As the first step, you’ll need to make sense of several points that will help you decide what camera characteristics you’re looking for. Looking for a way to stream?
Questions before choosing a camera
Will you be using the camera indoors or out? Cameras can be divided into two basic categories – interior and exterior. If your camera will be placed outdoors, it will need to be resistant to unfavorable weather, dust build-up, etc. These cameras are naturally more expensive than those designed for indoor use. If you’re worried that someone might damage or even steal your camera, you can select an additional vandal-resistant casing. However, cameras with this kind of protection aren’t usually necessary and are mostly used for sports events where the camera may be hit by a ball or other object.
Fixed or PTZ?
A fixed camera consistently depicts the same scene, while PTZ (pan, tilt and zoom) cameras can cover up to 360 degrees, giving you a much more dynamic and attractive stream. PTZ cameras are mainly used for streaming landscapes, cultural events, exhibitions, and other similar situations. With PTZ cameras, you can set up the path of the shot, how long the camera should stop on selected points, how it will zoom, and so on.
Audio from the camera’s surroundings
Whether it’s the waves splashing in the sea, the call of an eagle, or chanting sports fans – audio from the camera’s surroundings gives your stream authenticity. Audio – in other terms a microphone input directly on the camera – camera with external mic is not standard and not every camera comes equipped with it.
What resolution do you want to stream in?
When choosing a camera, resolution is an important parameter. Cameras with FullHD resolution (1080p) are common today, but cameras with lower HD resolution (720p) are also widespread. Current trends are leading toward higher and higher resolutions, and cameras are now available with 4K resolution, allowing you to crop various footage from one camera shot.
Think about the future – if you choose a camera with a higher resolution but don’t choose to make use of it right away, you’re not losing anything. You can use it to stream at a lower resolution and, if conditions change (e.g. your internet line speeds up), you can set the camera to a higher resolution.
When deciding on what resolution to stream in, various factors come into play – the dimensions of your internet line, the image quality you want to achieve, and whether you’re broadcasting more or less fixed or quickly changing action.
What field of view do you need?
In the majority of cases, it’s enough to use a normal lens with a fixed focal length and thus a fixed angle of view. But, if you want to stream a shot that is, for example, in the distance or is in some way non-standard, a camera with an interchangeable lens may come in handy and will allow you to connect a telephoto or other lens.
What light conditions will you be streaming in?
Most cameras can “see” well even in dim light, but if you want your camera to produce a good image in complete darkness, you’ll need a camera with a night mode that uses infrared light. This, of course, costs extra. In order to improve image quality in dark settings, other functions such as WDR (Wide Dynamic Range) can be used to modify the contrast of dark camera shots.