Home video conference equipment, great options for every budget

I’ve been telecommuting for over five years. Every day I video conference with teammates at Nexcess, and occasionally I produce instructional videos for WordPressers on YouTube. It’s important that I have home video conference equipment that produces a crystal clear image. It’s also important that the equipment can be used while sitting at my computer and while sitting in a conference-style room. I’ve spent a ton of time researching and testing great setups and there are options for every budget level. Hopefully this post inspires you to build a beautiful home conference setup.


Types of home video conference equipment

If you’re like most people, you probably have a camera built into your laptop or a webcam attached to your desktop computer. That’s not the type of conference equipment I’m going to tell you about. Instead, I’m going to help you collect the correct home video conference equipment that will help you reproduce the in-office conference room experience for a fraction of the price.

What components do you need?

A standard webcam is a collection of a few different components crammed into a simple-looking device. Each of these individual components are needed to create a high quality setup, and each of these devices can be upgraded or downgraded depending on needs and budget. I’ll give you options for economy, standard, and premium budgets. Before you see my recommendations, let me tell you about the different components of the system.

Photo device with lens

A photo device with a lens is the first thing you’ll need. This device can be a camera, camcorder, or GoPro. While these devices vary in terms of megapixels, quality, etc., the quality of lens is what will determine how crisp the image is. If you’re looking for that beautiful blurred background effect, go with a DSLR. If you’re trying to get a full-room shot, go with a DSLR (with zoom lens) or a GoPro. Here are the must-haves for the photo component of your home video conference equipment:

  • Camera should be able to output video at full resolution in ‘standby’ mode.
  • Camera should provide a ‘clean output’ (no text or watermarking) when in ‘standby’ mode.
  • Camera must be able to output video to HDMI, mini-HDMI, or micro-HDMI.

Don’t forget the power

Most cameras are designed to record subjects while on the go, that’s why most cameras come with a battery or two. Because you’ll be using your camera for an extended period of time while video conferencing, you’ll need an external power source to be connected at all times. A dummy battery connects to your camera (so your camera thinks a battery is attached) and to an external power source to provide an ongoing source of power. This is an essential component for your home video conference equipment to make sure your camera never turns off in the middle of a call.

Signal converter

The signal coming from your camera is a digital video signal. There’s only one problem: most computers can only transmit video signals, they can’t receive them. A signal converter is a device that’s capable of converting a digital video signal into a signal that a computer can understand. These devices are essential for creating a home conferencing setup.

What home video conference equipment do I need?

Below are economy, standard, and premium choices for home video conference equipment. In each case, you can mix and match components of the same type (i.e. camera, signal converter, etc).

Premium Home Video Conference Equipment

Camera

Sony a7 III (ILCE7M3K/B) Full-frame Mirrorless Interchangeable-Lens Camera with 28-70mm Lens with 3-Inch LCD, Black

Converter

Elgato Game Capture HD60 S+ 1080p60 HDR10 Capture with 4K60 HDR10 Zero-lag passthrough, Ultra-Low Latency Technology…

Cables

Micro HDMI to HDMI Adapter Cable, Wenter Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable 3 Feet (Male to Male) for gopro Hero and Other Action Camera/Cam with 4K/3D Supported

Dummy Battery

Gonine NP-FZ100 AC Power Adapter Kit for Sony BC-QZ1 Battery Charger and Alpha A7 III, A7R III, A9, A9R, A9S, A6600 Cameras.

Optional Speaker

Anker PowerConf Bluetooth Speakerphone with 6 Microphones, Enhanced Voice Pickup, 24H Call Time, Bluetooth 5, USB C, Bluetooth Conference Speaker Compatible with Leading Platforms, For Home Office

Lighting

Elgato – Key Light Air LED Panel

Stabilization

MeFOTO BackPacker Classic

Standard Home Video Conference Equipment

Camera

Sony Alpha a6000 Mirrorless Digital Camera with 16-50 mm Lens 24.3MP (Silver)

Converter

Elgato Cam Link 4K — Broadcast Live, Record via DSLR, Camcorder, or Action Cam, 1080p60 or 4K at 30 Fps, Compact HDMI Capture Device, USB 3.0

Cables

Micro HDMI to HDMI Adapter Cable, Wenter Micro HDMI to HDMI Cable 3 Feet (Male to Male) for gopro Hero and Other Action Camera/Cam with 4K/3D Supported

Dummy Battery

F1T-Power ACPW20 AC Power Supply Adapter + Dummy Battery Charger kit Replce NP-FW50 Battery for Sony A7000 A6500 A6400 A6300 A6100 A6000 A5100 A5000 A7 A7II A7RII A7SII A7S A7R A35 A37 A55 RX10 Camera

Optional Speaker

Anker PowerConf Bluetooth Speakerphone with 6 Microphones, Enhanced Voice Pickup, 24H Call Time, Bluetooth 5, USB C, Bluetooth Conference Speaker Compatible with Leading Platforms, For Home Office

Lighting

Globe Electric 56963 Metal Clamp – Swing Arm Multi-Joint Desk Lamp, 31.5″, Black

Stabilization

MeFOTO BackPacker Classic

Economy Home Video Conference Equipment

Camera

GoPro Hero7 Black — Waterproof Action Camera with Touch Screen 4K Ultra HD Video 12MP Photos 720p Live Streaming Stabilization

Converter

GoPro provides instructions on their website for using your camera as a webcam!

Optional Speaker

Anker PowerConf Bluetooth Speakerphone with 6 Microphones, Enhanced Voice Pickup, 24H Call Time, Bluetooth 5, USB C, Bluetooth Conference Speaker Compatible with Leading Platforms, For Home Office

Lighting

Globe Electric 56963 Metal Clamp – Swing Arm Multi-Joint Desk Lamp, 31.5″, Black

Stabilization

MeFOTO BackPacker Classic

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