Those who have known me for a while probably know I have a couple of webcams I run over on BigBlueBall. I’ve used a number of cams over the years, including several Logitech webcams, an Intel and even a cheap-o off-brand cam. If you think all webcams are the same, you are wrong. Generally speaking, as in the rest of life, you get what you pay for.
Case in point. My cheap-o camera gets used at work. If you look at Webcam #2, you can see the colors appear yellowish. I’ve tried and tried to adjust this, but that’s the closest I can get it to accurate color representation.
In contrast, my Logitech cam generates an image with much truer colors. It’s also a little more “crisp.”
Never one to be content with the status quo, I wondered if I could put my usually idle Sony DV camera to work as a part-time webcam. I’ve used the DV cam to encode and edit video before, bringing it directly in through the camera’s Firewire connection. But could it be used as a webcam? Actually, yes. There’s a nifty program called WebcamDV that lets you treat any DV cam with a Firewire connection as a regular webcam. You can use the camera in either camera or VTR mode (if you want to broadcast a recording).
Keeping the camera from going into standby mode required a little research. The solution? Pop-open the camera as if you were going to change tapes, and leave it open. It never leaves standby. Now I just have to figure out how to protect it from dust.
Are the results worth the effort? Well, the picture quality is phenomenal, even in low light. You can zoom or even apply effects. Using the DV cam as a webcam generates better images with accurate colors and fine detail. Back on the webcam page, check out Webcam #1 and compare it to Webcam #2. Click the image for a full size version and the difference will be clear.
Using WebcamDV your camera can be used by pretty much any software that would normally use a webcam, including instant messengers, NetMeeting, Paltalk, and others. If you’ve got a DV camera, put it to work.