Turn any Camera into a Webcam on the Cheap! USB HDMI Video Capture Cards Review

hey everybody it’s lon seidman and you are likely doing a lot of work from home these days and often need a webcam to do it and if you’re trying to figure out some ways to make yourself look better with a higher quality camera you might have noticed that it’s hard to get a hold of a good webcam these days but you might have a bunch of cameras sitting around that could actually work as webcams and there’s a great way now to hook them up to your computer very inexpensively there’s a whole bunch of these super cheap capture cards that have shown up on amazon over the last couple of months and what we’re going to be doing in this video is taking a look at three random ones that i purchased here and see how they perform bringing in some of these traditional cameras into our laptop here as a webcam and this might be a good alternative especially if you have things like a gopro hanging around or even an old camcorder or something you might be able to repurpose those older cameras as a pretty decent webcam device and we’re going to show you how to do that in this video now i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that i got all three of these capture boards from amazon through their vine program free of charge however all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor is anyone reviewing or approving what you’re about to see before it was uploaded all right so let’s take these things out of the box and as i do so just remember you always get what you pay for there are much better capture devices out there that cost more that have support and companies that stand behind them for some reason a bunch of these just got dumped on the market and my guess is that there’s a factory in china somewhere that got a good deal on some chips and is just cranking them out so although these are coming in different packages with different pieces of documentation there might be some subtle differences between them but for the most part these things are pretty much the same and should function about the same because i believe the inside of them is pretty much identical from one device to the other there are some differences here as to what these are looking like here they take them out of the box but again they’re all coming with the same specifications and i think should perform pretty much the same now the devices here will capture 1080p up to frames per second but you can hook up a 4k camera it’s just going to down convert the video to 1080 and i believe it also

supports lower resolutions as well and a little later in the video we’ll experiment with some lower resolutions and see if we can get a 720p 60 signal to work on these eposvox is a great streaming tutorial channel i did a profile of these for people doing production and game streaming and he did find that there was a lot of flexibility in what you can do with these devices but today we’re going to be mostly focused on webcam use and we’ll do a little bit of capture uh in this video as well when we get uh towards the end so let me get started here we’ll just pick the first one here plug it in and i’m plugging it into my gaming laptop here which is running zoom and this would be the same if you were plugging it into a desktop computer or another laptop we’re running windows right now but we’ll check out chrome os in a little bit and what’s happening right now as we plug this thing in is that the system is recognizing it it says setting up a device and it looks like it was able to get it going and what i’m going to do now is connect up this camera this is a nikon dslr this is an older one called the d600 but it actually outputs a really nice hdmi signal now if you have one of these cameras your mileage will vary because every one of these cameras does something a little different when it comes to its hdmi video output some will have hdmi out but they won’t give you a full frame others will give you some image but it’ll have stuff on the screen so what you want to look for is a camera that can do a clean hdmi output and it’s hard to find the specifications on that for most cameras so you may have to ask around or poke around in the settings what i found is that the mid-range of the nikons and canons tend to do that because a lot of video creators are using these as studio cameras the canon camcorders even the really low-cost

ones all support clean output through their hdmi in fact most camcorders do so we’re going to switch over to zoom and what i’m going to do here is go into my settings and go to video now what it’s going to default to more than likely will be the camera that you have on your laptop and i have an option now for usb video here so let’s select that and let’s see what we get look at that we’ve got the nikon camera here on screen and look at that we can get a nice bokeh i’ve got a 50 millimeter lens on it so let me zoom in on my messy desk here and you can get a feel for what that looks like and if you’re curious what one of these nicer slrs would look like on your webcam here you go this is coming in from my nikon camera through one of these low-cost adapters into my production software it looks pretty nice the focus might be a little soft just because these slrs are really difficult to get right on the focus but if you do have everything set up and you put your chair in the right spot it should look really really nice and this is what people on zoom would see if you were plugged in with one of these cameras now the good news is all three of these devices functioned identically when we plugged them into the computer here and attached up cameras and as expected when i looked at the hardware id of each they’re all the same so inside they have the exact same guts now i was curious if we could connect more than one and use them independently and so what i’ve got now is one plugged into the back of my computer and another one here plugged in on the side i’ve got my camcorder hooked up and right now we’re looking at my nikon slr in zoom and if i go to my camera list here and select the canon camcorder you can see there it goes that that one is working independently and they’re both accessible to me here so if you have a conferencing software that allows for multiple cameras and the

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ability to switch between them this should work here with multiple devices just be warned though that sometimes your laptop or your desktop computer might put the usb ports on the same hub or the same connection and sometimes that might lead to trouble so on this laptop when i plugged in the adapter to one of the usb ports the color was a little off and when i moved it to a different port it worked fine so this is another area where your mileage may vary a bit but the good news here is that it looks as though you can use multiple adapters with a single computer and have more than one camera attached simultaneously now one cool thing about using an external camera like this with your computer through one of these adapters is that it doesn’t just transmit video it can do audio as well and if you plug in a nice external microphone to your camcorder you can feed both video and audio into the adapter here and get a much better experience so right now we’re back on our zoom settings and depending on the software you’re using you’ll have to go in and find the microphone section on there but as you can see here the digital audio interface the usb digital adapter that we have installed is showing up as a microphone and if i just go here and test the mic i can maybe tap on it a little bit here and talk a little bit i’ll stop recording and tap on it a little bit here and talk a little bit and you can hear that it’s picking up that microphone and playing it back for me so i could use this camera as my mic or have a microphone connected to this camera be the mic and you’ll get better audio in addition to better video and it’s often best to use a microphone attached to your camera because that will keep the lip sync working properly depending on your computer if you’re bringing your mic in through a usb microphone and having video come over the camera sometimes the audio and video may get a little out of sync but if your audio is coming over with the video through the single cable to the

