How Droidcam OBS gets it wrong

Given the current state of the world, you might be in need of a webcam to participate in meetings and prove that you actually wear clothes and/or pay attention. Given the current state of the world you might also have noticed that webcams have shot up in price.

However, fear not. You can use your smartphone as a webcam. Elgato is currently shilling EpocCam for iPhones, which is what lead me to take a look at these applications in the first place. One of the more popular solutions for Android seems to be Droidcam. There is an early access version that is specifically tailored for use with OBS called Droidcam OBS. However, for a solution aimed at streamers, this software gets it wrong so very very badly.

So, what is wrong with the software? Well, it comes with its own OBS plugin to feed the data into OBS, however, misses out on the most basic of the basic things any OBS user would expect: A way to actually change white balance, exposure and focus from within the plugin. In its current state, the video transmission works beautifully with a stable framerate at great performance. However, there are no remote controls that allow you to change the camera settings.

An app that is designed specifically so you can use the back camera of your phone as a webcam expects you to fiddle with a touchscreen on the front which you cannot possibly use when putting the phone in it’s intended capture position. All while the image within the smartphone app is only visible after you have already connected to OBS.

Now I can already hear you typing away “but Tsukasa, if you connect a camera to a Camlink you also have to set the parameters on the camera, you dummy”. This is true. But this is not a Camlink. This is a two-way communication that only works if OBS instructs it to. In other words: There is a channel that could potentially be used for these tasks.

But hey, the app is still in early access, so perhaps this will come at a later date. And surely other solutions offer remote adjustment of the camera parameters, right? Wrong. All the solutions I tested either expect you to fiddle with the touchscreen within the app on your phone or simply do not allow any adjustments at all.

So I suppose my criticism of Droidcam OBS is a bit harsh since every other app I tested is just as bad or even worse in this regard. I merely think that a ton of potential is being wasted due to one design decision here because the rest of the app is top-notch.

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The fool's herald.

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