An online interactive conference, a webcast lets you communicate with others virtually without the expense and hassle of meeting in person. The online meeting requires a digital video camera, an external microphone, a video processing application and an Internet connection. Participants in a webcast must sign into the conference, via an instant message-like interface, and take part in the two-way communication event by offering opinions and asking questions.
Digital Video Camera
You need a three-chip consumer, pro-consumer or professional digital video camera with a FireWire 1394, Universal Serial Bus or High-Definition Multimedia Interface connector for connecting the camera to your computer. The camera also needs an auto focus control, at least a "10X" optical zoom lens, low-light sensitivity feature and an option to disable "auto shutoff" when not recording to allow video to be sent to the Internet without recording to a digital videotape.
Three-chip digital video cameras offer better video quality, smaller videotape size and ease in transferring the webcast videos for broadcast on the Internet. Three-chip cameras are available in Digital8, MiniDigital Video (DV), high-definition video (HDV) and digital video camera (DVCAM) models. HDV cameras offer better video quality than DV, DVCAM and Digital8 models but HDV cameras are more expense. Certain model cameras also include a SecureDigital slot for storing video on a removable media card.
External Microphone Issue
Even though digital video cameras contain a built-in microphone, you still need to purchase and connect an external microphone to avoid echoes and background noise during the recording and transmitting process. Webcasting audio goes through a compression process before being sent to others via the Internet and any extra noises will degrade the audio. Make sure the camera you are buying contains a jack or interface for connecting an external microphone. If connecting more than one microphone to your digital video camera, you will need an audio mixer, a standalone device that processes audio from multiple microphones or sources, connected to your video camera before connecting multiple microphones to the camera.
Multiple Camera Setup
You can also arrange and set up multiple digital video cameras for your webcast conference. Additional cameras also need to be three-chip digital models and you must use an audio mixer, as well as a video mixer to process the multiple streams of video, and multiple microphones when using a multiple camera setup.
Three-chip digital video cameras are available at electronics and retail superstores, specialty video stores and at online electronics stores and outlets. You can also buy three-chip digital video cameras directly from video camera manufacturers including Sony, Panasonic, Canon, Insignia, JVC and other electronics and camera manufacturers.
Even though webcams use a USB connection, the cameras do not offer the video quality of three-chip digital video cameras. You can use a webcam to create and transmit a webcast to the Internet but your viewers may or may not be able to see the video clearly.
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images