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Choosing the Best Video Conferencing Camera: A Guide to Future-Proofed Collaboration

In a world of hybrid workplaces and remote working, the need for a high-quality video conferencing camera that enables all participants, far and wide, to feel involved in virtual meetings is vital. 

By improving clarity and reducing technical issues, a good webcam can make a huge difference to the efficiency of a meeting so choosing the best camera for your organisation is paramount. Participants are free to focus on the content and discussion instead of struggling with poor video or audio quality, increasing not only collaboration and productivity, but fostering a sense of togetherness.

As video conferencing installation experts, clients often ask us “what is the best video conference camera for my organisation?”. So in this article we thought we would share some useful information to help you make your choice.

What is the best video conferencing camera?

Whilst your built-in laptop or desktop webcam may be sufficient for dialling into meetings as an individual, a video conferencing camera (also known as a conference room camera or conference webcam), is a specialised device, often mounted for optimal room coverage, with exceptional audio and video streaming capabilities. 

The ability to zoom in and out, track speakers automatically and reduce noise are amongst other features that make it superior to that of a standard webcam. A valuable tool for businesses to communicate remotely, but with a range of video conferencing cameras available, it is important to consider some key factors when selecting the best device for your needs.

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How room size impacts the choice of video conference camera

Your camera selection will be determined by factors such as room size, number of participants, size and positioning of your table. 

For small rooms or huddle spaces, webcams or compact cameras with a narrow field of view (how wide of an area the camera can capture) are sufficient. Simple all-in-one systems with a camera, microphone and speaker are ideal for small or informal meetings as they are easy to set up and use. 

Larger rooms will require a camera with a wider field of view (120+ degrees) or with a pan-tilt-zoom mechanism to ensure everyone is captured without needing to move the device. A high-definition camera, speakers and multiple microphones may be required to handle a larger number of participants.

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Ensuring your video conference camera is correctly positioned

Having your webcam positioned directly at eye level and capturing a straight-on view of your face is ideal, so it will appear as if you’re looking directly into the camera when participating in a video call. 

To achieve this, some people mount their webcam on an adjustable tabletop tripod, or use a specialised mount that attaches to their computer’s monitor.

What is the ideal resolution for a video conferencing camera?

A high-resolution camera (4K or 1080p) delivers a clear, sharp image, making you appear professional whilst allowing facial expressions and nonverbal cues to come through clearly. 

Avoid cameras with a resolution of 720p or lower as these provide poor image quality and limited future-proofing.

Auto-tracking and framing technology

The camera will zoom in and focus on the speaker whilst detecting their face and position, automatically making them the centre of the frame. Features such as these keep the speaker in focus even if they move around, creating a more dynamic and engaging experience.

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Noise reduction

Background noise can be distracting so choosing a camera with noise cancellation may be useful for larger groups/spaces to ensure the speaker’s voice is clear and professional. 

Microphones are another key consideration depending on the size of your meeting – some cameras have built-in microphones, but for larger rooms, separate microphones may be needed.

Stand-alone webcam vs all-in-one device?

Whether you decide to go with a standalone webcam or an all-in-one device really depends on your specific needs and priorities. 

Dedicated webcams offer better image resolution (1080p or even 4K) and low-light performance compared to all-in-one devices. They provide greater flexibility to pick and choose specific features, such as autofocus, zoom or wide field-of-view. 

You have the ability to upgrade the webcam without the need to replace your whole setup and if you already own speakers and a microphone, purchasing a standalone webcam may be a cost-effective investment over an all-in-one device.

Or would an all-in-one device better suit your needs? You can streamline your setup by choosing webcams that combine video, audio and speakers. This is likely to be a budget-friendly alternative if you don’t already own existing AV equipment, simplifying setup and reducing cable clutter. 

If travel is on the agenda, the compact size of an all-in-one device will be preferable. Ease of use is another attractive feature of such devices – often plug-and-play, they require minimal setup.

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Noise reduction

Background noise can be distracting so choosing a camera with noise cancellation may be useful for larger groups/spaces to ensure the speaker’s voice is clear and professional. 

Microphones are another key consideration depending on the size of your meeting – some cameras have built-in microphones, but for larger rooms, separate microphones may be needed.

Compatibility and integration

Most video conferencing cameras are compatible with a variety of popular video conferencing platforms, such as ZoomMicrosoft Teams, and Google Meet, but it is important to check this when selecting your camera. 

Wide-ranging compatibility is crucial for future-proofing your AV setup to ensure adaptability to new technologies, integration with future devices, updates/repairs and increased lifespan. 

The key is to choose equipment with the essential features for your current needs whilst offering broad compatibility with likely future trends. Prioritise simplicity when selecting your video conferencing camera – a user-friendly, plug-and-play device that seamlessly integrates with a diverse array of video conferencing platforms will ensure a hassle-free experience.

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Summary

In summary, video conferencing has become an essential tool for small businesses, offering cost-effective communication and collaboration solutions in today’s hybrid workplaces. 

Of course, the “best” video conferencing camera depends on your individual needs and budget, but considering factors such as meeting frequency and desired features before making your choice will help to improve video conferences.

So, if you need help deciding which video conferencing camera is right for your system, get in touch with us today or simply call us on 01442 620078. We offer impartial advice as well as a free quote, and installation is always carried out at a time which suits you so as not to interrupt the flow of business.

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