The Age of Webcams
People have been using webcams for a long time — remembering the early days of figuring out how to get one to work with your PC or laptop? Webcams started to become more popular and desired by more and more people. And for sure there’s more home office workers and others engaged in online endeavors these days. So it’s expected that the ‘cams should become easier to set up and easier to use. Not to forget that the technology has to keep pace with the times because quality is also expected. But of these three needs — easy set up, easy use and technology — there haven’t been many ‘cams with capabilities falling into all three. Razer’s Kiyo Pro stands out by making you the star of yourself.
Hi-Rez Full On
First it’s worth noting the specs for the camera. A lot of cam’s use a resolution of 720p because it takes less bandwidth and is more able to be stable. But here we’re working with Full HD, which is to say uncompressed 1080p. So you’re getting high detail moving at 60fps (frames per second). All this is being pushed along by built-in encoding that needs to move at a fast pace being spitted out as streaming. Now consider that the camera’s main “target” is a person’s face so having the ability to pull in plenty of detail is good but sensible: HDR (high dynamic range) does more than just increase the color density, so it also aids in the shading of a face which makes it look more realistic onscreen since streaming by its very nature inhibits color vibrancy. There is a price to pay for this though; HDR changes the frame rate to 30fps (not an issue when a single face is what’s being looked at, btw). Add to all that a highly adaptive light sensor that checks the light and works to modify and enhance the quality by sampling the level of brightness or darkness. All covered in gorilla glass for a hard but clear surface.
Lens and Light
Of course all of the above works through the lens the ‘cam contains. The lens is fixed but not so when it comes to the field of view: the wide angle look captures a greater area to start but even more choices are available: wide, medium and narrow FOV views being the mainstay so that those watching see exactly what the one in front of the ‘cam wants to be seen. And while not obvious, the camera’s view is based off of a widescreen 16:9 which of course matches other imaging being seen in streaming situation.
Lighting is also important, although many don’t give it the importance deserves. Few set up professional-type lighting when they’ve set a webcam on top of their monitor or on a table — expecting for some reason that autofocus doesn’t just handle focus but also takes care of the issues that lighting causes. Stuff like shadows and deep crevices under the eyes, etc. But the fact is that it’s the light sensor that is built in the ‘cam that is responsible for taking care of the lighting. And so in this case the adaptive light sensor works on a massive scale to deal with lighting. That’s not to say that trying to set up decent lighting is important — but regardless of whether it’s a well lit area or outside in the sun or shade, the reality is that this ‘cam‘s light sensor really takes care of this.
The Three Needs
Now let’s tackle each of those three needs, with the first being set up. This means both the physical set up as well as how the camera gets operated. The name employs a simple gripping system — jaws that can be set so as to hold onto a rim, such as that of the top of a laptop. But for those not needing to see what is happening or having a need for monitoring, what could be considered a mounting system also doubles as a tripod-mountable for standing the camera on a table, with the ability to angle the lens. For those a bit paranoid, just put the lens cover on to keep out dust as well.
As far as operation goes, software now comes into play, once the camera’s USB 3.0 cable has been plugged into a PC — with the Razer Synapse software giving the process for creating proper and powerful imaging for streaming. Just make sure you’re using Windows 8 or greater.
The Kiyo Pro has a lot going for it — from portability to even lighting to a built in microphone and a stable high resolution video signal with varying choices; besides 1080p also having 24fps, there’s 720p a@60fps/480p@30fps and 360p@30fps. You can consider it an in-place or portable professional studio — since it provides high quality video and a workable lighting solution it in a single self-contained package; one that is easily transportable. The retail shows it to be affordable at $199.99, with more details found at https://www.razer.com/