Introduction: How to Use Your Camcorder As a Webcam

Picture of How to Use Your Camcorder As a Webcam

If you are like me you have a lot of friends that have moved away from home, and are living thousands of kilometers away, or you have friends that you went to university with that are all living in different places. I personally hate phones and instant messaging but when you combine their features with a webcam, it is almost like you are hanging out with those friends again. You can see them, their families, their messy rooms. It makes chatting a lot more fun. Downside is you need a webcam and the best webcams have quality issues.

So I found a way to use my camcorder as a webcam!

Step 1: What Do You Need?

Picture of What Do You Need?

You will need:

A Camcorder (Firewire or Analog)
A Firewire Card (For Firewire Camcorder)
A Video Capture Card or TV Tuner (For an Analog Camcorder)

A way to connect the Camcorder to the corresponding cards.

The Eagletron TrackerCam Software.
Go to trackerCam to download it, it is a free download. You need additional hardware to get full use of the software, but for a basic webcam this software is enough.

Step 2: Analog Camcorder Instructions

Picture of Analog Camcorder Instructions

For this instructable I am using an Analog Camcorder since that is all I have.

Setup your camcorder somewhere within the cables reach of the computer, and plug it into your video editing card (mine is an old Pinnacle DC-10+ that I have had for years) or your TV Tuner Card.

Step 3: Install TrackerCam Software

Picture of Install TrackerCam Software

Install and Run the TrackerCam software, mine automatically detected my Video Editing Card and instantly started showing my Camcorder's output.

Step 4: Start Sharing You Webcam With Your Friends!

Picture of Start Sharing You Webcam With Your Friends!

Now you can start sharing your webcam, using Windows Live Messenger or Yahoo Messenger.

There are other options to this, but I had a webcam and videoediting card lying around not doing anything so it works for me.

One other option is to use your digital camera as a webcam if it supports a webcam function.

There are also many addons to the TrackerCam software that allow you to remotely control the camera, (ie:zoom and pan) or automatically track moving objects, which would be cool if you were operating a sexcam or were paranoid and wanted to use it as a security camera.


tlcasey100 (author)2016-01-25

I have a pyrus camcorder that I want to use as a webcam to make videos and it has a tv out and a usb and hdmi and no firewire. Help me!

PeterF8 (author)2015-04-28

I've changed computers from a 2006 MacBook Pro with Firewire and USB to a 2014 iMac with USB only. My sole camcorder is a Sony DCR-TRV320 that works great with Firewire. Also, the only USB capture card I have is a Dazzle, but that only works with its proprietary capture software. I doubt it can be used for other purposes. Cannot USBs be retro-fitted for Firewire or vice-versa?

starpause (author)2013-10-06

Has anyone done similar with a macbook? TIA for any tips! Bonus points if the webcam can be picked up via html5 tech like WebRTC in FF/Chrome ala

cjh567 (author)2012-01-22

Hey i own a canon legria HF m406. I have tried to find a way to use it as a webcam for my computer but what ever different ways i try to search for it, it just come's up with reviews. When i plug the camcorder in it only show's it as an memory device and you can look at the folders like DCIM and PRIVATE. When i go into devices it show's as "video camera". Please help!

syra (author)2010-12-02

I am very impressed by the low light performance of the Camcoder. Of course, compared with a three-chip camera with 1/3 inch. CCD has not been very impressive, but considering the price category, it is very surprising. There was very little grain produced when the camera shoots in low light. And the camcorder produced an image reveals some details on what is considered the lighting conditions of candle light. In medium low light conditions the camera did pretty well. And under normal environmental conditions, technically, in low light, the camera performed amazing. It is really cool.

csmiler (author)2009-03-17

I have an old "movie cam" which records on tape...but can connect to a pc....will it work?

phreakiphred (author)csmiler2010-11-27

I know this is an older post but if it helps someone....

I am using an RCA  (tape) Auto shot. 200X Digital Zoom w/colorview screen 2.5 inch plugged in to the transmitter of a  Terk Leapfrog with the Terk Receiver plugged in to the video card on a Windows 7 Ultimate system.  I have 12' connecting cables if I want to move it around the room and It works very well.  The only draw back I have had issue with is only certain video software will work with it.  Honetech 4.0 works well.

