This guide is a little different, each week we do a live video show called “ASK AN ENGINEER” a few hundred to a few thousand folks show up, tune in to the latest news in electronics, open source hardware, projects from Adafruit and have their engineering questions answered live. We’re asked what camera we use, software, computer, etc – so this is guide just for that. We’re hoping this is useful to someone who wants to make their own weekly LIVE electronics show 🙂
You can see more of the Adafruit gift guides here.
Computer – We like to use a pretty fast MacBook pro. We’ve tried to use other systems but a beefy Mac seems to be able to encode and use various types of assets the best. We’re using a 2.66 GHz Intel Core i7 with 8 GB of RAM. Camera support is the only thing that can be a little tricky, but we’ve found that most PC cameras work and our USB microscope works great once we installed the drivers. We like portable systems because we need to move the computer all around our shop and once and awhile we broadcast from events.
Camera – We use the Microsoft LifeCam Cinema. It can do up to 720p HD, has auto-focus, mic built in and works fine with our Mac. We have two, one for people and one we put inside the pick and place when we do live assembly video broadcasts during the week.
USB Microscope – In addition to a camera for the main action we like to use a USB Microscope camera for closeups. We currently use the 413 Dino-Lite. It has a high resolution of 1,3 megapixel and an adjustable magnification of appr. 10 to 70 times as well as 200x. This model also provides the possibility to calibrate the microscope for measurements. Most used model in the industrial field – you’ll need to install their drivers for it to work with a Mac.
Camera tripod – Any will do, we like ones that are very adjustable since we’re usually putting the camera in odd places like on top of laser cutters, in between reels in the pick and place and more.
Broadcasting software – We tried them all but we currently like Ustream Producer Pro the best. You can start out with the free version and see if it fits your needs, we wanted lots of control of photos, additional videos, multiple cameras, picture in picture, overlays, HD, auto-broadcast to iPhones/iPads and mobile devices like Android phones.
Faster Internet connection – Until recently we had “regular ole'” Time Warner cable with “speed boost” – each week we struggled with broadcasting “basic quality” – but now we’ve moved up to Time Warner business class with 50 down and 5 up. Now we’re broadcasting in HD each week. If you or someone in your life wants to give a gift of time, get them the fastest connection possible. It’s great for content creators.
Vimeo Plus account – We use the Ustream service to broadcast but the recording feature doesn’t work that well for us – plus we like to add the chat along side the video. Each week we (with our video producer George) record the shows, edit them to include the text chat and upload the video to our Vimeo plus account. You get: Unlimited HD Embedding, Advanced Statistics for Vimeo Plus, 1080p playback and AVCHD support, Mobile conversion and about 5GB of uploads per week. We like Vimeo because the player looks the best, there aren’t any ads in the videos and so far it’s worked out for us. Blip.tv and a pro account with them is also a great choice.
One black house cat – nuff’ said.
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