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Choosing the Right Camera for Your Live Stream

If you’re planning on renting or buying a camera to use for live streaming, there are a few things you should consider. First, it should have an HDMI output (or USB, for webcams). Also, ensure your camera has an external power supply so that you’re not relying on only battery power because your live stream might last for longer than the battery alone would. Here, we will talk about 4 camera types and their considerations for live stream usage.


Webcams are USB powered cameras. Typically, both computers and capture cards accept USB. This means webcams are very user friendly. These types of cameras are typically lower quality than camcorders or DSLR cameras, though modern webcams produce pretty high quality video especially if there is good lighting. They also often come with a laptop mount. This all makes webcams good for indoor streaming, video conferencing, video game streaming, and lecturing.


DSLR and mirrorless cameras were historically made to be photo cameras, so some older models might not have what is needed for live video streaming. However, with the increased trend towards streaming, newer models usually have the capability. Many DSLR camera companies have even released firmware updates that convert a DSLR model into a plug-and-play USB camera, like a webcam. You can even upgrade the cinematic looks by purchasing other lenses, as well as use the record functionality while the footage is being live streamed that webcams can’t do. These cameras are good for vlogging, live shows and entertainment, and webinars.


Camcorders are meant for capturing hours of video footage and are the industry standard for video broadcasting. The range in quality, however, is very broad. You can spend as little as $100 or as much as thousands and thousands. The main features are in quite a bit of contrast from DSLR cameras. There is a long battery life, no recording or streaming time limit, and a one size fits all lens type. They are also generally easy to use. These types of cameras are meant for a wide variety of uses, not just live streaming. Like DSLR, camcorders are great for vlogging, live shows and entertainment, webinars, and others like more professional video game streaming and conferencing.


PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) cameras are operated remotely. They usually have a flat base and can be mounted. They are often used in permanent installs such as at churches, concert halls, and lecture auditoriums. One operator can remotely control multiple PTZ cameras at once. Some models offer automatic tracking, meaning they can identify and follow speakers as they move around. The biggest downfall is that they generally do not offer audio capture options, meaning audio has to be captured and synced separately. These types of cameras are good for church streaming, lectures, sports streaming, conference venues, and concert halls.


No matter your camera type, proper lighting will always make your live stream go more smoothly. DSLR and camcorders are also able to be mounted on tripods, to capture more consistent and better footage.


Written by Collin Dewyre

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