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HP Notebook PCs - Adjusting the Webcam Settings to Improve the Video Quality

This document pertains to HP Notebook PCs with Windows 7 or Vista.

The quality of a video captured with a webcam can be affected by both the settings of the program used to operate the webcam, as well as by external environmental factors. The following tips will help you control environmental factors, and access and adjust video quality settings within YouCam software. Other programs may have similar controls.

Update Windows and install new webcam drivers

If you are concerned about image quality, use the Windows Update function to install the latest updates and Service Packs that resolve known hardware issues.

To launch the Windows Update utility:

  1. Click Start , type update in the search field, and select Windows Update from the list.

  2. Select Check for Updates to search for Microsoft updates.

  3. Install all recommended updated files, and restart the computer (if prompted.)

Adjusting for environmental factors

The webcam video quality can be affected by a number of external factors. Consider each of the following variables, and adjust as needed.

  • Move the notebook to a convenient viewing position . Because your HP webcam is built into the display lid of the notebook, you can adjust the angle of the video feed. Likewise, you can move the notebook closer or further from the subject for a pleasant-looking image.

  • Clean the lens of the webcam. Use a soft, lint-free cloth (not a tissue or any other paper cloth) and a mild cleaner, such as one used for eyeglasses, to clean the webcam lens. The webcam lens is built into the lid of the notebook.

  • Adjust lighting. You may need to increase or decrease the amount of lighting in the room, or move the light source closer to or further from the subject. If the light is too close or too bright, the image may have an unpleasant glare or shadows. Avoid lighting that shines on the webcam, or strong lighting from behind the subject. Also, avoid fluorescent lights whenever possible because they can contribute to graininess and alter the color of the video.

  • Move slowly on camera. Webcams are not designed to capture high-speed motions. Moving too quickly on camera can result in blurred footage.

  • Minimize external noises. If possible, capture the video footage in a quiet room with the door closed, and with a minimum amount of background noise from machinery. HP notebooks with webcams have integrated microphones that are not designed to filter out excess background noise. If the integrated microphone is not sufficient for your needs, you can plug in an external microphone into the microphone jack on the computer.

  • Indoor or Outdoor Use. The webcam is designed for indoor use where the light values are more consistent or can be controlled. When the webcam is used outdoors, the light may become very bright or there may be dramatic differences between light and dark areas of the image. The exposure time for an individual image may become very short, producing blurred or poor resolution images. This behavior is more noticeable on certain notebook models when the camera is designed to adapt to low-light conditions.

Adjusting video settings using YouCam

The webcam video quality can be adjusted using the settings within the YouCam program. If YouCam software is not installed, please refer to the Obtaining and installing YouCam section of the HP Notebook PCs - YouCam Quick Setup support document for information on how to obtain it.

Follow the steps below to adjust your webcam settings.

  1. To launch YouCam, click Start , type YouCam into the search field, and then select YouCam from the list.

    On starting the YouCam program, the webcam feed should be immediately visible in the main viewing window on the PC.

  2. Click the Configure icon on the main control bar.

  3. Under Video, select the desired capture quality setting: Good , Better , or Best . This setting does not affect the size of the displayed image.

  4. Under Video, select the desired Video size setting. Select 640 x 480 for the largest video feed window. The larger the video, the more grainy the video is likely to be. A smaller video feed will probably have better quality, but may be too small to show all of the detail that you wish to capture. Find the video size setting that is best for your needs.

  5. In very bright or very dim lighting conditions, select the Display tab.

    • The Brightness control slider changes the overall brightness or dimness of the image.

    • The Contrast control slider changes the difference between the brightest and dimmest areas of the image.

  6. If you need more control over the settings, click the Advanced Settings on the Display tab. In the Capture Filter Properties window, adjust the slider bars for the following effects:

    • Brightness - compensate for the amount of lighting on the overall image

    • Contrast - compensate for difference between brightest and dimmest areas

    • Hue - adjust the color tint of image ranging through red - yellow - blue spectrums

    • Saturation - adjust the amount of color in the image

    • Sharpness - adjust the clarity of image

    • Backlight - compensate for differences for bright lighting behind the image

    • Default - restore the controls to the original values

    Adjust these advanced controls until the video feed looks best for your needs.

The webcam should now be properly configured for your current video needs. If you change environments for your next video, you may need to change these settings.

Microphone Recordings Are Inaudible

If you have recorded a video using YouCam that contains sound but the microphone recordings are inaudible, it may be that:

  • The default microphone boost level for the notebook is set to 0dB by default. Recordings made using CyberLink YouCam are inaudible at this level. Changing the microphone boost level to +10dB/20dB allows audible recordings.

    To change the microphone boost level, follow the steps below.

    1. Click Start , Control Panel , Hardware and Sound , and then under the Sound heading, click Manage audio devices .

    2. Click the Recording tab, select Microphone , click Properties , click the Levels tab, and then adjust the microphone to the desired level.

    3. Click OK to close the Microphone Properties window, and then click OK to close the Sound window.

    You should download and install the latest audio sound driver, then test the recording level.

  • The Capture with audio option, which controls the sound from the microphone, may be de-selected. To verify the YouCam Settings, start YouCam and click the Configure icon on the main control bar, and then verify that the Capture with audio option is selected.

  • To enhance the microphone recording volume, download and install an updated IDT High-Definition Audio CODEC Driver in SP43288 .

Cleaning the webcam lens to reduce distortion, spots, or a fuzzy picture

To clean the HP webcam lens, use a soft, non-abrasive cloth, such as a micro fiber screen dusting cloth. You can find a suitable screen-dusting cloth at a computer store. Gently rub the webcam lens with the cloth.

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