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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Webcams with adjustable zoom on the camera? How do I even search for this?

    I'm upgrading my work from home setup since it looks like I'll be teaching remotely for the foreseeable future. One of my current annoyances is that video conferencing software (such as Zoom or Google Meet) does not have a way to adjust the video from my webcam to zoom in, so I'm showing entirely more wall behind me than is needed.

    I wanted to buy a separate camera anyway (I would also like the camera to be higher up to get a more flattering angle, and would like more flexibility in camera position versus laptop position so an external camera makes sense), and since I sometimes want a lot of background (so I can lecture at a whiteboard) and sometimes want a close in on just my face/shoulders (whenever I'm not using a whiteboard), I thought I'd buy one with a zoom lens on the camera itself.

    However, since the most popular video conferencing platform is called "Zoom", I am completely unable to filter webcam results for this feature. Every webcam will mention that it works with Zoom, so it's useless as a keyword when looking for an actual zoom lens.

    Can anyone either recommend a camera that would make sense for my situation or suggest search terms that would let me better research this myself?

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Tail of the Bellcurve
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Webcams with adjustable zoom on the camera? How do I even search for this?

    I suspect quite a few cameras should have a software based zoom, although this will tend to be more pixelated, and getting it to talk to Zoom, Google Meets, or whatever your videoconferencing poison of choice may be could be somewhat tricky.
    '
    After a bit of messing around, it appears that you want to search for 'webcam optical zoom' if you are looking for cameras that have physically adjustable lenses. This seems like it might be a useful summary of some of the options, and at least a place to start looking.
    Blood-red were his spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
    When they shot him down on the highway,
    Down like a dog on the highway,
    And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.


    Alfred Noyes, The Highwayman, 1906.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Default Re: Webcams with adjustable zoom on the camera? How do I even search for this?

    I was going to suggest "optical zoom" as well.

    It's usually the better way to zoom anyway as you actually improve the signal in. Frankly any conferencing platform shouldn't care what the signal in is just take whatever the camera/intermediate software gives it. Provided the conferencing platform takes it video from the correct input.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Sep 2014

    Default Re: Webcams with adjustable zoom on the camera? How do I even search for this?

    Thanks for the keyword suggestion! I think my new struggle is going to be to buy something appropriately-priced for the problem I am currently having (I would like to have less of my room showing behind me in endless video meetings, but more wall showing if I use a whiteboard) rather than the problem I wish I were having (I would like to be recording/livestreaming filk concerts). We'll see. It may be cheaper and simpler to just by two fixed lens cameras, one that's pretty tight and one that's wide, and switch cameras for each task. (Easy to do in Zoom or Google Meet.)

    I am already having to keep myself from using this as an excuse to buy more audio gear that really is not needed to explain math from my house. (I want a portable multitrack mixer/recorder, probably a Zoom R16 or R24, for those times when I am running the soundboard and also recording the room, to supplement the room recordings I am already making with a Zoom H2. I completely cannot justify how I need that to teach math from home even though it would let me plug in much nicer microphones to teach math using. I also keep falling into the rabbit hole of nice stereo mics for iPhones, even though I really do not need good stereo separation to teach math and also have a perfectly good computer to do it from.)

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