Webcams are making ever more frequent appearances on network television. Although producers will always want to use a “broadcast quality” stream when they can, the logistics of live TV – and the ubiquity of webcam-equipped computers – means that more guest contributors are appearing on programmes via a webcam, over Skype or another internet-based conferencing tool.
The general purpose webcam, though cheap, is not the best tool for the job.
Webcams cannot zoom, or change the shot in any way. Built-in laptop webcams, positioned above the screen of a laptop, give a none too flattering “nostrils view” of the on-air guest. And the audio is often wanting.
But, given the convergence of consumer technology, business IT and broadcasting gear, some interesting new options are coming to the fore.
The Logitech cc3000e is one such device.
Designed for general business conferencing, the cc3000 emphasises ease of use, and IT integration, rather than broadcast features.
That said, the technical specs are reasonable: a 1080p camera, with 10x zoom and Carl Zeiss optics, housed in a PTZ (pan tilt zoom) system that can be mounted on a table or a tripod, and a separate audio conferencing unit that can be used directly, or alternatively, connect via Bluetooth to a smartphone or tablet.
However, there is no direct video output, such as over HDMI, so the only way to record or transmit video from the unit is via USB and an attached computer. And there are no direct controls over the camera settings either: the cc3000 is designed to be automatic, although in general use, its auto settings work well.
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