Web cameras have come a long way from video chats and boredom-induced selfies, and the software that make them work aren’t just an on/off switch anymore. The days of low-res webcam feeds that were more walls of bricks than defined images are over. Our options for webcam software are keeping up with the ever-improving specs and features of hardware.

The success of live-streamed entertainment motivates the market for better webcam applications. Now we have effects that you can turn on and off mid-broadcast. It’s a far cry from the meager brightness and zoom functionalities of legacy software.

Take a look at our picks for the best live stream webcam software you can get today. We’ll cover both free and paid apps.

The Best Webcam Software for Beginners

1. ManyCam

Operating System: Windows, macOS

ManyCam has endured since it came out in 2006 and is constantly adapting to the times. Its beginner-friendly interface makes it a go-to for non-techie types. But that doesn’t mean ManyCam is light on features.

ManyCam’s Software Development Kit integrates with instructional platforms, like VIPKid. Instructional tools include an on-screen whiteboard. Most of the elements, like flavor graphics, can be dragged and dropped onto your display area.

With its impressive collection of educational tools, ManyCam is an appealing option for teachers and lecturers.

This webcam software is free and doesn’t have a watermark. Subscription plans are available if you want more premium features unlocked

2. Ecamm Live

Operating System: macOS

Ecamm Live, formerly iGlasses, is the webcam app for Mac users. Its developer, Ecamm Network, is one of the leading providers of Mac-based applications.

It’s an all-in-one streaming studio for multiple video-sharing platforms. Ecamm Live’s intuitive interface is easy to navigate. Like other webcam apps for Mac, the program offers a lot of video enhancement options, such as color correction.

You can share your iPhone and Mac’s screen, and other video sources with ease using the live video switcher.

Ecamm Live offers monthly subscription, but you can avail of a free 14-day trial.

3. YAWCAM

Operating System: Windows

YAWCAM is as simple as it gets. Download, install, and you’re up and running.

Once the app is open, you’ll see that everything is there on the interface. The features are separated by tabs and dropdown menus. There’s no need for digging around in the settings just to adjust your camera’s brightness.

You can overlay text and images to your video feed and fine-tune your video’s quality with a single slider. YAWCAM also has a built-in web server and supports multiple languages.

The best part is it’s absolutely free and has no watermark.

4. Logitech Capture

Operating System: Windows, macOS

Logitech produces quality computer peripherals, including budget and premium webcams. So, it’s not surprising that they’ve developed a free proprietary app to go with their hardware.

Capture’s dashboard has large graphic buttons and uses terms that are easy to understand. It allows for multi-camera streaming, which is best for live tutorials and interviews. It also has a portrait mode, which optimizes your stream for mobile devices.

The software allows saving of up to six setting profiles. This is great if you find yourself constantly tweaking your video capture settings. Simply switch between them according to your needs.

Logitech Capture is free but only works with Logitech webcams.

The Best Webcam Software with Fun Features

6. YouCam

Operating System: Windows

YouCam has over 200 effects on fresh installation. Thousands more are available for download for free. You can add animated emojis, face-tracking accessories, and other live effects to your stream. The app also features interactive particles, like falling petals and snow, that react to movements in your feed.

Looking a bit tired, but still have to stream? YouCam’s skin-smoothing feature will have you looking fresh in real-time. And if you don’t have time for putting on makeup, the Live Makeup function has got you covered. It uses augmented reality technology (AR) to digitally apply makeup on your face. It’s fully customizable, too. But if you’re still short on time, there are presets available.

Try YouCam for free for 30 days, then buy it for a one-time fee if you like it.

7. SplitCam

Operating System: Windows

SplitCam offers a wide range of effects and filters, like realistic 3D heads. Other effects include virtual backgrounds, frames, and a whole host of filters.

The app allows connection to any IP camera if you want them as your video source.

SplitCam gears toward live chat services, such as Skype and Zoom. For this reason, you get plenty of options for resolution, from full HD down to 180p. This is also why the software doesn’t directly stream to major platforms.

This may sound like a bummer, but it’s not entirely true. The program works as a virtual camera and integrates with other streaming software! We’ll delve more into this later.

