When you think of video conferencing you probably picture a webcam perched on a computer or monitor recording your image and sending it out to the world. While webcams are most frequently used by online conference participants, it is also possible to get the work done with a digital video camera. Which webcam or digital video camera you opt for depends on your needs. Here are some points to consider when making your selection.
Nowadays, web cams can be found for under $20 and go all the way up to $150. The difference between the high end cameras and the starter web cams are usually due to the quality of image that is put out.
First, take a look at the resolution of the camera. Ideally you should get a webcam that can produce at least a 640×480 resolution.
Then check how many frames per second the camera can handle. For video conferencing the ideal level is 30 frames per second (fps).
Finally, find out what kind of sensor the camera uses. The better web cams use CCD technology instead of CMOS. Also, remember that most webcams connect to computers with a USB cable.
Digital Video Cameras
For an even better result (sharper and faster images), you can use digital video cameras. These are the same devices that are used to record home movies, etc. Digital video cameras start as low as $250 and go up to thousands of dollars. In order to use a digital video camera, you need to make sure that the device supports a USB or a Firewire output and that it can be used as a webcam and connect you with online applications.
Whether you use a webcam or a digital video camera depends on the type of conferencing that you will be doing.
If you’re meeting in a manner in which the quality of the video is not too important, then a lower end webcam will probably suffice. However, if you need quality video, then a higher end webcam, or even a digital video camera will be required.
If you’ll be in a conference room setting, in which you need to get more than one person on camera, a digital video camera with tilt/pan/zoom capabilities will work best.
Firewire digital video cameras provide images that are so nice that you can see the second hand of a watch sweep by. You can also see details of products and items that normal webcams simply cannot provide. This is because firewire handles the processing of video much better than USB does, allowing for smoother images and better quality.
When you are out shopping for webcams, take a look at Logitech products. They are one of the leaders in this field and have a wide variety of models. They offer great products at reasonable prices. For digital video cameras, Canon offers a good selection and devices of excellent quality.
So, consider your needs and your budget and then find a webcam or a digital video camera that is best for you.
Dan Richmond is Co-founder of MegaMeeting.com. MegaMeeting provides web & video conferencing services for individuals & businesses. For more information, please call 818.783.4311 or Visit www.MegaMeeting.com.