I will forget how I got this to work, and when I do, I might find this post and remember. You too might want to use a DSLR as a webcam. If so, you're in luck because I'm going to show you how to do it without relying on hacky screen capture tricks.

Aren't webcams good enough? Sure. DSLRs are better, though.

Why would anyone even want to do this?

So the tiny square of your face looks better when you're livecoding or screencasting. Very important! Gotta look good on that 200×200 pixel image.

Webcam vs. Webcam with studio lighting vs. DSLR as webcam with studio lighting

Also useful for serious coding tutorials (which I want to make more of this year). And if you're super adventurous, you can try to be as cool as Casey Neistat or @mpjme. But I suspect they actually know what they're doing. ?

I don’t… yet. But I have my new Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR Camera and I am ready to go!

Here's how you do it

These instructions work on Macs with a Canon DSLR camera. Some of the software involved relies on the Canon SDK. If you don't have a Canon, this might not work.

1. Go to Github and download this random piece of software. ?Camera Live

I downloaded the latest zip. You can compile from source, too.

Camera Live 2 doesn't even have an icon. Running binaries you find online is totally safe, right?

I haven't had any issues Β―\(ツ)/Β―

2. Download and install CamTwist.

3. Run CamTwist, open settings, set fps to 30 and video size to 1920×1080. You can go higher if your camera supports it. My Canon Rebel T6i does not, but it also didn't cost a few grand, so ya know.

1920×1080 @ 30 is much better than my webcam that can do 1280×720 @ 30 on a good day.

4. Restart CamTwist.

5. Connect camera to computer. I used the USB cable that came with the base package. I’m getting the HDMI cable by mail soon. Not sure the HDMI cable is better, but it's harder for my bird to bite through.

You have to do this part every time ?

6. Shut down all Canon software.

7. Start Camera Live. It puts your camera in recording mode and starts something called a Syphon server.

8. Start CamTwist, click View > Main Window. Double-click Syphon, choose Live Server as the source.

9. Enjoy your expensive webcam.

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