Web Cam suggestions

Edited: August 22, 2021, 4:39 PM · I'm also posting a question on a hammered dulcimer player's group on FB about what I need to look for in a web cam and stand, but I wanted to hear thoughts on this here as well as I know many of you have spent a lot of time to get the setup you need.

My Blue Yeti has served well as a mic for my violin lessons and I think it will be fine for this application, but I'll need a web cam with adjustable stand so my new HD teacher can see the top of my instrument. Thankfully I've narrowed down my HD teacher search, I just want to have things in place for that first lesson next month after my HD arrives.

I'm currently reading up on web cams for different purposes, any suggestions of specific model perhaps? So many of the models I've looked at appear to be focused on the face, or have reviews that backgrounds don't come through clearly. I've not dipped my toes into this particular device before now, didn't need to!

Replies (17)

August 23, 2021, 10:00 AM · I think a lot of people on here have recommended Zoom Q-series products.
August 23, 2021, 11:50 AM · True, trying to find a less spendy option :)
August 23, 2021, 1:55 PM · I use the Logitech C270, but it's only 720P. There are many Logitech 1080P cams. None of these are expensive and work well with most software. I do recommend using an separate microphone, but you have that covered.

Good Luck

Edited: August 23, 2021, 2:00 PM · Logitech make a range of decent USB webcams from €30+ (mono) to €250+ (stereo), with a fairly wobbly bracket for the top of a screen. Their built-in mics could be a lot worse! I imagine you would want to tape it to an external support.

I imagine using it with a Blue Yeti would create problems of synchronisation.

One should avoid webcams with auto focus: they are noisy and never know what to focus on.

EDit: Bob beat me to it..

August 23, 2021, 2:21 PM · I'll need to attach it to a stand that I can move to different angles. It will need to focus on a rather large trapezoidal shape instrument rather than my face, so that already rules some of them out.

I'll check Logitech, hopefully I'll be able to use my Blue Yeti without synchronization problems.


Edited: August 23, 2021, 6:55 PM · Edited to say We use "Logitech C920 (HD with dual mics and not speakers)" mounted on a tripod very effectively for my kids' violin, piano, and karate private classes during the pandemic. We don't use an external mic. FWIW, their teachers use Zoom for their video conference.

Mounting the camera on a tripod gives you a lot of flexibility in "angling" the camera for the desired results.

In our case, we also have the laptop connected to a 4K TV -- this makes the sound output from the other end sound really much better, plus you get to see the teacher and whatever they're teaching much better. But TV is not necessary -- it's just an additional perk, imho.

Edited: August 25, 2021, 7:15 PM · I ordered my webcam online from B & H Photo; they have a variety of Logitech models and prices, starting at $33. Online is a better deal than local stores, which carry just the higher priced webcams in stock. When you set up your Zoom session, you will be able to use either your own mic or the webcam mic; it may take some extra help or fiddling around to figure it out, but you can do it
August 23, 2021, 6:30 PM · Thanks Ben and Erin - I hadn't thought about connecting my laptop to my tv! I've done it for other things, and the use of an external web cam would make that much, much easier.

Thanks for the tip on B&H Photo, that's the best price I've seen for this web cam.

August 23, 2021, 6:55 PM · Good luck, Catherine. Enjoy your new musical journey.
August 23, 2021, 7:00 PM · Thanks Ben! The auto focus on that web cam must not have caused any problems with the music lessons?
August 23, 2021, 7:36 PM · Hi, Catherine. No it has not. But I do have to say that ours was a Logitech C920. It's not C920xx. I saw the one at B&H, and it doesn't look like the one we have. Maybe ours is older, I don't know.

With regards to focus, make sure you have adequate lighting. In my kids' violin lessons, they're close enough to the camera (maybe 1.5 ft away from the camera) so the camera really just focuses on them. Then we just re-focus to show their left-hand fingers when playing or their bowing arm when needed. For their piano lesson, the focus is really more on their fingers and the keyboard, then we just re-focus on their faces when the teacher is explaining something so she can see them. When they do their karate, the camera is farther away because they need the space to do their katas (etc.), and so that their sensei can see their full form, but I don't see focusing as being an issue either.

My best advise is to have good lighting, and get a tripod regardless of what web cam you decide to get. :-)

Edited: August 23, 2021, 8:47 PM · My 61 year old eyes needs all the light they can get anyway. My prospective teacher told me today most of her students use thier laptop camera, so I'll try that first to see if I really need to spend more money. I've several good suggestions from here if I do need it. It's hard not to buy ALL the things before my lovely HD even arrives, hah! I suspect I will get it as I see where it gives a lot more freedom in my lesson or recording setup.
August 23, 2021, 8:51 PM · I've never had a "synchronization problem" using a different camera and mic with my laptop.
Edited: August 24, 2021, 8:54 PM · Paul, good to know, thanks! I am going to get one, just need to decide which one of the Logitech 1080p to go with.
August 25, 2021, 7:11 PM · I own a high-end Logitech (I forget which one, it was purchased by my workplace) and the microphone leaves a lot to be desired, in my opinion.
Edited: August 26, 2021, 4:45 PM · Thanks Lydia, I'll use my Blue Yeti anyway, it works well with Zoom. I may use this as an excuse to play with the different capsule settings it has.
Edited: September 11, 2021, 9:22 AM · I wound up with the Logitech C920s webcam, I think it should fit my needs just fine, combined with my Blue Yeti and headset.

My 17/16/8 (number of notes for each of the 3 bridges to indicate size and range) hammered dulcimer will get shipped sometime next week - can hardly wait! It will help me avoid my violin (still not allowed to play it, and at this point that likely isn't going to change soon).

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