Author Topic: Webcam Recommendations  (Read 831 times)

Puce Moment

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Webcam Recommendations
« on: September 17, 2020, 12:29:15 PM »
I didn't know whether to put this in Technology or the University covid thread, but hopefully it is ok here.

Like all lecturers, I am putting some of the Uni money traded with me for my labour into paying for more stuff to help me trade my labour. So, I have a USB webcam which is over 10-years old. My Microsoft Surface has an unbelievably great camera and mic, and that is what I have been using for meetings (with lots of people commenting on the quality). However, my Surface is not built for online teaching in as much as I really need to use my PC with its two monitors so I can spin the plates of putting up documents on screen etc. That would be enormously fiddly on my surface.

So - what are my options? I am happy to go with an external USB webcam if they are good enough, but naturally I would rather not spend a fortune. Any recommendations or solutions to my plight?

imitationleather

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2020, 01:06:46 PM »
I think there's quite a big webcam shortage at the mo, as every cunt on the planet now wants one.

I have one of these:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Logitech-Calling-Recording-Microphones-Adjustable/dp/B006A2Q81M/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2YQDW4GEQCFS4&dchild=1&keywords=logitech+webcam&qid=1600344302&sprefix=logitech%2Caps%2C201&sr=8-3

It's great and would do everything you need, but it appears to be out of stock now. It's also £30 more expensive than when I bought the exact same model last year. Price gouging...

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2020, 01:16:04 PM »
Dunno what software you're using but can't you join with more than one computer? My boss regularly joins meetings additionally with their surface to sketch stuff out, and as screen sharing seems to take precedence over the webcam, it automatically kicks his mug off the screen.

Puce Moment

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2020, 01:26:03 PM »
Yeah, I noticed that most of the top sellers on Currys and John Lewis are unavailable so I might just have to throw sheckles at this thing. I'm also thinking about some way to link my Surface with my PC so I can basically turn it into my webcam.

Fuck knows how though - Youtube might tell me....

Dunno what software you're using but can't you join with more than one computer? My boss regularly joins meetings additionally with their surface to sketch stuff out, and as screen sharing seems to take precedence over the webcam, it automatically kicks his mug off the screen.

My brain is struggling with this but the initial point is probably true - I could join with both but I don't know how I would share my desktop with them as that would be on my PC. I need to give this some thought. I'm using Windows 10.

Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2020, 02:01:14 PM »
Logitech USB webcams are good quality. I got one for 70 quid, 1080p and built in microphone. They plug and play, so will integrate with Teams app and any other software easily.

You can screen share desktop in Teams, even having it share a specific window (and not your whole desktop). Less headache to just stick with one PC, dual monitors with usb webcam and usb microphone if you’re feeling sassy.

Puce Moment

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2020, 03:16:40 PM »
Yeah, I now know that is going to be the easiest solution to this.

I just tested the Logitech webcam I currently have because although it is over 10 years old, I noticed it has a Carl Zeiss lens unlike the current models. Here is the spec compared with my surface:

LOGITECH WEBCAM
Frame rate: 10 FPS
Webcam MegaPixels: 1.45 MP
Webcam Resolution: 1600×904
Aspect Ratio: 1.77
Bitrate: 7.09 MB/s
Number of Colors: 98278

SURFACE WEBCAM
Frame rate: 30 FPS
Webcam MegaPixels: 2.07 MP
Webcam Resolution: 1920×1080
Aspect Ratio: 1.78
Bitrate: 25.15 MB/s
Number of Colors: 107436

I need to get a new webcam I think.

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2020, 04:31:16 PM »
I think there's quite a big webcam shortage at the mo, as every cunt on the planet now wants one.

I have one of these:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Logitech-Calling-Recording-Microphones-Adjustable/dp/B006A2Q81M/ref=sr_1_3?crid=2YQDW4GEQCFS4&dchild=1&keywords=logitech+webcam&qid=1600344302&sprefix=logitech%2Caps%2C201&sr=8-3

It's great and would do everything you need, but it appears to be out of stock now. It's also £30 more expensive than when I bought the exact same model last year. Price gouging...

That's the one I've had my eye on...since late March :(

I'm keeping an eye on this thread as I would like a webcam that I can carry around with me to plug into the desktops in our clasrooms, rather than haul around my laptop all day long.

Consignia

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2020, 04:57:45 PM »
The Surface can drive two external monitors, so you might want to consider buying a Surface Dock. This dull video shows what I mean https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GctxvCr7CZE . But at leat you'd be able to use the tablet as a web cam whilst doing the actual work on the main screens.

Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #8 on: September 18, 2020, 09:15:27 AM »
I got one of these cheap-ass Chinese cameras and it does a perfectly good job for a third of the price of the big brands. 1080p. 30fps. 4 surprisingly bright LEDs.

If I had one gripe, it's that it does have a fixed zoom and your face ends up filling the whole screen (and it doesn't come with any software to adjust the field of view). However, I worked round that problem by screwing a dinky tripod into the base and positioning it on a shelf behind my monitor.

Puce Moment

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2020, 10:40:50 AM »
The Surface can drive two external monitors, so you might want to consider buying a Surface Dock. This dull video shows what I mean https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GctxvCr7CZE . But at leat you'd be able to use the tablet as a web cam whilst doing the actual work on the main screens.

I might be just thinking about this all wrong, but the main reasons that I don't want to use my Surface (beyond the webcam function) is because I keep it almost completely free of files and bloatware, and mainly use it for conferences and work stuff on the road. I need to use my PC because it has all my shit and stuff I can access at short notice etc. Perhaps I should be thinking about this differently - using a cloud for files and linking up my mouse and keyboard to the Surface. I just think I will run into problems because it isn't specced out with all the shit I need in the way my PC is.

Consignia

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2020, 11:44:46 AM »
Ah, fair does. I used to use my Surface as my main business machine, but the only specific stuff I needed was software development tools which I was able to manage any bloat myself. They are capable for the most part, but I understand if you want to keep it pure.

Puce Moment

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2020, 01:22:37 PM »
Part of the issue is that I have spent the last 16-years of teaching transferring files onto USB keys to bring to the teaching rooms, and then getting all sorts of issues with accessing websites etc  etc etc., I like to bring people in other academics or famous people on Skype or Zoom during face-to-face teaching, which tends to fuck up on old Uni PCs. Drives me nuts.

I finally have the opportunity to sit with my home PC station and I can fling anything onto the screen at any given time. It might just be my teaching style but in any given session I will tend to have about a dozen chrome tabs open, plus numerous video files. I am really looking forward to it, and I think transferring to the Surface is just going to be introducing another step into the process.

falafel

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2020, 10:07:44 PM »
You know you can dial into a Teams meeting on more than one device at a time with the same account? So you could just use the Surface to dial in for video and audio, and dial in on your computer for the screen sharing with your mic turned off, and you're sorted.

falafel

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2020, 10:11:13 PM »
I mean, you literally just open the meeting on both computers and click join on both and you're in, so you just share from your desktop and if it helps with the cognitive dissonance you can just pretend to yourself that the surface is somehow connected to your PC. Honestly in practice it's piss easy, test it with a colleague or something, don't waste cash on a webcam

Puce Moment

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Re: Webcam Recommendations
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2020, 10:25:44 PM »
I tested this for a few days and to be honest I just got fucked off with all the leads, my laptop moving out space for my keyboard and a host of other things.

A £130 Logitech came up on my gumtree alerts for £65 so I snapped it up. Still boxed, never used. Arrived this morning and works like a dream. Also casts if I want it to, and does one click grabs. Sound is superb and image crystal clear. It ended up being the right choice for me.

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