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Webcam Flickering: An Exhaustive Guide on the Causes and How to Fix It

25 December 2022

With the latest hike in the number of folks working from home, it follows that many employees have to adopt online Zoom calls. There are even some permanent remote workers who have resorted to video calls to socialize with their friends. Thus, it's expected that you would want to look nice and elegant during the calls.

But what's the way out when your video flickers or jitters? We are here to walk you through all the steps you need to take. But before that, you might also be wondering what causes the constant flickering.

That's another puzzle we'll crack open for you. Meanwhile, don't be deceived. The mere fact that you're using the state-of-the-art webcam and office gadgets doesn't guarantee that you're free from webcam flickering.

Hence, this concerns everyone. Let's get started!

Webcam Flickering

What is Webcam Flickering?

This irregularity occurs when the shutter speed of your camera doesn't commensurate with the light frequency or source of light. And it's often connected to the difference in the refresh speed or rate.

As annoying as webcam flickering is, it doesn't mean that your webcam is faulty or to be blamed. The problem lies with the camera's light bulb that collects and sends out pulses of power instead of a consistent stream and that's what leads to flickering.

Although flickering and jittering happen way too fast for the naked eyes to capture, they might end up messing with the webcam if the problem is not nipped in the bud. Thus, the basic and most important method of fixing it is when you regulate your camera's refresh level to either 50Hz or 60Hz.

Do you even know that webcam flickering is not peculiar to video meets alone? Let's go a bit experimental here. If you point your mobile phone towards the source of light in your room and turn on the video app, you'll likely experience this same flickering.

What are the Factors that Trigger Webcam Flickering?

What are the Factors that Trigger Webcam Flickering?

As we earlier pointed out, the primary factor responsible for the webcam flickering is traced to the variation between the frequency of the source of light in your home office and the shutter speeds. Sounds technical a bit? We have simplified them into the following subheadings, so read in.

Difference Between the Camera Shutter Speed and Lights

Using your webcam in a room with proper ventilation and lighting guarantees you that there's a smooth interaction between the lights in the room and your webcam. So you should make it a point of duty to have your video calls in a well-lit room.

On the other hand, you should also note that the AC will alter the room's lighting and the current will start declining. That's when the light bulbs of the camera start staying on for barely a millisecond and off for the next millisecond. But the trend is so short and fast that human eyes won't notice the quivering and flickering.

And this is where the effect pops up on your webcam - the camera will observe the glitches if its shutter speed and refresh level of the room's lighting are at loggerheads. In other words, remote workers whose shutter speed and lights are at par have no cause for alarm.

Incompatible Artificial Lighting and Your Camera's Refreshing Rate

Flowing from the above point, you need to be extra cautious to ensure that your room's light and the refresh level of the camera are at the same position. Meanwhile, we've also observed that most folks working from home or any other remote location are introducing artificial lights into their working space.

But it seems that many people don't know that most artificial lights work optimally when they're used between the frequency of 50Hz and 60Hz. Thus, webcam flickering can also take place when the shutter speed of your webcam does not conform with this range of artificial lighting.

Advanced Shutter Speed of the Camera

Generally, it's a known fact that the webcam or camera has an advanced shutter speed when compared to artificial lighting. So it's safe to conclude that the level of flickering or jittering video output you observe will be determined by how high or top-notch your webcam's shutter speed is.

In a nutshell, you'll have more frustrating flickers if you're using a webcam with a high shutter speed. Of course, you don't want that for yourself. And if you're already in such conditions, we have some ways you can explore to put an end to poor video output caused by webcam flickering.

Top 5 Ways of Fixing Webcam Flickering

Top 5 Ways of Fixing Webcam Flickering

Prevention, they say, is better than cure. Thus, you should not wait until when your webcam starts flickering. You need to take preventive measures today! After all, getting rid of flickering will give you a hitch-free and smooth online video call experience. Keenly read through the following lines to achieve that goal.

Fix the Flickers through the Windows Camera Settings

Do you use the inbuilt camera of your monitor for video calls? This also includes a Windows camera, so all you have to do is open the camera app and check the Windows Camera Setting. Once you are there, you can proceed to the settings icon. Click on it and choose your desired frequency from there.

