Question Help with video in a classroom

Hello I am tech savvy teacher and I would like to stream my lectures to my remote students at a higher quality than would be possible given the classrooms’ current equipment. We have in class recording for audio and video but it isn’t very good. I have a recording studio for audio at home so I am set for audio equipment and I have fallen in love with OBS for organizing the actual stream.

The only thing I am currently struggling with is a camera. The main problem with our current video camera is that remote students can’t really see the whiteboard clearly due to grainy and pixelated visuals. What I would like is to get a camera on a tripod about 10-15 feet in front of me that could capture me and the white board so that students watching on a laptop screen remotely could actually read the board.

I’m going out of my own pocket to do this (at just the time we need tech resources the most all of those budgets have dried up). I’m basically looking for the most reasonably priced option that would get my writing readable by students. Any thoughts on cameras?

Seems like it would need to be a step up from a webcam or gopro. But it doesn’t seem like a 4k DSLR would be necessary either. I’m just not sure where to go between those two ends. Any advice in general would be much appreciated. Would a 1080 camcorder work? Do I need a DSLR etc. Thank you!
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
Suggest you could look at a HD camcorder. I use a Panasonic HC-V800 HD cam with a Leica lens. While connecting my camera via a HDMI to USB connection I could easily read a nametag some 4cm x 1cm some 3mtr away.
This camera (like most Panasonic consumer cams) can be powered using a 5V USB supply (probably mains to USB adapter in your case) It has all the usual options, autofocus and picture control, good low light performance.
Attached is a very quickly grabbed photo of my whiteboard taken from my desk, not evenly lit and with much rubbish on it. In better conditions this would be clearer.
Hope this helps.
S1070004.JPG
 

Terfyn

Well-known Member
One of the problems with camcorders is that they have a large depth of field so it is virtually impossible to create close focus with the background blurred. Plus the DLR must be able to run for long periods without overheating and closing down. (An old problem but can still exist.)
 
Thank you for the feedback. I actually tried it with my iphone and I think even that is good enough to read. So basically anything I buy would probably work. I think the problem with the camera built into the room is it is old and way back in a dark corner. So it seems like a modern camcorder, in the middle of the room, with good lighting should work fine. Plus it is an inexpensive enough solution as to be easily replaced if it is kicked over (we have a mix of in class and out if class students). I will leave the fancier camera for home recordings.
 

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