Every laptop you get in the market has a bad web camera compared to the specifications it will have.
For example, I am using a high-end Macbook Pro, but the web camera is not up to the mark. It’s 720p, not even full HD, and to get a full HD webcam, I will have to buy the Macbook Pro with M1 Pro or M1 max chipset, but they are just in thank you for the price.
Anyways, the quick workaround to get good quality video from your web camera is to get an external web camera that can be plugged into your laptop via USB.
Get Better Lighting
You may have heard the term that lighting plays an essential role in photography, and it is valid for video as well, and since the job of a webcam is to render video, lighting would play an important role here as well. The sensors of a web camera are small, which means it requires a good amount of light to render a better-quality video.
An easy solution would be to sit in front of a window so that the light from the outside lights up your face. If things in front of the camera are lit correctly, you will immediately improve the video quality.
If there is no window to light you up naturally, the next best option would be to get a ring light, which has been made famous by Instagram creators. It is a super easy and affordable way to get good video quality.
It is also a one-time investment so in future, if you upgrade to a better camera, It would still be usable.
Get an External Webcam
Logitech has a line-up of webcams available in different price ranges, and the best one available is priced at around $150.
It’s called the Logitech Brio. The key feature is its 4K, which is a bit of an overkill for people using it only for taking online sessions because mostly every online meeting/webinar provider supports up to 1080p camera resolution. Check it out on Amazon
Even if it had supported a 4K camera, it would require tremendous upload speeds for the 4K quality to be available to everyone who attended the online session. Their download speeds also need to be higher to see the 4K quality.
And for that specific reason, if your particular use case is to take online classes, sessions, or webinars, the other popular Logitech model is the Logitech C920x. Check it out on Amazon
The price of Logitech C920x is just half the price of Brio since it is Full HD. It would get the job done since it is plug n play and works with every popular service, such as Skype, Zoom, Google Meet etc.
Use Your Mobile Phone / Digital Camera as a Webcam
There is a possibility you already have a mobile phone, which has a good camera, or better if you have got a DSLR with you.
While a digital camera or a DSLR is one of the first offline tools I would recommend every teacher to buy, you don’t necessarily need it when you are just getting started. You can use your mobile phone as a webcam as well.
Several tutorials are available on the internet, including the ones posted on the Tool for Teaching website. You can check it out here.
Some additional tips
Once you have opted for either of the solutions mentioned in this article above, here are a few things that would also help you improve your video using the web camera.
Have a clutter-free background, which means if you are sitting at a place where the background is messy, like clothes on a chair, or hanging behind the door, random things on the table behind you, make sure you clear them, it would be best to that it’s just a wall behind you.
Also, try differentiating yourself from the background by wearing clothes of the opposite colour. For example, if the background is black, try wearing bright colours or if the background is white, try wearing dark clothes to differentiate yourself from the background.
You can also add some RGB lights in the background and set them up in different colours to make your background a little more colourful.