We got off to a good start with my previous post (part 1) about choosing the right person to Host our webcast. In this post, I’ll talk about the camera I’m using, why I chose it along with upgrade options we’re looking at if the show really takes off.
For the start of our new show Week In Review I chose to use the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema for a few reasons.
The first and most important for any new venture is price. I took a trip down to my local Wal-Mart, I live in NWA and there’s a Wal-Mart every 10 miles… literally, and browsed around the electronics department. No one in NWA can beat them on the price point, although everyone can beat them on selection when it comes to computers and computer accessories. Anyways, I picked up two of these cameras at the low low price of $79 each. I was under a time constraint and with the launch of the show just weeks away, I wanted time to configure, confirm and possibly return if necessary whatever I chose to sue.
The second reason for this selection is the widescreen High Definition video it produces. I wanted to produce a high quality 720p video production and our local options are limited. I did my research online and of the options I had the LifeCam Cinema fit the bill. I brought it home for testing and everything worked better than expected. The video was so crisp and clear I had to go change my shirt cause I noticed I’d spilt some of my lunch on it earlier today.
Here is an image of my first test. It was directly being compared to an old webcam I was using before and demonstrates the higher quality of the broadcasted image. Click it to view it larger and see the clarity the LifeCam Cinema provides over my older HP standard definition webcam.
The next qualification for this camera was if it would be compatible with the video mixer software I chose called VidBlaster. I’ll go into greater depth about this software in part 5 of my series. On a side note, the video mixer software can only accept one audio feed. This meant that if I was using more than one camera, I could not use the microphones from each. As a result I needed to buy an audio mixer in order to supply the mixed audio from multiple sources. I’ll discuss further about the audio mixer in part 4 of my series.
During my research I discovered many options available for supplying the video I want. Some were much pricier than the option I chose, however some of these are in my upgrade plans if the show takes off.
A possible upgrade path for our video equipment will include a few different pieces.
HD Camcorder: The one I’ve researched with a reasonable price range for our size production is the Canon VIXIA HF R20 Full HD Camcorder. This $340 camera has the HD quality we’re looking for and the portability we’d like to add to the show. We can use this portable camera to film events, then play them during our LIVE broadcast and edit them in during post-production. Combine this with the compatible WM-V1 Wireless Microphone and we can capture HD video and audio easily when remote on location.
HDMI Capture Card: This PCIe computer card will convert the HDMI computer signal from the camera to digital video that VidBlaster can use as a video feed. The device I’m looking at is the Blackmagic Design Intensity Pro HDMI card. At $189 at the time of research, this price fits perfectly into a reasonable upgrade budget. Other options on the capture card can be found over at BH Photo Video. If I’m looking to have 2 Camcorders, I can simply purchase a second capture card since I have several PCIe card slots in my video mixing computer.
Both the Camcorder and the Capture Card(s) will provide us with remote recording capabilities. This won’t make us LIVE on remote, however it is a good start in that direction. Another benefit gained by these two devices is the ability to have 3 in-studio video sources. Now we can have a nice widescreen zoom able video feed from our studio couch when we have guests.
Next we’ll look at the options I chose for capturing audio from my host and his in-studio guests. Be sure to join us for part 3.
Hi there I found this post while researching HDMi capture using the Vixia HF-R20 and a BlackMagic Intensity card. I was curious if you went with this setup and if so how well is it working for your webcasts. It would help to hear from someone with firsthand experience before I made a purchase. Your input will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Thanks for the comments Ron, Unfortunately I have not had the success with the show as initially desired. We’re still working with the equipment we started out with. I’ve still got my eye on that BlackMagic card. Based on all the research with VidBlasters website and forums, it is the most liked setup. I believe you’ll have a great deal of success with this configuration.