The 11 Best Webcams for Video Conferencing

A lot goes into making the most out of your video conferencing duties. For one thing, you need to put together well-organized and interesting content. Of course, then you need to deliver it flawlessly. There’s also all the work that goes into marketing the conference and making sure people actually show up to it.

However, you can tick the box on every one of these video conferencing requirements and still end up with a mess if you forget about the key ingredient: your webcam.

Maybe you’ve seen someone else suffer through this experience. Their video conference is perfect, but the image isn’t crisp. Sadly, you may have even found out the hard way – after your conference was done and you watched the recording – that the camera you entrusted with your video conferencing needs didn’t do a very good job.

We’ve covered how to find the right webcam before, but in this article, we’re actually going to list your 11 best options.

pick one of the best webcams for video conferencing

 

Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 Webcam

We’ll start with the most affordable device on our list: The Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000 Webcam. You can usually find this one for about $25. It produces clear 720p HD video and uses TrueColor technology to deliver bright and colorful images to your viewers automatically, regardless of the lighting conditions.

This camera comes with a universal attachment base, so it can be placed on your desktop, clipped to your laptop or used just about anywhere else.

Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p

A step up from that option is the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema 720p. It’s only about $20 more and comes with a lot of similar features. However, it shoots at 30 fps (frames-per-second), which is great for streaming your video conferences live. The high-precision glass lens also helps in this department.

Despite how affordable this camera is, it comes with a built-in noise-cancelling microphone, so you won’t even have to spend extra money on this vital piece.

The 73 degrees of flexibility for tilting up or down with this camera is very helpful, too. You can clip it to your desktop or laptop and not worry that you need to contort yourself to line up with the lens. It can also spin halfway around in either direction.

Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080p HD Webcam for Business

The final step up in this series is the Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080p HD Webcam. As the name suggests, this one has a few extra bells and whistles to make it appropriate for companies and their professional needs. Even still, you’re only going to spend about $60 or so to make this camera yours.

Like the models before it, this one was made with TrueColor technology, giving you bright, colorful videos without requiring a lot of work on your end.

Whether you choose the 1080p widescreen option for sharp recordings or want to stream live in 720p, you get an HD result either way.

If you plan to use this camera for Skype, this one is certified by the popular company, so you know it will work well for video calls on that platform.

Finally, it was also designed to pair with Microsoft’s Lync. This unified communications platform provides a wide range of benefits and you’ll be able to make the most out of them with the Microsoft LifeCam Studio 1080p HD Webcam.

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920

Logitech has become known for their many cameras that are great for webinars. There are a number on our list but we’ll begin with a reliable standby: The Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920. This is a great option if you don’t yet know how much video conferencing you plan on doing. It runs between $75 and $100, so you’re not going to be breaking the bank with this purchase, yet it won’t let you down when it comes to filming.

It has mechanical auto-focus features, which are essential for making sure you’re in frame and perfectly displayed. The picture quality is excellent, too. Even if you plan to do a webinar every week, if you have a smaller budget, the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 is very easy to recommend.

Logitech C925e

Next, we have another popular Logitech webinar hosting solution. The Logitech C925e is just a bit more expensive than the last model; typically, you won’t find it for any less than $100, but, again, it’s worth every penny.

Your video conferences will be delivered to viewers in HD no matter which setting you choose. It’s also a great webcam for those who are new to video conferencing because of its RightLight 2 technology.

This feature makes sure that the camera adjusts to low-light or backlighting so you get the best possible visual quality. Most rookies aren’t adept at making changes to their lighting for the optimal picture. For what it’s worth, a lot of veterans aren’t either. However, the right lighting is essential to a good video conference, so this technology is fantastic.

Logitech Webcam C930e

Using the Logitech Webcam C930e for your video conferencing will run you about $130. This is another model that will give you an amazing picture. It’s actually very popular for telemedicine because of this reason. It features a 90-degree diagonal point of view and offers a very smooth HD experience for your videos. The pan-tilt-zoom feature is also great for all kinds of different video conferences. If you need to show the audience how to do something with your hands, for example, it will be easy to adjust the camera during your video conference and then bring it back to your face when you’re done.

Logitech BCC950 Conference Cam

The Logitech QuickCam Orbit AF was a fairly popular video conferencing solution. It was discontinued, though, and replaced with the Logitech BCC950 Conference Cam. With one look, you’ll immediately notice it’s a bit different from the majority of other webcams out there.

That’s because of its stick mount that stands up nine inches from the base. This makes it easy to put the webcam on something like a table and have it sit at eyelevel without needing to add anything below it.

