Tag: video

Have you been wondering how to improve your video calling or online presentations? If you’re reading this, this chances are that you’re a photographer and you’re used to exceptional image quality. The low quality webcam built into your laptop just isn’t cutting it and the awkward, unflattering angles from your phone camera are only serving to highlight your lockdown weight gain. (Don’t worry… we’re in the same boat!)

Did you know that the chances are you can use your DSLR, Mirrorless or potentially even a premium compact to stream or as a webcam? Instantly improve your work team meetings or present yourself the best way you can to your clients remotely.

First off, let’s cover the different ways you might want to use your camera as an alternative to a webcam or phone camera and then we’ll show you how each of the different camera brands work to allow you to use your DSLR, mirrorless or compact camera as a webcam.

Streaming

What exactly is streaming? Essentially it’s just live video online.

We’ve seen a huge uplift in live events on Facebook and Instagram as companies and individuals seek a way to get to their audience when the high street is quieter, or maybe they are currently under restrictions meaning their customers can’t come to them.

For many photographers, especially those who previously ran workshops in person, being able to stream in good quality online has meant they have been able to adapt their business and keep it viable going forward. Wilkinson Cameras have hosted various live webinars and workshops alongside brands like Canon, Nikon, etc.  If you want your presentation to look slick, clean and as professional as you are, then using a proper camera as your streaming device is almost essential.

There’s also another huge market for streaming and that is gaming. Twitch is the biggest platform in the world for video game streamers and presenting gorgeous visuals is a sure fire way to make you stand out from the crowd.

Client Introductions

One that is definitely overlooked is client introductions.

A lot of photographers now are forced to do their initial meetings via Skype, Zoom etc. and there’s no better way to start this relationship than making your client say “Wow, what webcam are you using!?”

You’re selling yourself as a photographer, don’t let the initial impression disappoint.

Video Conferencing

Not everything has to be for the public though: a good quality camera for video conferencing can be just as important, especially if you’re trying to make a good impression on managers, directors, etc., who could be watching.

A lot of job interviews are now also taking place via video call. Imagine the first impression you’ll make looking sharp, with a flattering angle and beautiful bokeh behind you.

Brands

The bit you’ve been waiting for… What brands can I use for this? What models of camera can I use? I have more than one camera, which is better? What do I need to make it happen?

As always in our blog posts, this information is correct at the time of writing but might not completely reflect what’s available at the time of reading.

Canon

Canon have released their Canon EOS Webcam Utility Software, which allows you to turn a huge amount of Canon cameras into webcams.

The list of models that you can use this with is incredibly extensive, including (but not limited to) the EOS R5 and EOS R, EOS 6D Mark I and Mark II, EOS 5DS R and the EOS 1D X Mark III. More compatibility information is available on their website here.

If that wasn’t enough compatibility, check out the list of currently supported software:

  • Messenger
  • Discord
  • Teams
  • YouTube Live
  • Facebook Live
  • OBS
  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • Hangouts
  • Slack
  • Streamlabs

With OBS and Streamlabs being featured that means your streaming world is literally at your fingertips, as these software allow for streaming to most major providers.

What do you need to make this work?

For some of the cameras, just a Wi-Fi connection! But when that’s not supported or available, you can use a USB cable connected directly to the camera, providing you with a clean output.

Canon have even provided us with a brilliant how-to video, making all of this a doddle.

Olympus

Olympus is a little different: their software, Olympus OM-D, is still only in Beta.

But ‘only’ isn’t doing it enough justice as the software is currently in a very comfortable state, and even has compatibility to stream using the fantastic Olympus LS-P4 audio recorder.

The OM-D Webcam Beta allows you to use the follow cameras as a webcam:

The PC version appears to be more compatible with the range of software as mentioned above, but it is worth mentioning that the MacOS version only allows use with OBS and Google Chrome, meaning video conferencing isn’t available just yet, but keep an eye out on their page to find out if this changes.

Lewis Speight, who you may know from some of our in-store events, has even produced a video on how to get started with a few common apps such as OBS, Zoom and Teams.

What do you need to make this work?

The USB-C cable that is included in your box and a PC/Mac that is capable of running the above mentioned software.

Panasonic Lumix

Again, another Beta but one that appears to be a very stable release as well!

The LUMIX tether application allows you to run some of the best cameras LUMIX have to offer, including the S1H, allowing for the but beautiful streaming possible! If you haven’t seen our review of the S1H you definitely need to give it a watch and find out about this amazing piece of kit.

Cameras that are covered are:

The spec requirements for your computer are also really low, allowing for pretty much any level of PC/Mac user the ability to run the LUMIX tether application.

Lumix have also included a “How to live-stream with LUMIX” video, which again is very handy especially if you’re a first time user of live stream software.

What do you need to make this work?

The USB cable that is included in your box, and any manner of PC/Mac.

Nikon

The Nikon method requires pre-existing kit, or a separate purchase in the form of a Capture Card.

What is a capture card? Simply put, a capture card records what is being shown on one screen and uses that as input device to be displayed onto another.

This requires the camera plugged into the capture card to display what is known as a “clean out”.

A clean out is a video feed with nothing other than what is going into the lens being displayed, no shutter speed or ISO settings, no focus tracking markets. Just a clean video feed.

Thankfully, all Nikon cameras allow this and Nikon have provided us with not only a guide on how to set up their cameras with a capture card, but also a mini guide on lens choice and lighting.

While this does require a separate purchase, one would argue that this is truly the most versatile way to stream, record and video conference as capture cards work with ANY software of your choosing.

What do you need to make this work?

A HDMI cable that fits your camera, a USB cable for the camera and an external capture card, such as an Elgato.

Fujifilm

Fujifilm have actually just released their FUJIFILM X Webcam ver2.0!