SplitCam is a free program.

8. Snap Camera

Operating System: Windows, macOS

From the wacky minds of the people from SnapChat comes Snap Camera.

It was a shame we couldn’t use SnapChat’s extensive library of goofy effects on our computers. But our prayers and e-mails were answered because Snap Camera is finally here.

This is the official desktop software of the incredibly popular mobile app. It has a much larger index of live effects and filters than its mobile version.

It also uses AR to apply high-definition effects to your videos. Its motion-tracking and responsiveness to visual cues are nothing short of spectacular.

You can de-age yourself down to looking like a convincing toddler. You can turn into a Pixar-esque 3D version of yourself. Perhaps you’d like to vomit rainbow waterfalls whenever you speak.

Something that offers so much must come at a premium price, right? Well, Snap Camera is 100% free! So, your dream of becoming a beautiful anime princess in a Zoom conference call comes true today.

The Best Free Webcam Software for Hardcore Content Creators

9. OBS Studio, Streamlabs OBS

Operating System:

OBS Studio: Windows, macOS, Linux

Streamlabs OBS: Windows

We’ve bundled the two together because they’re practically identical under the hood.

OBS and Streamlabs are the gold standard for live streaming software. Both are beefed up with features that may need a bit of getting used to. But you can get it off the ground without diving into the more complex settings, depending on your needs.

These are audio-visual studios. You run your live streams off them—layout your screen, add overlays, effects, and so on. Then you send the feed to your streaming platform of choice.

The programs have above-standard webcam customization features. Applying effects aren’t as automated compared to other more beginner-friendly apps. Filters and effects are applied manually from downloaded files.

This means you can apply layers upon layers of effects, which are created by OBS and Streamlabs communities. Expect varying quality, from amateur to professional-looking filters. Some of them you can’t get from paid webcam apps.

OBS and Streamlabs are both streaming and recording studios. You can do both at the same time or separately. Recording quality is entirely up to the user, and there are presets and advanced options. However, certain parameters are capped according to your webcam’s specs.

Additionally, the programs have better chroma keying (green screening) AI and they allow high-quality video streaming, which makes them great webcam recording software.

Most of the software we’ve mentioned so far function as virtual cameras. They are selectable as a video source for whatever platform you’re streaming on. For OBS and Streamlabs, it’s possible to accept feed from other webcam software, like SplitCam. SplitCam’s effects will carry over to OBS or Streamlabs. And you can even layer over other filters from there.

Both OBS and Streamlabs are virtual cameras too. It’s possible to daisy-chain several apps into one webcam feed. Each app uses up considerable resources, so it’s best to be mindful of what your system can handle.

OBS Studio and base Streamlabs OBS are free. Streamlabs offers a Prime subscription service, which includes additional technical and marketing features.

10. XSplit Vcam

Operating System: Windows, macOS

XSplit Vcam’s features are very camera-centric and user-friendly. It has large graphic thumbnails and a simple dashboard that won’t overwhelm you.

Vcam’s selling point is its digital background removal and blurring capabilities. The webcam application removes your background without a physical green screen. This feature is great for maximizing screen space for streams.

If you’re more of a ‘storytime’ streamer, the background blurring will do you wonders. Your audience will focus more on you as the subject, which means there’s no need for fancy lighting and an expensive DSLR camera. What’s more, the AI does these amazing digital feats in real-time!

Note that there are hardware recommendations and the program will run a calibration test at first boot. But most computers today will run Vcam with no issues.

Vcam is short for ‘virtual camera.’ It integrates with streaming software and video call apps with ease. Another plus factor is the companion mobile app, which turns your phone into a webcam.

The free version is watermarked, but their individual lifetime license is reasonably priced.

What’s the Best Live Stream Webcam Software for You?

The easy answer is it depends on your personal or professional requirements. Despite their many similarities, each software also has its own intended purpose. Your technical prowess plays an integral part in choosing which is best for you.

Assuming you have the hardware, you have everything you need to make an informed decision. You also have the advantage of being able to try them out without shelling out a cent. So, test out the waters and see first-hand how each webcam software sits with you.