Using a Canon HDSLR (5D Mark II) as a webcam for skype or ustream

by planetmitch30 Comments

As many of you know, we do our planet5D live interviews via UStream and we use Skype to help out with that. And, since we're all about covering Canon HDSLRs like the Canon EOS 5D Mark II (reviews), we thought we should use one as a webcam while we're doing the interviews (and soon to be doing the live talk show as well). And, we've had lots of questions about how we accomplish that, so we put together this little video to explain the tools we use.

UPDATE: Levi (in the comments below) pointed out that if you use “LIVE Face Detection Mode” in the Focus menu, the little white rectangle goes away (tho you do have to turn Autofocus off on your lens or you'll get real live view focusing)! Yippee!

Also: this comment from the vimeo post… “There's another way to do this with Skype and a Canon DSLR (I used a 40D). Though not as integrated as this setup, all you have to do is open the EOS utility and bring up remote shoot (same as in this video). Instead of using camtwist, all you have to do is “share” the portion of your face using Skype. The video feed quality depends on your connection, but it seems to get decent results without the hassle of a third party program.”

Using a Canon HDSLR (5D Mark II) as a webcam for skype or ustream from planetMitch on Vimeo.

If you have some tips or tricks that I haven't shown in the video, please let me know!

(Photo credit: snap from the video)


  1. Pingback: Een Canon EOS 5D mark2 als webcam « Filming with digital camera

  2. Hey Mitch, thanks for this, it’s what I’ve been looking for. Nice workaround.

    That little white box has been the bane of my existence, however, in the EOS utility, depending on the camera model, I was able to select the “Face Detection Live View” mode in the drop down menu for Focus, and the white box went away. This works for me because I use manual focus in the studio, so your milage may vary.

    Just thought it was worth the mention. You’re able to select a bigger portion of the screen without that little buggar in the way.

  3. Another application that I’ve used to capture video sources from the desktop is GrabberRaster – – It’s a solid application that does essentially what CamTwist does, but it let’s you set a specific size, as well as constrain proportions. I think it costs a few bucks, but I use it every week, so it was worth it for me.

  4. Have had any problems with overheating? I did a test and quite quickly my 7D was warning about overheating.

    Thanks for the tutorial!

    1. Author

      I haven’t had any trouble with heat – which might be even surprising since the camera is sitting right behind my hot iMac. Now the 7D has been known to have more issues than the 5D2 – so your mileage may vary.

    1. Author

      Yes, absolutely – any of the Canon cameras that come with the EOS utility and that have live view should work.

  5. Pingback: How To Use Your Canon DSLR As A Webcam [Photography] | News Update

  6. Pingback: Using the 5D Mk2 as webcam or for skype « dannydv

  7. great news

    just found it :

    5DtoRGB converts Canon EOS series video files to

    high-quality DPX sequences or ProRes QuickTime files:

    ProRes 4444 and 422 (LT) Output (requires Mac OS X 10.6)
    ProRes 422 (HQ) and ProRes 422 Output
    Higher quality output than Canon’s E1 plugin [compare]
    Higher quality output than QuickTime Player or FCP [compare]
    Raw YUV output option for unprocessed luma channel extraction
    Output luminance matte as an alpha channel (ProRes 4444 only)
    Timecode support: extracts Exif timestamp from THM files

  8. Great news. I never thought of using a DSLR with Ustream (actually, no need for camtwist with Ustream, as Ustream Producer has screencast capture capabilities.)

    The question is, how do you deal with audio? I guess you capture the audio separately. Any sync issues?

    1. Author

      Actually, in my case I do need camtwist. I’m using the UStream screencast to capture the output from my Canon EOS 5D Mark II and I’m using CamTwist as an input camera to UStream to capture the skype webcam feed. If UStream producer would let me do two screen captures, I’d be ok 🙂

      I should do another video to talk about the audio. I purchased a license to Audio Hijack Pro to spit the audio from Skype and my external mic into UStream. It is a bit complicated tho, but basically it is a software audio mixer. I don’t have any sync issues.

  9. As we found out in our broadcast, that you just need EOS utility and Skype to broadcast your 5d image over Skype. No need for camtwist or anything. Just tell Skype to broadcast your desktop, and limit the window to the live view window of EOS utility.

  10. Screen capture might work for some things, but for situations where you need the screen space for other information, such as when VJ’ing, screen capture uses up too much screen space..

    For PC there is that turns your live-view enabled dslr into a generic video source. The developer is currently busy with other things, but is preparing to take a look at making a Mac version when he’s got the time. No promises, but at least he’s got the intention of making a try.

  11. Hi, great vid. But I can’t seem to be able to select camtwist in ustream nor twitcam. In skype I can select camtwist…?

    do you maybe have a solution?



  12. Hi Mitch,

    Have you tried soundflower for your mic? It’s a nifty little application and it works with Camtwist and Medialive Encoder. It will bypass skype and basically set your input and output through either 2CH or 16CH. I played around with it last night and I have to say I was extremely impressed with it. Especially for a free application.

    1. Author

      Yes, I have soundflower – use it in conjunction with Audio Hijack Pro – works like a charm! I really need to do a new one of these videos 🙂

  13. Thanks for the tutorial. I have a Canon 550D and everything looked good in the preview window of CamTwist. But when I went to USTREAM I couldn’t select CamTwist as a camera source, only iSight. I have a free USTREAM account and I didn’t use the desktop application, just the browser window (Flash) that popped up when I clicked “Go Live!”.

    Do you have any ideas for how I can make it work?

  14. I was looking for a brief explanation about how to do this and after several videos yours was the one that gave me the solution, thanks a lot 🙂 I will follow you from now on

  15. Hi I have 5DIII, I would like to take the audio source from the 5D. But it seems like CamTwist is taking only video source from EOS Utility remote live view. How to take both video and audio from the EOS Utility into CamTwist? I use Ustream Producer basic, but it only shows internal mic option from my Macbook.

  16. Hello, I have a question on audio. I have 5DMarkIII and Ustream Producer Basic. I couldn’t take the audio source from the camera. Can you tell me how to take audio and video at the same time. I use Macbook so that there is only USB2. Thanks!

  17. Does CamTwist work with Skype CamTwist comes up as an option in the dropdown list for Video Source, but nothing is displayed.

  18. Rather than using a screen capture of the live view through EOS Viewer Utility, you can also use an open source app called Camera Live to get the footage directly from the camera into CamTwist. You can get Camera Live here:

    In CamTwist 3.0 you can select the Syphon input effect and then select Camera Live as the Syphon Sever. You also need to set up CamTwist at 1280×720 for this to work with Skype (you need to restart CamTwist after changing the output resolution).

    The current version (Build 4) uses an older version of the Canon SDK which does not appear to support the 5D Mark III and possibly other newer cameras, but it works well with my old 5D Mark II.

  19. Theres a new tool called “Sparkocam” which can capture directly from your Canon or Nikon DSLR through a drivers which get installed. Works really great. No focus box, just directly a capture from the program. You even have an capture driver which can be selected in 3th party streaming programs like OBS, Xsplit and more.

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