What is OBS Virtual Camera and How to Use it in Skype, Zoom, Teams, and More

While our world has been overshadowed by the global pandemic, more and more people are seeking practical solutions for processing remote meetings like Zoom, Skype, and Bluejeans. Lucky, OBS is such an excellent screen recording software that provides functional recording ways for both Windows and Mac users. 
One of the best tools that OBS offers is the virtual camera which can be added to video call software like Zoom, helping you create a custom scene from OBS. For more details, keep on reading. 

Table of Contents:

  • What is OBS Virtual Camera
  • Before you Start
  • How to Use OBS Virtual Camera on Windows/Mac
  • How to Use OBS Virtual Camera on Zoom Meeting
  • How to Record Screen and Webcam Simultaneously

How to Download and Install OBS Studio on Windows 7/8/10/11
How to Setup OBS Studio for Live Streaming

What is OBS Virtual Camera

In video conference software like Skype, Zoom, Teams, Google Meet, or Facebook Messenger Rooms, you can find a video source option named “OBS Virtual Camera” in the settings. And you may wonder what it is and how to use the virtual camera in the IM software.

In a nutshell, OBS virtual camera lets you use a media resource (video file, screenshot, App, game, etc.) as the camera output to Skype, Zoom, Teams, Meet, or more IM Video calls. Your conference partner will see the video source you just set instead of your face from the webcam.

An OBS virtual camera is very useful if you want to:

  • Not to show your face on the real webcam;
  • Do an online business presentation to your customers or co-workers;
  • Watch a movie with your best friends in the video call;
  • Have an online class with your student;
  • Give a demonstration by a real-time screen capture;
  • Have fun with your friends online during the COVID-19;

This article will show you how to use this powerful tool to satisfy your business partner, fulfill your tasks at home, and share your happiness in your video call.

Before you Start

You need to install the following software (all free) to get started. Some of the tools in the list are not mandatory but will give you a better experience in expanding the choices of your video sources:

  • OBS Studio. OBS studio is required for the “OBS virtual camera” option in your IM (or video conference) software. In addition, if you want to use the “OBS-camera” option, you need to download another App called Streamlabs OBS or SLOBS.
  • NDI Tools. If you need a free solution to capture another computer’s screen, you will have to install NDI tools on your computer.
  • OBS-NDI plugin. You need to install it to get the NDI signal in OBS.
  • VLC Media Player. Useful for multiple video playing.

(2022 Update: you don’t need to install a virtual camera plugin for OBS, as it is natively supported in the software.)

How to Use OBS Virtual Camera on Windows/Mac

Using virtual cameras from OBS has benefits like making green screens, etc. It’s available on PC and Mac.

Guide on Applying Virtual Camera for OBS on Windows

You may want to make a picture-in-picture effect using an OBS camera in video conferencing software. Using OBS as a virtual webcam is an efficient way as it helps add effects and filters to the video. Also, OBS allows optimizing the webcam like exposure, zoom, and focus. Overall, it can enhance the quality of your videos. 

Here is a list of steps on adding the OBS webcam:

Step 1. The very first thing you need is to update the OBS to the latest version. Hit “Help” > “Check For Updates”.  

Step 2. Open OBS, and hit the “+” button from the Sources dock. Choose “Display Capture” > “Create New” > “OK”. Here you can use the screen as the picture-in-picture effect in other video meeting software. 

Step 3. To start the virtual camera, find the dock on the bottom side. Then click “Start Virtual Camera”.

You used to download the plugin for this function, but now, you can directly enable it from the main interface. 

Tutorial on Using OBS Virtual Webcam on Mac

Fortunately, the virtual camera is also active on the macOS version, which is in the latest version OBS 26.1. You don’t need to follow complex steps to learn how to set up the plugin. Similar to the Windows version, you can use it to tools like Skype, Webex, etc. From the bottom toolbar, find the webcam in virtual status and click it. 

System Requirement: This application has been tested to work effectively on macOS Big Sur.

How to Use OBS Virtual Camera on Zoom Meeting

After the update of OBS in 2021, there is no requirement to download the OBS-VirtualCam plugin. For users in Zoom meetings, you are allowed to add a webcam source to set a custom scene. It’s especially useful when sharing picture-in-picture slides. Also, optimizing the camera settings is achievable. This operation works the same for other streaming tools such as Discord, Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Webex Meetings.

Guide on using OBS Studio in a Zoom Meeting with Virtual Cam:

Step 1. Download OBS from the official website to update the latest version of OBS if you have already installed this software. Quit other software that you want to apply the virtual camera. 

Step 2. Open OBS Studio and click “Start Virtual Camera” after adding sources like images to it. 
Start Zoom meeting and hit “Settings” > “Video”. From the Camera option, choose “OBS Virtual Camera”. Here, you can see what is your OBS is mirrored in the Zoom meeting.

Step 3. To adjust the camera for the best settings, right-click “Sources” and choose “Properties”. 

Step 4. To make the webcam looks better, apply advanced settings. From the new window, change the options like Zoom, Focus, and Exposure. After that, hit “OK” and go back to your video call software. 

Guide for Discord: https://obsproject.com/wiki/MacOS-Virtual-Camera-Compatibility-Guide#discord

Bonus Tips: How to Record Screen and Webcam Simultaneously

YouTubers and Vloggers usually make facecam videos and upload them to social media software, which attracts millions of fans to watch their posts. You may also want to make such a video for purposes like introducing the game or making a how-to tutorial. Here, you need the best screen recording software

If you found OBS is too complex for you, try this best alternative, EaseUS RecExperts. Not only help you capture the screen with audio and webcam, but this utility can also take a screenshot with custom hotkeys…

Practical Screen Recorder on Windows/Mac:

  • Record the gameplay videos with showing the face
  • Deal with the system sound without plugins
  • Record full screen on Windows 10
  • Capture the screen with audio (external/system)

What if your OBS not working sometimes? Preparing and learning other recording methods is necessary.

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