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View Full Version : Good camera & mic for Skype recommendations.



Billy T
12-10-2010, 11:02 PM
Hi Team

My daughter is applying to a number of overseas universities to do her Masters in Music Therapy (for accelerating development of disabled children and adults) and has two auditions in Oz that are too far apart to stay for both, and too expensive to fly twice. The last one has agreed to do the audition via Skype so now I have to gear up for this, and it is all new territory for me.

I'd like to use a camera that has good definition and a reasonable mic as the audition is very important to her and she may have to sing and play instruments as well. I guess the bandwidth on Skype is pretty restricted but I have a reasonably fast connection and I can probably install the Thomson TG585 ADSL2 modem Telecom gave me some time back if that will help.

Any suggestions would be gratefully received, plus any advice on the use of Skype and any fish-hooks I should avoid would be appreciated.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :help:

Trev
13-10-2010, 07:56 AM
I use a Microsoft Lifecam VX-3000. Specs off the box. Superior video quality (640 x 480 pixels resolution) and high definition still photos (1.3 megapixels. Automatic face tracking software. Pan, tilt and zoom controls. Built in microphone. Can clip to the top of a LCD monitor.
:)

wainuitech
13-10-2010, 07:57 AM
The logitech range (http://www.logitech.com/en-us/webcam-communications/webcams) and Microsoft are normally very good.

Not the cheapest ones about, but you get what you pay for.

Had to setup One of these (http://www.ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=356606) a short while back, Very nice unit.

John H
13-10-2010, 09:59 AM
Well Billy, I hate to say this but I am recommending Microsoft products here!! We have three Microsoft cameras in this family and they all play nicely with Skype.

I thought I would be a smart alec and buy the best camera around, and got a Logitech Pro 9000. It is a heap of what gets left behind by the chooks. I have tried it on three PCs, using the Logitech software, or just the generic MS drivers. In all cases the damned thing refuses to work properly with Skype so it is lying in a cupboard. It continually freezes the pix. With the generic drivers it worked OK to talk to my daughter in a remote part of WA, but with my daughter in Akl, it froze within seconds of making a connection. It was hopeless everywhere using its own software.

So on the basis of this experience I wouldn't recommend Logitech Pro 9000, but would recommend Microsoft cameras. All three MS cameras are different models, don't have features of the Logitec camera, and their pix is far less clear than the Logitech; BUT THEY WORK!

PS the MS and Logitech cameras have built in microphones.

Speedy Gonzales
13-10-2010, 10:50 AM
Yup I use the same one as Trev, with Skype. Nothing wrong with it. I would use Logitech but their install files install too much crap. You could get an MS HD lifecam, for about $130

rumpty
13-10-2010, 12:41 PM
I use the Logitech Pro 9000 with Skype, have done for a couple of years, and it is fine. Skype website recommends it too.

It will do the Skype HQ mode, 640 x 480 at 30fps, if the computers at both ends are up to it. In fact it will do higher resolution than that, computers/Bband specs allowing.

rumpty
13-10-2010, 12:56 PM
Billy T, do you want an "on the air" demo of my Logitech camera? Skype installed there?

Billy T
13-10-2010, 03:41 PM
Billy T, do you want an "on the air" demo of my Logitech camera? Skype installed there?

Not yet, but when it is installed I will definitely need to do some test runs because this audition is very important. It must be, I've steadfastly resisted the demands of Billy jnr. to use Skype on his computer or laptop because he is already a data hog and our limit is 10GB/Month, but this time the need for it pretty vital, plus it was my suggestion so I have to carry it through!

Out of interest, and just so I can get a handle on it, about how many MB/GB of data would an hour of reasonably good quality sound and video consume?

Price is not an issue either, so I'll probably go the MS way.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :)

PPp
13-10-2010, 04:53 PM
Connection speed is the biggest factor in quality pictures and sound on Skype, in my experience.

rumpty
13-10-2010, 05:35 PM
Out of interest, and just so I can get a handle on it, about how many MB/GB of data would an hour of reasonably good quality sound and video consume?

Price is not an issue either, so I'll probably go the MS way.

Cheers

Billy 8-{) :)

I've never thought the amount of data used in video calls was anything to worry about. Someone quoted 250MB/hour? Whatever, it's nothing frightening.

I notice John H reckons the MS cameras are "far less clear" than the Logitech Pro 9000? That doesn't sound like what you want.

In any case, you need the uncapped upload speed of ADSL for sending a decent picture. 400kb/s or so minimum, Skype recommends for HQ video.

plod
13-10-2010, 07:57 PM
First off, since the voice part is so important get yourself a usb headset, the last thing you want is feedback.
If you have a DV video camera laying around use that(firewire required I think), its going to give a better picture plus you wont have to outlay for the camera:2cents:

John H
13-10-2010, 08:39 PM
Reported idiot above.

plod
14-10-2010, 05:43 AM
Reported idiot above.
thanks john

John H
14-10-2010, 06:39 AM
First off, since the voice part is so important get yourself a usb headset, the last thing you want is feedback.
If you have a DV video camera laying around use that(firewire required I think), its going to give a better picture plus you wont have to outlay for the camera:2cents:

You are right that feedback is a nuisance, but we are rarely in the situation where it is a one on one conversation! Mostly it is the two of us talking to a daughter and others like sons in law and/or rugrats, so headsets don't usually work!