Video / Webcam

Some gear below to improve the quality of your video conferencing.  Note the prices are probably inflated right now due to short supply, and high demand.  Unfortunately at this time, I don’t know when prices will be back to ‘normal’.

You definitely need a webcam to show your face.  Logitech webcams are typically the lead USB webcams of all manufacturers available but they are definitely out of stock in many places.  If you have a compatible Canon camera, you can download some beta software to make it work like a web cam, link here.  Also there are workarounds for other cameras as well if you don’t mind getting a bit more technical.  But for most people, a webcam is the way to go.

Photo Title Price Buy
Elgato Green Screen MT - Mountable chroma key panel for background removal, auto-locking and self-rewinding, wrinkle-resistant chroma-green fabric, robust metal casing $158.66
Julius Studio 5 ft.(W) x 6 ft.(H) Collapsible and Retractable Green Chromakey Screen with Built-in Aluminum Case, Photo Video Studio, JSAG445 $159.99
Elgato Key Light, Professional Studio LED Panel With 2800 Lumens, Color Adjustable, App-Enabled, for Mac/Windows/iPhone/Android, Metal Desk Mount Copy $196.08
Logitech C920 Hd Pro Webcam (Black) Black $103.96
Logitech C930e 1080P HD Video Webcam - 90-Degree Extended View, Microsoft Lync 2013 and Skype Certified - Black $140.99
HD Pro Webcam C920, Widescreen Video Calling and Recording, 1080p Camera, Desktop or Laptop Webcam $106.98
Logi C930c 1080P HD Video Webcam - with Privacy Shutter - 90-Degree Extended View, Microsoft Lync 2013 and Skype Certified - Asian Version $98.00
LED Ring Light 10" with Tripod Stand & Phone Holder for Live Streaming & YouTube Video, Dimmable Desk Makeup Ring Light for Photography, Shooting with 3 Light Modes & 10 Brightness Level $22.99
TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp, Eye-caring Table Lamps, Dimmable Office Lamp with USB Charging Port, 5 Lighting Modes with 7 Brightness Levels, Touch Control, White, 12W, Philips EnabLED Licensing Program $39.99
TaoTronics Aluminum Alloy Dimmable LED Desk Lamp with USB Charging Port, Table Lamp for Office Lighting, 3 Color Modes & 6 Brightness Levels, Philips Enabled Licensing Program $43.99
Logitech BRIO Ultra HD Webcam for Video Conferencing, Recording, and Streaming - Black $217.70
Logitech BRIO – Ultra HD Webcam for Video Conferencing, Recording, and Streaming $223.79
Logitech Brio Webcam - 90 Fps - Usb 3.0 - 4096 X 2160 Video - Auto-focus - 5x Digital Zoom - Microp $229.99

Lighting So You Don't Look Like a Dark Mysterious Figure

Some of the best lighting you can use is typically good indirect light from the sun.  A big window without glare is good for the daytime.  After hours, you may want to get a nice lamp or go with an LED light.  I recommend getting a ring light for a more flattering look – the bigger the better.  You can also get two lamps to cover you from the left and right – 45 degrees from you good for standard beauty light.  Make sure it comes from at least a higher angle than your webcam.

An example of a desk lamp I use for Zoom meetings.

Audio / Microphone

Its arguable more important for you to have crisp, clean, audio than it is to have a good video feed when presenting.  For most people who are individually contributing in a conference call, a USB microphone is the way to go.  One exception is if you are using your smartphone to connect to the meeting anyway.  I’ve found most modern mid-high range smartphones do a decent job of handling audio in conference meetings provided there is a good reception, and the application supports higher quality audio.  I use Gotomeeting frequently, and the call quality on that isn’t great most cases when calling in, but when connecting using VOIP its decent in the call but horrible in recorded webinars/meetings.  

As with most things audio, you get what you pay for.  However, the closer you can get the microphone to your mouth, the better overall quality you can expect.  So a microphone up close at under $50 is going to beat a microphone a foot away from you at twice the price just about in any situation.

Some Microphones to Consider (Note Covid-19 Has Impacted Price/Availability)

Photo Title Price Buy
Anker PowerConf Bluetooth Speakerphone with 6 Microphones, Enhanced Voice Pickup, 24H Call Time, Bluetooth 5, USB C, Bluetooth Conference Speaker Compatible with Leading Platforms, For Home Office $129.00
Jabra Speak 510 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker for Softphone and Mobile Phone – Easy Setup, Portable Speaker for Holding Meetings Anywhere with Outstanding Sound Quality $147.00
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ Cardioid Condenser USB Microphone, Black, With Built-In Headphone Jack & Volume Control $149.00
Movo Universal Lavalier USB Microphone for Computer with USB Adapter Compatible with Laptop, Desktop, PC and Mac, Smartphones, Cameras, Podcasting, Remote Work and Laptop Microphone (20-Foot Cord) $19.95
Movo MC1000 Conference USB Microphone for Computer Desktop and Laptop with 180° / 20' Long Pick up Range Compatible with Windows and Mac for Dictation, Recording, YouTube, Conference Call, Skype $58.95
AmazonBasics Professional USB Condenser Microphone with Volume Control and OLED Screen - Black $129.43
Razer Seiren X USB Streaming Microphone: Professional Grade - Built-In Shock Mount - Supercardiod Pick-Up Pattern - Anodized Aluminum - Classic Black $79.88