29 August 2020

We are still in a situation where working from home is the normal situation.
And while maybe you already got enough webcams to solve your conferencing problems, here are two new ideas.

1. HDMI Capture Cards

A HDMI capture card was always something I dreamed of but 120 € was too much to just play around with it.

Now, the price has changed.

There are currently some new chinese, no-name capture cards on the market for as low as 15 €!

Are they worth it?

Yes! They are able to capture HDMI at 1920x1080 with 30fps and only a short delay. If you lower the resolution, you even get 60fps.
And what's best about them, you plug them in as USB device and they pretend to be a webcam.
No additional drivers needed.

Just search on amazon for "HDMI capture card" and you'll find them.
There are even once with a HDMI output to connect an additional monitor.

What does this have to do with a Webcam?

Glad you ask ;-)

With a HDMI Capture Card, you can...

  • ... use any DSLR with HDMI out as Webcam. And since the Canon driver is only available for Windows, you can even use Canon cameras with your Mac
  • ... use a second PC to do the heavy OBS lifting and feed the output as Webcam to the PC on which you do your video conferencing.
  • ... use a tablet like the iPad with HDMI out as white board for your sessions.

Isn't that cool?

2. Use your Pi-Zero as real Webcam

In my last blog posts, I tried to set up a pizero based webcam, but it needed to many additional drivers and the performance varied over the network.
I didn't think of the feature that the pizero (and only the pizero, no other model yet) can act as an usb device itself.
But now I found a great blog post which desccribes exactly this: turn the pizero in a usb webcam.
Since modern operating systems already include drivers for webcams, no additional drivers are needed.

The results as presented in the video from the blog author look very promising:

Now, this will allow me to create an IR-Webcam with th PiNoIR camera - that'll be fun!

PS: thanx to Johannes Dienst for fixing my typos :-)