OBS Virtual Camera Not Working

Sometimes, the virtual camera fails to work as expected, causing unnecessary stress. The causes for this are varied. You may have failed to enable the necessary permissions or have the wrong settings. Sometimes it could be a bug in the program itself, especially after a new update.
By Kelvin Wamalwa Written by Kelvin Wamalwa
Updated on August 12, 2023

If you’ve used OBS in Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams, you’re probably familiar with virtual camera. The feature allows you to transmit video from OBS through those programs without needing to install any additional add-ons or plugins. However, in some instances, you’ll find the OBS virtual camera not working for one reason or another.

The virtual camera fails to work as expected, causing unnecessary stress. The causes are varied. You might have failed to enable the necessary permissions or have the wrong settings. Sometimes, it could be a bug in the program itself, especially after a new update.  

What is OBS virtual camera?

The virtual camera is an OBS feature that allows you to use your OBS output as a video source on third-party applications like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet. Instead of having to rely entirely on the video feed from your webcam, you can stream screen recordings, and video files on your computer, or feed from other cameras straight from OBS. 

Why is your virtual camera not working on OBS?

1. Improper settings

This is the most common. Your virtual camera not showing up in Zoom could easily be because you selected the wrong camera in your settings.

2. Ungranted permissions

This is more common if you don’t have admin privileges on your computer. This can be the case for work computers. Otherwise, it’s just a matter of granting the relevant permissions.

3. Bugs

Bugs are another cause of virtual camera issues though they are not as common. This happened, for example, when OBS updated from version 27.2.1 to version 27.2.2 in early 2022, users who got the new version had virtual camera issues.  

OBS later released a patch to fix the issue but that was after quite a few users complained. If you have virtual camera issues after an update, revert to the previous version and see if the problem persists. This issue can also be confounding if you have automatic updates turned on so check the update history as well. Don’t just assume you haven’t installed an update because you didn’t physically authorize it.

How to fix the virtual camera not working problem

1. Restart OBS

Restarting is one of the easiest ways to fix problems with programs. Applications tend to use up more and more system memory and launch more processes the longer they run. This can clog up the RAM and cause memory leaks which in turn slow down operations and cause runtime errors

Shutting down the program clears the RAM and allows you to restart the program without any of these runtime issues. If you have multiple programs running at the same time, you should close them as well to reduce the strain on your system.

2. Check for OBS updates

When OBS released its new update in early 2022, users who downloaded it experienced issues with their virtual camera feature. While not a common occurrence, it happens. Software tends to have a bug or two. With millions of lines of code, it’s often impossible to catch them all before releasing the program. You never notice them until you do.

If you experience a bug after an update, check for a patch that fixes the problem. Revert to the old version if there is no software patch available or until a patch is released. If you have automatic updates enabled, check your update history. You may not always get a notification when a program installs an update. Or you may dismiss the notifications without reading them until you encounter a problem. 

It’s very easy to check for updates in OBS Studio. Just click “Help” on the navigation bar. Under the dropdown menu, you will see the “Check for Updates” option. 

3. Check your OBS video settings

This is another issue you may have overlooked, especially if you are using the virtual camera feature for the first time. The first thing you have to do is select the source for your virtual camera feed. Without selecting sources your virtual camera won’t work. The feed needs to come from somewhere. The source can be anything. An attached webcam or camera, a microphone, a prerecorded video, your screen, etc. You can select multiple sources at once.

To set up your virtual camera:

  1. Open OBS.
  2. Click the “+” icon in the Sources box.
  3. Select your sources. If you want to transmit your screen, for example, you can choose “Display capture.” if you want to stream feed from your webcam or attached camera, you can select “Media capture.”
  4. Once you’ve selected your sources, go to the controls dock and click on “Start Virtual Camera.”

4. Check your camera settings in Zoom or the secondary app you’re using

Sometimes, it may not be an issue with OBS. if you’re using Zoom, you might have selected your webcam instead of the virtual camera in the settings. Before doing anything drastic, check your camera selection settings.

To do this:

  1. Click “Start Virtual Camera” in OBS
  2. Open “Settings” in Zoom
  3. Under “Settings” select “Video.”
  4. Under video go to the camera dropdown and select “OBS Virtual Camera” as your camera.

If you ever find your OBS virtual camera not working for whatever reason, make sure to check our recommended fixes above.