Looking for the best ways to record lectures for students because you are stranded at home or just looking for ways to record lectures for the Online Course that you are about to teach? well, this article will cover either of your needs. After finding your preferred style of teaching, this article will guide you to use your skills to the fullest without worrying about the technical aspects. The article talks in detail about the comparison between different camera types which are Webcam, PTZ, or a professional camera. We will also guide you about the best cameras in these categories available in 2020 which include Logitech C920 Webcam, KT-HD60T PZT camera, and Sony HDR-CX455 Camcorder.Discussion about the cameras you prefer will then lead you to the software that you will need in order to record your videos and make them professional looking. We have included some of the most simplified software to give you a hassle-free experience but we also include some of the more complex software for those teachers who would want to take complete granular charge of their lectures and tune them as finely as they can.
What is your recording style?
Now, there are two main ways in which a teacher might record a lecture;
- They use a blackboard for writing and capture themselves and the content of the lecture in the same frame.
- They write on their computer screen and capture it which is called screen recording and then display it together with the display of a camera.
If you prefer using a blackboard, we recommend either a PTZ or a Professional camera but if you use your device for writing, a webcam would be a better option.
It needs to be said right at the start that webcams do not provide as good quality of either video or audio as a PTZ or a professional camera. That said, it is not like they do not have their own pros. They are of course much cheaper than an average professional camera and also, if you do not like to move around much and do not focus on the video very much but rather would focus on displaying your screen, using a screen recorder, a webcam might be a good choice.
Webcams come in two types. Those that are built-in to your laptops or systems and those that you have to buy externally. A built-in webcam is a straight no, their lenses are very small and cannot capture enough light-producing bad quality videos. You can get a decent enough external webcam for 30-50 bucks. But still, to get the most out of it, you will have to record in a place where the lightning is quite bright and you do not get many interruptions so you do not have to waste time post-recording for editing those sounds out.
Pros: ultra-portable, cheap, easy to use
Cons: lacks in video quality
We have listed the best external webcams out there as well as the software you will need to record your screen and your video side by side so you do not have to hassle with the editing.
Logitech C920 and C922 HD Pro Webcam:
Logitech C920 is the best webcam that you can find used by professionals for video conferencing and capturing. At the mere price of $80, you can get yourself a webcam capable of capturing Full HD 1080P videos at 30 FPS. And you can get the C922, at $100. Both these webcams capture FHD 1080P at 30 FPS and have dual microphones so that audio is said to be full stereo quality. The only difference is that the C922 captures a bit livelier videos than its predecessor but both contenders are two of the top webcams out there and we recommend either one of them.
Microsoft LifeCam HD-3000:
Starting at $57, it is one of the cheapest and best webcams available and can record at 1080P. It rotates 360 degrees and features Microsoft’s TrueColor system which will dynamically keep you well lit, it makes the total experience a bit more professional.
Now that we have talked about webcams available, it’s time for the software to be used with them;
When using a webcam, you will need a software that can record your screen as well as a webcam at the same time displaying them in your preferred orientation, for example side-by-side, and CloudApp fulfills your requirements. Not only that but it also provides a wide array of tools you can use post-recording such as annotations tool as well as the ability to draw or use emojis. The entry-level plan for this software is free forever but if you want Premium Cloud features such as storage and the ability to send them to people and know in real-time if the links have been opened, you can get that for $9/month.
As the name suggests, Pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera has mechanical parts that allow them to move from left to right, tilt up and down, and zoom in and out of a scene. These cameras are sharper and produce better quality videos then a webcam, but still they are no match for a Professional camera. Still, there are ways that a teacher can benefit from a PTZ camera such as the auto-tracking feature. With this feature, you can set up a camera in your favored place and start teaching using a blackboard, now if you start moving left to right or even come near the camera, its auto-tracking feature will follow you throughout and not let you out of the frame. You can also control it remotely and it has optical zoom instead of digital zoom featured in webcams. If you have to zoom in the blackboard, the optical zoom provides a much clearer and sharper video than an ordinary digital zoom would provide.
Cons: All these adjustability features have glamorized this camera but they come at a price. Because PTZ cameras contain many mechanical parts allowing it to move freely, they are much less durable than a fixed professional camera and hence, have a much shorter life span than them. Latency sensitivity is also an issue which basically means that in some environments, the camera may not be able to properly follow the subject of the video and lag behind, creating a less pleasing video. It might prove to be much more expensive because of the high failure rate.
Nevertheless, we have listed some of the best PTZ cameras if they capture your fancy.
Manufactured by KATOVISION, this camera is specifically designed to keep for teachers. It shoots in FHD 1080P and has two sensors. One is 3.5 Megapixels camera with 20X Optical Zoom and featuring the ability to auto-track the teacher while the other sensor is fixed for giving a panoramic view. Different versions of this camera can be availed in a range of $200-$450.
If you do not wish to find a PTZ camera and then have to find a 3rd party software to operate it, PTZOptics is your best option. They provide PTZ cameras in different configurations, you can get them in either 60 or 70 degrees of field view with 12X, 20X, or even 30X of optical zoom capabilities. They are also equipped with 2D and 3D noise reduction capabilities.
