Most people have experienced stage fright in one form or another. Putting oneself out there in front of an audience can be stressful. But real-time video streams can push nervousness to new levels. Mainly due to the fact that webcams can seem mysterious and unpredictable. But all it takes to calm one’s nerves is a little preparation. Testing a camera online will ensure great results when it’s time to record.
An online camera test might seem counterintuitive at first. Most hardware testing happens through dedicated desktop applications. But part of the reason that it’s best to use an online tool is that the video is meant for online streaming. A webcam is just that, a camera for the web.
When deciding to test webcam performance it’s best to recreate the conditions it’ll be used in. And this tends to mean adding an online component to the video recording. A webcam can, of course, stream content to a file on one’s computer. But an online stream tests every part of the webcam. This makes online testing software the ideal way to know if a webcam is working properly.
One important thing to remember is that the online webcam test will require extended permissions within one’s browser. Different browsers handle hardware permissions in different ways. In theory, the permissions should always be visible on screen when the test comes up. But in practice, the amount of variation within browsers can make this somewhat difficult to predict.
If the test loads up but nothing appears then it shouldn’t be taken to mean that there’s something wrong with the camera. The most common explanation is simply that the permission dialog appeared at the top of the screen and one will have to scroll up to see it. It’s also important to remember that this is in itself a test of sorts. One should always be prompted for permission before a website turns the webcam on. Being asked for permission shows that the hardware is working correctly with the web browser.
Once permissions have been given the actual testing phase will begin. The simplicity is one of the best things about the test. A webcam is a very complex piece of technology. The small package just goes to show how advanced the electronics inside it really are. But thankfully, the test abstracts the vast majority of that complexity.
Really, it’s hard to imagine the test being any easier to use. After permissions have been granted the test will display a picture from the webcam. The picture that’s displayed is very important as it’ll give a good impression of what people on the other end of a stream will see. This highlights the importance of real-world testing. The online tests use elements such as bandwidth and compression to essentially give someone a preview of what a stream would look like.
Of course, there’s far more to video than a single image. The test will also show frames per second or FPS. The frames per second are essentially how many frames of images are displayed in a single second of time. The lower that number the more video stutter. Likewise, a higher FPS number means more fluid and lifelike video.
However, a higher FPS value can also be more taxing on the computer’s processor. Basically, every one of those frames needs to be compressed before it’s sent over the internet. That means higher values will require more processing power. If one is on a computer this shouldn’t pose much of a problem. But the slower processors of smartphones might struggle a bit with higher FPS values. If that’s the case the test will demonstrate whether that needs to be lowered when recording.