I received a fantastic question from a teacher recently.
I need to be able to switch between an “eternal document cam” and my computer camera to give my lesson and show my notes of working out a math problem. I’d like a switch and not have to go into the setting on Google Meet to go back and forth. Is there such a device that just allows you to go back and forth between two cameras and not fiddle with the internal Meet settings?Susan
It’s worth noting that Susan does not want to switch cameras using the app settings, but rather a physical button to do so.
The thing is, there are multiple ways to go about this.
The easiest way, if your cameras are all external and use HDMI outputs, would be to use an HDMI capture card.
But speciually one that has multiple HDMI inputs and a switching capability.
This is the gold standard of HDMI capturing. Blackmagicdesign makes Hollywood-level production equipment. This product is their least expensive (but still around $300) HDMI splitting capture device.
To be perfectly honest, I’ve never heard of this brand. But it has 3 HDMI inputs and a remote for switching. Plus, it’s under $100
The advantage of this approach is the ability to set your in-app settings to use the HDMI switcher/capture card as the camera in use. Then, you would physically switch between HDMI inputs to choose what camera is being sent to your camera as the webcam.
Think of these as an Elgato Cam Link 4K, but with more camera inputs.
The problem comes when you are using a camera that’s connects via USB, like a webcam, or when the camera is built into the computer, like a laptop. Then these devices won’t work.
That is where software like Ecamm Live (MacOS) or VMix (Windows) comes in.
These are live streaming apps that also have the ability to speak with hardware, like Elgato’s Stream Deck.
This device would sit on your desk, and you would program it to switch cameras in Ecamm Live or VMix.
You would then set your in-app settings in Meet or Zoom to use your live streaming software as the virtual camera.
Then, anything you have showing in Ecamm Live or VMix will show up in Meet or Zoom.
This means you can physically switch virtual cameras like USB webcams, and built-in webcams.
Below you will find various videos showing how this can be done using either of the methods mentioned above.
While the Stream Deck is not being used, the Loupedeck Live is, which is extremely similar in design and function.
Here is a video where Braden Young shows how to do it with Ecamm Live and the Stream Deck.
It is worth noting that Google Meet will only recognize virtual cameras (like from Ecamm Live and VMix) if you are using Google Chrome as the browser.