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Camo update lets you overlay graphics and text when using your phone as a webcam

Camo, an app that lets you use an iOS, Android, or iPadOS device as a webcam for your computer, is introducing a new feature that could be very interesting for streamers and those who take every Zoom meeting very seriously. The app now includes the ability to create overlays and add them to your video stream, letting you include info such as your social media handles or name and pronouns anywhere your video appears.

Camo’s adding overlays at a very interesting time — Apple just announced a feature called Continuity Camera, which will also let you use your iPhone as a webcam for your Mac without having to install any extra software.

Reincubate, the company behind Camo, says that the feature is a part of Thursday’s 1.7 update. Using the desktop app (which also manages pulling the video from your phone to your computer and adjusting settings), you’ll be able to select from 17 template overlays, which you can edit to fit your needs. You can also build your own overlays, adding text and graphics with a drag-and-drop interface.

The company says you’ll be able to switch between different overlays via keyboard shortcuts, which could be handy for people who do a lot of presentations or streaming and haven’t added any Stream Deck-like hardware to their setup. Camo users will also be able to export and import overlays, which could be handy for groups that all want their video feeds to look the same (like in a business or game-streaming collective).

Adding overlays to your webcam footage isn’t a brand-new idea; programs like Open Broadcaster Software (commonly known as OBS) and StreamElements have let you do that for quite a while. But setting that up to work with other programs like Zoom, Teams, or Discord could be a bit of a challenge. Camo, on the other hand, boasts that using its software with most videoconferencing apps is as easy as changing the camera input.

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Camo’s press release is quick to point out some of the advantages of its solution, even without the addition of overlays. The company says that its app “goes far beyond Apple’s unreleased Continuity Camera functionality, with support for iPad, Windows, Android, overlays, lens selection, granular image control, AR effects, enterprise support, greater iOS & iPhone compatibility, a powerful SDK, and a host of other features.”

But what it doesn’t mention is that some of those features, like the ability to choose which lens your phone uses, support for portrait mode, and image adjustments, require the $40 per year Camo Pro subscription if you want to use them with your iPhone or iPad (the company does say that its Android app “currently offers all available features for free”). It also doesn’t mention the convenience factor; Continuity Camera will work wirelessly, whereas Camo requires connecting your phone to your computer with a cable.

With that said, that little bit of effort (and, potentially, money spent) will give you way more functionality and flexibility than what Apple’s promising. And the overlay editor will be part of the free version of the app, according to an email to The Verge from Reincubate’s head of marketing, Dean Maskell, which definitely helps Camo’s case.

While many people who have both an iPhone and Mac will likely go with the free, built-in Continuity Camera, this update makes it seem like the Camo team is doubling down to better serve the niche of people that will appreciate the app’s extra features. To me, that definitely seems like the right move.

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