The cord length was also improved to eight feet (from six feet) over the prior model, which makes it very convenient to use in a number of locations. If you do use it for a conference call, the cord length allows you to move the camera around the table as necessary.

The replacement model also gets a remote to control it. This cool feature is something we hope to see from more video conferencing solutions going forward as it can look unprofessional to have to manually adjust the camera when you have people on the other side.

Typically, this webcam goes for $250, but you may be able to find it for a bit lower than that.

Razer Stargazer Depth-Sensing HD Webcam

Next on our list of video conferencing cameras we recommend is the Razer Stargazer Depth-Sensing HD. Obviously, right in the name, you can tell that it will give your audience HD videos. If you’re hosting your video conferences live, the 60-frames-per-second will also produce an incredibly lifelike video.

These features are enough to make this webcam a phenomenal choice but we also love that its depth-sensing features allow you to decide what kind of background you’ll have on your webinar. You can get rid of it completely or decide to switch it out for another image altogether.

The Razer Stargazer Depth-Sensing HD Webcam can sit on its stand or you can remove it and clip it to the top of your laptop.

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910

Another Logitech video conferencing camera to make our list is the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910. It offers HD recording with 1080p video and 720p when streaming. The Logitech fluid crystal technology ensures your viewers get a smooth, crisp image.

This is also helped to physical components like the Carl Zeiss lens this camera uses. Autofocus and auto light correction take the guesswork out of the producing the most visually appealing video.

The special feature that really makes this video conferencing solution stand out, though, is its one-click video uploading option. If you’re regularly hosting conferences because they’re a major part of your content marketing plan, you’ll probably get to the point where they come quite naturally to you and you don’t need to spend another hour or two editing or otherwise perfecting them.

With this feature, you just click a button and the video can be on YouTube or Facebook ready for your viewers to watch.

Finally, the built-in noise-canceling mics on this webcam are a great touch. You’d otherwise want to invest in some on your own.

Logitech ConferenceCam Connect Video Conference Webcam for Small Groups

Depending on your needs, this video conferencing camera may be exactly what you need. Fair warning: it’s a bit more expensive than the others on the list so far. You’re looking at spending between $350 and $400.

This device films in 1080p video and auto focuses. It’s another camera that comes with fantastic noise-cancelling built-in speakers. Full duplex omni-directional mics ensure you come in clear, as well.

You can also mirror the screen of your mobile device with this camera. If you’re doing a presentation on how your app works, for example, this would be extremely easy to do with the Logitech ConferenceCam Connect Video Conference Webcam. The same is possible with your TV or computer screen, too. Just about any screen you want to share with your viewers is an option.

Finally, the remote control that comes with this webinar hosting solution is really handy.

HuddleCamHD-3X G2 USB 2.0 PTZ 1080p Video Conference Camera

Last, but not least, on our list of video conferencing cameras we recommend, this model will cost around $400 but has a lot going for it. For one thing, you get 3x optical zoom, which means you can have a variable focal point, something that’s impossible for a fixed camera to match.

This is another webcam that comes with a remote. The remote can change the focal point as much as you please without any manual adjustments during filming. It can also be used to turn the camera left or right and up or down. The camera can wide zoom out 81 degrees and has a 36-degree tele-zoom field of view.

Amongst other things, these kinds of capabilities make this webcam an ideal solution for filming in anything from your office to conference rooms to larger spaces. No matter how much room you need for your video conference, this camera can accommodate the demand.

Obviously, this makes it an ideal solution for teleconferences, too. You can have as big a team as you want in on the call.

As you’d expect from this high a quality of camera, it shoots in full 1080p at 30 fps. Its megapixel image sensor also helps to deliver a crystal-clear image.

Even with this kind of attention to detail, this camera has received high marks for its ability to pick up a whiteboard without producing lots of glare. Whiteboards are very popular for video conferences, so if you have plans on using one, this camera won’t let you down.

Conclusion

Video conferencing can be a challenge. It’s not just as easy as sitting in front of a camera and talking. There’s a lot more to it. However, if you don’t have the right camera sitting in front of you, the rest of your efforts will not only go to waste – they may be counterproductive.

Take your time choosing from the 11 we’ve listed above, as this decision will affect how well your webinars are received. Then, if you want help hosting video conferences feel free to contact us.

 

Sources:

http://www.techradar.com/news/computing-components/peripherals/what-webcam-5-reviewed-and-rated-1027972

7 Best Webcams for Video Calling

How to Host Webinars on a Small Marketing Budget

Are you interested in integrating webinars into your content marketing strategy but feel limited by a small marketing budget?

