How to Record Video with your Webcam
With the popularity of videos online, more and more people are making their own videos. Of course you can use a camcorder to make your videos, but that often means you need a fast computer, a USB 2.0 or even FireWire port, and expensive capture software like Pinnacle Studio or Adobe Premiere.
If you are looking for an easier and cheaper solution, you could try using your webcam. Of course that means you are limited to the location of your PC or laptop, but that still offers a lot of possibilities.
What do you need?
For starters you need a webcam. Most new laptops have a build-in webcam, and for those that do not, as well as for desktop PCs, there is a wide variety of webcams available. Both Microsoft (LifeCam) and Logitech (QuickCam) offer good webcam models. External webcams use a USB connection, which makes them compatible with any PC. Do check the USB version to ensure compatibility with your computer.
The second thing you need is video capture software. There are a lot of commercial products available, but if you want to experiment, you can try a free one. Download Debut Video Capture software and install it.
Now you are all set to start recording you own video.
The Webcam Recording Steps
Once installed, you start of by double-clicking the Debut Video Capture Software icon on your desktop. The program presents you with a simple user-friendly user interface.
The first thing you want to do is to select the video capture device. In the Options menu, select Record. You will see the Options dialog box of the program, with the Record tab selected.
Make sure the Video Device radio button is selected, and then select your webcam in the dropdown box to the right of it. You can then use the Device Settings button to change the settings for the video capture device. The settings will vary for each webcam, but in general they will allow you to control things like brightness, contrast, flicker reduction, and other image enhancement options.
The options for recording allow you to control the sound recording and to limit the recording time.
The next thing to change is the recording format. By default the program will record to the AVI format, which is fine for most purposes. In the Options menu, select Output to change the recording options. Again we will see the Options dialog box, but now with the Output tab selected.
You can change the Output Format in the dropdown list. Additional output options are available behind the Encoder Options button, but they will vary depending on the selected format. The options for the AVI format are:
Keep in mind that compression, quality and format all have an impact on the size of the recorded file. If you want to upload your video to the internet, you do not want the file to be too large.
The next step is to click the Record button in the main screen and record what you want. Once you are done, click the Stop button to end the video recording. To access the output file, click the Recordings button in the toolbar.
Click the Open Folder button in the toolbar of the Find & Play Recordings window to open the folder with the actual file.
Apart from the video recording, the program also has options to upload the recorded video using FTP or send it by e-mail. This makes it very easy to use for making internet videos.
If you are simply interested in screen recoding, just select Screen instead of Device in the toolbar. The screen capture option makes it popssible for everyone to create instruction videos. So if you want to show someone how to use some piece of software, or how to do a certain taks under Windows, this is the way to do it.
All in all recoding video with your webcam is very straightforward if you use the right tools.
Other Recording Choices
As an alternative you can use software that allows you to capture the output of a specified window. Using this kind of software allows you to capture video by selecting the video window of the webcam. There is a variety of software available for this, but most are commercial or shareware.
The other free option is to use Windows Movie Maker, but the video capture option is discontinued in version 6 onwards. So if you are using an older version of Windows Movie Maker, you can also use that to create a video with your webcam.
EatCam is another nice application to capture video from your webcam. It actually allows you to record your webcam sessions with popular instant messaging programs like MSN, Yahoo Messenger, Skype, ICQ and AIM. Try it out by downloading EatCam.