If you use your Macbook’s camera frequently and are frustrated by the low quality resolution, then this guide will show you how to improve camera quality on Macbook Pro or Air. Nowadays, almost all Macbooks come equipped with a camera.
However, it doesn’t matter if you buy an expensive Macbook Pro or an inexpensive one, the quality of the Macbook’s camera often leaves a lot to be desired.
Most Macbook cameras are not designed to be all that good, and if you think about comparing the Macbook’s camera with your mobile phone’s front camera, you are making a big mistake.
The Macbook Pro or Macbook Air camera usually has a resolution of 720p, which is not even full HD, so don’t expect high-quality video. You might have noticed that the image quality is considerably poor from time to time, and you might have wondered just what you can do to improve the image quality.
Obviously, you can’t meddle with the hardware, but there are a few other things you can do to improve the quality of the image. The camera quality of your Macbook is determined by three things: the environment, the camera installed in your laptop, and the imaging software you decide to use.
If you think that only the hardware is the main determinant, you are wrong. In fact, before you decide to give up, you should know that there are a few ways by which you can improve the quality of your Macbook camera.
But, the first thing you need to do is tone down your expectations. It would be foolish of you to expect image quality to be the same as what you would see in most common software commercials.
But, that doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make the chats and the video streaming just a little bit better for yourself. So, without further ado, here are eight simple ways to improve the quality of your Macbook camera.
How To Adjust Camera Settings On MacBook Pro
Apple doesn’t give its users the ability to adjust their Mac’s camera settings as there is no built in functionality for this feature! If you’re using the FaceTime camera on your Mac, you won’t find any in-built system preferences for adjusting it.
However, if you’re using a webcam on your Mac, there’s a way to adjust your camera’s settings by using the webcam settings app.
Whether you’re using the built in FaceTime camera on your Mac or any other third-party webcam hardware, you have options to improve your Mac’s camera quality as long as you’re willing to spend some money on an app!
Even though there are several apps that allow you to adjust your Mac’s camera settings, the one that we can confidently recommend is the webcam settings app that goes for $7.99 in the Mac app store.
The good thing about the webcam settings app is that it works well on Apple Silicon Macs and MacOS Big Sur and the fact that you can use it to directly control the features of your webcam means that it can work with almost every app!
Depending on the hardware features of the camera you want to adjust, you can use the app to adjust the brightness, aperture, contrast, zoom, focus, backlight compensation, exposure time and many other things.
All these settings can be saved as quick presets while the webcam settings sit on your menu bar for quick access without consuming more resources on your Mac.
If you’re using an external webcam for video calls or remote work, you should check to see whether your webcam’s maker has any free software on their website.
If they have one and you install it, you can have better control in the way your webcam integrates and works with other applications such as zoom, FaceTime, Skype and Teams and so forth.
Logitech for example, has the G Hub software which is the hub for all of Logitech’s gaming gear, including their webcams. Additionally, you can download Logitech’s Camera Settings App and use it to tweak some of the settings on any Logitech Webcam!
How To Improve Camera Quality On MacBook Pro or Air
1. Update the Imaging Software
The quality of video continues to improve as you install a more powerful version of the imaging software that you have been using. When was the last time you updated your imaging software? If you have an older variant, the image quality is obviously going to be poor.
It is also important to note that this remains relevant for various kinds of video chat programs, and you need to make sure that you update it regularly.
Google Meet, Facebook Chat, and all other messaging programs usually release new versions, so if you haven’t updated yours in a while, it might be time to do so now. It certainly doesn’t hurt to check regularly for new updates and run them on time.
2. The Lighting Conditions
Updating the imaging software is one thing, but you also need to take a look at the lighting conditions in which you are using the laptop.
This seems like a pretty obvious tweak, but most people completely skip it. Modern laptops do not come with a built-in flash, so you have to make sure you adjust the lighting conditions accordingly.
Ideally, you should ensure that a lamp is placed directly behind you and illuminates your face adequately. The lamp needs to point toward you and it’s also important that there isn’t a lot of light behind you. If you think that the light from the laptop screen will be enough, you are quite wrong.
