Webcam, Camera or Smartphone

modern video camera hanging on display of laptop

In this blog post I wanted to spend a short bit of time running through the pro’s and con’s of each setup for creating video content. Not sure where you should start if you want to create video content? Hopefully this will help.

OK – so you’ve decided you want to create content, what should you use? Your webcam, your camera (if you have one) or your smartphone. I’ve been spending countless hours tinkering with different setups to try and get my video setup looking good. Here’s what I’ve found.

Webcam

If you have a laptop or macbook with a built in webcam, you can certainly try to use this for producing video content. These are quite terrible however and the camera quality will be really bad.

ProCon
EasyBad picture quality
Free (if part of your macbook)Software to record
Hard to adjust settings

The same applies to external webcams, although some of these can have much better camera quality.

Camera

I do think using a proper camera is the way to go, especially if you’re OK with the setup (or, if you have a studio where the setup doesn’t need to change).

ProCon
Images will look greatSo much choice
Can record onto the cameraIf solo creator, hard to get the setup right
Lots of settings to tinker with
Can run into many $$$
Battery life (if long video)

The main drawback here will be cost. There’s some great new cameras out there though.

Although, it’s worth remembering that even a top quality camera, won’t fix a bad lighting setup.

Smartphone

I bet you have a smartphone in your pocket. If so you can certainly start using this for video content. The newer phones these days have really good cameras on them, being able to shoot in 4k and at high frames per second (good for slow motion shots).

ProCon
Images will look greatSolo creator would need a monitor (or a remote app)
Can record onto the phoneCan’t control the aperture on most smartphones (meaning you won’t get that bokeh blurred background)
You probably have one already

Summary

So, to summarise – I’d definitely say use a camera if you want to start seriously producing content – if you don’t want to put the money out for a new camera while just getting started – then you can use your smartphone.

I’d 100% steer clear of using your built in webcam, or even an external webcam and start with using your mobile phone to record. You may need to connect it to a macbook to record (and save) the video, vs using the built in storage on the phone.

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