Fake Webcam isn't a lump of plastic that looks like a Webcam but isn't; it's software that simulates a Webcam feed with video. It can capture your desktop, screenshots, and real Webcam feeds, too, and overlay videos with text and effects. You can use Fake Webcam like a real Webcam's feed, but this interesting tool has other capabilities, such as creating presentations, promotional materials, training videos, and manuals, and broadcasting them like your regular Webcam via social media and IM clients. It's free to try for 30 days with a nag screen and watermark on output. But the full version costs about as much as a carry-out lunch.
Fake Webcam installed easily enough. The program makes use of several freeware tools such as media codec packs, screen capture tools, and file splitters; most of them were familiar to us as good performers. The only glitch involved an e-mail registration dialog that we couldn't opt out of. We're not crazy about registering our e-mail address to try before we buy, especially if it's mandatory. But closing, reopening, and updating the program yielded a different splash screen with a Try option. This screen, not the former version, subsequently appeared whenever we opened Fake Webcam. The program's simple interface displays tabs for Videos and Effects & Overlays on the left side, and a Preview screen that we could toggle open and closed to the right.
Fake Webcam is easy to use. We clicked Add Video, loaded a clip, and pressed Play. A prominent onscreen watermark proclaimed Fake Webcam Trial Version, but the video quality was fine otherwise. The Effects tab offers six choices, each with previews: Effects, Frames, Face, Images, GIF, and Flag. We clicked Flag, and Fake Webcam displayed a scrolling, alphabetized list of national flags. Clicking one transferred it to our video feed, where it waved in a simulated breeze. But removing effects from our preview image proved cumbersome; an undo button is needed. The Help file includes tips for configuring the program to work with many IM clients. Despite some clunkiness, we think plenty of users will want Fake Webcam on the menu.
Editors' note: This is a review of the trial version of Fake Webcam 7.1.