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photo:camera_webcam

using your digital camera as a webcam

Introduction

  • whilst in-built laptop cameras and cheap webcams allow easy to use video streaming, the image quality and ability to customise the image colours, tonality, angle of view, viewpoint, and background blur control is made enormously better when using an interchangeable lens digital camera
  • BUT in general, you can't just connect your digital camera to a computer in the way you connect a webcam and expect it to work for live streaming
  • Your streaming software needs to be able to select your camera in its options - see below on how to achieve this.

Step 1: a suitable camera

  • the 1st requirement is to make sure your camera allows you to have a “clean” HDMI video out signal
    • this requires the camera to have a HDMI port, and, a setting which allows the HDMI output to not show the camera settings
    • most modern cameras have this capability, for example:
      • Olympus OM-D EM5 mark II and later
      • Olympus OM-D EM1 mark II and later
      • Olympus OM-D EM1X and later
      • Panasonic GH-4 and later models
    • cameras that DON'T have clean HDMI out include (and it can be assumed in earlier dated cameras from these manufacturers probably don't have clean HDMI out):
      • Olympus OM-D EM5 mark I
      • Olympus OM-D EM1 mark I
      • Olympus OM-D EM10 mark I
      • Canon 6D mark I or II
      • Canon EOS M10
      • Canon EOS Rebel T3i
      • Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II
      • Fujifilm XT-1
      • Fujifilm X-Pro2
      • Nikon D7100
      • Panasonic GX850K
      • Panasonic LX10
    • for instance on Olympus OM-D cameras you go into the Menu to Movie section and find HDMI and change the HDMI mode from Monitor (which sends the camera settings) to RECORD (which sends a clean video)
    • on some cameras such as the Canon M3, you press the INFO button to turn off the displayed settings information
    • older cameras may be able to be used with work-arounds such as using AV out instead of HDMI but these will need a AV to USB adapter for your computer and need testing
    • it's is also useful if the camera's LCD screen can face towards you, the subject (ie. “selfie mode”)
      • not possible on current Sony full frame cameras
      • Olympus OM-D E-M1, E-M1x and latest E-M5 can all do this
    • it's also nice if the camera displays the video on the camera's screen as well as sending it to HDMI

A mechanism to expose the camera as a camera option for streaming software

  • the 2nd requirement is a mechanism to make your camera's output a selectable webcam in the computer
    • use software to allow direct tethering to work as a webcam
    • or, buy a HDMI to USB video capture device
      • these generally have in built hardware to do the signal conversion and should be Plug n Play with your computer but generally need a relatively fast CPU in the computer such as an Intel i5 for desktops and perhaps an Intel i7 for laptops
      • do not confuse these with “USB to HDMI output” devices which allow you to send your computer's image to a HDMI monitor
      • the latest ones in 2020 allow 4K video resolution up to 30p and 1080HD video up to 60p
      • you will need the correct HDMI cable to attach into your camera's HDMI port and then into the device
      • examples include:
        • Elgato CamLink approx. $US120
        • KuWFi HD Video Capture Device Card (no 4K but cheap)
        • TOOGOO HDMI to USB 3.0 Capture Card Device Dongle (no 4K but cheap)
        • many Chinese models - some have separate Mic in such as:
          • Semoic / Elikliv / XT-XINTE 4K HDMI to USB 3.0 (usually $US65 from China)
        • there are also multi-input mixing devices available if you plan to use multiple cameras or mics
    • or use your camera's remote software with streaming software that can capture a window screen
      • OBS Studio streaming software allows capture of a window screen such as your camera app containing live video from your USB connection with the camera
      • you then have to crop your video screen as desired by holding alt key as you move the screen corners
      • if you install OBS VirtualCam plugin, you can then select OBSCamera as your camera source for other software such as Skype Desktop, Google hangouts, or Zoom

creating better sound using an off-camera mic

  • optionally, the 3rd requirement is an off-camera Mic for better sound or if your camera doesn't send audio
    • some cameras do not send audio in the HDMI out (eg. Canon T5i and T6i, Nikon D3200 and D600)
    • unless you are in a very quiet environment, for best sound you want a mic as close as possible to the person speaking and away from your camera or computer
      • eg. a lavalier “lav” mic or a shotgun mic
        • perhaps the preferred method is a WiFi remote lav mic which sends the feed into a module on the camera and straight into the Mic port of the camera to be embedded in the camera's HDMI out video
    • alternatively, your HDMI-USB capture device may have a Mic input, or you could potentially use your computer's Mic input

improve the look by using better light sources

  • optionally, you need better continuous lighting
    • photographic LED lights will generally allow a much better video image

ensure your camera doesn't run out of power or shut down

  • optionally, you need extra power supply for your camera for longer videos
    • AC adapter or a 2nd battery via a camera grip may be needed to avoid the need to swap batteries during a session
    • don't forget to set your camera's power saving settings to OFF

ensure you have enough upload bandwidth to stream to the internet

  • if you are doing Live Streaming, you need sufficient upload bandwidth on your internet connection
    • You need at least 5 Mbps upload bandwidth to stream at 1080p to YouTube and at least 3 Mbps to stream at 720p to Facebook Live

software to stream your video

  • lastly software to stream your video
    • Zoom software will be used for Zoom meetings
    • OBS is used by many for streaming to FB Live, Twitter or Youtube and you enter your stream key from your account on that service
    • BeLive.TV
photo/camera_webcam.txt · Last modified: 2020/08/21 09:08 by gary1