Hi everyone! Some of you have asked what I use to produce these videos. So, this is primarily going to be a review of the Logitech C920 webcam and the Blue Nessie microphone.
I’m very particular about quality and had to get the best things that I could afford. But, of course it’s just not good enough for me. I need thousand dollar studio equipment to be happy I guess.
Logitech C920 Webcam
The Logitech C920 webcam is quite popular. It is said to be the best webcam. I costs around $100 brand new, but can easily be found for cheaper online. I’ve used it for all my videos up to this point, except a few scenes that were away from my computer. The quality is great. It records at 1920×1080, full HD. It is sharp, I can see a lot of detail. It records perfectly at 30fps without any issue. At least on my powerful computer. Your performance may vary.
There are so many other features such as a 15MP camera, which I have never used. And, the focus up-close is amazing. I can put something right up to the camera and it focuses on it perfectly.
Now, I have a Mac computer, which this webcam supposedly is not compatible with. But it works. On Windows, there is software that allows you to adjust many settings on the webcam, such as fixed focal range, brightness, contrast, sharpness, etc. On a Mac, these options are not available. However, there is a piece of software called Webcam Settings that is compatible with many webcams that allow you to adjust these settings on a Mac.
I have adjusted the settings to make the video sharper and brighter, since the lighting is actually not as good as it appears. I like the whites bright, and blacks dark. Even if it looks overexposed, and is not correct video recording practice, I still like it. Here is what it looks like without any adjustments. And, back to how I have it configured.
I use QuickTime to record it. I just open that up and do a new movie recording and it works flawlessly every time. However, there is an issue I am having more recently with it. And, this will only apply to Mac users. When I had OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion installed, it recorded flawlessly. But, I upgraded to OS X 10.9 Mavericks and it broke QuickTime’s compatibility with the webcam. On Mountain Lion it compressed the video at roughly 24-26Mbps. And it looked just fine, no issues, very low CPU usage.
However, now on Mavericks the compression is virtually non-existent. It takes up 75% of my CPU and compresses the video at roughly 350Mbps. The result file size in huge. 4GB for a 1:30 file is just unacceptable. Then after a few minutes, it completely locks up and freezes and the video becomes unusable. I don’t know if it’s just my computer, or how Mavericks operates, but whatever the case, it was impossible to record the way I was.
I had to resort to a screen capture program that also records from webcam to do most of my video recording. Though, the quality is slightly less, a little blurrier, sometimes a little choppy, takes a lot longer to do. But, it is a workable solution that I have been doing for my previous seven or eight videos.
So overall, it’s a very good webcam in my opinion. No issues until I upgraded my operating system. The downside is that the audio quality is crap. I do not like it, so that’s why I purchased the Blue Nessie microphone.
Blue Nessie Microphone
I bought the Blue Nessie microphone when it first came out because it looked really good. It goes for about $100. I contemplated purchasing the Blue Yeti microphone, but decided to give the newer one a try. It has three modes to choose from for recording. One is raw mode, so it records your voice, as is, without any EQ or effects. Second is voice mode which enriches your voice so it sounds better. Third is music mode for recording music.
I mainly use it on voice mode for my videos. Though in the beginning, like my first 10 videos, I experimented with both voice and raw modes. Voice, for me at least, definitely sounds better. Let’s do a test. Here is my voice in voice mode, the way I usually have it. And here is my voice in raw mode. Hopefully the difference can be heard.
It has a built in pop filter that helps somewhat, but is not all that great. I keep it away from my face and to the side, so I don’t get any issues anyway. It’s about, a foot and a half away from my face, so I probably don’t get the best sound I could get out of it, if I was up a little closer. But, it still sounds pretty good.
Some issues I have with it are that it tends to pick up a lot of background noise. Maybe because it’s not close enough to my mouth, I don’t know. I remove this after the fact though. Also, there is an issue, I don’t know if it’s just mine or what, but there occasionally seems to be a problem where I will get this very loud buzzing sound in the recording and have to readjust the area where the pop filter is to try to get that buzzing down. The buzzing sound kills the audio, so I have to make sure beforehand that it’s not buzzing or my recording will be ruined.
Other than that, this is a decent microphone, it’s not bad. Though, I’m may decided to invest in the Blue Yeti in the future if that is a lot better.
After I record my videos, I am far from done with them. I first import the audio into Adobe Audition to clean up the noise. You will not hear any background noise in my videos, because I get rid of them. Listen closely with headphones. Little to no background noise. Here is what it sounds like without noise reduction. Hear that noise?! Yeah, that sucks doesn’t it?!
As far as video editing, I use Adobe Premiere Pro. I would like to learn Adobe After Effect since I think that could help make some things easier, but Premiere Pro works just fine. I import the video in Premiere Pro and get rid of any gaps, and do some tweaking to the levels.
I’ve had a few videos where I show my computer screen. I actually use a screen recording program called ScreenFlow. It’s available for the Mac operating system. It records the entire screen, very smoothly 60fps, very low CPU consumption, and small file sizes. No issues with it at all.
The way I did my previous recordings where I was showing the internet, enlarged text, and hid the identities of people by showing blank pictures and stuff. Well, I used the Firefox web browser in fullscreen so that’s all you could see. Turned up the zoom so the fonts look larger, and used the inspector to edit the HTML to hide the individual’s identity. You can use the built in inspector on the web browser, but I also like Firebug. That’s a great tool for a web designer like myself.
So, that’s how I do these videos for anyone who was curious. Though, I have an update. I am switching cameras. My new camera I will be using is the Sony Nex-5T. It is a wonderful camera and records great videos. I’m going to switch over to this now.
So, this is the quality of my new camera. Let me know what you opinion is. If you think it’s good, or bad, or don’t care. Let me know! Thanks for watching!
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