How do I turn off autofocus on my Logitech c920 webcam?
How do I turn off autofocus on my Unzano HD600 webcam?
TL;DR – Good streaming software will allow you to adjust those properties. You do not need any special software or drivers from the manufacturer.
As some of you know, all Amazon employees in Seattle who don’t absolutely have to be in the office have been told to work from home. That means that since I had a couple of webcams, I could do my Twitch streaming for “Alexa Game Chat” (and other Alexa-related things on the AmazonAlexa channel) from home.
Yesterday we worked out the big tech issues (myself, a fellow Alexa evangelist, and our producer) to make it possible for me to host the stream with a couple of different Skype inputs and two cameras (one focused on an Echo Show 2 – 10″). Today we broadcast.
It was mostly good. I need to do some better audio management as we switch scenes. But the funny thing was the Unzano HD600 webcam I had aimed at the Echo Show kept refocusing, especially when some deeper bass sounds from the unit would shake it a little. Our producer told me I needed to turn off autofocus.
I don’t know if any of you have googled how to do that on an Unzano HD600, but wow… no. The results are totally unhelpful. As are searches for control software.
I am using OBS (Open Broadcaster). It’s awesome, super powerful, and free. You can not only stream, but you can do screen recordings if you want to create snippets for videos.
Steps to fix your autofocus
- Right click on the device in the “Sources” panel and select “Properties”
- From the “Properties” panel that opens, click the “Configure Video” button.
- On the video configuration panel (titled “Properties” also), choose the “Camera Control” tab.
- Uncheck the “Auto” box next to “Focus” and then use the slider to set a fixed focus.
You can do this with both the Unzano HD600 and the Logitech c920. I’ve tried both. For the Logitech, a focus distance of 0 is good for streaming, but for example, when I held my hand up close to it, I needed to adjust the focus to 60 to read the inscription on one of my rings. For the Unzano HD600, 300 worked good for the close-up to get the 10″ Echo Show 2 to fill the shot. Although the auto-exposure was going with a -6, I found that -5 was much truer and avoided both the overexposure of some images. With autoexposure and autofocus turned off, it also eliminated the mild stutter that happened as the Echo Show transitioned between scenes, because it wasn’t constantly trying to adjust exposure and focus with every frame of the transition.
Before you think that OBS is magic. The properties panel with the “Camera Control” tab seems to be a system control, because if you go into Skype for Windows 10 Desktop, select “Settings,” then “Audio & Video,” then “Webcam settings,” you get the exact same panel.
Now, if your streaming / calling software won’t let you access that panel (this may be a little too “inside baseball,” but our internal conferencing software at Amazon doesn’t… as of this writing), I can’t help you. Perhaps there’s a way to access it directly in Windows, but I’ve hunted through the control panel, settings, and device manager without much luck. If you know how to access it for universal settings that other apps will respect, let us know in the comments.
Hope this helps!