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Besides dedicated webcams, what cameras support live video capture in a format Hangouts can use (on a Mac, if that matters) without a separate video capture device?

It's confusing because I see stuff like this Gizmodo review of the Olympus PEN EP-3 which says, "Formats Supported: Front: 1.3-megapixel webcam", but searching forums of EP-3 users, it sounds like you can't actually use it as a live webcam. I've been searching camera specs for "UVC" (the abbreviation for USB video class, the protocol webcams use), or "USB video", both without luck.

I'm in the market for an interchangeable lens camera with decent video recording abilities to take with me on an upcoming vacation, and if there are cameras in that class that can be used in a Hangout, that would be a plus (no pun intended).
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Gary Wang's profile photoOly Cameras's profile photoJoey Daoud's profile photoSvein Wisnæs's profile photo
28 comments
 
So a camera that can do a live broadcast via Google Hangouts?
 
i have one. i love it!!!
 
yep, looks good. sounds good. now need to play to see if it is real good :-)
 
I asked that of my followers and the response was that it wouldn't be a great idea to use a non-webcam since using it as a webcam would burn out the sensors quicker, essentially ruining a good camera.
 
Is it important the hangout camera be that good? I've only been in a few hangouts, but it seems like there is a decent amount of compression going on, and it good audio seems to beat good video, IMHO. There is also an ease-of-use argument for having a dedicated hangout cam. The logitech cams around $100 I've seen people use have been excellent.
 
+Don Wood If you know of a not-so-good webcam with interchangeable lenses, that would be fine too :-)

I'm just interested in the extra flexibility a hypothetical camera like that would offer; I'm not in any way claiming that standard webcams aren't good enough.
 
Ahh,I see I had a limited view of what you wanted to do, +Trey Harris . Silly. because I currently "broadcast" live from my workshop via dropcam and would love to do hangouts, but you're right in that the dropcam is not set up for that. About a three-five second delay, no ability to add speakers, etc.
Excited to see the result of this thread.
 
Interesting question. My Panasonic G3 has USB and HDMI outputs - but as far as I can tell the USB just provides file access, and the HDMI will just let you playback videos and photos to a TV. I don't think either are enabled for live view.

I believe the Panasonic GH2 can support live-view out to HDMI. Question then would be how to pull the HDMI into your computer...

I use the Logitech C920 as a pretty excellent webcam.
 
+Trey Harris This is a very good question and a valid one too. It would probably depend on what the Hangout plugin is looking for in terms of video. One thing that would be good is for the plugin to be able to use any valid video source on a computer.

I would like to see support for USB, FireWire, HDMI and regular video inputs.

+Don Wood Yes, there is quite a bit of compression in the video feed of the hangout, but one very important factor there is the "up speed" of your internet connection. Right now, I am on ADSL at my parents house and they have the cheapest line they can get - 2Mb down (really around 1.7Mb) and 350kb up (really around 280kb). So this means that even if I have a nice webcam, Microsoft LifeCam HD, the picture will still be pretty compressed.

Another good reason for using a camera with an interchangeable lense is to take advantage of less wide-angle and less depth of field.

A webcam usually has a pretty wide angle to allow more people in the picture, or you moving around a bit more. But I usually find myself wanting less of the surroundings and more of the person in front of the camera.

Regarding depth of field, it allows you to blur out the background. This will help you to stand out from the clutter around, but it will also help your computer when processing the picture. Less details usually means less problems in compression.

One more thing about interchangeable lenses - the quality is sky high over any webcam I have seen so far. Meaning: Better pictures. Higher quality glass is never wrong. And in most webcams, you even find plastic lenses, not glass. My camera has SOME glass elements. Meaning, the rest are probably plastic... The only thing to remember is to make sure you have enough light.

I have started a page where I will try to help people that has questions about what can make their hangouts better technically - +Hangout boot camp . Feel free to circle it and spread it :-)

Sorry for making this into such a long comment, but I really liked the question posted and find it a very important one!
 
+Svein Wisnæs thanks for the great answer to my comment, I just learned a lot. Will definitely be circling your page.
 
+Don Wood Glad you liked it! I love hangouts and think it is a great tool for many uses. Most people can increase the quality quite a bit by just thinking a little bit about their camera, microphone and light. So I hope I can put my background in TV to good use here and help anyone that wants help :-) If I could pick one area in Google where I would like to work, that would probably be it!
 
+Trey Harris I'd have to look up the exact details but check out the how-tos under Livestream's site. I used a professional camera through it before, and I'd guess you can do the same via Hangouts. Basically you need to get a third party program (there's free ones) that make the signal from the camera show up as a webcam, and you select that camera under video options for Hangouts. Only downside is I had to use a slightly older camera that had FireWire. I'm not sure how you could do this via HDMI.

+Andy Bryant The GH2 does have live HDMI out
 
So we need a camera that says on the box, "Compatible with Google+ Hangouts".
 
Forget HDMI, USB or FireWire. I want wifi streaming!
 
+Joey Daoud Sure... Until you suddenly discover that the interference from all the neighbours totally blocks your signal. I set up internet for a small hotel in a small Brazilian city and did a wifi survey. From the third floor, I could see 50+ wifi networks.

A cable should always be the starting point. Wifi is on the "nice to have" list, but not critical. As it is, you need a computer to do a hangout (you can participate via phone, not initiate) and a cable in addition to your laptop, camera, tripod, lights and microphone should not be a big problem :-)
 
+Joey Daoud I like the stuff from BlackMagic and that was one of the manufacturers I had in mind when I mentioned traditional video sources in my first comment. However, the hangout plugin do not support the use of these sources, including Thunderbolt that the camera and the box mentioned run on. But definitely cool stuff. I have already tried the previous version of the box with Avid MediaComposer 6 and it works very well. But it does not solve the original question asked here.
 
+Joey Daoud Yes, there are a couple that exists that can take FireWire input and present it as a virtual webcam. However, these programs has their own issues - resolution degrading, overall picture degrading and they are more geared towards people looking to add a bunch of stuff in their picture. It is serious bloatware. I would stay away from them unless you desperately need them.
 
+Svein Wisnæs I used CamTwist for Mac for Livestream with an external camera and though I was forced to use it in SD mode, it was considerably better than a webcam.
 
+Joey Daoud It will depend on the webcam and the external cam you were using. As mentioned earlier, normal webcams usually has plastic lenses. If you go for a high quality webcam, it might have glass in their lenses. That will give a much better picture. So it all depends on what you are comparing.
 
Have you taken a look at the +Olympus page for information about the PEN E-P3?
 
Nothing specific but if you circle the page, they sometimes put out reviews and tips about the cameras.
 
Late to this, but I am also interested in getting an HDMI video signal to work with Google+ Hangouts on a Mac. I have a professional camera but no capture card/device yet.

I've ordered a BM Intensity Shuttle but am not convinced this will work.
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