There are so many things you can do with a webcam or camera hooked up to your computer. You can do anything from take a picture to film a movie. There are many expensive programs that replaces elaborate hardware video and audio mixers but with the power modern personal computers contains, there is little reason to spend the money or learn these applications.
Maybe you want to use your webcam for multiple things at once, maybe you want add graphics, or maybe you want to have the ability to switch between multiple video sources such as a video capture of your desktop. If so, there are applications that can accomplish this.
ManyCam does all of the above. It is a free utility that lets you apply some more advanced features to video capture. If you use a webcam, DV cam, or simply want to capture your desktop, this program can get the job done with minimal fuss. Plug in your devices, make sure they are installed properly, and launch ManyCam. When the program is launched it will populate the notification area/system tray with an icon.
The first thing you are greeted with is the ‘effects’ tab. This tab allows you to add dynamic and static background graphics, cool objects, text, and more which complements your image or video capture. The options are not the most professional and sophisticated but it’s much better than I would expect for a freeware app that requires little setup. ManyCam also allows you to download new effects and graphics from their site.
There is also a ‘sources’ tab. This tab allows you to switch between connected webcams, DV cameras, and video capture devices. It also allows you to stream images, videos, and your desktop to any devices that accept video capture sources such as online streaming services (Ustream.tv, Stickam, Mogulus, etc.) or video chat programs like Google Talk, AOL Instant Messenger, Skype, and ooVoo.
All in all, this program is really cool for adding effects when you are chatting with your friends or when you want to show someone your desktop. It is not, however, a free solution to expensive video editing/mixing software but should be an alternative for simple needs. I find this program most useful for switching between multiple cameras on a computer to change camera angles without moving a single camera around when video chatting with people online. All you have to do is open ManyCam, go to your programs settings and select ManyCam as the video source, then switch between cameras within ManyCam.
Have you ever used video effects or video mixing software? What programs do you use for this and what do you use them for? We want to know so leave your comments and feedback below. We’d also like to know what you use your webcam for so please let us know about that as well.