Webcam for Recording Video?

Discussion in 'Computer Software and Operating Systems' started by Lanlan, Feb 14, 2013.

Feb 14, 2013

Webcam for Recording Video? by Lanlan at 12:15 PM (1,744 Views / 0 Likes) 19 replies

  1. Lanlan
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    Member Lanlan Tits

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    Would a webcam suffice for recording relatively high quality video? I wanna record myself playing my electronic drum kit, and I'll be recording the audio via MIDI-out , but is a webcam that's not super-expensive good enough to record stuff with lots of fast motions?
     
  2. Pong20302000

    Member Pong20302000 making notes on everything

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    depends on the webcam
    some are ok some are bad
    there never really has ever been a webcam good for making videos
    really need a Camcorder or something
     
  3. Lanlan
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    What'd be a good price range? Doesn't have to be amazing, but 720p at 30 fps is probably a baseline
     
  4. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    I've found most ~$50+ webcams can do this just fine IF THERE'S ENOUGH LIGHTING IN THE ROOM. If there's not, cameras need to post-process, which slows the recorded framerate down. You need more lighting to take a good picture/video than you do to look at an object with your eyes, so grab some extra lamps or open some curtains when you record to be sure.

    Also when reading the specs on webcams, don't fall for the lies. "Up to 1080p and up to 30FPS!" does not mean 1080p@30FPS. It usually means 1080p@15FPS, and 340x240@30FPS (or some other crappy combination). Only pay attention when they actually state which framerate goes with which resolution.
     
  5. Lanlan
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    Can you vouch for a specific webcam that you've used?
     
  6. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    jonthedit and Eerpow like this.
  7. Lanlan
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    Thanks, that's a nice price too.

    Edit: $30 on Amazon. Even better
     
  8. jonthedit

    Member jonthedit GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Double vouch! I bought that same one for $40 at a Walmart.
    I suggest you pick that or go with a real camera.
     
  9. Lanlan
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    I just wanna buy one multipurpose camera. For Skype and stuff and for recording videos.
     
  10. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    The C310's got a built-in mic, I specifically got it for skype so I wouldn't need to wear a headset when I skype and game with friends.

    Here's the example, recorded in 720P at 30FPS.

     
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  11. Lanlan
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    Oh, it's pronounced Rye-dee-in. I always said Rid-ee-in in my head. And thanks for the video!
     
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  12. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Kind of what others have said- much of the of Microsoft lifecam range do quite well (if I have to suggest one it is usually these) and many modern ones do well under quite low light conditions. Colours will probably never match that of a big boy camera but most people have been trained to expect otherwise and colour correction can do OK if you want as well.

    The trouble for me usually comes in though they may say 720P at 30fps the effective FPS is somewhere around 13 fps* owing to USB2.0 being somewhat limited in bandwidth** and only the fanciest webcam doing enough real time compression to get around this limit (which also troubles the programs you can capture with). I am not sure what goes with firewire webcams these days but they were the traditional end run around those limits and I imagine USB3.0 webcams will probably rock up and do well before long. It is also one of the cheaper methods Rydian warned you of but things that still claim to work are probably quadrant based (see rolling shutter) so be aware of that, depending upon what goes as long as you are not panning around you should be good.
    You might also run into trouble with different colorspaces (YUY2, MJPG and M420 being the big three) and some do gain a couple of FPS over another but eh really- get a proper camera if you have to start thinking about that.

    *were we doing a proper video course I might ponder stutter at this point (see bad pulldown and/or decimation or maybe just pulldown NTSC if you have watched PAL all your life) but I am not going there right now.

    **I know it is some 25 megs a second but we are dealing with what is effectively raw video so that is nothing.
     
  13. Lanlan
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    Yeah. I understand like half of that post :D
    Also, I already ordered the Logitech C310
     
  14. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    30FPS with each frame being recognizable movement here, USB 2.0.