Fortunately, you don’t need a large budget to host effective webinars.

Below, we’re going to give you simple tips for hosting a successful webinar, even if you have a limited budget.

Pick Cost-Effective Webinar Software

This should come as no surprise, but if you go with expensive webinar software, then you’re going be straining your small marketing budget before you even start hosting.

Luckily, it isn’t very hard to find affordable webinar software that fits your marketing needs and budget. There are plenty of solutions out there that are similar to, and often better than the most expensive webinar tools on the market. Webinar platforms like BigMarker offer plans and pricing that can fit a diverse range of budgets without compromising on features. Still, take your time with this decision. Consider the features you absolutely must have and don’t automatically go with whatever’s cheapest.

If you still can’t afford webinar software that supports the features you need, get creative. Try reaching out to the webinar company directly to ask if they’re running any promotions or if they would be willing to come down on price in exchange for a featured quote or case study to use on their site. It may not always work, but it never hurts to ask.

Choose Topics That You Can Cover In-House

One way to host your webinars on a small marketing budget is by choosing topics that you can successfully cover without spending a lot of money or time on to develop.

Brainstorm as many ideas as possible that wouldn’t require lavish graphics, paid experts, videos, animations, etc. and then do your best to make the most out of these topics.

Obviously, you need to make sure these topics will actually generate sufficient interest in your target market, but if you choose wisely, you should be able to cover your content in-house.

The point is that you don’t want to pick something like, say, doing an interview with an industry expert when you can’t afford to pay said expert for an interview. Some companies end up trying to pass off whomever they can afford as an expert and the results are often, at best, underwhelming.

topic-list-for-small-marketing-budget
Create a Robust List of Webinar Topics

Research What Has Worked for Others

Another way you can address this problem is by seeing what is already working within your industry. This could mean watching competitors’ webinars or looking at which of their blog posts get the most shares and engagements. Read through their comments for ideas on where they fell a bit short.

This is no guarantee of these affordable ideas, but they’ll definitely help your brainstorming sessions considerably.

Ask for Help with Your Idea

One more tip on coming up with ideas for your webinars: simply ask for help. If you already have a decent social media following, you should have no problem getting your followers to tell you what they’d love to see in a webinar. The best part is that it won’t cost you a dime to just ask.

If you don’t have a great social media following, your webinar hosting dreams are far from over. You’ll just need to do a bit more work. Namely, go on forums and social media pages in your industry and ask people that way. This can be a little more challenging to track, but the results will be worth it and, again, very budget friendly.

Do Guest Posts

The longer you have to plan your first attempt at webinar hosting on a small marketing budget, the more options you’ll have for making sure it’s a success.

For example, if you have a few months or more, begin guest posting on industry sites. Talk about subjects that will build your authority and generate interest. You should begin seeing a difference in your social media following and/or web traffic to your site.

Of course, both of these things could be leveraged into greater revenues, which might then be helpful where your small marketing budget is concerned.

At the very least, though, you should be able to transform this increased reach into an increased audience for your webinar.

Partner with an Influencer

Before, we mentioned that some people use expert interviews. While this often means spending money on getting them to show up, this certainly isn’t always the case. Before you settle on a webinar hosting idea, think about the experts in your industry who may be interested in partnering with you on the presentation.

You might find out that their price is way out of your small marketing budget, but it never hurts to ask. In fact, we wouldn’t even bring it up. Just reach out to various experts in your industry (non-competitors, of course) and ask about their interest in hosting a webinar on whatever topic they like best (provided it’s somehow related to your business).

No matter what kind of budget you’re working with, this is always a great idea. Experts will extend your reach by helping to increase exposure for the webinar you’re doing together. After all, they want people to know that they’re seen as experts, right?

This webinar hosting idea is also great because it aligns you with this expert. Even if they never endorse your company or your product/service, you still get the benefit of becoming associated with their expertise. Continue to interview experts and this will continue to happen.

partner-with-a-thought-leader
Partner with an Industry Expert

Go for Branding, Not Selling in Your Webinar

There’s a big misconception in content marketing – which includes webinar hosting – that the goal is to sell products. Many companies make this mistake. They have blog post after blog post that talks about their products and services without really doing much to actually educate their would-be customers.

Sadly, this doesn’t work. That kind of content is great for sales pages, but elsewhere, like with blogs and webinars, the idea is that you’re supposed to be helping the person on the other side of the screen. Successful content marketers know that the better you help your audience, the more likely they are to become customers.

If your webinar hosting plans revolve around pitching viewers a product or service, it’s probably going to be a waste of money and reduce your small marketing budget even further.