If you have an adequate amount of light, it’s going to reduce the exposure settings of your camera, which will ultimately result in a properly balanced image.
When you set up the camera, adjust the lid of the laptop accordingly so the camera is at eye level. Make sure the camera doesn’t point downward or toward a light on the ceiling. The right lighting conditions can have a significant impact on the image.
3. Use a Soft Light
You already know why lighting is important, but you also need to understand that the kind of light you use also has an impact. Instead of setting up a harsh white light, you should consider using a soft one.
Soft lights have long been preferred and offer a much better quality of image. If you have a lamp without a shade, you should consider tying a piece of typing paper on the front to soften the light.
Similarly, you can also direct the light slightly away from your face to make it softer. You have to make sure the light doesn’t reflect in your eyes to ensure the image quality doesn’t decrease.
4. The Background
Another thing that has an impact on the image quality is your background. Where are you sitting when shooting the video? The position where you sit has a major role to play, and you will want to make sure you fall right in the center.
If there is anything inappropriate in the background, you need to get rid of it. Before you sit down, you need to remove any cluttered items from the background and ensure there is no mixture of colors.
Ideally, it’s best if you seat yourself behind a plain wall. If you seat yourself in an area that registers a lot of movement, it’s probably going to have an impact on the video quality.
5. Avoid Overloading Your Laptop
Another common mistake that most people make is that they tend to overload their laptop with a whole bunch of tasks. Remember, if you are streaming video, you are going to be using your internet connection, which only has a finite amount of bandwidth.
If you are downloading files and streaming YouTube videos and also using your laptop camera for streaming, you are using too many things. There is a risk that the computer will automatically scale down laptop video to meet the demands.
It’s recommended that you connect with an Ethernet connection instead of relying on Wi-Fi, as it reduces packet loss and ensures that you get the best performance out of your internet connection. Wired internet connections are always recommended, because the video will be smoother and more consistent.
More importantly, you need to shut off all tasks in the background when using the camera. There’s no need to overload the RAM or the processing power.
By freeing up these resources, the image quality will improve dramatically, as you will notice. When the bandwidth is low, the camera automatically reduces the image quality to ensure the stream doesn’t break.
6. Adjust Your Laptop Camera Settings
Have you ever had the camera zoom in or out or lose focus when you are casually chatting with someone? It’s something that happens all too commonly, and it’s not something that you would like.
However, while it’s fine during a casual video chat, you would not want this to happen during a recording or during a professional conversation.
Thankfully, it doesn’t have to happen: almost all of the various types of webcams that are available in the market, as well as the ones that are built into modern laptops allow you to customize the settings such as the brightness and the contrast.
Various other aspects can also be customized. For starters, if you want to customize the settings for Skype, you can just open the application and enter the settings by going to Tools, then Options, and then Video Settings.
If you want the best quality video, you should turn off the automatic white balance and focus. This way, once you focus the camera on yourself, you don’t need to worry about losing it again and again.
Ideally, it’s also recommended that you wear a white top to balance all the colors in the video. These are relatively minor tweaks, but they can have an excellent impact on the quality of video that you receive.
7. Set up Quality of Service on Your Router
Setting up Quality of Service on your router will have just the same impact as shutting off any video games or BitTorrent files in the background. These things eat up your bandwidth, and by setting up QoS, you are making sure that only the video chat gets the priority.
Keep in mind that not every router has this option, so if you can’t find it in the administrative settings on your router, there’s no need to worry. You can install the DD-WRT software and manually use this feature.
8. Screen Resolution
Last, but not the least, there’s your screen resolution. Most people completely forget to adjust their screen resolution, and this can lead to a problem such as poor quality video.
You can simply set up the screen resolution accordingly by right clicking on the desktop and going to Screen Resolution.
Choose the recommended Screen Resolution based on your display, and you are good to go. If you didn’t fix the resolution on your display, the video quality will obviously be grainy.
These are just a few things that you should know about how to improve camera quality on Macbook Pro or Air. If all else fails, you might just want to buy a more expensive video camera for your computer!