Streaming through your computer – going beyond the USB Webcam
There’s a way of communicating with video that’s inexpensive but delivers vastly improved quality.
With few exceptions, webcams built into laptops, phones and tablets are poor. For a quick one-to-one conversation, they serve a purpose, but for critical meetings and presentations, they are quite unsuitable. Cheap clip-on webcams may be the next logical choice, but these usually cope badly with dark rooms or subjects lit with bright sunlight. They also react very poorly to changing lighting conditions or movement.
Enter the pro Webcam with ePTZ.
Lumens B10U is far superior in terms of image quality. It’s also got a great a few tricks up its sleeve. Firstly, it has a really wide lens 120 degrees) meaning that it can shoot a whole meeting room without you having to physically move the camera. The second advantage is its ePTZ functionality. Because the B10U has a 12 megapixel sensor, users can zoom in with no loss of HD quality. You can also move around the frame and create presets on areas within the frame, then quickly select camera position 1, 2, 3 (up-to 64) etc via the included remote control. This means that you can zoom instantly onto each speaker and still deliver 1080. It’s like TV and looks much better than a single static wide camera angle.
The Ultimate Webcam?
Perhaps the supreme webcam is the Panasonic UE4. Designed for broadcast use, it’s got superb 4K video quality, an ultra-wide 111 degree field of view and a large 8 megapixel sensor. Like the Lumens B10U, it’s an ePTZ camera with digital pan, tilt and 4x lossless zoom (at an HD output). It allows users to shoot from different angles and quickly switch between views (100 presets supported), with no moving parts or mechanical noise. The UE4 goes further. As well as connecting using USB, it has an IP port, so it can stream direct to YouTube Live and Facebook or other content networks. With HDMI it fits easily into live multi-camera video production workflows or lecture capture systems.
As USB devices, these cameras are seen as webcams by a variety of communication and production platforms such as Skype, Teams, Webex, Zoom, Wirecast and vMix. To create TV from this kind of webcam, you can use an INOGENI CAM300 which allows you to switch between two USB cameras and two HDMI sources, with a single USB output to your computer.