Let's say that you just picked up a brand new Logitech webcam because you want to improve the production quality of your livestream, Maybe you picked up the ever popular Logitech C920 or the 4K Logitech BRIO or maybe even the brand new Logitech Stream Cam that I reviewed last month, you're excited, you open the box, you mount on top of your monitor and add it into your streaming software just to be left with a feeling of disappointment because it doesn't look anything like what you thought it would do.
Well, fear not my streaming friends because in this video we’ll be showing you exactly how you can take your webcam from looking like this, to looking like this, and we'll be going through all of the improvements that you can make to fix things like low frame rate, pulsing auto-focus, over or under exposure, white balance, washed-out or just strange looking colors, and finally, maybe most importantly, how you can actually save these settings so you don't need to reset them every single time you restart your pc.
Adding Your Webcam in OBS or StreamLabs
Okay, so right now you're looking at the image of the Sony A64 100, but I've just put in my Logitech BRIO so let's add it as a source in OBS. It's got the same process in Streamlabs OBS and that's exactly how it looks, so, let's come down to our sources list, click add video capture device.
I'm going to call this BRIO, click okay and it should find the device and as you can see, straight off the bat, horrible image, wrong resolution. Sometimes, you'll see these colors improve over time because it's using the auto white balance. So, very very red now, but I wouldn't be surprised if in the next 30 seconds, it starts to slowly adjust and get my skin tones a little bit more correct, but this is the exact problem, right, default settings out of the box.
You want to repackage this Logitech BRIO or whatever camera you've got and send it back for a full refund cuz it just looks awful, but hold your horses, we can fix it.
Fixing Resolution and Framerates
So, what we're going to do is right click on our source and go to properties, which is going to bring up the camera properties and the first thing that we're going to fix is this resolution and frame rate. You can see now that the color's slightly getting better as the auto adjustments are coming in, but it's still 4 by 3 and it’s not using the right frame rate.
So, the first thing we want to do is resolution/FPS type. We want to change that to custom, now we're going to lose our preview just because we haven't got our resolution set. I’m going to set mine to 1920x1080, you should see now, we get this 16 by 9 frame fully filled, Now the BRIO, as well as some other webcams can actually run at 4K and I want to quickly mention why would you want to run your camera at a higher resolution and why you would want to run it at a lower resolution.
So first at higher resolution is going to require more processing power from your computer to actually downscale that for your stream and encode it so it goes off to Twitch or whatever you're streaming to.
So, if you're running at 4K and you only have your webcam in the bottom corner of your gameplay and it's very small, that’s probably a waste of resources. The real reason you want to use a higher resolution is if you're doing things like punching into your image and running a full screen webcam to maybe emphasize a point that you're making on a stream.
If you run that at a higher resolution when you punch in, you actually won't lose any detail because you're still technically, at least pixel to pixel ratio whereas if you are running your webcam at say 720p and you're streaming at 1080p and you punch in, then obviously you're losing some details so, there's a benefit and a cost to running at a higher resolution.
If you're not sure, I would just run your webcam at 1080p.It may only go up to 1080p if you're using something like the C920 anyway, now for FPS you can choose to actually dial this in exactly if you know what FPS you want to get out of your webcam or you can just select to run it at the highest FPS possible, which is coming out of your camera.
For me, I'm going to do 1080p 60, so once that refreshes you can see we now have a nice and smooth 60 FPS stream, for video format, usually webcams only have one or two options for this. This is just the compression type that is being used.
As you can see the BRIO and, I believe, the C920both use MJPEG, which is motion JPEG, so essentially just a lot of different JPEG's strung together in a video format, but if you do have more than one option, it’s sometimes worth just selecting and trying them both out or all three of them out and seeing which one performs the best for you.
Sometimes they'll run a really uncompressed video format, which means you get a very low frame rate. So just try them out and see which one looks the best in your opinion. Similarly, for color space, there’s a few different options, usually 709 or 601, try them both out and see which one looks better in your opinion.
Lastly, for color range, I’d recommend setting this at full, so you get the full amount of colors available from your camera. There’s not usually a massive difference between full and partial, but I would recommend setting it at full, you can leave everything else as it is and just click okay to return back to your stream preview.
Lighting For Your Webcam
Okay, so we are looking slightly better, but the colors still look pretty awful, and you can see that overtime I'm slowly getting more and more natural as the BRIO is slowly adjusting to be more natural to my skin tones, but still there is definitely some workers want to do and the first ever advice I'll give you is to do with lights.
Webcams typically have extremely small sensors so the more light that you can get on yourself, the better quality and the higher frame rate that your webcam is going to be able to run at. Now, I'm not saying you need to necessarily go out and spend loads on money on something like the Elgato key lights because I do realize that they're expensive and you know soft boxes aren't great either because they take up a lot of room and not everybody has an infinite amount of room to be able to pull their desk back and puta big light behind, but even something really cheap.
