How to Set Up a Webcam

Are you looking to purchase or use a webcam but unsure how? Follow these easy steps and you shall be recording video with your computer right away. I'll also be giving out some awesome tips, so read on!

Step 1: Find a camera

Any style will work; it doesn't matter if it is a webcam or even a video camera, though using a video camera is a bit more difficult.

If you don't already have experience in using them the steps necessary may be a bit hard to understand. To simplify matters, I'd personally suggest buying a Webcam. Purchasing a webcam will make your video producing experience a good deal easier.

If you're looking for a place to check out what webcams are available, scroll down and there's a link to a site that reviews and discusses the latest webcams on the market.

If you're stumped trying to settle on a webcam to buy visit this site. They review and discuss a lot about webcams.

Programs and Drivers

Once you have a camera you will have to install the software (or drivers) that come with it. Typically these come on a CD included in the box but sometimes you may have to go searching for drivers. Your Webcam manufacturer's site is a great place to start.

Some webcams are UVC compatible, which means that they use standard drivers which are built into your operating system. In such cases you may not have to install the manufacturer's software or drivers.

Sometimes new features will not function on your camera until these are installed, which features work or which don't depends on what operating system and what webcam you have. As an example, a number of automatic focus cameras won't auto focus using the UVC driver, others will. Some cameras have different resolutions that aren't available without installing the drivers that come with it.

Step 2 Make Your Video

Producing your video is the easiest part. Each camera records in a different way, so you should refer to your webcam's instruction booklet for more detailed information on how you can save video to your own computer.

You can record whatever, so go nuts! This is the most fun and important part in this guide.

Step 3 Upload Your Video

How are the images going to get to your viewers? Well, there are essentially 3 choices.

Use a webcam service such as SKYPE, AOL or Yahoo. This is actually the simplest and best way to connect with friends and family. This method requires that the person on the receiving end of the broadcast installs the same software as you; depending on what network you use you may find the quality is not really as high as you like. For this reason there exists a number of pay webcam services that promise better quality images, but I don't have any experience with them so they won't be included at this point.

Your own web site. Using this method you can record your video using your Webcams software or a paid program that does the same thing. You then must upload the video to your webserver and create a web page linking your viewers to the video. This method allows for a better quality stream as well as an opportunity to change your video before your viewers see it. This can be the most effective method when you have a dial-up connection, or anticipate having more than one person watching at the same time.

Upload your video to a website. With social networking being the newest and fastest growing way to connect with people on the web it is a no-brainer that websites such as YouTube and DailyMotion allow you to upload your recorded video for possibly thousands of people to see. This is actually the best option if you would like people to be able to watch your video on demand.

Those are the fundamentals for setting up a webcam and if you are just starting with webcams, you should probably stick with the first option of using a service, and then begin to look at uploading your videos to one of the social networking site for maximum exposure.

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