What type of camera should you use to record or live-stream an online event?

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If you want to make a big impression with your online event, you should make sure it captures you on camera. In a poll by webinar expert Daniel Waas, 86% of webinar audiences said they found presenters on webcam engaging. However, the camera’s picture quality will make a difference.

This begs the question: whether you intend to record or live-stream the event, what kind of camera should you choose for the purpose? Here are just some recommended options…

The webcam built into your computer

What would be wrong with simply using this camera, since it’s one you already have? Well, it’s not always easy to discern whether any given camera is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, as its suitability for your event could heavily depend on what type of event it is.

A built-in webcam would be at the low end of the camera scale, with a high-end studio camera at the other end. The Dummies website explains that, “depending on the scale of the presentation, probably somewhere in-between lies the right match for your needs.”

The camera on your smartphone

Yes, why buy a camera afresh when your smartphone already has one? It would be particularly useful if you intend to be ‘on the go’ with your online event; for example, if you will be hosting an online tour of a historical attraction, where viewers might want to see certain details of it up close.

Furthermore, as PremiumBeat points out, 80% of the US population owns a smartphone. However, you could possibly upgrade to a new one if your current one relies on outdated camera technology.

A simple HD webcam

This is particularly recommended for beginners. If you use it for a webinar, for example, the camera’s 1080p resolution will ensure you look sharp enough in the grid view usually adopted by webinar software when slide sharing takes up most of its interface.

If you haven’t yet downloaded a webinar platform, you could source one from a brand like ON24, which also offers software tools for other types of online events, like webcasts and hybrid events.

A 4K-resolution webcam

This is basically intermediate level when it comes to webcams, as it consumes more bandwidth than a comparatively basic HD webcam. However, if you have enough bandwidth to accommodate this kind of resolution, it could prove more than worth it.

If you are nervous about whether your internet connection would be able to take the strain, you could use this type of webcam as your ‘main’ one and keep a HD one as a backup.

A high-resolution mirrorless or DSLR camera

You’re probably thinking that there’s some slightly scary-looking jargon starting to pop up now. Indeed, either type of camera could be deemed an ‘advanced’ or ‘professional’ model – the kind largely reserved for professional YouTube personalities with deep enough pockets to afford it.

Waas particularly singles out the Sony Alpha A7II for praise, noting its “clean HDMI output option you can use to send its crystal clear image to your webinar software of choice.”