I think I paid about 25 pounds or 30 dollars for this light from Amazon or you can get some slightly bigger ones from companies like Neewer, but some LED panels from Amazon can be really cheap and make a massive difference to your webcam because it just allows you to light yourself much better.
Separate yourself from the background and then give your webcam a much greater opportunity to be able to run at its full spec, another tip is that you want to be lighting yourself more brightly than you do for your background so if you do things like close the blinds, like I've done here, turn off any lights that you have in the rest of your room, and make sure the light really is brightest on yourself, on your subject, darker in the background.
Fixing Webcam Colors, Focus and White Balance
That again is going to help your webcam be able to focus on you as the subject, right so presuming that we have some sort of lighting set up sorted, we can actually jump into the webcam settings and try and fix some of these colors. So how you would usually do that is, again, right click on this source, click properties and open up this configure video window, and I know a lot of you have seen this window far too much because typically what happens with some of the Logitech cameras is that you can play around with all the setting in here, adjust them, get it looking exactly as you want to and when it comes to you restarting your pc or starting it up the next day for your stream, all of these settings have reset back to their default values which is infuriating and I understand people’s point of view of why they don't want to go around playing with their settings when they have to do it every single time that they start their stream.
Well, the good news is I believe I have found some kind of a fix to this where you can use a separate program from Logitech called Logitech capture. It doesn't have quite as many settings as this properties window does, but it does save the settings between reboot cycles so you don't have to go in and adjust all of your settings every time you want to stream, you can download Logitech capture software for free from Logitech's website, I will include a link for sure down in the description below the like button.
So if you want to download this, it’s a much better way of being able to set up your webcam settings. Once that's downloaded and installed, you’ll probably see a window like this with a big box saying the BRIO 4K, which is the one that I've selected, is not available. That’s just because we've already got OBS open.
So, if we head back to OBS and just close it down, we should then get the preview of dating in Logitech capture to show our camera that we’ve selected which for me is the BRIO 4K, but it might be C920 for you or it might be the ScreenCam’s let's work through these settings from top to bottom.
First thing, like I said, make sure that you have the right source selected, so the actual camera that you're wanting to customize, and you'll be able to see the preview. Make sure the preset is set to custom. That just allows you to actually change the settings down here rather than use some of the defaults that they've already got set up for you.
The next option we get is the priority, you want to prioritize the frame rate or the exposure and this can be useful if your lighting is going to change a lot, let's say you're streaming in an open environment where, you know, windows are letting in a lot of different light. You can set this to prioritize exposure at the cost of frame rate, but typically I would recommend selecting frame rate here which means we get a nice consistent frame rate for the BRIO that is 60 frames per second or it might be 30 frames per second depending on how you got it set up, but it should be consistent and it won’t prioritize the exposure.
Next, depending on the kind of camera that you have plugged in, you have some options for the field of view and HDR. The BRIO, you can actually go from 65 degree field of view up to 90 degrees and select HDR mode, which doesn't really seem to do much in my opinion, but other cameras, I don't think have these two options.
So the next option we really care about is auto focus. Now, this sounds like a feature in practice. It obviously keeps you in focus even though you move around or if you hold something up to your camera, but it comes with a couple of caveats.
Firstly, auto focus obviously needs some type of processing part because it's always going to try and keep you in focus and secondly, one cameras, older cameras specifically, like the C920, when you have autofocus enabled, quite often do that focus hunting thing where it sort of warps in and out of your face and looks like it's trying to find focus.
Newer cameras, like the BRIO and the StreamCam, don't seem to do this quite as much so you can leave auto focus on especially if you're going to be moving around a lotor holding something up to the camera if you're like reviewing a product or something like that, but if you can get away with disabling auto focus and just setting the focus manually because you don't move around a lot, that will save you a little bit of power on the Logitech webcams and obviously will mean you don't get that focus hunting.
Okay, so next we have auto white balance, which has kind of been the bane of my life for the last few days whilst I've been writing this video. The difficulty that webcams have with auto white balance is that you're usually in front of your computer monitor which makes a sort of blue light and the auto white balance will even show that blue light and kind of make you look a bit zombie like or it'll overcompensate and just end up showing you super red or orange, a much too warm in the white balance looking like you’ve been out in the sun for too long.
So, really when I was scripting this video and originally planning it, I wanted to tell you guys to disable auto white balance. Come in here and pick the exact setting that you need to give you a correctly exposed image to make sure that your skin tones look natural in terms of white balance, but what I found in my testing is that depending on the webcam that you're using, if you disable this, it can be really difficult to dial in an exact number that looks natural compared to the auto setting.
So, you can see here that I'm kind of close, but as soon as I enable auto white balance, and give it some time to adjust again, it just gives me a color that I can’t seem to find on the slider. It’s really strange and it's partly the reason why I just hate webcam software so much, It seems that some settings are hidden behind these automatic levels and you can't access them through manual controls.
