There is a number of virtual cameras out there and most of them are targeted at applying webcam effects to enhance the fun on video conferencing calls, other virtual cameras are targeted at desktop sharing, so here are some examples and names: ManyCam which is free, WebCamMax, Magic Camera, ScreenCamera, and ScreenCamera.Net.
The only free virtual camera is ManyCam, an excellent program if you’re looking to add effects to your face when you are using your webcam on a video conference call. It supports the desktop as a source for the video but it does not offer options to select areas of the desktop and it does not record video in high definition.
Then comes WebCamMax, a seriously fantastic program when it comes to adding fun effects to your face while you’re on a chat, it costs around $40 but it accomplishes its purpose so I guess it is fair to say that you get your money worth. WebCamMax also offers the option of having the desktop screen as the video source and it allows you to select areas of the desktop but not in a very easy fashion and most importantly it does not record video in high definition.
Magic Camera is another very interesting webcam effect software, it is very similar to ManyCam and WebCamMax, they all work with face localization technology so the effects can stick to your face as you move it and turn it around, it is actually a fascinating technology that bases itself on 3 points, the pair of eyes and the nose forming a triangle from which the technology can retrieve size, position, and rotation, and thus gives these applications the power to stick effects to a person’s face. All 3 options are actually great, but none of them records video in high definition: 640×480 pixels is the resolution for video recorded with these programs.
Then comes into the scene ScreenCamera and ScreenCamera.Net, none of them work with the face position recognition technology so they are not designed for increasing the fun in video conferencing, their focus is on desktop sharing and recording, they both record the desktop screen in high definition so you can share your desktop and have a high fidelity copy of it. These two products are targeted at businesses of any size, from small to large office corporations.
ScreenCamera is a lightweight virtual camera with quick access buttons for you to easily record and share your desktop screen on the Internet. ScreenCamera is compatible with Skype and all programs and websites that support webcams. ScreenCamera is listed in the Center of Compatibility of Microsoft.
ScreenCamera.Net is the next generation of ScreenCamera. It is based on a layer-by-layer object-oriented frame-by-frame vectorial technology proprietary of PCWinSoft.
ScreenCamera.Net video output is like a blank canvas where the user drops objects and combines them into layers with or without animation. The purpose of ScreenCamera.Net is to attach professionalism to video conference calls, in other words: It gives you an edge over the competition when it comes to business video conference calls. ScreenCamera.Net is also compatible with Skype and all programs and websites that support webcams.
My conclusion is that for webcam effects I’d stick with WebcamMax which is paid but great and worth the bucks, and for business purposes I’d stick to ScreenCamera for sharing and recording the desktop, or definitely ScreenCamera.Net if I happen to be requested at big money video conference calls.