Review: WebCamMax

I have been using WebCamMax1  lately and honestly, find it to be a GREAT way to create nice, simple videos.  In addition, it lets you do a bit “more” as well.

For those of you that have been following along, you know I co-host Real Tech for Real People, a podcast for “people with Tech in their lives, but who don’t live for the tech.”  We have created a Facebook page (and I encourage you all to visit and subscribe) and as part of that page I am going to be doing “tutorials” for things people want to know how to do.

WebCamMax is the perfect tool for me to record this.  I want to be able to switch between cameras, and screen shots, when preparing the tutorials.  So if you go watch the first video I did, on how to create a book from a collection of Wikipedia pages, you will see I start with a camera shot of me, and then switch to the screen shots, live as I edit.  I switch back and forth between me, and the screen.  WebCamMax makes that as simple as selecting a different button on the main WebCamMax screen.

WebCamMax also allows me to just select an area of the screen, or a window on the screen, and transmit that.  I have used that when Tony and I are recording our podcast on skype, so Tony can get a good video recording out of skype, while I transmit the audio AND NOW VIDEO to the chatroom as we record our podcast live (come join us in the chat room on Tuesday nights at 9PM ET–

WebCamMax also has a few other “interesting” features, some I like, some I won’t use…

First, I do like that it will allow you to use a different background image, without a green screen.  All you have to do is step (or roll) out of the image for a few seconds, while it captures what it sees as your background. It then will replace that background with whatever image you choose to insert.  I will be using this down the road to insert the Real Tech for Real People graphic behind me, for recording the videos and the podcast.  One critical note: Don’t wear something that matches your background.  Just like you shouldn’t wear green when working with a green-screen, if you or your clothing match colors in the background, you will “disappear.”

I also like that, in addition to switching between cameras and screen shots, you can play media files.  This will be useful for me when I record a “how to” video using my Kodak Zi8 digital video recorder.  I can have the file “ready to go” and then just embed it, either with it’s own audio or with my dubbing over it.

You can also add on those “fun” graphics such as hats, faces, and beards and such.  Not exactly my cup of tea though.

I have a few issues with it, but I suspect that my problems are more of my inability to understand the intricacies of the program. For instance, I don’t like having to move my mouse back to the WebCamMax screen to click to change “views” when I have it set to follow my mouse pointer.  That is distracting.  Hopefully I will find a keystroke combination that will let me do that more smoothly.

I also would like to see it be licensed for use on two computers, for those times when I am mobile, and will be using my notebook rather than my desktop.  The software is affordable ($50 for a “lifetime” license) but paying an additional $50 for the privilege of being mobile seems a bit excessive.

Overall, I like it, and I have already recommended it to several colleagues who like what they saw in the video tutorial I put together.

  1. Disclosure: by writing this review I will be receiving a 1 year license to their product.  I have already paid for one license, and am writing a review based on my positive opinion of the product–the opinion that led me to pay for the lifetime license.  But I wanted you all to know that I will receive a benefit as well.