Now, the best thing about this company is that they also provide you with the software needed to operate their cameras either you use them from your smartphone, laptop, or an Apple device. You can also use joysticks to remotely control their cameras thus providing a lot of options for usability.
Professional Cameras for recording lectures:
We will just start by saying that professional cameras produce the best quality in both video and audio, they do cost a lot but if invested in proper ones, they are worth it. You can use two kinds of professional cameras for recording lectures, either a DSLR or a camcorder. If you tend towards DSLR, we would recommend mirrorless cameras but they tend to create some problems in the sound department, also, you have to have quite an extensive knowledge to utilize a DSLR to its fullest, so as to be on the safe side and to help the teachers focus more on their teaching rather than technical aspects of cameras and be hassle-free, we will be talking more comprehensively about camcorders.
Canon VIXIA HF R800:
Canon is a widely popular manufacturer when it comes to cameras and this Canon VIXIA HF R800 Camcorder is one of their best offerings in quality and price. For a mere $400, you can get this camera with a SanDisk 64GB memory card, card reader, a camera case, tripod, and an extra battery for the camera. This is the best deal available if you are looking for a quality camera but do not want to shed thousands of dollars on equipment. This camcorder can record in FHD 1080P at 60 FPS and has 57X advanced zoom. It also features optical image stabilization (0IS), if you ever start recording with the camera in your hand.
Now, this camera without any accessories alone costs $400, but the features justify the price. It not only has all the features listed in the above camcorder but has more to offer such as the ability to connect to WIFI/NFC to give you remote control over the camcorder. Its intelligent Auto Focus AF system always keeps your objects in focus and it features a 5.1 channel built-in zoom microphone providing you superior quality audio.
If you would prefer DSLR for your lectures, you will definitely like the cameras listed below;
Canon EOS 70D:
It is widely known that no camera can capture the quality that a good DSLR can, that much is true but the quality comes at a hefty price. If you are willing to spend around $650, you can get a great quality that this camera provides. It justifies its price tag by the features that it is equipped with Dual Pixel CMOS Auto-Focus. Using this feature, you can mark a subject on the touchscreen of this camera, and then it will automatically track the subject and keep it in focus.
Panasonic Lumix GH5 Mirrorless Camera:
This camera takes you to the realm of the most ultra-quality that you can get but it also comes with quite a big price tag. It is currently available at $1900, of course, it is not for an average teacher but only for those who are willing to spend the bucks for it. Now allow us to justify its price, it is one of the very few cameras capable of shooting in 4K under $3000, that alone gives you an idea about its superior quality. And combining the fact that no mirror is used in this camera, it is quite compact compared to the EOS 70D.
Software for editing video lectures:
Now that you have finalized your professional camera, you are ready to record videos on it and then edit them afterward to your liking. It is important to keep it in mind here that the software listed for webcams is to be used by webcams exclusively for they are optimized for them and similarly, for the PTZ, the listed ones are optimized for it. But the software that we are going to list here can be universally used to edit any kind of videos or lectures that you may record in any kind of camera.
There is some software like DaVinci Resolve, Premiere that are heavily focused on video editing professionals and are quite complex to use, hence to keep the complexity factor to a minimum and keep the process for teachers hassle-free, we will be listing only that software that are easy to use but still pack a lot of tools and features to help you create engaging lectures.
This is the most basic and easy to use software that we are going to list. It is intended for either Android or iOS users. It has a very simple UI and design to keep it all easy for beginners but still hosts a number of powerful tools that allow you to trim videos, add transitions, or even themes to your lectures. The only drawback is that it outputs in 720p in the free version and you will have to pay a little amount to get the pro version.
It supports either Windows, Mac, or even Linux platforms and is also heavily simplified to allow beginners to utilize all of its features with ease. It does not however have color grading features but does support 4K clips which makes it stand out among free software.
VSDC Video Editor:
For $20, you can get a whole suite of tools at your disposable which include transitional effects, mask tools that are used for hiding, blurring specific unwanted items in the video, color correction tools for a more professional look, and advanced codecs for maintaining high quality at minimum file size.
This software is one of the most complex out there but if you are a person who likes to have complete control over their creation, you cannot get any better than this. It includes a plethora of tools and features and is free for the standard version. It also gives you intelligent auto editing that will synchronize the audio and video clips for you.
Now that we have talked about the camera types and software that is required during and after recording lectures, it’s time to decide the best for you. It all comes down to preference mainly. If you are just teaching kids and do not want to spend any more than you really have to or are fond of your chair or even maybe you teach exclusively using your device, a webcam is the best option for you. It saves your bucks and is the simplest method of recording lectures. If sitting is not for you and you like to move around a bit and maybe record lectures in live classrooms with live interaction from your students and want the camera to move with you and focus on you wherever you go, a PTZ camera is the best option for you. Though we might say that this is the least durable option of all if you fancy it, it is the best option for you. We have saved the best for the last, professional cameras. If you are recording lectures for a prestigious college and have to maintain a professional look to your lectures, this is probably the best option for you. You would not get the quality of a professional camera with any other option. It must also be said here that this is the costlier one out of all the options but after all, is said and done, it all comes down to the quality you are looking for and the amount you are willing to part with for it.