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 200x200 pixel image.
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!
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 ¯\(ツ)/¯
2. Download and install CamTwist.
3. Run CamTwist, open settings, set fps to 30 and video size to 1920x1080. 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.
1920x1080 @ 30 is much better than my webcam that can do 1280x720 @ 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
Live Server as the source.
9. Enjoy your expensive webcam.
I write articles with real insight into the career and skills of a modern software engineer. "Raw and honest from the heart!" as one reader described them. Fueled by lessons learned over 20 years of building production code for side-projects, small businesses, and hyper growth startups. Both successful and not.
Subscribe below 👇
Join Swizec's Newsletter and get insightful emails 💌 on mindsets, tactics, and technical skills for your career. Real lessons from building production software. No bullshit.
"Man, love your simple writing! Yours is the only newsletter I open and only blog that I give a fuck to read & scroll till the end. And wow always take away lessons with me. Inspiring! And very relatable. 👌"
Senior Mindset Book
Get promoted, earn a bigger salary, work for top companiesLearn more
Have a burning question that you think I can answer? Hit me up on twitter and I'll do my best.
Who am I and who do I help? I'm Swizec Teller and I turn coders into engineers with "Raw and honest from the heart!" writing. No bullshit. Real insights into the career and skills of a modern software engineer.
Want to become a true senior engineer? Take ownership, have autonomy, and be a force multiplier on your team. The Senior Engineer Mindset ebook can help 👉 swizec.com/senior-mindset. These are the shifts in mindset that unlocked my career.
Curious about Serverless and the modern backend? Check out Serverless Handbook, for frontend engineers 👉 ServerlessHandbook.dev
Want to Stop copy pasting D3 examples and create data visualizations of your own? Learn how to build scalable dataviz React components your whole team can understand with React for Data Visualization
Did someone amazing share this letter with you? Wonderful! You can sign up for my weekly letters for software engineers on their path to greatness, here: swizec.com/blog
By the way, just in case no one has told you it yet today: I love and appreciate you for who you are ❤️