A lot of you will know that I really enjoy making "Ham radio" YouTube videos. What you may not know is I also like streaming live video of myself operating the radio. I have used various web cams over the last two or three years and have now found the perfect WebCam for both live streaming and YouTube videos. It's made by Logitech and the two models I use other 910 HD, and the 920 full HD. To be honest, I can't really see much difference in the quality of picture between the two cameras. However, the 920 comes with a very handy fitting that allows you to mount it on a tripod. Unfortunately the 910 doesn't come with the screw fitting so you either have to rest it on top of your monitor, or just stand it on a flat surface.
The Logitech 910/920 does come with an internal microphone as well. The microphone produces good quality audio when tested in recording mode. However, if I was to be truthful, I would probably say the microphone picks up a little bit too well. What I mean by this is it picks up every little bit of noise, even in a fairly large room. This means that if you are talking to somebody on Skype, you cannot have a television or radio on in the background because it seems to overpower your voice and makes it very difficult for the person you're talking to to hear you. I would recommend getting yourself a noise cancelling external microphone. I have actually ordered a Blue Snowflake Ice microphone that I hope will give me good quality audio, but will also stop any unwanted noises spoiling the conversation.
I also really like the software that comes with these web cams. As soon as you're finished making a video, with just one click you can upload your video to YouTube or twitter, alternatively add your video to Facebook, or send it as an e-mail. I particularly like the controls that come with the software that allow you to zoom in, or pan left right or often down. These two cameras are fabulous, really great products that I would recommend to anyone. To be honest with you, if you don't really need a camera to fit on top of a tripod then the 910 is what you need. You can get these cameras from places like Currys. However you may find that eBay or Amazon provide the cheapest options to buy them.
Obviously there are hundreds of different computer microphones on the market, some of them very cheap, others into the hundreds of pounds. What I want and don't really want to spend too much money at all. I've had a Logitech desktop microphone for quite a few years now and even though it's found at the cheaper end of microphones, it's actually very good for what I need it to do. The internal microphone on the Logitech 910/920 WebCam is good, but because it's really meant for voice, it doesn't really reproduce audio very well when recorded from my amateur radio speaker. I suppose I could spend a lot of money on a microphone that is made for the purpose, but the Logitech desktop microphone does a really good job at recording what's coming out of the speakers, without any echo from my large room. I've included some videos below that demonstrate me talking using the internal microphone on the WebCam. And then using my Plantronics 400 headset. Obviously if you want privacy then using a headset is the best option as you can use the headphones, rather than computer speakers.
Below is a demonstration of the quality of the audio that the Logitech desktop microphone produces, even when the speaker is set fairly low.
The three images below are screenshots from the WebCam software. The first image on the left is the screen that comes up when you open the software. The second image is what appears when you click on "quick capture" The third image is what comes up after you've recorded the video and then selected the particular video. It's very simple to use and straightforward.