In Zoom and other screen sharing applications, those gray boxes you sometimes see floating on…
3. The 5 Best Webcams for Your Hybrid Events
We compare these popular webcams to help you turn any workspace into a hybrid or blended meeting environment on a budget and with minimal technology.
There sure are a lot of webcams available on the market these days. It’s great to have the variety of selection, but the price points are all over the place and it’s hard to know what to consider for personal use. Now that we’re considering Hybrid Meeting and Blended Meeting environments, you need to take a closer look at what’s going to work and in what type of space.
Everyone from IT Professionals and A/V Teams in large organizations to the Interns and Executive Assistants at small organizations will need to find solutions urgently and not everyone can install a Zoom Room or flesh out a custom board room this week. That’s why we’re stacking up these webcams, all-in-one devices and PTZ cameras to help you decide what you need and can budget for to turn just about any workspace into a functional and efficient hybrid meeting space. We’re focusing on the bottom line here and your ROI because you deserve a solution that gives you what you need without complicated technology and high cost becoming barriers.
|Brand||Camera||Room Size||View||Resolution||Zoom||PTZ||All-in-One||Price Point|
|AVer||CAM520 Pro2||Large||84°||18x (12x optical)||Yes||No||$999|
|Owl Labs||Meeting Owl Pro||Medium||360°||Auto||Yes||$999|
1. Logitech: BRIO Ultra HD Pro
Price Point: $199
Ideal use case: an individual at their computer or a small to medium sized huddle space or meeting room
While the Brio is specifically designed to capture an individual from just a few feet away, this compact and versatile camera can be used in conference settings. The 5x digital zoom allows for adjustable framing and great clarity, even when the subject is at a fair distance. That’s why this “personal” webcam makes the list. Use one to capture a huddle space or small room from a static location – ideally just above or below your display at eye level with your subjects.
We’ve been using the Brio here for some time and I’ve been impressed with their capture of light and image clarity since day one. Install the simple Logi Tune application to your computer to control your logitech devices and access framing, PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom), color correction settings and manage your device firmware updates. The BRIO is superb at adjusting for changing light situations automatically using RightLight 3 technology.
While the BRIO does have a built-in, omnidirectional microphone with noise canceling included, it is not ideal for capturing audio at a distance and you will need to supplement this device with audio conferencing equipment to capture a subject more than a few feet away from the camera.
2. Logitech: MeetUp
Price Point: $899+ (expansion microphone available)
Ideal use case: small to medium huddle space, larger conference room or panel setting
I’ve enjoyed using the MeetUp in various settings over the years and have always been impressed with its versatility and quality of capture of both audio and video. The handy remote control allows you to pan, tilt and zoom the motorized camera manually or use the home and two programmable presets as well as adjust output volume of the built-in speaker system. It’s all plug and play and easy enough for anyone to use.
Use this device as you would a sound bar and mount it at eye level and just beneath your display for best results. The full-range speaker system produces a clear audio signal and can even be used as a BlueTooth pairing device. Logitech has added RightSense technology to allow automatic control of the camera and focus on the speaker, lighting adjustments to provide natural results across various skin tones and lighting situations as well as voice-optimized audio processing to make sure even the quiet talkers in the room are heard clearly.
With a standard 2 year warranty, logitech stands behind this product with great support. Logitech has become one of the most trusted names in computing, gaming and streaming hardware peripherals for many years.
3. AVer: VB130 Video Bar with Light
Price Point: $899+ (add ons available)
Ideal use case: small to medium conference room or panel setting, loud and busy environments
This feature-rich unit is packed with goodies including on-board lighting that can be adjusted for tone and brightness automatically or manually to make sure you always look great in the space from which you present. That’s not surprising from AVer as their care for their users is top notch, offering a 3 year warranty and 72 hour replacement on this hardware. It’s on their website and everything.
While the lighting reinforcement is great, especially at close proximity, I’m more interested in the array of 5 microphones and SmartSpeaker. What’s that all about? The VB130 uses what AVer calls “audio fencing” to keep down extraneous noise to make sure presenters are heard clearly. The SmartSpeaker technology provides pure audio quality from remote speakers in your meetings.
If you’re outfitting multiple rooms, the VB130 is an excellent solution, allowing you to monitor and manage via LAN in your browser. The PTZApp 2 can also be used to fine tune some of the device settings and AI image framing to ensure optimal performance for those that really want to dial in their space. This compact unit is easy to mount on a tripod, your wall (with additional wall mount purchase), above or below a 17” or larger display and packs a ton of value.
4. AVer: CAM520 Pro2
Price Point: $999 (camera only – kit and add ons available)
Ideal use case: Large conference rooms, board rooms, training rooms where cameras need to be out of the way or at a distance
Want to zoom in on a person or object 60 feet away without distortion? Bring in the CAM520 Pro2 with its 18x zoom capabilities – that’s 12x optical zoom and 6x digital zoom. The optical zooming mechanism (think traditional, pre-computer lenses) in this little beast allows for incredibly sharp images at great distances. This is unrivaled at this price point.
Warning, this is just a camera – an incredibly well made camera – and does not include microphones or speakers. The VC520 Pro2 bundle includes a digital speaker phone with optional satellite extensions to capture up to a 30 foot diameter in the room. For permanent, professional installations, consider a custom DSP (Digital Signal Processing) audio solution.
All of this can be managed remotely via LAN using the browser-based management software that AVer provides. Install multiple cameras and centralize your remote control using RS232 or Visca IP communication to the cameras. As with all AVer cams, enjoy a 3 year warranty and 72 hour replacement guarantee.
5. Owl Labs: Meeting Owl Pro
Price Point: $999 (add ons available)
Ideal use case: A medium or large conference or collaboration space with many seats at the table that hosts dynamic conversations
The Meeting Owl Pro was designed for hybrid meetings before we were calling them hybrid meetings (I was calling them blended events in 2011…just saying). Your collaboration and huddle spaces, small board rooms and medium conference rooms are so ready for this little birdy.
These devices are really impressive and – I’m just gonna say it – they are super cute! I’ve often said that you can’t just plop a camera on a table, open a virtual meeting and call it hybrid, but that’s exactly what this device is designed to do.
The Meeting Owl Pro’s key selling point and reason to boast are the 8 microphones in this little critter that allow the AI enabled, panoramic camera with onboard computing to zero in on the person or persons speaking in the room. This may pose a challenge in loud places where background noise cannot be avoided because these tiny mics are geared to pick up voices from up to 18 feet away. The Meeting Owl Pro can be paired with a second Owl to ensure even the largest meeting spaces can be captured with ease. Place it on the board room table, in the corner or below an in-room display, connect it to WiFi and fire up a virtual meeting.
We are focused on only a few trusted brands here that we’ve seen in action and that have impressed us. This is not an exhaustive list of products available. We intend to give you a basis of comparison and expectation of your spend based on what you need most. If you have a camera that you love using for hybrid events, let us know in the comments.
Need some more help to guarantee great results?
Our hybrid event consulting services are one way to get personalized attention to make sure you are set up for success. Book a time to talk and we’ll be happy to walk through some of the affordable ways we can help you produce high quality virtual events.