This configuration (Terk LeapFrog) will also work with VCR's, TV and Audio

Sorry forgot the Terk pic

wildman365 (author)2010-09-06

it didn't work for me for some reason, I have a USB connector for my camera and still cant get it on

SherlinDukes (author)2010-07-15

Great dude. Where did you get this idea from. But it will require lots of space and more wires to get it working. But very great move.

muhammajunaid (author)2010-02-26

A reasonabl WEB CAM would cost equal to a Firewire and a FireWire PCI Card. 

bernardnz77 (author)2009-07-21

Good day, I have install already the trackercam but when i use it it says; "No camera selected or the selected camera cannot be used! You can select one or continue without camera. Your camera may be in use by another application;. When i try to open the webcam on my yahoo messanger it says ;"P lease run Trackercam soft ware to use this driver".. please help me what im going to do to get it work.. the model of my video camera is DCR-SR45E.. Thanks and i look forward for your kindly responce. bernard

Wesley1 (author)2009-05-31

will it work for a digital camera?

ClayOgre (author)2009-01-18

Alas, I am on a Mac. But I have an older Sony Digital 8 camcorder that works as a webcam with Skype. The only problem is, that after a time, unless you are actually recording, it goes into "demo mode" and you have to turn it off and then back on.

helpConfusedguy (author)2009-01-05

i have a cannon FS100 and i think it has the ability to be a webcam with the software but i cant work it out so what shall i do, it has a usb connection but trackerware doesnt pick it up xx

chayimlife (author)2009-01-01

I have a Mac running OSX.3.9 10.3.9 can I use my analog camcorder ? will these softwares work in apple OS? I have a digital camera that has video mode.. can I use it... it uses a USB. out

doctor69porn (author)2008-08-15

great article but i cannot get the audio to work any ideas? doc

danielemur (author)doctor69porn2008-12-08

the audio will not work because you are plugging in the video cable not audio. as for how to get audio maybe if you have an audio/3.5 jack converter than you could connect audio.

kyuubinaruto (author)2008-08-06

hi _ i got the same camcorder but a bit newer so it can get pluged by usb cable will it work anyway?

pm me plz

wildgift (author)2008-06-05

Pop open that door where you insert the tape. Leave it open, and it seems to keep the camera on.

Violetray78 (author)2008-05-20

hey all...
question, would this work on a laptop? I have a Compaq Presario V6205NR Noteboo PC...

jesterday (author)Violetray782008-05-20

You can do it with a laptop if you have a USB Analog Video Capture Device or a firewire camcorder.

Violetray78 (author)jesterday2008-05-21

thanks so much...Im gonna try it...

bricoleur (author)2008-02-14

That is easy, but when I've tried it with several really old analog VHS camcorders, they had built in circuits that cut them off after a few minutes of tape inactivity. Any suggestions aside from putting an endless loop tape in them to fool them into recording forever? The thing is that the optics on a couple that I have are really excellent, but they are useless if they simply shut themselves off.

Trisho (author)bricoleur2008-04-27

to have continuous unit on, please remove your tape and have unit plugged in to AC then it will not shut off I think.

jesterday (author)bricoleur2008-02-14

Well mine was like that too, if there was a tape in the drive, but if there was no tape, then it would stay on.....that would be my only suggestion.

fschuld (author)2007-07-15

I set up my Sony DCR TRV 17 as a web cam using this info. But I was unable to get sound from my microphone. THe video was just great.

Myself (author)2007-05-11

A technique to do this with digital still cameras would be an incredibly big deal for me. The Canon software supports "viewfinder" over the USB connection, I can control the camera from the PC, but I can't use the viewfinder video as a webcam feed in videoconferencing software. It occurs to me that screen recorder software, grabbing the region of the screen where Canon CameraWindow is displaying the viewfinder, could dump its output to a movie file, then VirtualCamera could read that file and serve it up as a VfW stream.... ugh! There must be a better way.

jesterday (author)Myself2007-05-11

My digital camera a Fujifilm supports a webcam function, but the quality is subpar....maybe there is an option for you out there, have you tried TrackerCam or WebCamDV? Maybe one of those would be able to pick up your viewfinder. I will keep my eye out for something that works with a Canon DigiCam!

jhwee (author)2007-05-11

Cool nice find.

Here's another one with DV cams.

WebCamDV from OrangeWare

jesterday (author)jhwee2007-05-11

WebCamDV also works for some analog video capture cards and camcorders, I have used it in the past, but for some reason I prefer this one, and I can't remember the reason as I have been using TrackerCam for a couple years. But the OrangeWare product is also a great option!

lemonie (author)2007-05-10

My camcorder came with a manual which told me how to use it as a web-cam, and a CD for the software-install. L Have you plugged into, and pointed it at the TV (for cool feedback)?

jesterday (author)lemonie2007-05-10

That is cool, I guess this instructable is for those camcorders ht don't have the webcam option. I don't have a tv close to my computer, I will have to try it though! Thanks!

lemonie (author)jesterday2007-05-10

You can get some fascinating effects, takes a bit of playing with the zoom & alignment, and you really benefit from a tripod (or a very steady hand) L

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