Will a webcam do this?

  andy625 19:37 03 May 2006

I need to record a training session onto a digital video file. I've never used a webcam before, but can anyone tell me whether it would be possible to use a webcam + suitable software to record sound and video in a quality good enough to show full screen on a laptop, with good sound quality also?

If so, what spec would I be looking for for the webcam? ie megapixels? and what software would I need to record?

Last question - would it be possible to have the laptop recording the sound/video minimised in the background, whilst the delegate is running a powerpoint presentation?

  anskyber 20:18 03 May 2006

Many webcams come with their own recording software. I have a Logitech pro 4000 which allows a recording and I can send it via e-mail or of course use it in a Messenger setting like MSN Messenger or Skype. But, while the quality is very good for that sort of environment but I suspect it will not be good enough for your intended purpose. Webcams are relatively cheap so you may wish to experiment with one first. I would expect you to conclude that an inexpensive digital video cam will serve your purpose much better.

Yes you should be able to record to a laptop almost certainly using the bundled software with the video cam. The issue will be is your particular laptop speced up enough to do it?

  Stuartli 21:12 03 May 2006

The maximum resolution of the majority of webcams is 640x480 - there is normally no real reason for it to be any higher for its intended purpose.

  Stuartli 21:12 03 May 2006

If you have a digital camera these can often be used as webcams - the quality would be far superior.

  andy625 21:14 03 May 2006

My laptop is a 1G IBM Thinkpad with XP, and 40Gb hard drive with 22Gb space.

Will a webcam give a quality of recording on a par with that of an average digital video camera?

  andy625 21:16 03 May 2006

Sorry I think I posted as you were replying. What resolution would an average video camera be, compared to a good digital camera and webcam?

  Stuartli 22:52 03 May 2006

The higher the MP specification the better the quality.

Even a 1MB or 2MB cheap digital model will deliver superior quality, but it will have to be able to be used as a webcam. Webcams usually come with a 0.3MP CMOS or CCD sensor.

Some of the Fuji and, IIRC, Canon digital cameras can be used for the purpose; individual models' specifications will detail use as a webcam if available.

  anchor 09:30 04 May 2006

If you have, or can borrow, a digital camcorder to make your recording, the results should be very good.

Upload the video into Windows Movie maker, edit if necessary, and save it as a wmv file. This can be burnt to CD, and played on any PC or laptop with Windows Media Player.

I have done this and have been delighted with the result.

  andy625 10:44 04 May 2006

Thanks for the posts. Sounds like I would be better off with a digital video camera, especially as we will probably be doing this more in the future.

  Stuartli 11:04 04 May 2006

As anchor points out using a digital camcorder will almost certainly prove a more viable proposition.

Apart from the better picture and sound quality, you will be able to move around the area and shoot scenes from different angles and distances.

A webcam would be limited to the length of the lead to your computer system..:-)

Its only real benefit would be that the recording to the hard disk would be instantaneous.

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