How to use Snap Camera to be a cat (or anything else) in Zoom?

The latest goofy YouTube video is of a lawyer named Rod Ponton who accidentally installed a cat filter at a Zoom civil hearing (and couldn’t figure out how to turn it off).

Although we’re not entirely sure where Mr. Ponton’s filter came from (According to an article by the BBC(an old application called Live Cam Avatar) that is preinstalled on some Dell computers, there is at least one application in there. Snap Camera This will allow you to transform yourself into various creatures on camera. While it doesn’t quite provide the cat-head that the lawyer wears, it does allow you to add a wide variety of effects, backgrounds, and distortions, some of which are downright nightmarish. (My favorite is the one that places a restless cat on your head.)

Once installed on your Windows PC or Mac, Snap Camera works with Zoom, Twitch, Skype and various other online services. In fact, according to the company, it can be used with most apps that use webcams. For example, here’s how to add Snap Camera’s effects to your Zoom app:

  • Download and install Snap Camera from their website (after signing the usual privacy policy, license agreement and terms of service). You’ll need a computer running Windows 10 or macOS 10.13 or later. During installation, you will be asked to access your computer’s camera and microphone.
  • If you are running any active video or streaming apps, you will be prompted to close them.
  • Start Zoom. On Mac, use the top menu to go to “Preferences” > “Video”. On PC, click the gear icon in the upper right corner and select “Video”.
  • Click the dropdown labeled “Camera” and select “Take Camera”

Once you find Zoom's Settings menu, use the drop-down menu to select “Take Camera”.

Once you find Zoom’s Settings menu, use the drop-down menu to select “Take Camera”.

This much! You can now go to the Snap Camera app and choose your filter. There is a wide variety to choose from. A window at the top of the app shows you how each filter will affect your view and what your video feed will look like the next time you start the Zoom meeting.

If you no longer want to use Snap Camera, simply follow the instructions above to revert to your default Zoom camera app. And if you are really ambitious, you can try to play with it. Snap’s app Lens Studio to create your own filters.

A tip: Use Snap Camera’s settings (found by clicking the gear icon in the top right corner) to create a hotkey that will quickly open and close the app.

Once you find Zoom's Settings menu, use the drop-down menu to select “Take Camera”.

Use Snap Camera’s settings to create on/off hotkey.

That way, if you’re caught at a business meeting with your cat filter on, you can turn it off right away without too much embarrassment.

Correction February 11, 2021 at 09:12 ET: Snap Camera requires a computer running macOS 10.13 or later, not 10.31 as previously stated. We are sorry for the mistake.

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