2

I've used a document camera for capturing handwritten lectures. To be more specific I solve exercises for my students by writing on a blank sheet of paper while explaining. So far I've been using an auditorium for this, but I'd like to do the same in my office. Thus, I need a webcam which I can mount above my desk. The biggest problem is budget, and that I work only on Macs (few webcams support OS 10.9. I've been searching for webcams and there are only a few 1080p HD cams available in nearby stores. But would a 720p HD camera be ok?

What would the experts recommend?

3

For online delivery and viewing on laptops/tablets, 720P should be sufficient for capturing the entire sheet in a legible way, but resolution isn't the only factor to consider...

A 1080P camera would capture higher-resolution images, but a 1-hr lecture at that size would probably result in a file size around 1GB. Assuming the intended delivery is online, the resolution/quality should probably be reduced anyway for ease of viewing/upload/download - the benefits of a better camera would likely be lost.

I'd also suggest that proper lighting & contrast are greater concerns than camera resolution.

A webcam may have issues if the room is too dark, or if the paper is too brightly illuminated (or not illuminated enough). Similarly, a black marker would be much more legible than, say, a ballpoint pen, but you can't fit as much writing on the page.

Exposure/contrast would also vary depending on if you only intend to include the white paper/writing in the frame, or yourself lecturing as well. This would be the 1 area where resolution might matter - how much of the screen is actual writing?

I'd recommend buying the (presumably cheaper) 720p one at a store with a 30-day return policy & do some test lessons in the actual environment. Play with lighting, camera position, etc. If students are happy viewing them, you're all set. If not, try 1080p :)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.