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How Can I Use a Camcorder instead of a Webcam

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How Can I Use a Camcorder instead of a Webcam
I'm trying to figure out the best way to use a camcorder in place of a webcam for creating videos in front of my PC at my desk. I have a webcam but it is not very good and makes the audio and mouth movements out of sync. I've read somewhere that the best thing to do is use a camcorder and then you can create videos (IM, email, etc..) in front of your computer that looks real time instead of all broken up.

For you experts, is this true? And what is the best way to go about this? I'm in need of a new camcorder, so for this project if I can get one on ebay that would be adequate that would be great. At this point I don't want to spend a lot of money (on this camcorder) as it will just be used in place of a webcam.

Any ideas, recommendation, etc... would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

Dave
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Last edited by:

daveb: Sep 21, 2007, 5:09 PM
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Re: [daveb] How Can I Use a Camcorder instead of a Webcam In reply to
Hal and I just experimented with this, and here's where we found out:



For Video Tele-conference via Skype, Yahoo, MS Messanger, or any other webcam enabled program:
I have a Panny GS-120, that had a usb and firewire port out. Before I did the experiment with Hal, I used the USB output to use my Panny GS120 as a webcam, also the GS-120 documentation stated that it could also double as a web cam. I wanted to use it as a deck/webcam since the GS120 is a 3CCD camera (although 1/6" chip size, it still looks a hell of a lot better than a small chipper webcam.)

Hal wanted to see if Firewire enabled mini-DV cam could also be used for webcam possibility, since alot of the prosumer cameras do not have the built in USB-Web cam feature.

So in addition to the chat program (which I recommend Skype becuase how their infrastructure is done.), you need to have another piece of software, something like SplitCam, which will enable your DV-Camera to run as a web cam.

Our original thought was that the firewire would run GREAT since the USB ran perfect.

Boy were we suprised. The USB still ran perfect, but the firewire had about a 2 sec delay from what happened in front of the camera, to when it showed up on the screen. The conclusion I came to was that since Firewire slams more data at the computer, it might have been overwhelming Splitcam, hence the lag. Hal concurred. (There may be more config settings to fix this, just havent looked yet)

For non-live video emails, etc,etc.
You can still use a FW enabled video camera, and either use an NLE such as premier or something similar to do that. You can also use Microsoft Media Encoder or Microsoft Movie Maker to capture the video stream and play with the settings so you dont make a monster file. You don't have to have a 3CCD, although if can get one, do it. (I am referring to something like the GS-120, or similar) If you do get a one-chipper for this, just make sure you have plenty of light, and that even goes for a 1/6" 3CCD such as the GS-120.

Conclusion:
It really comes down to what you are trying to do... are you trying to do You Tube Videos? or what?


I hope this helps


X-Angel aka Eric

"Ignorance is the most expensive commodity we have."
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Re: [xangel] How Can I Use a Camcorder instead of a Webcam In reply to
Thanks for the detailed information Xangel! I forgot about this post since no one ever replied and then I just got the email that someone did reply.

My original intent was to create and send video emails with a service I am using. However the webcam I had made the video all broken up and slow, not like a regular video on TV or Youtube.

I recently (actually just a few days ago) purchased a Sony Handycam with HDD that I believe should help me create decent videos that I can then upload into the email system, but I have not had time to try to hook it up yet. So your post comes in at a great time to give me some guidence. I sure I can upload and use the video as I should be able to upload any video. The end goal is to have my Handycam setup on a tripod or something close to my computer and then with the flick of a few buttons, clicks, or whatever be able to create a video email kind of on the fly using my Handycam since it has a lot better video quality then my webcam.

Thanks again for your detailed information, that should help!

David
____________________________________________________________
Send Video Email using streaming video that has tracking and reporting

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Re: [daveb] How Can I Use a Camcorder instead of a Webcam In reply to
Glad I could help

I am curious to know which Handy Cam you have. (SR42, 82, 300, 200?) I am not big on sony's but it seems as if most of them connect by USB.