Now, if you market it as such, that’s a bit different. If you are explaining to viewers that it’s basically going to be an advertisement for something you’ll be selling them, you’ll have a much easier time finding success. However, you also have to expect that far fewer people will be interested.

Make Sure People Can Watch Your Webinars On-Demand

More and more, webinar platforms are making it possible to record your presentation live – if you want – but also to give people the opportunity to watch it on-demand whenever they please.

Some people prefer this simply because they don’t want to host it live. They may be new to webinar hosting and want some practice first, so recording a presentation and letting people play it when they desire makes the most sense.

In terms of your budget, though, you’ll get the most return if you don’t force people to be around at a specific time to watch your webinar. Many of your viewers will be otherwise detained at this time. For those from other parts of the world, it might be an inconvenient time to get to their computer.

Take Advantage of Your Free Trial

Don’t spend a dime on webinar software before testing it out. Most webinar platforms offer free trials of their service that allow you to host test webinars without entering a credit card. Take advantage of your free trial by scheduling and hosting as many test sessions and dry runs as you can to make sure that your goals for a webinar will be met by the solution you choose.

Even after you’re satisfied with the webinar software you chose, host a dry run. In fact, you may want to do two or three.

At the very least, though, one rehearsal is necessary to ensure that you like how it turns out. You should go back and watch it on your computer, checking for the audio levels, ensuring you’re being articulate and watching how the visuals worked.

Then, try watching it on an iOS and Android device. Assuming you’re using a mobile-friendly webinar software, you’ll want to confirm it shows up correctly on these devices. “Mobile-friendly” webinar platforms don’t always live up to their names.

Plan Content Around the Webinar

Earlier, we mentioned how blogs should be aimed at helping your audience and that, usually, this means giving them educational, actionable information.

That doesn’t mean you can’t use this type of content to promote your webinar hosting efforts, though.

For instance, leading up to the event, you should create posts that cover similar topics as the one you’ll be talking about in your webinar. You can bring that up as a type of call-to-action at the end of your post.

Therefore, once you’ve established yourself with your audience through a truly helpful piece, you can bring up that you’ll be holding a webinar on a related topic in the near future and then giving them a link to click on in order to register.

You can also do this after your webinar. If you recorded it, the same practice applies. Give your audience something truly helpful and then provide them with the link if they’d be interested in learning about a similar topic.

Furthermore, you can repackage some of the content you used in your webinar into a blog. If you allowed for interaction, you may even have been inspired to create a blog post based on some of the questions or responses you received. Those who attended will appreciate that you went back and create entirely new pieces of content based on what they had to say.

Not only are these ways of marketing your webinar completely free, but they stand a real chance of actually increasing your ROI, as well.

Don’t Pay for More Attendees Than You Need

Most webinar hosting services come in packages depending on the number of webinar attendees you’ll need to support.

If you have never hosted a webinar before, it may be challenging to guess how many you need to anticipate having. Of course, you could wait on committing to any webinar package until after you have people sign up. The problem is that, on average, only about 30-40% of those who sign up will actually attend. For this reason, it might be impossible to make an accurate estimate.

The good news is that, if you guess small, you’ll save your small marketing budget and you can always host another webinar later.

It will also look good for your company if you have to tell people that you can’t accept any more webinar registrants because of so much demand. Ask for their email addresses and tell them they’ll be alerted the moment you hold an encore performance.

Monetize Your Webinars

If you’d really rather have a more accurate number of those who will actually be attending your webinar, you could always charge tickets to attend. This way, you’ll know which package you need to purchase from your webinar provider.

Sure, it’s possible that fewer people than the amount that paid show up, but, if they’ve already paid, that shouldn’t be too big of a problem.

This tactic is also great because, well, it can help with your small marketing budget. As you probably could have guessed, you’re really going to need to come up with a compelling idea for your webinar if you want people to pay you to attend, but this is hardly impossible to do.

Companies across every industry have made money from their webinars by charging. In each case, it has meant successfully choosing the type of topic that gets people to loosen up their purse strings.

Even though webinars involve a number of moving parts and can promise enviable results for your company, that’s no reason to assume they can’t be accommodated by your small marketing budget, too.

While it’s true that there are all kinds of webinar hosting solutions and services currently out there, if you just follow the tips above, you’ll be able to make the most out of this popular form of content on your small marketing budget.

