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Oops, I have unwittingly taped hundreds of concerts of myself

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Stills Gizmodo writer Tom McKay accidentally recorded himself sitting at his desktop computer in his office.

Stills Gizmodo writer Tom McKay accidentally recorded himself sitting at his desktop computer in his office.
Screenshot: Tom McKay / Gizmodo

This has happened to all of us: you were looking through your hard drive and found hundreds of gigabytes of long video files inside your office, obviously taken without your knowledge. Dozens or maybe hundreds of hours of video footage of everything you do when you don’t think you are being watched and you don’t know how it happened. No? Just me?

HM.

Let’s rewind a moment and see how we got there.

A while ago I bought a cheap 1080p webcam on Amazon from some brand Victure for $ 36. It basically works as advertised, but there is a big problem: my desk is in front of the window (it’s right behind my monitor). This wouldn’t be a problem if the Victure webcam clearly didn’t have any competent ability to automatically balance exposure levels. By day I glowed like Edward Cullen; at night I looked like a gremlin in a cave.

it’s the same wouldn’t be a problem if I could figure out how to do it without third party software. Looking everywhere, I could not find a way to compensate for the exposure level through Windows. Brightness and contrast controls are present, but even if you tweak them, it still looks … alarming.

From left to right: Victure webcam with default auto exposure settings;  the webcam is adjusted using the built-in Windows brightness sliders;  the webcam is adjusted using the brightness and contrast sliders.

From left to right: Victure webcam with default auto exposure settings; the webcam is adjusted using the built-in Windows brightness sliders; the webcam is adjusted using the brightness and contrast sliders.
Screenshot: Tom McKay

This left me looking for workarounds to manually adjust the camera feed. Most webcam software costs money, but I had a free open source counterpart called Open Broadcaster Software Studio (OBS Studio) is installed. I have to open OBS Studio every time I want to use the webcam, but from there it’s a few clicks to correct the exposure settings and get a significantly less creepy Zoom Meeting Tom the higher. OBS Studio takes the signal straight from the camera and outputs it to a virtual webcam, which can then be selected as a video source in any video conferencing software. Annoying, but that’s what I get for buying a webcam cheap.

This is where we come to my voluntary version The lives of others… For some reason, OBS Studio randomly starts recording whenever I start using the virtual webcam. This is works seemingly randomly and without any notifications that I know of, so in early June I was very alarmed to find 442 gigabytes of video footage of me sitting in front of my computer, as well as other clips of my cats and partner wandering around. accumulated in F: / Recordings.

This is probably one of the less embarrassing or compromising things that I’m sure the webcam caught me, but I didn’t bother checking exactly what was captured before I recorded all of the footage from my hard drive.

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What upset me at 8:25 pm ET on May 14, 2021?  The world may never know, I definitely don't know.

What upset me at 8:25 pm ET on May 14, 2021? The world may never know, I definitely don’t know.
Screenshot: Tom McKay / Gizmodo

At the time, I chalked it up to coincidence – the footage seemed to be continuous, so I must have accidentally pressed the record button or something and left it on, right? No. Bbetween June 9 and right right now, about 240 gigabytes of footage appeared in this folder, not counting additional 309 gigabytes of footage dating May that I’m not even sure I noticed the first time… Based on the T-shirts I wore, the footage spans periodic time frames of about a week.

I’m a huge dumbass. Fortunately, none of these unexpected footage has ever made it onto the Internet or seen by my colleagues, so I still consider myself a lot smarter than guy Zoom Dick

Under normal circumstances, I would be too dumb and lazy to understand what is going on here. I would just delete the footage and move on. But given Gizmodo and about. editor-in-chief, Andrew Coots, I demanded to write about this unpleasant series of events, I was forced to come up. It only took me a few seconds to determine what most likely happened was that I pressed the “H” key, which is the default OBS Studio hotkey to start recording.

OBS Studio hotkey menu.

OBS Studio hotkey menu.
Screenshot: Tom McKay / Gizmodo

In fact, I am now 100% sure that this is the case, as OBS Studio started to tape me while I was typing this sentence. How are you, you assholes.

Go away.

Go away.
Screenshot: Tom McKay / Gizmodo

Never again there was a sadder story than Tom McKay and webcam videos or whatever. Like me said before and I will say one more timeI have not learned anything from this experience and do not plan to update this policy in the future. Long live ignorance.

Anyway, if you know how to fix the auto exposure settings on my webcam without having to go through a few menus or pay someone money, I’m on my ear.


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