Why is my face all red on my camera?

So you are using your webcam and you’re teaching an eager student and then it happens: your face suddenly turns red. No, not in embarrassment. I mean your skin tone literally turns red due to your webcam. What should you do to fix this and color correct the video feed?!

Solution: Turn off your auto white balance on your camera software.

Face all red on my camera: Turn off your auto white balance

If you would rather watch a video with an explanation, rather than reading instructions, here is a fantastic video that really helped me.

This video is geared towards people who are using green screens while teaching and suddenly have their faces change colors, but this can happen to you even if you are not using manycam or elaborate green screen setups.

If you want to read instructions, follow these below:

Red Face on Camera: Solutions

It’s fixable! There are solutions to terrible light set-ups.

A photo of the terrible lighting set up in my apartment, with natural light and artificial light competing in my online classroom

The shifting red face on camera happened to me any time I taught at my dad’s apartment. This is because he has wonky light in his living room. See the photo to the left. I never got around to buying a ring light. Instead, there is a balcony door on one side (natural light), a dining room hanging lamp on one side (a cool light), and a lamp I grab from the corner of the sofa and put directly on my face sans its usual lampshade (a warm light). Ten years into teaching online and I still take the shade of his living room lamp to teach 😱. I never bothered to buy different lighting because I can adjust all the issues in the webcam software and it’s right as rain.

Steps to Fixing the Color from your Webcam

The problem is probably your color white balance. To find out, put a piece of paper up to your camera and cover it completely. Pull the white paper away from the camera. Do you see the colors shifting?

You Probably have Auto White Balance Set Up

Your camera probably has auto white balance (AWB) set up. What is the color white balance? Here is a very detailed explanation of color white balance.

The easier explanation of AWB is that the camera takes all the color in the frame and tries to neutralize it automatically. Usually, it does a great job. For example, I have had the AWB set up for my own webcam all year in many different locations and never had any problems. However, now I am in my dad’s apartment and it’s just not doing what I need it to do.

Turn off your auto white balance on your webcam

  • The problem is probably your color white balance but first confirm. How can you test it? Put a piece of paper up to your camera and cover it completely. Pull the white paper away from the camera. Do you see the colors shifting?
  • Download the camera software for your camera. If you have a Logitech camera as I did, you go the “software downloads” on the Logitech website. Download the camera software.
  • Turn off the Auto white balance
  • Create your own auto white balance manually. Place your white paper up to the camera and move the slider until your white piece of paper looks truly white (not a reddish or greenish tone).

That’s it! Your face should look less demonic now.

Happy, visually corrected teaching!

Here are some more posts to help with any technical issues while teaching online.

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