 

Start Hosting

If you are in need of affordable, feature-rich webinar software, BigMarker is an ideal solution for all your hosting needs. With plans starting at just $19/month, we can accommodate your company’s small marketing budget without compromising on the features you need to host amazing webinars.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

https://www.techwyse.com/blog/content-marketing/webinar-hosting/

http://www.moneycrashers.com/create-host-webinar-benefits/

http://www.convinceandconvert.com/content-marketing/14-steps-to-hosting-a-successful-webinar/

https://smartblogger.com/your-first-webinar/

http://www.techsoup.org/support/articles-and-how-tos/10-steps-for-planning-a-successful-webinar

Four Reasons To Use Webinars in 2015

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Webinars have been around basically as long as slideshows and the internet have been around, but they remain a mainstay of B2B marketing and lead generation. Why is this? Because they work. Webinars are one of the most cost-effective ways to spread awareness of your brand’s products or services while providing your clients and potential clients with useful and valuable information. And you know what? They’re only getting better. Read on to find out how webinars are going to be even more valuable in 2015.

Spread awareness — Twice

Did you know that webinars already started working even before anyone has showed up? It’s true. In this age of social media, webinar hosting services and video conferencing services can serve as a great “rallying cry”  to get your brand’s evangelicals and supporters excited and fired up. Now, thanks to the ubiquity of social media in 2015, this sense of excitement can spread and be shared across Facebook, Twitter, and other networks, building some buzz for your brand. There’s the impact of the direct attention to the event, but also the knock on effects over people sharing their intention to attend — two for the price of one!

A learning (and teaching!) opportunity

When you give your information to a live audience in an interactive format like a webinar or via video conferencing, you massively increase user engagement. And we’re not just talking about the measurements of engagement metrics like clickthrough, we’re talking about engagement in the older sense of the world: engaging your audience! You’re creating a direct rapport with the audience in order to generate new and higher quality leads. Compared to other forms of online information presentation, a webinar strikes exactly the right balance between “interesting” and “informative”  for a B2B audience, allowing you to speak to your clients and potential clients in a fun but authoritative way.

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Personal service

Webinars or video conferencing solutions are a great “members’ bonus” to be able to offer your clients. Because it gives them the opportunity to comment and ask questions, a webinar lets you create a rapport with your clients, boosting your credibility and helping you make a real connection with them. Basically, it’s almost as good as meeting them in person.

Real, honest lead generation

Webinars are a great way to generate high quality leads. Their natural sharability and attractiveness allow them to spread naturally and (dare we say it?) virally through B2B networks, bringing you only the most interested and engaged leads. Contacts lead you to other contacts, and in the end, you’ve created a highly engaged network of clients and contacts, netting you positive influence.

Webinars and Video Conferencing Services: a timeless tool

Webinars, because of their unique position halfway between an online video and a sales presentation, are a great way to deliver value to your clients while reinforcing your relationship and generating leads. Because of their natural sharability, they’re a perfect tool to use in the social media age. As more and more B2B marketing and networking travels online, webinars and video conferencing services will only continue to become more effective tools.


Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has  contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas, or you can reach him at NickAndrewRojas@gmail.com.

Why Video Conferencing wins against E-mail!

How Video Conferencing Became Popular

Communication has always been an integral part of human life. Be it a casual conversation or a formal one, we have derived various ways to communicate with each other. As time has progressed, what started from writing letters has been steadily replaced with various forms of digital communication.

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Amongst the many forms of digital communication, writing e-mails has become a daily habit as we transfer, document, and share vital data. Although they are widely used today and are definitely much more convenient than the traditional practice of posting letters, e-mails still come with their own set of limitations.

The new trend of Video conferencing however, provides solutions to many shortcomings of the e-mail, especially for businesses.

How is it Better?

  • When humans communicate, they often rely on reading body language to interpret a conversation. E-mails are unidirectional and one cannot see the reactions of the opposite person. This shortcoming of not being able to gauge instant reaction from both the sender and receiver, is resolved by free web conferencing. Video conferences provide with the luxury of showing instant feedback and reactions through voice, and video. Thus, messages are conveyed better, as a two-way conversation takes place.
  • Video conferencing services provide voice to the e-mail. Since one can listen to what is being said, it can help infuse a lot more conviction to the speaker’s opinion and confidence to the pitch.
  • Conferencing saves valuable time! E-mails can lead to a lot of to and fro, and hence end up taking time. On the other hand, web conferencing enables conversations to happen in real time and therefore becomes a useful tool to zero down on solutions in a shorter span of time.

With the rapid increase in video conferencing service providers these days, free web conferencing is fast becoming a mainstream mode of communication for businesses across the globe. With the current pace of technological innovations in consideration, business communication is set to become all the more compact, faster, and personal!