Meanwhile, you should keep in mind that the idea frequency is from 50-60Hz. If you could do this, you'll no longer experience the flickering problem. Easy peasy!

Follow this guide:

Hit the Search box at the bottom-right corner (if you're using Windows 10) or manually type "Win+S".
Search for Camera and open the camera app from the displayed results.
Select Settings and navigate down to find the icon for flicker reduction.
Fix the reduction setting to 50Hz. That's all!

Troubleshoot the Refresh Rate through Your Video Call App

Here is another way to fix or prevent webcam flickering. And you should pay rapt attention if you initiate your video calls on platforms like Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams. So have you noticed that the video output works perfectly on one app but fails to work on the other?

If that's the case, all you have to do is go through that particular video app causing the problem and check its anti-flickers option. This can be done by following the properties or settings segment of the platform. Once you get there, change the refresh rate to 50Hz. Ta-da!

You can now have an uninterrupted video session with your colleagues at work and loved ones!

If You are Using Skype

Click your profile picture on the app and hit the settings icon.
Choose Audio & Video and scroll down to webcam settings to adjust the flickering.
Change the level from 60Hz to 50Hz to heave a sigh of relief.

If You are Using Microsoft Teams

Open your Ms Teams app and go to the top. Click the three-dot menu.
You'll see Settings in the drop-down menu, click on it and go to Devices to open the camera settings.
Navigate to the bottom right corner and click on a drop-down menu tagged "Powerline frequency (Anti-flicker)".
Lastly, adjust the frequency level.

If You are Using Zoom

Launch your Zoom app and go to Settings.
Choose Video and click on Advanced.
Lastly, alter the Video Rendering Method to Direct 3D11

Regulate the Refresh Rate with an External Webcam Software

Before we dig deeper, you should note that this method of fixing webcam flickering doesn't work for people using an in-built camera. So it only applies to office workers using an external webcam. And if you're using an external webcam, it's logical that your computer has webcam software.

Now, you must open this software and run it through the Advanced Settings. That's the platform where you can regulate the frequency of the shutter speed. Meanwhile, this is where you put the lesson you learned earlier to use - the refresh level or shutter speed of your webcam must be equal to the frequency of the artificial lighting.

And that's 50Hz. Therefore, you're required to adjust the speed from 60Hz to 50Hz. Voila!

Adjust the Brightness of the Light Source

Although this method isn't common, you can also stop the webcam from flickering by regulating the brightness of the source of light in your room or home office. Meanwhile, this idea only works when you use external light components with analog or software settings.

There are even some light bulbs built for home use alongside software that increases or reduces the brightness based on the person's mood. Once you notice that the brightness has gone high, you need to reduce it to make the room dull. And you'll discover that flickering will be reduced to the barest minimum.

Another advantage here is that adjusting the camera's brightness will also help you quench the poorly-lit video frame.

Move Out of the Source of the Light

Alternatively, you can also move out of the direct impact of the light source to strike out every possibility of flickering. The essence of this method is that as you migrate from the frustrating light source, the webcam will automatically regulate itself with the available natural light. Therefore, flickering and jittering will reduce.

However, it's likely that the video frame appears dark since the amount of light has been reduced. And if you want to give the frame some illumination, it's advised that you make sure your new location is in touch with sunlight.

Another idea is that you turn on the brightness setting both on your computer and the video calling application. Going further, the latest research and studies have also shown that a slow USB port might find it difficult to connect to high-tech video with an advanced frame rate. And it can also lead to flickers.

Hence, we will advise that you replace the USB with a velocious USB connection.

Final Thoughts - Setting Up the Perfect Workstation

Drawing curtains on this discussion, we believe that you now have a full grasp as to why your webcam flickers. And fortunately for you, we've discussed a large chunk of how to fix the glitch, so its execution should be easier for you.

However, you need to know that Flexispot remains the best store where you can get all your ergonomic office furniture and computer desk accessories for a seamless video call. At Flexispot, your maximum satisfaction is our priority. And all you have to do is hop onto our online store with your account, and you'll be good to go.