The past few years have seen an exponential increase in the usage of video calls. Of course, the events of the past couple of years made it a necessity, but because of the convenience they offered, they became the norm.
Now, people from all wakes of life use video calls for work or personal connections. More and more people are also entering content creation and using the cameras on their devices to record. In order to allow you to make the best use of your camera and free you from the dependency on third-party apps, Microsoft has introduced Windows Studio Effects for the integrated camera in Windows 11.
What are Windows Studio Effects?
Studio Effects are a collection of video and audio effects that aim to improve your video and audio call experience. These effects are only available in Windows 11 22H2 or later builds. However, the availability of the effects is device dependent; only devices with an NPU (neural processing unit) will support the effects, such as the Surface Pro 9 5G model.
The effects are enabled by advanced AI and machine learning algorithms, making them genuinely excellent and allowing you to present yourself in the best possible light in video conferences.
The Windows Studio Effects include 4 effects in total explained below.
1. Background Blur
This effect does not need much in the way of introduction. Since the pandemic, most video-conferencing calls have started offering this effect that blurs your background so that the focus is always on you in the meetings. But the application of the effect in some apps is unsatisfactory and leaves something to be desired.
With Windows Studio Effects, you can have a blurred background, no matter the app. The native effect offers two categories: Standard Blur (applies a heavy blur) and Portrait Blur (applies a light blur).
2. Eye Contact
The Eye Contact feature seems truly exciting. The reality of video calls is that no matter how convenient they are, it can be difficult to engage your audience. Since we’re looking at the screen and not the camera, it’s difficult to establish eye contact. The Eye Contact effect can fix that. It simulates eye contact with the camera by estimating and aligning your gaze, hence compensating for the fact that we are looking at the screen.
This lets you make a better connection with the people you’re talking to by making you appear more attentive and engaging!
3. Auto Framing
Auto Framing is an effect that keeps you in the center stage on the screen even when you move around or even if your camera is at an angle. The effect uses machine learning algorithms and adjusts the cropping and zoom of your camera to keep you in the center of the screen.
So, even if you have to move around to give a presentation, you don’t have to worry about staying prominently visible!
4. Voice Focus
This is the only audio effect in the bunch. It removes unwanted background noise from your audio by processing it using an AI noise removal algorithm. It’s most useful when you’re attending a meeting in a noisy setting which can make it a headache for other participants.
This effect will keep your audio crisp and clear!
Enable and Use the Windows Studio Effects
If you have a compatible device and Windows 11 22H2 update installed, enabling and using Windows Studio Effects is a piece of cake. The effects that you enable will be applied system-wide and stay enabled until you disable them again.
Enabling the Video Effects
Open the Settings app on your device from the Start menu or by using the Windows + I keyboard shortcut.
Then, go to ‘Bluetooth & Devices’ from the navigation menu on the left.
Go to ‘Cameras’ from the Bluetooth & Device settings in the right pane.
Select your camera device.
Then, go to the ‘Camera Effects’ option and click on it to expand the setting. The options for ‘Automatic Framing’, ‘Eye Contact’, and ‘Background Effect’ will appear; enable the toggle for the effect you want to use. You can enable all the effects if that’s what you want. For the Background effect, select whether you want to apply ‘Standard Blur’ or ‘Portrait Blur’ by clicking the respective radio button.
Note: On some devices, the camera effects, i.e., Background blur, Auto Framing, and Eye Contact, might have a significant impact on the performance and battery life of the device.
Enabling the Audio Effect
To enable the Voice Focus audio effect, go to ‘System’ from the navigation menu on the left in the Settings app.
Then, click the option for ‘Sound’.
Scroll down and click the option for ‘All Sound devices’ under Advanced settings.
Click your internal microphone under ‘Input devices’.
Scroll down and click the ‘Audio Enhancements’ option to expand it. Then, enable the toggle for ‘Voice Focus’.
Enable Studio Effects from the Quick Settings Panel
You can also enable the Windows Studio Effects from the Quick Settings Panel in Windows 11 but the option is not widely available yet. Microsoft has only rolled out this option in the Preview builds to Windows Insiders on the Dev and Beta channels. Hopefully, Microsoft will roll it out widely soon since it makes sense to make Studio Effects readily accessible. Going to the Settings app every time you want to enable or disable an effect is an awful lot of steps.
Meanwhile, if you’re in one of the Insiders channels, open the Quick Settings panel by clicking the ‘Network, Sound, and Battery’ icon from the taskbar.
Then, click the ‘Studio Effects’ tile.
From the flyout window for the Studio Effects, select whether you want to enable ‘Camera’ or ‘Audio’ effects by switching between the two from the top-right corner.
Finally, enable or disable the toggle for the desired effect from the panel. Or, for the Background effects or Eye Contact, select the desired option from the drop-down menu.
Similarly, you can switch to Audio Effects and enable the toggle for ‘Voice Focus’.
Windows Studio Effects can be a lifesaver in video meetings, given that you have a compatible device with an NPU. There’s no need to be at the mercy of the video conferencing app with these effects at your disposal.