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Webcam recommendations

What are your recommended specifications for webcams?
We've tested several different cameras, listed below, but in general, webcams that meet our recommended specifications should be satisfactory for your use. Most webcams on the market today are in the $30-$60 price range and meet these specifications:
  • 720p video streaming
  • HD video capability
  • Manual controls for white balance, color saturation, brightness
  • Noise-canceling microphone (most webcams come with this feature)
We always recommend investing in a newer webcam rather than pulling out your old webcam from that box of unused computer junk in your closet. Webcam prices are very reasonable, and technology advances in image clarity, lighting, noise cancellation, and frame rates are constantly being added to webcams.

What are the minimum specifications for webcams?
Any webcam used with our VRI service should meet at least the following minimum specifications: 
  • External webcam
  • 2 MP sensor
  • Manual focus option—please disable all auto-focus settings on your camera!
What specific webcams have you tested?
We've tested many webcams over the years. Below are some that are known to work. If you've successfully used webcams not on this list, please let us know.

Laptop and desktop PCs:
  • Logitech: HD Webcam C930e, C920, C920-C, C910, C615, C525, C510, C310, C270, Webcam Pro 9000, Webcam Pro 9000 Business Edition 
    • For low-light locations, consider the Logitech C930e, C920, or C615.
    • Always install and use the latest Logitech Webcam Software when using Logitech cameras. Get this software from http://www.logitech.com/en-us/support/webcams
    • We discourage using the Logitech Webcam Pro 9000 and 9000 Business Edition in low-light situations
    • Please disable RightLight feature and auto-focus feature from the Logitech Webcam Software
  • Microsoft: LifeCam Cinema (preferred for low-light locations), LifeCam HD-6000, LifeCam HD-5000, LifeCam HD-3000
  • Rocketfish: HD Webcam Lite
Macintosh computers:
  • Logitech: HD Webcam C910, C270, Webcam Pro 9000
    Note: The manual controls for white balance, disabling RightLight, etc. are not available on Macs. Logitech uses Apple's built-in universal drivers to run their webcams, and those drivers don't allow manual tweaks. Mac users should plan on changing the room's ambient light, changing the background behind the user, etc. to try to dial in the proper on-screen light balance.
The following webcams should not be used due to various incompatibility issues:
  • Creative Live! Cam IM Series (VF0220, VFR0230, VF0260, VF0350, VF0380, VF0420, VF0530 and similar)
  • Creative Live! Cam Notebook Series (Notebook Pro, Notebook Ultra, Ultra for Notebooks)
  • Creative Webcam Series (Webcam Go, WebCam Live!, WebCam Mini, WebCam Notebook)
Can I use the integrated webcam that came with my PC/Mac laptop or desktop?
We always prefer external webcams rated at 720p or better. However, we do support integrated webcams.

Can I use the webcam drivers that came with my computer?
If you use an external webcam, please install the proper software drivers that came with your webcam. Using generic webcam drivers found on most computers could result in reduced video and audio quality.

If you use an integrated webcam, or if your external webcam came pre-installed with your computer, then the webcam drivers already on your computer are probably suitable for your webcam.

How do I prevent my webcam from being stolen?
While this won't completely foil someone, a simple trick to deter theft is to find a flat metal washer with a 1/2"-diameter hole along with a standard computer security cable and then follow the procedure found in this article: http://dltj.org/article/flat-washer-protects-cables/
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