Monday, February 13, 2012

USB WebCams

USB WebCams for Animation

There are many USB cameras available on the market at an affordable price, all of which are ideal for animation activities in the classroom. I have selected just three of them for comparison, all of which I have used successfully in various animation workshops with students of all ages and ability. What you decide to buy all depends on the overall video and image quality of the animation you shoot and how much you want to spend.

The Hue HD Camera
The Hue has a fun and funky look to it. Available in a variety of colours and relatively inexpensive, (available from Amazon around £35) your students will think it’s cool to use too!
With a flexible swan neck allowing you to position the webcam anyway you want, choose to keep it straight,curve it downwards or angle it upwards.
However, from my own personal class-based experience I have found the camera to be top heavy and a little unstable, having a tendency to fall over when you adjust the neck.
Of course this can be easily remedied by pulling out some of those old ‘Blue Peter’ tricks, like using duct-tape to stick it firmly to your work surface. Alternatively the webcam can be disconnected from its base altogether and connected directly to your computers’ USB port by- passing the need for a stand at all.

Just plug it into your USB port and start animating - it really is that simple. Suitable for Mac and Windows PC's.

The aGent V5 HD Camera
Highly recommended and directly available from the Kudlian Software website (authors of ‘I Can Animate Software’) the aGent webcam is one of the highest quality cameras available for animation activities in the classroom. Lightweight and highly portable this camera is capable of delivering Full HD video and audio, with up to 5MP video resolution and still images up to 8MP.
The aGent webcam can also be used anywhere. Clip it on your notebook or flat screen or use the desktop stand. There are three clips to choose from. I especially like the fact that this camera can be mounted on a regular tripod with a small adapter. Working in a primary environment this is often the easiest solution if you are pushed for time.

It not only looks great, finished in a professional looking polished silver casing, but it also boasts a lens aperture wider than other web- cams allowing it to collect more light than most other webcams on the market. Consequently it is capable of capturing high-quality pictures even in low lighting using advanced low light exposure technology. Just plug in to get started and let the animation software do the rest!
This camera could also be used for class-based video conferencing or Skyping activities - the aGent includes a built in USB digital noise can- cellation microphone so you can also talk to your friends all over the world, whilst using it as a webcam.
Suitable for Mac and Windows PC's - available to education from around £55.

USB WebCam - The Real Animation Company
Suitable for Mac and PC computers this USB camera is available from Amazon for just £25.00. With a Retro design, the webcam has a lens hood that prevents access light from entering the lens which can prevent unwanted flickering in your animations. The webcam also has an attached stand which can be adjusted to alter the cameras position. Be- cause of this it doesn’t fall over easily and its position can be altered by raising the stand underneath the camera. This makes it suitable for students of all ages and ability.
As with the other two cameras its USB connection allows you to just plug in and get started.
This is the cheapest of the three cameras I have used and many teachers are more than happy with the results it delivers.

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