How to crop your iPhone webcam on a Mac with Continuity Camera and other apps
The expansion of macOS’s Continuity Camera feature in macOS Ventura and iOS 16 to turn your iPhone into a webcam is welcomed by many people. The biggest problem that comes with the feature may be finding a suitable way to mount or position the iPhone! (See this article for tips.) But for some people, you might not want to use the full camera frame of the iPhone’s rear-facing wide-angle (or standard) camera.
Apple doesn’t yet offer an accommodation for cropping and zooming, or for choosing between alternative rear-facing cameras or the front-facing one. You can turn to third-party software to help you. The software you need depends on whether you require FaceTime, QuickTime, Safari, and other Apple compatibility, or whether you use a webcam only with third-party video software.
No FaceTime required
Apple does not currently support generic virtual webcams, which are streams of video managed by software from other video or composite streams. The most popular of these packages is the open source and free Open Broadcaster System (OBS). OBS now has built-in virtual camera software; previously you had to go through some technical hoops, and now it’s just a simple click.
In OBS, you can select iPhone as the video source just like you can in FaceTime or other apps. Under SourcesIf you click on the plus sign, you select Video recording deviceand then select iPhone from Unit popup menu. If it’s working properly, you’ll see a preview of the iPhone view. Click OK. You can now drag the handles of a red rectangle to crop a smaller portion of the video stream than is displayed by default. Click now Start Virtual Camera under the Controls menu (by default at the bottom right of the screen). Select in Zoom or other video conferencing or video apps Attention virtual camera. (OBS can also embed titles, audio, windows, and much more; see its extensive documentation and forums.)
If OBS seems like too much to manage or you find it challenging, try mmhmm, a video presentation system that allows you to combine audio, video, slides, screens and other sources. The free tier should be enough if you just want to frame your iPhone input as a zoomed-in or cropped video that you can output to video conferencing software.
If you need to use FaceTime with your camcorder, Camo from Reincubate is currently the only virtual camera software I’m aware of that fully integrates with Apple’s macOS video inputs.
With Camo, you install an app on your iPhone or iPad and your Mac. iOS 12 or later and macOS 10.13 or later or required. There is also a version for Windows 10 or later. You can connect the device to your Mac via USB or, as of a few weeks ago, via Wi-Fi.
The Camo Studio app in macOS lets you choose which camera on your iPhone or iPad to use as your source and then apply zoom, rotation, effects, a watermark or image adjustments to it. The output will be a virtual camera you can select in any video app. (I use Camo as my videocasting source with my iPhone because of its extensive configuration options.)
Camo has a free tier that allows up to 720p video, but doesn’t include zoom and most other features. However, you can test out the free version to see how you like it. Camo is $4.99 per month, $39.99 per year, or $79.99 to unlock forever. The paid license covers up to two computers and allows the removal of a watermark.
This Mac 911 article is in response to a question submitted by Macworld reader Bradley.
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