As I said in using splitcam/WMM/WME, you can record directly to your harddrive on your pc, and therefore not have that step of recording to the camera, then dumping to the harddrive. (Only removing one step, but a step is a step.

I will tell you that I don't know why you are trying to do video emails, so people are wary of that..but to each their own. (Wait.. I just saw the link at the bottom of your last message.. I got it now)

If you want to see how good of a webcam my GS-120 is... you can hit me up on Skype, Yahoo, MSN, AOL..or what have you.

Above all else...make sure you use a MICROPHONE!!!!!!


X-Angel aka Eric

"Ignorance is the most expensive commodity we have."
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Re: [xangel] How Can I Use a Camcorder instead of a Webcam In reply to
I bought the Sony SR42 and it was a last minute buy with no research on my part as my tape based video recorder was fried and we were getting ready to take our kids on a "Polar Express" train ride the next day to see Santa. So I had to buy something fast and not too expensive. Although that was only last weekend so maybe I'll take it back if I can't get everything to work.

I like your splitcam/WMM/WME idea and I will give that a try.

The video email I use is streaming server based that someone has to click a link from the email. The video is not embedded in the email, therefore people aren't forced to watch it just by opening a message. It's good to send clips to Grandma of the kids (and vise versa) without posting it on youtube (This Grandma and youtube do not mix). Or good for business to easily send video clips and to be able to track who views/forwards the video.

It's been a few years since I've played with IM stuff. I got a bad taste when I was in the corporate world with instant interruptions and told myself no way about bringing it home. But I know I should try it out again.

Thanks for the microphone tip! Does brand/type matter as much or are they all the same?

Thanks.

David
____________________________________________________________
Send Video Email using streaming video that has tracking and reporting
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Re: [daveb] How Can I Use a Camcorder instead of a Webcam In reply to
Dave,

If it came down to deciding between and HDD cam and a Tape cam, I would - in this instance -decide on a tape cam. I am not downing your decision, I am just telling you that it should be something that is research more thoroughly.

For digital Video to be "digital", it has to be at 23.97 Mb/s, a hardrive cannot do that without running out of space relatively quickly. Now, the big boys that use static media (such as the HVX-200, etc) record at pretty much true digital rate.

Now, yes, transferring from tape to a hard drive would be considered a "generational loss", but I can at least put that tape aside, in its full glory, and protect it pretty well. Can't do that easily with a HDD cam. Yes..tapes detoriate over time...but you probably are gonna have to wipe that HardDrive to make room a lot more often. This is why...for now.. I am sticking to tapes until I get like 2-5 Terabytes of disposable storage. (I can dream!)

But you have bought what you have bought. No problem with that, just a heads up for future purchases.

When it comes to a microphone.. I do not see at a cursory glance where you can even put a mic into that camera. But ANY mic will be better than none. There is NOTHING MORE ANNOYING than people sitting in front a camera, in bad lighting, and then they speak, and they sound like they are in a well. (You Tube Debates anyone?)

Radio shack has plenty of clip on mics that can be directly wired to the camera. Or even wirelessly.

Just make sure you check your lighting, and your mic before doing anything serious. Take several test shots. and then look at them on you computer on both an LCD and CRT if you can. If not look at them since monitor video differ vastly from EVF LCD, Computer LCD, Computer CRT, and TV CRT. (trust me, I know this the hard way)

White Balance!! MANUAL WHITE BALANCE! If you need more help with that...ask me or any of us here, or PM me.

When it comes to IM software...there are ways to stop the interuptions. I am an IT security guy...so don't doubt me. Sly

Hmm.. I am sure there is more...but that should get you started!


X-Angel aka Eric

"Ignorance is the most expensive commodity we have."
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Re: [daveb] How Can I Use a Camcorder instead of a Webcam In reply to
make sure you turn off the auto-shutdown or it will turn off every 5 minutes. The camera uses the playhead for detection so if you use it for a webcam the heads don't spin up.


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How Can I Use a Camcorder instead of a Webcam