Covid has changed the way we work and play. Almost overnight, many businesses switched to work-at-home and online meetings on Zoom or other platforms. Moreover, video bloggers (“vloggers”) on YouTube have increased exponentially since March 2020.
The key to looking good online is to have the right camera—which is not necessarily the one built into your computer. Subsequently, many digital camera makers recently rolled out utilities that turn most digital cameras into pro-quality livestreaming webcams. The benefits include greater sharpness and control over focal length as well as depth of field. These tools will blow computer camera users out of the water!
Cameras and Livestreaming Software
Canon EOS Webcam Utility
After more than 700,000 downloads of its beta preproduction version, Canon released a full Windows production version of its webcam utility. It is compatible with 42 Canon DSLRs, M- and R-series mirrorless ILCs and also a handful of compact PowerShot models, including the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark III.
The utility is also compatible with 13 livestream applications. In addition, a beta release is now available for Mac users. (Remember beta releases may not be fully functional, are not warrantable and also lack customer support.) Download: www.usa.canon.com/support/eoswebcamutility
Nikon Webcam Utility
Simply connect your camera, set up your studio, open Zoom, Google Meet, etc., and you’re ready to go. Notably, the Nikon Z 5 is especially designed for livestreaming. Download: https://downloadcenter.nikonimglib.com/en/index.html
Olympus OM-D Webcam Beta Utility
Olympus’s webcam utility software is available for Mac and Windows systems in a Beta release. The software turns the Olympus OM-D E-M1X, E-M1, E-M1 Mark II, E-M1 Mark III and E-M5 Mark II mirrorless cameras into webcams.
Online instructions guide users through the process. Note: You can’t use the camera’s audio out; consequently, it’s better to use the computer’s mic or a USB mic for livestreaming. Download: https://learnandsupport.getolympus.com/olympus-om-d-webcam-beta
Sony Imaging Edge Webcam
Also available for both Mac and Windows systems, this software is compatible with most A- and E-mount cameras. It also works with most of Sony’s DSC blogger-friendly compact P&S cameras—for a total of 35 Sony cameras.
The recently introduced Sony Cyber-shot ZV-1 is designed with vloggers in mind. What’s more, it has been called one of the best cameras for YouTube videos. Sony provides simple one-step connection to streaming and videoconferencing platforms. Download: https://support.d-imaging.sony.co.jp/app/webcam/en/
Panasonic Lumix Webcam Beta
Available for both Mac and Windows operating systems, this software works with virtually all livestream platforms. This includes Skype, Zoom, and Webex Meeting.
In addition, it’s comparable with the Panasonic Lumix DC-S1H, DC-S1R, DC-S1, DC-S5, DC-GH5S, DC-GH5 and DC-G9 mirrorless cameras. Furthermore, the DC-G100 is the most blogger-friendly Panasonic model if you’re starting from scratch. Download: https://www.panasonic.com/global/consumer/lumix/lumix_webcam_software.html
Fujifilm X Webcam
For Windows/Mac, Fujifilm’s Webcam software displays settings control for on-the-fly image adjustments to film simulations and exposure as well as white balance. It works with most current-generation X-series and GFX models, including the blogger-friendly Fujifilm X-T4. Download: https://fujifilm-x.com/en-us/support/download/software/x-webcam/
A good desktop camera support such as the Joby Gorillapod SLR Zoom or the Manfrotto MTPIXI-B mini tripods are great for in-office work. Additionally, the DJI Osmo Pocket is a good handheld support that lets you get smooth live video while on the move.
A diffused steady light source behind the camera/computer will give you a more professional presence at online meetings.
The Lume Cube Videoconference Lighting kit for remote working offers an affordable, compact light that can clip to the top of a computer. Moreover, ring lights such as the Fotodiox Selfie Starlite vlog ring light are an option, if you don’t mind the weird “donut” reflection in your glasses.
What’s more, you can simply repurpose a lamp with a neutral-colored shade and put it behind and slightly above your camera.
Place a mic close to your mouth to reduce ambient noise and the dreaded feedback. The Logitech H151 stereo headset is a low-cost solution; the Sony WH-100XM4 is a premium wireless headset.
Finally, the RØde VideoMic Go is a shotgun mic that attaches to your camera’s accessory shoe and offers pro-quality sound.
Now you have the right tools, so get online and knock ’em out. And remember to unmute yourself!