If you’re looking to become the next superstar on Twitch or YouTube, it’s pretty obvious that you’ll require the best webcam software around, as well as state of the art streaming software, that provided you want your viewers to be able to see your pretty face as you score an epic victory in Fortnite or whatever game is cool nowadays. By the way, if you intend to broadcast for the whole world to see how you own n00bs on the interwebz, make sure you’re using the best game recording software around. But that’s not a problem if you’re a regular reader of our website, since we’ve already covered those issues in previous articles.
Now, let’s see about that webcam software we’ve already told you about in the preamble: most internet users are simply hooking up their webcam to their PC or laptop and start using Windows’ default software/drivers for video chatting on Google Hangouts, Skype or whatever internet chat is trending today. But here’s the deal: even if Windows’ software is perfectly adequate for a quick call on Skype, if you want to get the most out of your expensive gear, you must take the red pill, i.e. learn that there are many other apps for Windows that will definitely do a better job than Bill Gates’ finest.
Most of the software presented below is completely free of charge, or at least there are “freebies”/free versions available, but some of them also offer premium versions, for professional users. Basically, we got all the bases covered, so keep reading because you’re in for a real treat.
Best Webcam Software
The Best Free Webcam Recording Software
Let’s begin with Logitech Capture, and no, we’re not fan-boys of this legendary brand, but because Logitech is the granddaddy of computer peripherals, and their webcams can be found in all corners of the known universe. As per its name, Logitech Capture is designed to make webcam related content fast, easy and intuitive. Keep in mind that Logitech Capture only works with a Logitech webcam, and as soon as you download and install the .exe file you’ll be able to start recording video content in high quality.
The software will allow you to adjust your webcam settings as you see fit, and also to customize your recording and, why not, to shoot vertical video in 16:9 format, everything from an intuitive user interface. Since we’re talking about “current year” software from Logitech, Capture allows you to record from 2 webcams simultaneously, and also performs as a virtual video camera, thus helping you stream your content directly to YouTube.
The good news is that Logitech Capture doesn’t require a complex encoder for live-streaming on YouTube, and, best of all, it’s absolutely free of charge.
- excellent for live streaming and vlogging
- freeware from Logitech
- records from multiple sources
- you can create video in vertical format for mobile devices
- extremely easy to use
- only works with Logitech web cameras
- allows single audio input (not so great for gamers)
- Windows only deal (7 and above)
The Best Webcam Software for Windows 10
Next in line we have Cyberlink’s YouCam, now in its latest 9 Deluxe iteration. To begin with the basics, YouCam is professional-tier webcam software for Windows (yes, it only works on Windows from 7 to 10), and it’s specifically designed for enthusiast live-streamers, whether we’re talking home or business users. And yes, there are two versions of the software to choose from: a free download, which obviously comes with limited features, and the full package, that offers the whole nine yards so to speak.
Now, if you want to use some sort of “skeleton key” to seamlessly integrate all your video call services with YouCam, i.e. to turn your video camera into a live studio, and to be able to stream content on YouTube, Facebook, Skype, Twitch, or Zoom & U Meeting by using just one piece of software, well, here’s what YouCam 9 is all about. The software allows you to apply real-time makeup and skin enhancements, to help you look your best, and provides more than two hundred augmented reality effects, plus customized images and titles.
It’s also important to note that YouCam 9 is fully compatible with most broadcasting, video recording and live streaming services, including XSplit, OBS Studio and Wirecast, as well as CyberLink U Meeting, and Google Hangouts for “business users”. What’s very cool about this software is that it helps you “cheat reality” via its Live Makeup feature that uses AR technology and applies “virtual makeup” on your face (if one so inclined) which looks incredibly natural, in real-time. On top of that, YouCam features Live Skin Smoothing, which reduces wrinkles and blemishes on your face, plus True Theater technology, a cool trick that automatically adjusts sharpness and lighting.
- tons of features, including real-time video effects, gadgets and animojis
- great for both business and home users
- free version available
- comes with face beautification tools
- biometrics-based security via Face-login and Face-out (uses your face as password)
- none really
We know, Windows Camera is the official webcam app for Windows 10, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it sucks. The point being, if all you have in this digital world is a generic video camera and your expectations aren’t very high, the Windows Camera app would suffice for basic video streaming purposes, such as Facebook Live or Skype calling (also owned by Microsoft by the way). So, here’s what it does and why you should use it:
First, since it comes “by default” with Windows 10, the Windows Camera app is absolutely free of charge and there’s no installment procedure required, i.e. this is the perfect tool for total n00bs. Joke aside, the app is minimalistically designed and ridiculously easy to use, i.e. everything’s a plug-and-play job.
Windows Camera allows you to take photos and record videos with your webcam in an incredibly user-friendly fashion; moreover, if you use the Photos app, also available for free in Windows 10, you’ll be able to edit/crop/add filters to your snapshots. That’s about it, cut and dried, and if you want something more complicated/more feature-rich, well, just start with the basics and go from there.
- free of charge
- gets the job done
- very easy to use
- minimalistic user interface
- works with most webcams on the market
- lacks “advanced” features
Debut Video Capture and Screen Recorder Software
The Best Free Webcam Software
We all know that saying about free stuff being the best and here we have Debut Video Capture and Screen Recorder Software, which kind of reminds us why we have proverbs. The main “selling point” (pun intended) of Debut Video Capture is that, well, it’s absolutely free, yet it does an amazing job, being a very competent screen recorder and much more. We know, there are tons of free webcam software available, but many (if not most) of them are plagued by watermarks, restrictions, limited export options, bloatware and what have you.
