Despite the fact that in recent years Apple has been very active in developing Mac computers, offering super-cool updates almost every year, their front cameras seemed to be stuck in the late 2000s. The 720p resolution for the top models and 480p for the basic ones like the 12 ”MacBook obviously did not contribute to the quality picture. It is clear that there is no point in using the front-end camera to create photos or videos – although there probably are some – but no one likes to see “buckwheat porridge” instead of the face of their interlocutor at a videoconference.
In the pandemic, video conferencing has become a new way of communicating among those forced to retire, and Zoom, Google Meet, Duo and FaceTime have become essential working tools. But no matter how cool and convenient the video communication service is, no one can artificially improve the picture taken with a matrix the size of a mosquito’s nose. Therefore, those who really care about good picture quality just bought an external webcam with a higher resolution. But, if you do not want to spend money, it is quite possible to replace it with an iPhone.
What NeuralCam Live can do
Neural Cam SRL developers have presented the NeuralCam Live application , which turns iPhone into an external webcam for your computer. In addition to the fact that it allows you to use the front camera of a smartphone, which in itself has a higher quality of shooting, its algorithms use neural networks, computer vision, machine learning. Thanks to them, it is possible to further improve the quality of the picture and at the same time increase its transmission speed, thereby reducing possible delays.
A cursory check showed that the image quality from the iPhone camera (in my case it was an iPad) is indeed higher than when using the built-in webcam of my MacBook Air . However, how exactly neural networks make the picture better, I did not understand. But on the other hand, I appreciated a number of NeuralCam Live add-ons, which really help make video communication a little more convenient. For example, the app has a face recognition function that allows you to keep it in focus while hiding the background, as well as a night mode, which fills the screen with a white glow, essentially acting as an impromptu softbox. In general, it is convenient.
IPhone as a webcam
Setting up NeuralCam Live is not that difficult. Just follow these instructions:
- Get NeuralCam Live for iPhone and plugin for Mac ;
- Give the application permission to access the camera (you can use both the front camera and the main module);
- Connect the iPhone with a cable to the Mac computer and follow the instructions on the computer screen to set up the desktop version of the application;
- Select the iPhone camera in the Zoom, Teams or Google Meet settings (other video calling services are not supported) as an external webcam and use it.
By default, NeuralCam Live is free, but almost all features like night mode or face recognition are only available in the paid subscription version. It costs $4.99 per month or $29.99 per year. Before that, you can enable a trial period that will last 7 days. Based on its results, it will be possible to make a decision to renew or cancel the subscription. In this case, all that will remain available to you is the ability to use the front-facing iPhone as a webcam without the ability to use additional add-ons.
You can also read: