CyberLink YouCam 5 is a Webcam manager that not only manages your installed Webcams and feeds but also lets you jazz them up with cool effects, avatars, gadgets, and so on. YouCam includes productivity tools for making presentations, tutorials, and instructional videos. It records HD video, and its TrueTheater feature enhances them. You can add special effects to your Webcam feed, and even download unlimited free effects from DirectZone. New features include Face Login, which uses facial-recognition technology to access your PC and Web sites like Facebook and Amazon. CyberLink YouCam 5 is free to try for 15 days.
CyberLink YouCam downloads via the CyberLink Downloader, which wouldn't let us download YouCam until we'd downloaded an updated version of the downloader! But the downloader includes MD5 checking, so it's worth the extra clicks. After selecting a destination folder, we were finally able to download and install YouCam, only to find a nag screen waiting. We clicked Try Now, and eventually YouCam's attractive, dark-toned interface opened. Moments later, our Webcam view appeared in the main window, followed by a side panel of Visual Effects.
The image quality was good, given the limitations of our Netbook and Webcam; both decent but unspectacular performers on their own. Applying effects couldn't be easier: click the one you want, and YouCam loads it. We clicked one that resembled a cinema marquee with multiple windows, each displaying our camera feed. YouCam has a whole menu full of effects: Scenes, Frames, Filters and Particles, Gadgets, Avatars, Emoticons, Distortions, and Augmented Reality, which involves drawing or printing a pattern, displaying it on the Webcam, and then selecting effects. YouCam can also create standard Presentations as well as those using Desktop Capture data and Dual-Video Presentations. The Utilities tab includes a Mirror feature, Video Surveillance (with motion detection recording) and Face Login, which is a great idea, but only works with Internet Explorer. The TrueTheater enhancement feature let us fine-tune the picture.
Of course, CyberLink YouCam 5 also captures video and still images, manages your camera and audio sources, and has other functions. If you use your Webcam a lot, it might be the tool you need.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of CyberLink YouCam 5.0.