The amount of money that you spend on your webcam normally has a direct correlation to its functionality. Should you only require a webcam for keeping in touch with friends, a lower quality, less expensive webcam will suffice. For a more professional use, a webcam that has video conferencing functionality may be more appropriate with its additional picture enhancement features.
Webcams can vary in many ways such as size, shape, specification and price; follow these 5 tips to help you choose the best webcam for your individual needs:
MEGAPIXELS – The megapixels are the tiny dots of colour that, when combined, make the resulting visual image. A webcam with more megapixels will result in a clearer more vivid image. Today, the number of megapixels is not as big of an issue as it was in the past. Most webcams now will provide a reasonable image quality; however, the general advice is to go for a webcam that has 320X240 or 640X480 pixels for a good image. If you have the functionality of HD, consider a better specification for your webcam of 1280X720 pixels.
FRAME RATE – As the megapixels deal with image and colour vividness, the frame rate is what controls how smooth the video quality is. Frame Rate decides how many images per second are displayed. 30fps (frames per second) is more than suitable for a standard use webcam. Those looking for a smoother, higher quality moving image should consider a webcam with the capabilities of 60fps.
LENS QUALITY – the lens is the first stage in the video process therefore it is vital that you have the correct lens to cater for your needs. A webcam with a glass lens is much better than one with a plastic lens.
AUTO FOUCUS – In many scenarios there can be a lot of activity happening during a webcam session, autofocus (AF) enables the webcam to keep you as the main focus rather than diverting to other movements within the frame.
LOW LIGHT QUALITY – If you tend to use your webcam during the evening or in low light conditions, the resulting image quality can be very poor. By tampering with the screen brightness and contrast, you create a hazy and continued poor image on screen. Logitech have developed ‘Right Light’ in some of their webcams. This enables the image quality to be optimised in these poor light conditions.
Investing in a good quality cam right away is ideal. The better your image and sound is when you first start out, the better chance you have at grabbing viewers’ attention. You may know the saying “you have to spend money to make money” and that is the case here.
Some things to keep in mind for whatever cam you choose:
You must get familiar with the settings in the software. Leaving settings on default is NOT the way to go.
Turning OFF the auto-focus setting is a good idea. There is nothing more frustrating than watching a cam girl move around and dance or try and be sexy and her cam keeps trying to auto-focus, leaving the image blurry for moments at a time constantly.
The exposure/gain settings need to be adjusted. Depending on how bright or dim the cam room is, you’ll need to turn these up or down. Do not leave these settings on “auto”.
White balance setting must be adjusted. Having a weird color hue on your cam stream is really distracting. The more natural the color is, the better. Do not leave this setting on “auto.”
Attaching your webcam to a tripod makes for easy mobility and great adjustability. Depending on where you cam from (a bed, a desk, the floor) it will help you be flexible with the positions you cam in, and reduces the movement and noise experienced from having your cam on top of your laptop lid (you should avoid doing this, it creates a frustrating experience for viewers.)