    [​IMG]

    But like the video says, that's during high lighting conditions without corrections. With correction it looks like the interpolation keeps the recorded-to-file rate at 30FPS by repeating the frames (frames 561 and 562 in the original recording are identical for example).
     
  15. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Sorry I quite like the technical side of video recording and skipping or keeping parts is something I am never quite sure about.

    Looking around it seems your pick is a good one (and about as good as USB2.0 webcams get and probably ever will get) so no worries there.

    For the sake of clarity I will go over a few things

    Webcams are unlikely to get any better aside from price and low light/colour quality/autofocus/motorised things if they are to stick on USB2.0 short of actually turning into proper cameras with actual capture hardware and probably ignoring the nice part of the USB spec that allows for webcams to happen (and with it taking out every program that could use it save those rebuilt to handle it). Sadly this means 1080p or even 720p at a framerates up around the 24, 25 or 30fps* is probably not going to happen that well with USB2.0 (as I am typing this I see Rydian has replied so I may have to eat a word or two/investigate a bit further), again though firewire or USB3.0 should change things there and be wonderful until people decide 60fps is necessary and greater than 1080p is desirable. This said your basic talking heads video and youtube staples work well enough here.

    *NTSC is traditionally not 30fps (rather 24 or 25 and have frames/fields repeated in a given pattern) when it comes to actual video save for news or sports which often are but we can ignore that for the moment.

    There is also the problem of quadrants which better webcams are sorting and why you are still advised not to go for the cheapest you can. Here it is a variation on the idea that from one fraction of a second to the next the image will probably not change so you can slice it up into four and stitch it back together before sending it on. Usually this is a fair assumption but fast motion and panning the camera video among other things. Some did this as a matter of course and others did this to achieve higher resolutions than might have otherwise been achieved so I will stop this discussion here for the moment.
    There is a further tweak on this in terms of colour (colour capture happening on one chip rather than one for each colour) and if you ever heard of someone speak about a three chip camera but this very much does not apply here.

    On colourspaces I will save the discussion but short version is RGB is almost never used in webcams and YUV or something is used. RGB is shunned mainly as it takes more space than doing it another way, though still technically a lossy method in some implementations YUV is effectively lossless and some methods work better if video is treated differently. Many webcams can choose what to capture/transmit with and this might just gain you a couple more frames a second which is nice when your drumsticks are a blur.
     
  16. Lanlan
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    Can anyone recommend a good video recording program? That virtualdub that you used any good?
     
  17. Psionic Roshambo

    Member Psionic Roshambo GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    I have the exact same one, it works pretty well and the sound is decent.

    I only got mine because the drivers for the EyeToy PS3 suck under windows 7....
     
  18. FAST6191

    Reporter FAST6191 Techromancer

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    Virtualdub is what I use for capturing though I will note it is tied to VFW for encoding (an older method though most good codecs will at least have a fork to maintain a version of it) rather than directshow, though if you are going to capture as lossless (it will take a lot of space but nothing a modern computer/hard drive should shy away from and it is usually a good idea anyway) it is something of a moot point. Equally it is far better than anything windows has or any webcam bundled software I have ever seen (granted I try to avoid installing bundled software save for the really old webcams that did not conform to the spec).

    It is not quite so hot on the straight up editing front (though applying colour, interlacing files, other general filters, general cuts of sections, tacking on a opening logo/intro and such like are easy enough) and you can always render it out/capture as lossless or some other high quality capture and take it to a more featured editing program.
     
  19. Rydian

    Member Rydian Resident Furvert™

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    The webcam's driver software thing is a package that includes software by logitech to record, but it's kinda' crappy which is why I used virtualdub... but yeah virtualdub is a pretty technical video editor and I usually deal with uncompressed video in it to make sure I get frame-precise trimming and stuff.

    As far as something that records and compresses easily while offering a better interface than the logitech software, Idunno'.
     
  20. jonthedit

    Member jonthedit GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Same here... :O
    As for the camera, Rydian demonstrated one of the better cheapish webcams.
     

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