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Showdown: Webcam vs. iPhone vs. GoPro vs. DSLR Camera

There are a lot of misconceptions about what equipment is best for making videos. It’s not one size fits all. As with lots of things in life, it’s about selecting the right tool for the task-at-hand.

Therefore in this post and video, I’m aiming to clear up the misconceptions.

4 Popular Devices

Webcam

  • Records directly to your hard-drive, which is convenient.
  • Pre-optimized footage that doesn’t require editing, in order to reduce the file size, prior to upload.
  • Inexpensive. Can be purchase for around $70.
  • Easy and fast! Great for video email and video blogging.

iPhone

  • It’s in your pocket and ready for a quick draw.
  • Great for making fun and quirky videos to post to Facebook or Vine.
  • Best for filming others and simply awesome for Skype and iChat.
  • Can be used for business video, but gets fiddly quickly.

GoPro

  • Small, portable and rugged. You can even buy a housing to film underwater.
  • Great for filming sports like snowboarding and BMX, and surfing.
  • Can be used for business video, but requires technical expertise.

DSLR Camera

  • Super high quality footage that looks absolutely beautiful online.
  • Great for making shorts and independent movies.
  • Excellent for business video, but requires significant technical expertise.
To get the full breakdown, watch the video at the top of the post.

What Do I Use?

I use a webcam for 80% of videos I produce because it’s inexpensive, easy and fast. I’m continually surprised at what I can accomplish with a trusty little webcam. My wallet’s happy, my brain is unburdened and I’m able to create videos -as a Team of One– in minutes, not hours or days.

Note: The video at the top of this post, is an edit-free video recorded using a Logitech C920 webcam and Blue Nessie microphone. I filmed the video in one take, using my scriptless scripting technique. It took me 1 minute to setup, 6 minutes to record and 3 minutes to upload to my hosting account. That’s ground-breaking, when it comes to video production, if you ask me!

About the Author William Franco

Will is the Managing Director of jiveSYSTEMS and creator of the Digital Handshake™, a digital version of a time-proven tradition that turns tedious follow-up into a closing conversation. Will’s a hands-on guy, with a decade of experience enabling sales teams to leverage video. Will's an instant catalyst for positive change, once you get to know him, you’ll completely understand why.

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  • Jamie says:

    Great helpful video Will,

    Two comments:

    1. A lot of sales videos are quick interviews of customers for testimonials. There’s no doubt that lots of people get freaked out by the look of a DSLR and mike. For this reason recording a testimonial on smartphone gives a more natural authentic recording – even if lower quality.

    The thing to watch out for is having light source behind the camera and as little background noise as possible and (if you have a choice) non-reverberant surfaces.

    2. Your recording space has a lot of hard surfaces giving your recording a “noisy restaurant” effect, especially with the low-rejection omni-directional Blue Yeti. The sound is clear, but could be improved with softer surfaces.

    Great video though. Thanks Will.

    Jamie

  • Gina. Parris says:

    These are great tips. You’ve convinced me to return to recording straight into my MacBook. For times I want to stand up and use the white board I’ll try my lavalier mic with the usb adapter that I just ordered. Of course I’ll also need a USB splitter since there’s only 1 port and the Logitech uses one.
    In other news, I’ve never heard the phrase “fanny about” but after hearing it twice in your accent, I’m never saying, “mess with” again. That’s why I like your unscripted script.
    -Gina

  • John Kacarab says:

    Will, I liked the video. I was surprised youdid not mention and old, but useful too, the “flip” type camera.

    My favorite is the Kodak Zi8 because of it’s versatility and you can use an external mic to improve sound quality. It also gives you the option of resolution modes from VGA to 1080p.

    • Will Franco says:

      Hi John. Mobile phone cameras rival the FlipCam’s now (and you can use the Lavs with them too). Although… the Flips still work great! I’d still go with my webcam though, unless I wanted to record a video while out and and about.

  • Thanks for clearing the confusion as it may arise while going for a starter video production

  • David Bourke says:

    Hi Will. Thanks for another great video. I have the C920 and I am a little confused once you complete a video that you need to send it to your “hosting account”? Can you just send the video straight to a client if you wish? Thanks again.

    • Will Franco says:

      Hi David,

      Thanks for replying in the blog.

      There are several challenges with attaching a video file to an email. The showstoppers are: file size and compatibility. Followed by lack of tracking (this is a biggie too!).

      File Size
      Most email clients limit to 25MB. Video files, unless compressed will be over the limit.

      Compatibility
      In the same way, people can’t understand each other if they’re speaking different languages, computers can’t understand each other either. Let’s say you record the file on a Windows and the receipting try to view it on Mac. Between different operating systems, devices (desk to palm), and also browsers and such, there’s a myriad of considerations that need to be taken into account. For example: file type, resolution, and bitrate.

      Video hosting companies position to solve these problems. We specialize in a simple and fast workflow for hosting, built around working a pipeline line of leads that includes heatmap tracking. You can upload and then email a video to a client directly through our platform within two shakes of a lambs tail.

  • Kelly says:

    Helpful video, thanks! I have a question about the logitech C920. I’m on an iMac and I’ve read that they don’t perform fully or can be difficult to set up for a Mac, is that correct? There’s a Logitech C930e out – not sure if that is more Mac compatible and/or better than the C920. Also I’ve seen lots of reviews on Blue Yeti which I was going to go with, but I did like the sound from the Blue Nessie. What’s the main difference for these? I’ll be recording video/audio in my home office, so small room and not moving around much, but keen to minimise noise issues like reverberation and external weather/street noise. Mainly doing face-to-camera video and screenshare voiceovers. Thanks

  • Will Franco says:

    Hi Kelly,

    I hope you’re week is off to a great start. I’ve done my best to answer your questions below:

    • C920 has no issues on Mac. Use QuickTime to record.
    • I prefer the C920 to the newer models.
    • Blue Yeti is better than Nessie. Nessie is cheaper.
    • We’re recommending the Rode NT now.
    • Minimize: thick curtains, rugs with pads under them, door sweepers, and acoustic tiles.

    Let me know if you have any questions,
    Will

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