What I can tell you is that in my testing, I found that for the Logitech StreamCam, the newest camera, auto white balance seems to work quite well. For the C920, I found that setting the white balance manually works quite well, but for the BRIO, it just- it's really confusing me because in the review video that I did for the StreamCam, the BRIO seemed to have just, by far, the worst colors on auto settings and so I definitely thought I was going to be doing manual settings for the BRIO, but upon testing the last couple of days, I can't seem to reproduce this color that I'm getting right now, which is quite close to what my natural skin tone is without using auto white balance. So, for BRIO, honestly it seems to be sometimes you need it and sometimes you don’t, which I know isn't helpful, but it's just- that is how inconsistent this software is.
So, what is my advice actually for you when you’re setting this up? What I would do is I would enable auto white balance if it looks fairly accurate to the skin tone you have. If not, you can disable it, try, and play around with the white balance slider and make sure that you can dial in something that looks a little bit more accurate, but you've just got to experiment and play around for yourselves.
So next we have the image settings, this just allows you to fine tune things like the brightness, contrast, sharpness, and saturation of the current image. So, hopefully you won't have to do too much adjusting here, but it does allow you to have a bit more granular control if you do want to adjust things, so I'm just going to lower my brightness ever so slightly, maybe, just bump the contrast a tiny bit, bump the sharpness a tiny bit, then I'm going to leave saturation at default because we're actually going to be fixing the saturation and making the image look a lot more cinematic when we get back into our streaming software so I don't need to do that here.
The last thing that we need to do just in the Logitech capture software is set the anti-flicker rate. So this is the frequency of your power lines in the country that you live in, so typically for the UK, for Europe, and for Australia, this is 50 Hertz and for America, Canada, and, I believe, Japan, this is 60 Hertz, so just make sure that you've set this correctly and it will stop the lights that you have in your house or your LED background lights from flickering in your webcam image.
Adding a LUT Filter in OBS or StreamLabs
So back in our streaming software, you can see that our webcam is looking quite a lot cleaner now, but the last step that we're going to do is to add a filter or a LUT, which is going to make our image look a lot more cinematic and this is really where you're going to see the biggest difference in your webcam footage.
So, what a filter or LUT is, is it's really similar to those that you get on apps like Instagram, where you can basically change the colors and the look of an image basically from applying a certain type of filter and then choosing how high of a percentage of that filter you want to apply to the image, so, maybe a year and a half ago, I released a pack of 30 free LUTs for streaming software like OBS and Streamlabs OBS that you can apply to your webcam and they come in all different kinds of colors, so really I hopefully have created enough of variation that no matter how your webcam image looks, you’ll find one that really works for you, I'll show you how to do that here.
If you right click on your webcam source and go to filters, and in the bottom section here we have effect filters. You want to click plus and apply a LUT, now you can name this LUT if you want to. I’m just going to leave it as Apply LUT and then you need to browse the path, so, I will leave links in the description, the links of a website where you can download my pack of 30 for your LUTs, all you need to do is unzip them, leave them somewhere on your computer where they'll always be and then browse through that path and then choose which LUT it is that you want.
So, you can see here OBS comes with some default looks. I’m just going to go to the path where all my looks are created and really what you should be doing is opening one, seeing how it looks, Seeing if it's right for you and then opening the next one and choosing one based like that, I already know that this Cain one looks quite good so I'm going to apply that.
You can see instantly the LUT has been applied, If I drag this over, you can see it in the full screen preview, now this is running at 100 percent so it might be a bit too heavy of a LUT for some people, you can see the difference if I took this eye icon, this is without a LUTand this is with one, I think it's a bit too high for me, I'm going to move it down to say 65 percent or something like that.
You can see how much of a difference that makes, It just makes the image look a little bit more professional and more cinematic and like I said, there's 30 different LUTs in there so you can go through. Make sure that you are changing the browser path, apply a different one each time and find one that really suits your camera and your look.
One last thing to know is that obviously, the whole point of this Logitech capture software is that you didn't need to go in and dive into the setting and change them every single time that you restart your computer, but one thing that you do need to do is, you usually need to launch the Logitech capture software and then as soon as it's launched, you can close it again. It will then apply the settings that you have saved for your Logitech webcam and then it’s going to be accessible in your streaming software system.
Sometimes you just need to launch Logitech capture, so it forces those settings on the camera and then you can close it and run your stream as normal.
Hopefully you guys have found this video helpful and you have now gotten much better image out of your webcam. Do share your results with me over on Instagram or Twitter or Discord. Just send me a screenshot of what your webcam is looking like now and which LUT filter you ended up using.
Also, if you're not already, why not hop into the Gaming Careers Discord where we have a whole heap of people who are content creators and streamers and they're discussing this kind of thing all day long. So I'll leave a link to that in the top of the description as well, as always, a massive thank you to the patrons this month who have supported the Gaming Careers channel and I will catch you guys in the next video, peace!