The latest absurd YouTube video to make the rounds is that of a lawyer named Rod Ponton who accidentally attended a civil hearing on Zoom with a cat filter (and didn’t know how to turn it off).
While we’re not absolutely sure where Mr. Pontoon (according to an article from the BBC, it’s an old app called Live Cam Avatar that used to be installed on some Dell computers), there is at least one app available called Snap Camera that lets you put yourself in a variety of on-camera creatures. While it doesn’t give the exact cat head that the lawyer wore himself, you can add a wide variety of effects, backgrounds, and distortions, some of which are downright nightmarish. (My favorite is the one that a restless cat puts on your head.)
Once installed on your Windows PC or Mac, Snap Camera works with Zoom, Twitch, Skype and a variety of other online services. In fact, according to the company, it can be used with most apps that use a webcam. For example, here̵
- If you are using active video or streaming apps, you will be prompted to close them
- Start Zoom. On a Mac, use the main menu to go to Preferences> Video. On a PC, click the gear icon in the top right corner and select ‘Video’.
- Click on the dropdown menu labeled “Camera” and select “Snap Camera”
That is it! Now you can go to the Snap Camera app and choose your filter. There is a great variety to choose from. A window at the top of the app shows how each filter affects your appearance – and what your video feed will look like the next time you start a Zoom meeting.
If you no longer want to use Snap Camera, follow the instructions above to return to your default Zoom camera app. And if you’re really ambitious, you can play around with Snap’s Lens Studio app to create your own filters.
A word of advice: use Snap Camera’s settings (found by clicking the gear icon in the top right corner) to create a keyboard shortcut that can quickly turn the app on and off.
That way, if you ever get caught in a business meeting with your cat filter turned on, you can instantly turn it off without too much embarrassment.