I purchased the Aukey FHD Webcam based on a recommendation by someone on an online streaming teacher's group; and after reading reviews, it looked promising. I got mine at a steal of a price ($30) and super quick delivery and I was so excited to try it. As of this writing it is shipping overnight to my area for even cheaper, only $24. However, I do not recommend this camera.
I got it set up easily--plug n' play as expected--and while the wide angle was excellent and not too fish-eye, the colors were a little off (orangey) and the whites blew out. When I say blew out, I mean just the light from my monitor was making me a complete ghost. I had to turn off all the lights in the room sit 4 feet back from my computer to stop it from making me look like a glowing, featureless figure. Any natural light in the room made it even more terrible. Worse yet, I was getting wavy lines on my video, we believe because the framerate is matching the same as my LED smart bulbs. That I could tweak, with different lighting, but the color being off and the whites blowing way out in even low lighting, I decided to exchange it in hopes it was just a defective model.
No such luck. I got the replacement in two days (thanks Amazon!), but this one was ALSO blowing out the whites, the color was off in a different direction (a distinct green cast), and the issue with the wavy lines was worse. Rather than keep taking my chances, I am just returning the second one also. If you need to do video in the dark, and don't care about colors being off (and use different light bulbs, I guess!), I guess this would work okay. Here's a screencap of me with the orange-tinted camera. I have my lights set to as low as they could go and am sitting back from my computer screen, but you can see the orange (for sure), as well as how bright the left side of my face toward my monitors is. Any more light than this and I was washing out. I mean, I KNOW I am a super pale white chick, but still!
Based on the near-identical form factor to the C920's, these may very well be chips and lenses that just didn't pass Q&A with Logitech, being resold as a random Chinese brand. Some people are getting lucky, and the ways they are defective don't effect the video quality enough to be an issue. In my case, both ones I tried were complete deal breakers. Luckily the return policy is excellent, so I guess it won't hurt for you to try, and you might get lucky as some reviewers on Amazon seem to have been. But burned twice was enough for me. A definite DO NOT BUY for me.
No matter what platform you are teaching on, you most likely have run into issues at one time or another with trying to find the right lighting for teaching dance, yoga, or other movement online. Any number of these common complaints sound familiar?
The joke among my students and me is "New Week; New Tweak!" It's like a game of spot the differences from a newspaper or magazine, now coming to you LIVE in your living room. LOL If it's not some new piece of tech--like a new camera, upgrading the WiFi, or an improved lavalier mic--it's a new way we're setting up the space to make it easier for students to see us on whatever device which they are trying to study with us.
In this slideshow, look at the evolution of backdrops in our teaching. From a bland beige we blend in with too easily, to vibrant colors, and even a move to a new studio space. You can see how the different colors and textures of a background, in combination with what we choose to wear each week, can make a big difference.
What tweaks have YOU introduced to your online classroom since you began? I'd love to hear other ideas and inspirations!
Everywhere you look right now there is some dance teacher experiencing an issue or complaint with Zoom and their audio. If I had a dime for every time I ran across a post about these frustrations, our studio would be set up for the rest of the pandemic, let me tell you! If you are one of these teachers, I thought I'd break it down into some simple concepts so you can at least understand the issue, and maybe you can start to find the solution that is right for you. In a future blog post, we can look at answers (or perhaps you will be empowered to employ better Google-fu than you felt able to before!) Here we go...
In short: Zoom doesn't like processing sound from multiple sources. In fact, it is specifically designed NOT to. It was optimized for office environments, where it wants to prioritize sound from a single source at a time, and actively suppress or de-prioritize sound from any other source. Think of all those clickety-clackety keyboards, or conference rooms with squeaky chairs. Zoom was offering a solution to certain problems. Unfortunately, they created problems for us dancers when we tried to use it for our unique use-case.
Shay is the owner, director, and headmistress of Deep Roots Dance, Studio Deep Roots, and Deep Roots Live! Sharing the exciting and surreal journey into teaching online during the time of COVID-19, and the joys of staying connected to community when it seems the world is literally trying to keep us apart.