Video Cameras for Conferencing

Typical good conferencing cameras have a single 1/4" CCD cameras with 380,000 effective pixels (768Hx494V), a horizontal resolution of 450 lines and a vertical resolution of 350 TV lines. Typical SNR is 46 dB. Modern professional TV cameras (such as the VHS and 8 mm tapes deliver about 200 lines of horizontal resolution, S/VHS and Hi8 have a resolution of 400-420 lines, while DV can record about 500 lines.

Modern digital video (DV) cameras use IEEE 1394 (FireWire) to transmit compressed video.

Firewire cameras produce 640x480 pixels:

Some digital still cameras can also be used as video cameras, for example, the Mustek VDC 300 (review). Image Acquire compares a number of cameras.

The Gigascale Silicon Research Center provides an overview of video use, including capture of PowerPoint slides.


USB takes much less CPU than parallel port cameras and produces much better quality. The best quality and performance is achieved with a real grabber card. Peter Parnes experience is that that the CPU load can vary a lot with different USB-WDM drivers (for Win98, he recommends service pack 1, DirectX6.1 and DirectMedia6.0 as they all seem to affect USB grabbing).

Cameras with Network (Ethernet) Interfaces

These are often used for web cams, so many currently only support retrieval by HTTP.

Motorized pan and tilt

The MASH toolkit has client/server controls for the Sony EVID30/EVID31 and Canon VCC1/VCC3 (and some other RS232-connected devices). The current camera-client user interface handles tilt, pan, zoom, and shared presets. (Todd Hodes). Another, stand-alone, camera control application is available from LBL.

Last updated by Henning Schulzrinne