Are you trying to take your first steps in the world of live streaming on Twitch? Then you’ll probably be on the lookout for decent gear and equipment. A good webcam is essential, because it allows viewers to see you and your facial expressions, your body language and your emotions.
With a lot of different webcam options flooding the market, it can be quite difficult to find the best webcam for your needs. To cut through the noise, we have narrowed it down to a few factors you should consider when investing in a streaming webcam.
Most people are familiar with resolution in terms of photographs, but it is actually an important aspect for webcams as well since it determines the quality of your video. You don’t want your stream to look all grainy, so for a professional-looking stream, you’ll want a streaming webcam with a high definition resolution (1080p at the least, up to even 4k).
What’s important to note is that your viewers won’t only need a very strong internet connection to view a quality 4K stream, but they’ll also need an HD-capable monitor in order to witness the high definition. These are the two main reasons why most streamers are still transmitting in 720p resolutions.
Another important factor to consider is the frame rate of your webcam. While the resolution will determine the quality of your video, the frame rate will have an impact on how smooth the picture looks.
The frame rate is basically the number of pictures a webcam can take and transfer to the computer. For example; If your webcam is described as 30 fps, it can take 30 pictures every second and transfer them to the computer screen.
Frame rates are usually tied to the resolution of the camera, for example: a camera may capture 60fps at 720p, but only be able to capture 30fps at full 1080p.
For professional streaming, we are looking for a frame rate higher than 60 frames per second.
Low Light Quality
A recent study of the New York Magazine pointed out that the quality of a live stream is the most important part to attract larger audiences and more engagement. According to them, 67% of the viewers would ‘drop out’ when they stumble upon a dark, grainy or poorly lit stream.
The fact that most people aren’t using an additional light source – except their computer monitor – makes most streams look awful. We realize that professional lighting setups might be expensive, that’s why we’d focus on buying a webcam that has a “low light quality boost” option.
Depending on your needs and wishes, it might be interesting to look into the additional features of a webcam. A few of these features could be:
- Autofocus (You might want one that keeps its focus on you)
- Audio (A webcam with a microphone is always a nice to have, in case you need a backup microphone)
- Lens (Plastic or glass?)
- Construction (Is it easy to mount? Does it work with a Clip-on, or tripod?)
- Background removal feature (Virtual green screen)
Ultimately, the choice for your streaming setup and configuration is in your hands. You can get as professional or simple as you want. We just wanted to give you some guidance in choosing a webcam to get started. In case you want some more practical examples, we created a list of the most popular webcams in the streaming community.
- Logitech C922
This model is by far one of the most popular webcams for streamers, because of its great ROI. For an affordable price, you’ll get a high resolution webcam featuring a few extras like Low Light booster and (Virtual) background removal.
- Razer Kiyo
Due to it’s built in lightning ring, this webcam is able to deliver a surprisingly high recording quality, even in a room that is underexposed.
- Microsoft LifeCam Cinema
This webcam has a wide-angle lens, contains a noise cancelling microphone and delivers very high quality footage… But it’s very demanding on your system, and only compatible with Windows.
- An actual camera or DSLR
This is by far the most expensive option, but trust us when we tell you .. buying and trying to use a DSLR-camera is like opening Pandora’s Box: You’ll be quickly convinced that you need a DSLR for your streams, but it’s definitely not easy to configure!