Their newest software even lets you make on the fly adjustments to film simulations, white balance and exposure compensation without even touching the camera, something that truly stands out in terms of software power.

The first and largest problem we have is that officially, OBS is not on their list of supported software, only:

  • Zoom
  • Google Meet
  • Skype
  • Microsoft Teams

Which of course, is perfect if you’re conferencing, but not if you’re streaming.

What cameras are compatible?

A nice list of cameras there, then! They even support digital zoom, allowing for precise framing of your conferencing.

What do you need to make this work?

The USB cable that is included in your box and a PC/Mac that is capable of running the above mentioned software.

We haven’t been able to test it, but theoretically this could be used for streaming, so do check on OBS itself if it’s supported as a webcam.

Sony

Sony have just last month (at time of writing) released their software for webcam conversion and that is Imaging Edge Webcam.

This is currently restricted to PC only, at the time of writing.

The list of cameras covered is HUGE, ranging from the ZV-1 Vlogging Camera (which really is ideal for this kind of application) to the Alpha A7s III.

There’s nothing much to say about the Imaging Edge Webcam software, as their website details are vague, but Sony are known for creating smooth pieces of software, so we can’t imagine any problems happening here.

Though, the Imaging Edge Webcam software is perfectly suited to any video conferencing software, such as Zoom, Teams & Skype!

Lighting & Tripods

In terms of tripods, there’s two ways we can go with this.

If you have the room, great! A full length tripod allows for complete freedom with how you place, tilt and angle your camera.

However, if you’re more restricted, we have a range of tabletop tripods available including the Manfrotto PIXI EVO and the Joby GorillaPod Rig.

These will fit on your desk and provide the perfect compact solution to keeping the camera steady during video conferencing and streaming.

For lighting? We have a few options.

The Manfrotto Lumimuse 8 LED Light is the largest and brightest LED in the Lumimuse range but is still ultra-portable.

The Lumimuse is great for lighting in myriad situations with excellent maximum light output and 4 step dimming to regulate light intensity. The USB rechargeable Li-on batteries provide superb battery life allowing you to make the most of the photo/video shoot. The Lumimuse 8 comes with a ball-head, which includes both hot-shoe attachment and a standard thread to enable you to attach it directly to a tripod or alternative supports.

These are great, as they’re cheap enough to create a full 3 point lighting set up, whilst also adding some incredibly useful kit to your bag.

Also included in each kit a set of snap-fit filter mount and filters which modify the colour temperature and diffusion of the light; you can simultaneously use up to 3 to achieve various effects.

We also have the LituFoto F18 Bi-Colour LED Light which is as small as a mobile phone, yet is a durable, bright and convenient LED light perfect for a range of situations.

Featuring a built-in 4040mAh large capacity lithium battery, the full light output is approximately 1.9 hours, and at 5% output you will get around 8 hours use.

It is ideal for indoor and outdoor environments and since it is only about the size of a mobile phone, the LituFoto F18 Bi-Colour LED Light is the perfect lightweight, portable LED light for a range of situations. There is an OLED screen which displays power, brightness and colour temperature clearly.

Audio

Often ignored, but equally as important as great quality video, is great quality sound. Your camera’s internal microphone is ok as a general mic, but consider a dedicated microphone suited to your needs.

Audio can make or break just about any content that someone is watching, whether it is a video conference, a webinar, digital lesson or live stream.

There are usually 3 main types of audio capture for these set ups:

  • Shotgun Mic
  • Desktop Mic
  • Lavalier (aka “lav”) /Lapel Mic

 

A shotgun mic is great as it mounts directly to your tripod or camera, making it incredibly easy to use.

They also have a nicely defined area of sound pick up, which means you’re easily separated from any background noise.

The limiting factor there is if you plan to move around, as you need to be in the pick up area for your voice to be captured.

A desktop mic provides an all round experience, with the area of pick up usually being wherever you are in or around the desk.

And a lavalier mic, also known as a lapel mic, allows for the closest possible audio recording, with the ability to move around.

For our shotgun mics, we have a range of amazing options. One that particularly stands out is the Rotolight RL48 Sound & Light Kit.

Not only does this combine a broadcast quality condenser shotgun microphone, but it also features a Rotolight ring light!

The LED video light fits neatly around the microphone, meaning no need to have an extra pair of hands or having to find a way to use both a light and a microphone without affecting the balance of your camera.

Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more dedicated microphone, one that we use a lot in our videos is the Rode Videomic Go. It’s a compact and lightweight shotgun mic that perches nicely on your hotshoe, and delivers clear, crisp, directional audio with no prior skills.

For a desk mic, we recommend the Rode MIC NT-USB Mini Microphone. The NT-USB Mini is a fantastic solution in that it delivers Rode’s world class studio microphone technology into a compact package which fits perfectly anywhere on your desktop. Featuring a built in pop filter and a high quality capsule, you’ll find this delivers some of the warmest audio possible.

We have a few lav mics available, but our personal favourite, and one you’ll notice from our videos, is the Rode Link Wireless Microphone Filmmaker Kit.

Combining Rode’s best wireless transmitters, incredible battery life with USB power as well, and stunning omnidirectional lavalier quality, you truly can’t go wrong with this.

If you’re looking to move around during your webinars, lessons etc, then this is the ultimate solution.

Simply clip on to your belt, pants or even pop in your pocket, and you can move around with complete freedom.

The lav mic supplied is of broadcast quality, meaning you can’t get much better than that.

 

Anything else?

If you’d like to know more about any of the products we’ve listed today, or just need a hand setting everything up, make sure you visit any of our social media platforms, visit us on our Website and head to live chat, or even pop in to a local store, and we are more than happy to help!

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