This is not the case with Debut Video Capture, which is totally free for home use and comes with all the features required for capturing footage from your webcam or from your screen, not to mention other connected gear, things like security cameras. All these features are usually reserved for premium (as in paid for) software, and that’s why Debut Video Capture plays in a league of its own. The only thing to remember is that DVC is not meant to record games, but everything else it’s “fair game” so to speak, and, most importantly, highly customizable. Oh, and we almost forgot: this baby works on both Windows and Mac OS machines.
- absolutely free (ad-free, bloatware-free)
- allows scheduled recordings, flexible output options
- reliable, well designed and easy to use
- excellent for creating/backing up video footage from webcams/security cameras
- captures entire display, selected window, custom region etc.
- nothing we can think of except from the “no in-game recording” thing
Professional Grade Webcam Software
Next in line we have ManyCam, which is described by many as the ideal choice for professional video streamers. ManyCam’s “punch line” is “live video made better”, and that translates into webcam software specially designed to be used in video conferences, live-streams and online classes, with everything being focused on reliability, stability and, most importantly, ease of use.
With ManyCam, you can use multiple programs at the same time; think along the lines of MSN, Skype, Ustream etc., not to mention the fact that you can add cool effects and graphics to your photos and videos. ManyCam allows you to capture video from multiple virtual/real cameras (video chat/video streaming apps), as well as full customization for broadcasting and live streaming. The software also provides cross-platform compatibility, i.e. it works just as well on Mac, Windows, Android and iOS.
Speaking of cool features, ManyCam offers tons of beautification effects, the likes of face masks, transitions, backgrounds and emoticons which allow you to stream or record “artsy” videos, as well as a Picture in Picture (PiP) mode, full YouTube integration and green screen. The software permits you to record video in 240p, 480p, HD, Full HD and more, with frame rates ranging from 5 to 50 FPS in all important formats (MKV, MP4, FLV etc.).
But the best thing about ManyCam is that it comes in two versions: freeware and paid (the PRO version). Even the free version allows you to live-stream simultaneously on YouTube and Facebook, world’s greatest platforms, and the company boasts its over 80 million users from all around the world as a statement to its product quality.
- professional-grade solution for game streaming and multiple channel broadcasting
- tons of features and fully customizable
- allows you to stream directly on USTREAM, Twitch and YouTube
- the PRO version is reasonably priced for what it offers
- intuitive user interface and exceptionally easy to use
- none really
If you’re not into downloading third-party software, i.e. if you want to skip all the hassle and just go for a quick selfie, Webcam Toy is the answer. Basically, Webcam Toy is the best solution for “on the go” internet fiends looking to add some cool distortion effects and filters on their selfies (the bane of the modern world if you ask boomers), or to take a quick pic without using dedicated software. The main “selling point” of Webcam Toy is its simplicity and ease of use.
And speaking of the latter, all you have to do is to go to the official website, check that big purple box which reads “Ready? Smile!”, then click the “Use my Camera” button; that’s all folks. There are 5 presets to choose from: square, mirror, flash, countdown and full screen, then you must pick something from the plethora of effects using the side scroll buttons. That’s it, cut and dried, and yes, it doesn’t get easier than this; oh, we almost forgot: you can also post your best selfie directly to Twitter or Facebook (obviously) from the website, or save it locally in JPG format.
- completely free
- doesn’t require downloading 3rd party software
- works directly from browser
- easy to use, cross-platform compatibility
- tons of goofy effects for selfie-obsessed individuals
- no video features available
The Best Free Webcam Software for Windows 10
Speaking of inspired brand-names, YawCam literally means Yet Another WebCAM software, and, self-deprecating humor aside, YawCam makes for great webcam software, built and designed around the concept of being as easy to use as humanly possible. The clean user interface makes up for YawCam’s lack of flashy effects, yet this webcam software is not as barebones as Webcam Toy, not by a long shot.
- freeware at its best
- features built-in webserver, video streaming, motion detection
- time-lapse movies, FTP upload
- password protection
- easy to use
- only works on Windows machines
The Best Webcam Software for Youtube
Last but not least, we have Bandicam, which is arguably the best webcam recorder software for YouTube. To make it real easy, Bandicam is freeware at its best (though with some restrictions), featuring an intuitive user interface, and allowing you to record basically any type of external video device, whether we’re talking about a regular webcam, or even a smartphone, PlayStation, Xbox, IPTV and more, audio included obviously.
The recorded videos can be easily uploaded to YouTube, and the software can be set-up to stop recording automatically by file size or recording time. The saved files can be stored in various formats, including AVI, MP4 and WAV, while the software supports hardware acceleration, whether we’re talking about NVIDIA’s CUDA/NVENC or AMD’s VCE, and even Intel’s Quick Sync video, i.e. your videos will be recorded lightning fast with excellent quality and a high compression ratio.
Basically, you can record your webcam video on PC, as well as Playstation/Xbox gameplay with a capture card and an HDMI cable, or your smartphone via an MHL cable, and even Apple TV, IPTV or HDTV screens.
- easy to use
- captures everything, literally
- freeware at its best
- hardware acceleration (H.264/HEVC encoder) for fast speeds and high-quality output
- 4K Ultra HD video up to 3840×2160 24 hours without stopping
- limited free version (watermark and 10 minutes cap)