Every Sunday, after our family dinner with my parents, we video chat with Alyssa and whomever else wants to say hi in Arizona. I purchased a nice new webcam to do the job but after the first session realized I couldn’t fit everyone in the video frame. So I hit Google in search of an answer. I was thinking I would buy another wide angle webcam however learned quickly they pretty much don’t make those. (Really???) Anyway I searched some more and came across an article by my old friend Scott Hanselman. (I use the term “friend” a bit presumptuously here as I only know him from his twittering. But he’s one of the first people I followed years back when I signed up for twitter and I’ve always enjoyed his fun and interesting comments so he kinda feels like an old friend.) Scott had found a way to solve the wide angle lens problem very creatively.
I would have purchased the webcam and the lens he used in his article, as they are still available on Amazon, but since I had just paid $32 for a brand new webcam I decided to see if I could apply the same tactics he used, only to mine. I did so with great success as the before and after image above shows! You can follow his instructions at the link I post to his article below and/or also view how I set mine up. You can choose a variety of webcams and lenses that will work together as long as you make sure the lens you buy fits over the webcam eye and you can tape the sucker on tight. You can of course also find a lens that fits your current webcam.
Again, make sure the lens fits the camera size-wise. A huge wide angle lens won’t work on a tiny webcam eye and visa versa. As my camera lens was the typical small version I had to find a smaller wide angle lens. Luckily there were several available that were made for those little Flip Video cameras. (See picture to right) They are magnetic to just stick to the front of the Flip camera but work perfectly for my size of webcam.
Scott’s Article “DIY: Making a Very Wide Angle Webcam on the Cheap“
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With copious amounts of electrical tape, (and I mean lots and lots), attach the lens to your webcam over its lens.