Understanding webcams and their functions and how they work

Webcam is a combination of the words web and camera. Webcam itself is a term for real-time cameras (meaning current conditions) whose images can be accessed or viewed via the internet, instant messaging programs such as Yahoo Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger (AIM), Windows Live Messenger, and Skype, and others. The term “webcam” itself refers to the type of camera used for web-based service needs. The webcam itself is usually used for remote conference purposes or also as a monitoring camera.

WebCam is a peripheral in the form of a camera as an image/picture taker and a microphone (optional) as a sound/audio receiver controlled by a computer or by a computer network. The image taken by the WebCam is displayed on the monitor screen, because it is controlled by a computer, there is an interface or port that is used to connect the WebCam to a computer or network. There are some people interpret WebCam as Web pages + Camera, because by using WebCam to take actual video images, they can be uploaded directly if the controlling computer is connected to the internet.


Understanding Webcam

Webcam aka ‘web camera’ is a device in the form of a digital camera that is connected to a computer or laptop. Like a camera in general, a webcam can send pictures live from wherever it is in all corners of the world with the help of the internet. Initially, this webcam is still an expensive item. But, along with technological advances, there are already many laptops whose screens have been equipped with webcams. For computers, there are rarely those that are equipped with a webcam by default, computer owners must first purchase them separately.

There are many types of webcams sold in the market. Some of them can be connected to a computer using a USB port, but some are wireless. In general, webcams are equipped with a number of features such as:

  1. Microphone
  2. Ability to move and adjust its position (according to the user’s wishes)
  3. Built-in sensor that can detect movement in front of it
  4. The indicator light that when lit means the camera is active

The use of webcams has become widespread lately because the need for remote communication using software is increasingly in demand, for example Skype. No one thought that communicating using a webcam would be as popular as it is today. History records that the first webcam was named Xcoffee.

Xcoffe, the world's first webcam

This camera was created in 1991 by Quentin Stafford-Fraser and Paul Jardetzky which was then only connected to the Internet in 1993 with the help of Daniel Gordon and Martyn Johnson. During his trial period, this camera was used to monitor a coffee shop outside the Trojan Room at the University of Cambridge. This is so that people do not need to go to a coffee shop when the coffee stock at the shop is empty.

Webcam Function

It is undeniable that the existence of this webcam has many functions, including in terms of:

  1. Communicate
    The existence of a webcam allows computer users to communicate directly. Not only that, we can also easily see the faces of our interlocutors. Currently, there are many software that provide such features, some of which are Skype, Google Hangout, Viber and so on. Communication using this webcam is very helpful in connecting two or more people who are located far from each other or when we want to contact our family who are abroad.
  2. Distance learning
    You can easily study with someone even if you are separated by a long distance, for example you are in Indonesia, your interlocutor is in America. With this webcam, distance is no longer a problem. Through this webcam, students or students can ask their teacher if there are questions or problems regarding school subjects. Webcams also allow for training or training via the Internet. In fact, a number of parties offer webinar or seminar services via the web.
  3. Remote conference
    There are times when companies use webcams to hold remote conferences. Those who are in remote locations will not be a problem and will not miss the ongoing conference. In addition, with this webcam video conferencing, managers and employees do not have to be in the same location when a meeting is being held.

How Webcams Work

A webcam is a type of compact camera that can be attached to a computer or laptop to broadcast video in real-time, aka live. Similar to digital cameras in general, webcams work by capturing light through a small lens on the front with the help of a microscopic light detector attached to the image receiving microchip, which is usually a Charge-Couple Device (CCD) or CMOS image sensor technology.

The images obtained can also be processed digitally and disseminated via the internet. However, unlike a digital camera, a webcam is not equipped with a memory card or flash memory card. Webcams are designed to not need to “save” images because their main function is only to record and transmit the images obtained directly. That’s why one type of webcam uses a USB cable on the back. This USB cable supplies power to the webcam from the computer and retrieves the digital information captured by the webcam’s sensors to transmit to the computer.

Each webcam has different features and capabilities. Likewise with the purchase price. Some webcams can only capture still images every 30 seconds, while others provide video streaming features at a speed of 30 images per second. Webcams are easy to find and available at most computer stores and major electronics retailers

Webcam Type

  • Serial and Parallel ports of WebCam
    This type of WebCam is too old and rarely found anymore, because no one is producing it anymore. In addition, this type of camera produces low image quality and low frame rates.
  • USB WebCam
    This type of WebCam is a solution for both new and amateur users. Supports PnP (Plug and Play) facilities and can be connected to a USB port without having to turn off the computer, but the condition is that the computer operating system must support the USB port facility.
  • Firewire and Card Based WebCam
    Firewire is one of the video capture device technologies needed for cameras that support it. In general, Webcams that require video capture devices are expensive, but can produce high frame rates, which are 24 to 30 frames per second (fps).
  • Network and Wireless Camera
    Network Camera is a camera device that does not require any computer facilities, because it can be directly connected to the network via a modem. Transfer pictures and sound directly to a LAN network or telephone line via a modem.

Free Webcam Software

Webcams are now one of the services that are quite loved by netters, especially chat with a webcam or commonly known as free web cam viewing. But not everyone likes chatting with automatic webcams, so Webcam software is one of the many programs that you should install, especially if you use a laptop, of course, occasionally you will use the webcam to take pictures and also to record videos. Moreover, if you want to make security at home or at work, you certainly want to get good results and services. For this time we will discuss some webcam software that is freeware but provides interesting features.

Here are 5 Free Webcam Software that you can use to beautify your web camera recordings and can also be used for streaming and security via your computer.


ManyCam is a webcam software that you can use, with an attractive appearance this application allows you to chat using Skype, MSN, and Youtube. You can also add thousands of cool effects to decorate your webcam such as changing your face, eyes, hair and can also add other interesting accessories. It can also adjust the audio by adding audio effects and can also adjust the high and low of your voice.

Vitamin D

Now this one is also not inferior to the first one, even this application is also touted as one of the popular webcam software. For those of you who want to make security at your home using a camera, Vitamin D can be one of the software you use, because the main advantage of this software is that it can detect moving objects or people in video streams. when there is a moving object that crosses a predetermined limit, for example someone passes through a window that has been previously set, if someone passes through a window, this software will send a message to you. Besides being available for a free version, this software is also available for a paid version which of course with additional features.

Play Camera

Play Camera can also be an alternative for those of you who use the Windows operating system. This program allows you to take pictures as well as record videos using the camera as the source. With the addition of the “Camera Properties” setting you can adjust several parameters such as brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, sharpness, gamma and white balance. In addition, you can also adjust the resolution, video and audio device settings which of course will be very useful when you are streaming video.

Home Camera

Almost similar to Vitamin D, its main advantage can be used to monitor moving objects captured by the camera. With this software you can connect 4 cameras at once to a computer and simultaneously you can monitor all four cameras. In addition, you can also provide internet access to this software so that you can monitor your camera captures from anywhere. Same with Vitamin D, it can also send messages to you when there is a suspicious movement caught by your camera.


Well for this one is also one of the free software that you can try. Like other software, Yawcam is also equipped with Motion Detection, and Video Streaming over the internet. In addition, Yawcam also supports Stealth mode. In this mode, Yawcam will start every time your PC starts, and will immediately start recording without anyone else knowing.