Understanding Video Camcorder Face Detection

Many digital cameras have included face detection as standard for some time now. Just recently, video camcorders have also started adding this useful feature. The feature is actually very clever and makes it possible for the camera to identify human faces and focus specifically on them. This is particularly useful because it will always mean that your videos of other people are in focus.

If your video camera supports face detection, then it should be fairly easy to capture videos of human subjects. This is because the videos will always be in focus.


Autofocus has been standard for years on video cameras. This isn't, however, the same as face detection. If the camera is set in autofocus mode, then it will simply lock onto whatever is in the middle of the frame. Some cameras will try to work out what they should focus on and this will be displayed with a square on the screen. This means that whatever object is in the center, whether it's a person or a tree, will be in focus.

What Is Face Detection?

Face detection is a special type of auto focus mode which doesn't focus on everything. This is able to differentiate between people's faces and any other objects. The faces will be locked onto even if they are not in the center of the frame. You should notice this feature on the screen of your camera. When you are pointing the camera at someone, a box should appear around their face. Most camcorders support multiple face detection, which makes it possible to select many faces rather than just one.

Some of the more advanced cameras allow you to select the face that you want to track by pressing on it with your finger or pressing certain buttons. This makes it even easier to track the people that you really want in your home movie rather than the camera focusing on strangers.

Choosing Face Detection

Face detection for digital cameras isn't really that important because you are taking a still image. When filming a video, however, the face detection will need to change much quicker. There will be people moving around in the frame and being able to select the faces you want to focus on will be much easier.

Not all of the video cameras which offer face detection are the same. Some of these can only detect one face while others can detect more. The best video cameras are capable of detecting 20+ faces which should be plenty for most people. Some cameras are not able to accurately identify faces if they are looking at the camera at an angle. Cheaper cameras are only capable of identifying faces when they are looking at the camera straight on.

Some top of the range cameras also make it possible to search through the videos on your camera depending on certain faces in the menu. This will select a frame with the face in for the thumbnail. When looking at face detection, you should be able to find out about it by reading the box or the information from the store you're purchasing it from.