adapter you’ll have a much better presentation now you’re not just limited to cameras you can hook up other hdmi devices as well so i’ve got my ipad connected up right now and as you can see it is being brought into zoom and the latency is very minimal on this too i was very pleased with that so if you wanted to have yourself on one camera with an adapter you can plug in a second adapter and connect your ipad for example and bring both of those into your zoom conference one thing you’ll notice here is that the image is reversed you can change this in the settings what it does is it gives you a mirror image for your own video so if i was on a call somebody would see the image in the proper orientation here zoom also has some options to do two cameras at the same time so if you go to the share video option and go over to advanced you’ll see there’s an option to add in content from a second camera and there are ways you could actually have both your ipad and yourself up at the same time so pretty much most hdmi sources should work with this the one exception would be maybe a blu-ray player which has copy protection on board the movie studios don’t want you broadcasting their movies out to the world so that might be one thing that doesn’t work but it looks like an ipad and other devices here should work without too much trouble on the ipad you will just need to get an adapter to get an hdmi output so i have a newer ipad pro that uses a usbc adapter but other ipads will use the lightning to hdmi adapter to get the output there and it’s possible to also hook up computers and raspberry pi’s and other things that output hdmi through one of these adapters all right so let’s try out the mac now we’ve got my little 12 inch macbook which unfortunately is no longer being manufactured now you’ll note here that this is a larger

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usb a connector but the macbook has a single usb type-c port the good news is that with an adapter all of these older usb style devices will work with the newer usbc format one of these actually came with an adapter but you can find these very easily any usbc hub should also be able to work as well and we’re just going to pop it in here to the side we’ve got the canon camcorder here already attached i’m just going to load up quicktime and this will find a webcam just like it would in other applications as well so we’ll just go to new movie recording here and as you can see it already came up how about that so it is working just fine here on the mac let’s try out the chromebook now and see if we have any results with that all right so we’ve got the chromebook out now on the desk this is the pixel book go that in full disclosure was sent to us by google last year for a review a nice little chromebook here and what i’ve got just like the mac is that adapter in place here to get the capture card connected because this only has usb type-c ports and right now we’re in google meet i have my video option set up here as you can see it’s grabbing video from the webcam but it looks as though usb is also an option here and if i just move this thing out of the way here you can see that this is working with google meet as well so it looks like this is working not only on windows but on the mac and on

chromebooks and it should work also with other devices that support webcams because the standard that these capture devices are using is basically the webcam standard so if something works with a webcam it should work here and it’s encouraging to see that it’s working on at least three different platforms and i know it also works on linux as well for supported applications so now we’re going to take a look at some more technical items because i know a lot of you will have some techie questions that you’ll want answered in this video and what i’m doing right now is running my analog mega sg at 720p at 60 frames per second into vmix and it seems to be working just fine at that frame rate it looks like we’re getting the 60p here so i think you should be able to run it at 60 at lower resolutions remember at 1080p the max it will do is 30 frames per second if i pull up the chart here to look at performance it looks as though we’re getting a couple of re-synced frames here as we go along along with a few drop frames this is something that eposvox noticed in his video as well it’s not going to be something that will be all that noticeable on a stream perhaps but this is something that i often see on these lower cost devices so when you drop a frame it means it wasn’t able to keep up and then when it resyncs it’s often going a little faster than the frame rate that vmix here is requiring so these are not perfect devices they are not for professional use but if you’re in a pinch and you need to bring something in they do seem to work pretty well at that and they will drop a few frames here or there but if you’re just doing it on a live stream not that many folks are really going to notice that and it looks as though i’m getting a nice smooth 60 frames per second here through vmix at 720p and we also plug them into obs and i’ve got the game console here running along with the canon video camera all seems to be working pretty well and you can move things around and do all the usual things you do with obs2 now one of the reasons why i like using these analog consoles is that it’s very easy to switch around video modes as you can see here we’re at 720p60 i can switch it back to 1080p 60.

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this of course will not give you 1080p 60 out the hdmi though you’re only going to get 30 frames per second so things won’t look as smooth it’s going to have to drop frames to meet that frame rate but it also seems to work at 480p if i switch down to that mode boom it just comes right back up again so it looks like it’s got some degree of scaling built in as well and again if you are at these lower resolutions you should get the 60 frames per second output again 1080p though is limited to 30. so that’s going to do it for this look at these low-cost hdmi adapters again the packaging is different the look of the devices is different but the guts inside are the same it looks like on most of these and i was really impressed as many other reviewers have been as to how good these are for the price it’s almost too good to be true based on what i’ve paid for these kinds of devices in the past one thing to note though is that this is not for professional broadcasters given that we’re going to see some frame drops and resyncs and that sort of thing but for streamers and for people doing zoom meetings and whatnot not bad at all again the max output on these is 1080p at 30 frames per second so if you are capturing game footage you’ll probably want something that can do 60 frames per second at 1080p but these might be great for a secondary camera like the one that’s on you as you’re talking over your game stream and they’re also good for more than just cameras because as you saw you can connect ipads and other hdmi devices up to them just buy at your own risk just because all of these sellers might be gone tomorrow so maybe buy two or three of them from different sellers just to be safe but overall i think i am comfortable actually surprisingly uh recommending these as a low-cost super budget video capture solution that’s going to do it for now until next time this is lon seidman thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the london tv supporters including gold level supporters tom albrecht chris allegretta david hochman brian parker mike patterson and bill pomerantz if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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