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How To Test Webcam Before Using It To Avoid Fails

Knowing how to test webcam is a useful skill especially if you’re having to do a lot of video calls. 

With the novel pandemic, schools and other important meetings have been shifted online. It is now important more than ever to make sure webcams are working properly.

Webcams are easy to test in many cases and that’s what I’ll be explaining in this article. Just follow the tips below and you should be able to test webcams.

Tips On How To Test Webcam

I will be using different methods, apps, and processes. You should look through and find the tips that are applicable to you.

All of the tips below will provide roughly the same result. You will be able to test your webcam, see if it’s working properly, and also see what other people will see when they connect with you.

How To Test Webcam Using Zoom 

I’m starting with Zoom because it is now arguably one of the most used apps in the world due to the coronavirus pandemic and the need to hold online meetings.

Zoom does not actually have a feature for testing webcams but there’s a way to still use it.

The idea is to open a meeting without anybody joining you. This will enable you to test your webcam freely. Here’s how to go about it.

Open the app and sign in to your account using your correct details. 

Navigate to the option Start A Meeting (Start with Video) and click on it.

Test Webcam

Then next choose the option Start With Video.

Now you should be able to see what others will see when they join. Make sure you test it by making movements to ensure it’s captured. 

How To Test Webcam Before Using It To Avoid Fails

You can also rearrange the webcam if it’s showing parts of your background you don’t want showing.

How To Test Webcam Using Skype

Before Zoom, Skype used to be undisputed. Even now some still swear by Skype and they undoubtedly have their reasons.

One of the reasons could be that Skype allows users to get a preview of their video before the users actually connect with others.

You can use the feature to test your webcam, ensure it’s working properly and ensure nothing embarrassing is in the background.

To use this feature, you will have to first open your Skype app. 

Navigate to your Settings menu and open it.

In the menu, you just opened, search for Audio & Video. 

Here’s where you will be shown exactly what the webcam will show other people. 

How To Test Webcam Before Using It To Avoid Fails

This allows you to be sure your webcam is working properly and it also allows you to make adjustments if needed.

How To Test Webcam Using VLC Media Player

Many users don’t know the range of what the VLC media player can do and this is also another not so widely known feature.

Normally, VLC media player helps stream online videos so I’m just going to explain how to use that feature to also test your webcam.

The method is pretty easy to figure out. The most important part is to first know the name/version of your webcam. 

Just look at the text on the webcam logo or at the pack it came in.

All you have to do is first open the VLC media player app.

Navigate to the section called File. Normally it should be in the tabs around the top of your screen. 

In the File tab, select Open Media Device or open capture device.

Test Webcam

A drop-down menu will appear, you can now scroll through looking for the name of your webcam. 

When you find it, click on your webcam or capture device. The video playback section will immediately display video feedback of what your webcam is seeing in real-time.

Test Webcam

How To Test Webcam Using Online Webcam Testers

This method does not require any app. It should be your go-to if you don’t have any of the apps above. Some users even use it as their first choice.

The idea is to test your webcam using online testers such as this online mic test and webcam test tool (Visit Here).

The idea is to use the tool to record video from your webcam and then view the video to check if the video and audio features are working properly.

You can use any tool you want but I’m assuming you’re using the tool I suggested above. 

Click the link to take you to the tool.

Go to the right-hand side of the online page when it opens and find the media box. 

Select the Play icon in the media box.

How To Test Webcam Before Using It To Avoid Fails

You will be asked for permission so that the tool can use your webcam. 

Allow the tool and you will get to see exactly what your webcam will show other folks.  

There are other optional features such as controlling the way you view your webcam or seeing the frame rate count. 

How To Test Your Webcam Using Photobooth If You’re Running On macOS

This tip is streamlined towards macOS folks. It is very easy to test your webcam as long as you can find the Photobooth app. 

I’ll explain three ways to find the Photobooth app, use any of the ways below you find easy.

  • Navigate to Applications and open that menu. 

Then inside the Applications menu, find the app named Photobooth and click on it to get a live view of your webcam.

How To Test Webcam Before Using It To Avoid Fails

  • Check your dock to see if the app is there. 

If it’s there, all you have to do is click on it to open it and you’ll get a live view of your webcam. 

(The Photobooth icon looks a lot like a collection of passport pictures)

  • Use the shortcut keys (CMD + Space) to open Spotlight. 

Then type Photobooth into the space provided. 

When the results come back, choose Photobooth to get a live view of your webcam.

Testing Webcams For Chromebook Users

Also another specialized tip. Chromebook users can easily test third webcams following the tips outlined below.

The idea behind this tip is to use the Camera app that comes with your Chromebook. This app normally captures pictures and videos but you can use it to test webcams too.

Here’s how to open the Camera app.

Navigate to Launcher by either pressing the Launcher key or going to the bottom left-hand side of your screen to click on it. 

