Does your PC have a webcam? You can use it to take photos and record videos thanks to the Camera software, integrated as standard in Windows 10. A simple, fast and practical solution!

Whether integrated, as on laptops or all-in-one models, or external, webcam is one of the essential peripherals of any computer today. Of course, it is the essential tool for videoconferences and video calls, very fashionable practices since confinement and the generalization of teleworking. But this little camera can easily be diverted to other very useful purposes, including taking photos and recording videos. Handy for taking a quick selfie – for a profile picture on a website, for example – or for shooting footage to post online on social media, especially when you have nothing else to hand.

Admittedly, this solution does not offer all the advantages of a real camera, a real camera or even a smartphone, whether in terms of image quality or freedom of movement. But it can help out in many situations, and, above all, it is very simple to implement. Indeed, contrary to popular belief, it is not necessary to install additional software or invest in a specialized application to have your portrait taken or record videos with your PC’s webcam: Windows 10 comes with Standard Camera, a purpose-built tool that works with any webcam, internal or external. An easy-to-use utility, and free!

The Camera application integrated as standard in Windows 10 allows you to take photos with your webcam when you are in front of your computer and you have nothing else at hand. It works just as well with the integrated webcams as with the dull models, plugged into USB.

  • Click on menu To start up and, in the list of software installed on your PC, at the letter C, click on Camera to launch the app.
  • The webcam automatically activates and the application opens by default in the last mode used, Photo or Video. To switch to Photo mode, click camera icon Or on one of the arrows, to the right of the window. Most of the window is occupied by the image captured by the webcam. Attention, this image is reversed, as if you were in front of a mirror. But once the photo or video is taken, the recorded image is in normal mode.
  • To take a picture with the webcam, simply click on camera icon which acts as a trigger. The captured image is automatically saved in Jpeg format in the Pictures folder of Windows 10, in the Camera Roll subfolder.
  • As soon as a photo is taken, it appears in miniature in a small square, at the bottom right of the window, which gives access to the camera roll – which contains all the photos and videos taken with the webcam. Click on this thumbnail : the photo is displayed in a viewing module specific to the Camera application. A mini toolbar, at the top, above the image, allows you to zoom in the photo, rotate it, crop it, delete it, or even apply a filter Document Where Whiteboard which can be useful if you photographed a paper document to scan it with the webcam. Click on the three dots, at the top right to copy the image to the clipboard or open with Windows Explorer the folder where it is saved. Finally, click on the arrowat the top left of the window, to return to shooting mode.
  • In Photo mode, two options are available as icons on the left side of the window. Click the icon HDR to activate or deactivate the HDR mode (Hugh Dynamic Range) supposed to improve the brightness of the shots.
  • The icon with a stopwatch is used to activate and set the self-timer function. Click several times on the button to set the duration of the self-timer (from 2 seconds to 10 seconds) or deactivate it completely. When the self-timer is on, click the trigger right to start the countdown while you stand in front of the lens. When the set time is up, Camera takes a photo automatically and saves it to the camera roll.
  • Camera offers several settings additional. To access it, click on gear iconon the top corner left.
  • The blind Settings appears on the left of the window. The section Camera applies to the webcam, regardless of the shooting mode (photo or video) selected. You can activate the switch Professional Mode to remove the HDR option in favor of a slider to manually adjust the brightness of the camera.
  • By clicking on the menu Framing grid, you can also superimpose a grid on the screen to help you better frame your photos and videos. The application offers several: rule of thirds, golden ratio, crosshairs and square. You are free to choose the one that suits you.
  • Section settings Pictures only apply to photo mode. By clicking on the menu Picture qualityyou can choose the definition and the ratio of the captured image: the list varies according to your webcam used, but we are far from the definition of a current smartphone…
  • The last parameter dedicated to the photo is the mode Chronocinematography. If you activate it by clicking the switch corresponding, and you use the self-timer for your shots, the webcam takes pictures continuously until you stop it by clicking on the camera icon again. A gadget to test.

The Windows 10 built-in Camera app can also be used to record videos using your PC’s webcam.

  • Launch the Camera app, and click camera icon on the right of the window to switch to video mode. As in photo mode, most of the window is occupied by the image captured by the webcam. Attention, this image is reversed, as if you were in front of a mirror. But once the video is taken, the recorded image is indeed in normal mode.
  • To start recording a video, simply click on the same camera icon. The duration of the video being recorded is automatically displayed at the bottom of the window. Then click on the red round button Stop to stop recording. If you need to pause while recording, click the pause button (the small circle with two vertical lines), just above. The recorded video is automatically saved in MP4 format in the Camera Roll subfolder of Windows 10 Pictures folder.
  • Like Photo mode, Video mode has its own settings. Click the gear icon at the top left of the window to access it.
  • The blind Settings unfolds. As for the photo, the functions of the Camera section concern the webcam. You can activate the Professional Mode with a switch and display a framing grid in a menu.
  • Click on menu Video qualityin the section Videos, to select the definition, ratio and bitrate (in number of images per second) of the video. The choice obviously depends on the possibilities of your webcam. Again, we are far from the quality of a current smartphone.
  • Finally, the menu Flicker reduction allows you to attenuate the effect of flickering of the image which can occur under certain conditions, in particular because of the lighting used.
  • Finally, the section Related Parameters provides access to additional functions such as location information, settings related to Windows privacy and experimental functions. Nothing essential for recording small videos on a daily basis.

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