Using the camera


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Using the camera

A lady chatting on a video call using her mobile phone

What's coming up

Now that you know where the camera is, it's time to find out how you use it.

In this activity, you will see how the camera works, where you sit to use it and how to hold the camera.

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Two people video calling each other

How it works

When you make a video call, the camera will record video of your face. It will send that video over the internet to the other person, so they can see what your camera is recording. This happens so quickly, it's immediate.

The same thing happens at the other end of the call. The person you're speaking to has their own camera, and it is recording and sending video to you.

When you're making a video call, the person you're calling will appear full-screen on your computer, tablet or smartphone. A small box at the bottom of the screen will let you see what you look like to the other person.

Camera skills on your computer

So, how do you use your camera? It's actually very simple.

If you're calling from a computer, sit and use your laptop or desktop computer from a normal, comfortable typing position. You don't need to get in close or lean over it – let the camera do the work.

Two people video chatting on a laptop
A couple chats to their family via video on their smartphone

Camera skills on a tablet or smartphone

With a smartphone or tablet, you hold it at a comfortable distance from your face. Don't hold it too close to you, or the camera wil only see part of your face.

If you are using a phone, it's usually best for the person you are speaking to if you hold the phone tall-ways, but if it's more comfortable, you can also hold it sideways.

Which one is you?

When you use a video calling app, you'll see a big video and a small video. Which one shows you?

The big video

Click to flip

No, that's not correct.

The big video shows the person you're speaking to. It's the little video that shows you.

The small video

Click to flip

That's right!

The small video screen shows you, so you can see what you look like to the other person.

Nanna and granddaughter catching up with the rest of the family on a video chat


Well done, you've reached the end of the Using the camera activity. Using the camera is quite natural, and the video app will show you what you look like to the other person. You don't have to overthink it - just hold and talk!

In the next activity, Using the microphone and speakers, we look at speaking and listening while on the call.