In the box that opens, input this text – Camera.

When the search results come back, click on Camera to open the app. 

Immediately you open the app, you will be able to see if your webcam works okay and if anything needs rearranging. 

Testing Webcams For Ubuntu Linux Users

The idea here is really not that different from the one above. It involves using an app called Cheese to test your webcam.

Cheese usually should be on your system, all you have to do is open it and you’ll be able to get a live view of your webcam.

All you have to do is open the Search option by clicking on the Windows or Option key. 

Then input the search query – Cheese. Open the app when the results appear. 

How To Test Webcam Before Using It To Avoid Fails

Like I said above, you will then get to be able to test out your webcam when you open the app. 

How To Test Webcams For Windows 10 Users

Another tip that follows the same method as the ones before it. It involves using a native app to test out your webcam. 

In Windows 10, you can use the Camera app to take videos or pictures through inbuilt or external connections. 

Open your Camera app by searching for it in the Start menu.

How To Test Webcam Before Using It To Avoid Fails

You should be able to get a live view of what your webcam shows other people when you open the app.

In the Camera app when you open it, navigate to the bottom left-hand side of the app to be able to tweak your webcam settings. 

This can help you make minor adjustments that will enhance user satisfaction.

Using The Open Broadcasting Software (OBS) To Test Your Webcam

Before using this app to test your webcam, you have to first know how to add a webcam on OBS. 

Adding Webcams

Download the software and open it. 

Navigate to the Sources option. You’ll find the option close to your screen’s bottom left-hand side. 

Click on the + sign. 

How To Test Webcam Before Using It To Avoid Fails

In the drop-down menu that opens, search for the Video Capture Device option. It is a bit down on the list.

How To Test Webcam Before Using It To Avoid Fails

You’ll be asked to name the option or layer. Name it “Webcam”  and move on by pressing OK.

In the next menu, you’ll be asked to choose the webcam device you’re using and also to specify the resolution you want. 

There are options for advanced settings but use the default settings, it’s good enough for what you want. 

Adding Mics 

This is also important if you want audio feedback when testing your webcams. 

Manually add the mic by following the navigation below.

Settings > Audio > Mic/Aux

  • To get to Settings, open the software and navigate to the right-hand side of your screen. You’ll find the Settings menu there.
  • When the menu opens, there will be some tabs at the left-hand side of your screen, you’ll find the Audio option there.
  • Mic/Aux can be found after you select Audio. It is found at roughly south of the center of your screen. 

test webcam

Look down a bit and you’ll find Mic/Aux. Click on it and choose your webcam menu in the drop-down menu that will appear. 

Now that you’ve added your webcam, you can now open the app and use it to test your webcam. 

You’ll get a live view of what your webcam will be showing others when you connect on video calls.

Users That Utilize Webcams For Security Reasons

Many people are using normal webcams for security purposes these days. 

Sometimes there might be issues where the webcams aren’t working, this tip below can help you capture short videos of what the cameras are seeing. 

An explanation for why the webcams aren’t working may be due to servers running without a GUI to help clear the bugs.

Take note that the tip is geared towards Linux users.

Linux Command Line Used For Testing Webcams

The idea I’m going to be explaining more about below is to use the FFmpeg feature to take really short videos of what your webcam is seeing.

All you have to do is open a Terminal. 

Opening A Terminal

You can do that by navigating to your Applications folder. 

In the folder, search for and click on Utilities. In the utility menu, double click on the Terminal option to open it.

Installing The FFmpeg Feature

Now you have to install the FFmpeg feature. After opening the Terminal, enter the command below to install it.

sudo apt-install ffmpeg

Finding Out Your Webcam Port

The next step is to enter this next command to find your webcam port.

v4l2-ctl —list-devices

Taking A Specified Video Snippet

After finding out your webcam port, use the command below to take a short video of what your webcams are seeing. 

ffmpeg -f v4l2 – framerate 25 -t 10 -video_size 640×480 -i /dev/video0 output.mkv

The “-t 10” indicates that you’re going to get a ten-second video of what your webcam is seeing. This you can now watch from your own computer. 

The name of the video should be output.mkv and you should find it in the videos folder.

At the time of our research on How To Test Webcam Before Using It To Avoid Fails, we found a video about “How to use Phone as Webcam” which is worth watching.

How to use Phone as Webcam

Knowing how to test webcam is really important because you don’t want to wait until you need the webcam for you to discover issues or show embarrassing background footage to others.

You can also use it to make sure your face will be seen properly and the lighting is good enough.

The OBS tip is a bit long if you don’t already have OBS. The other tips above should be considered first. 

Use any of the tips above especially the first 8 according to your system, app preference, or easiness of the tip. 

Thanks for reading, I hope this article helps you test your webcams successfully.