s highly flexible and lets you adjust the angle and height to your liking.
- The Amazon Basics phone tripod is super easy to deploy and helps make hands-free video calls.
The free version of DroidCam only allows SD quality video streams. The higher video quality (1080p) and extra features such as Smooth FPS, video mirroring, the ability to adjust, autofocus, brightness and contrast, and more can be unlocked by purchasing DroidCam X, the paid version of the app. Depending on your needs, it may very well turn out to be worth the investment.
And this is how you can use your Android phone as a webcam for your PC and laptop. We hope you get better results with an Android phone than what your laptop camera can provide!