Who doesn’t want to be the star of their own show? If you have ever looked at any of the high-quality Twitch and YouTube shows and streams available these days, you know that there is a lot of fun things to watch. We try to feature some of them here on GiN, like the excellent Trekker’s Delight shows.
But if watching some of that content has ever stirred up a desire to start your own show or stream, you might be wondering what such an effort would take. Well, I can tell you that it’s a lot of work, and it may take a long time to gain loyal followers. But before you even get to that point, you have to actually have the right equipment so that you can put on a quality show in the first place. After that, it’s up to you to actually make some good content. But first, you need good gear.
Everyone these days probably has access to a webcam. They come standard with just about every computing device from laptops to tablets to smartphones. For the most part, those cameras are fine for chatting with friends and family or filming snippets of your vacation. But most of them are not high quality enough to drive a professional show. They will still work in that role, but there is a lot of competition out there, and if your feed seems fuzzy, out of focus or has bad lighting, it may cause some potential viewers to discount your efforts without really giving you a chance.
The solution is to get yourself a dedicated, external webcam. That is a lot easier to do these days as there are a lot of camera models available. Trust me, it was a lot more complex at one time. I even co-wrote a book about how to pick out a good webcam. I wouldn’t buy that book today as the information in it is now well out of date, and webcams are a lot easier to operate. But it was a good (and popular) guide at the time. These days, you basically just need to find a camera that balances high quality, price and ease-of-use.
The Toucan W100 is perfect for those just getting into the world of video streaming. It’s actually an entry-level camera with a suggested price of $79.99. But you would hardly know that it’s an entry-level unit because it performs as well or better than many higher-costing cameras. In fact, it’s one of the only entry-level webcams that is able to support streaming at 1080p in full high definition at 60 frames per second. That will give you film-quality recording for any project. And if you don’t need quite so much detail, you can scale that back (which also reduces bandwidth and file sizes) until you find the balance that works best for your project.
Setting up the W100 is extremely easy. All you need to do is plug it into a USB port using the included (or any other) USB-C cable. There is no software to install or manage. Of course, if you have dedicated camera or editing software, the Toucan will work just fine with that, but you could also just use whatever on-board camera controls come with your device natively, or the recording software you are using. The only tech-like thing you may have to do is to select the W100 as your camera input instead of whatever default device is already present.
Physically setting up the W100 is also very easy. It comes with a unique base that opens up like a giant hair or snack bag clip. That lets it sit evenly on a flat surface, or it can be configured to clip onto the top of a monitor. I actually used a hardback book at one point as a little makeshift stand for the W100 to clip onto, and that went surprisingly well.
And if you are going to be hosting a regular show then you will probably want to invest in good lighting, but the W100 does an excellent job of enhancing lower-light situations. You can probably get by with using the W100 without a professional lighting setup, or you can at least forgo that part of your studio gear until you are ready.
The camera has auto focusing, but you will need to physically move it to point at whatever you want to record as those controls are all manual. A little LED changes color when the camera is recording, but you can also point the W100 straight down for privacy when it’s not in use.
In addition to high-quality video, the W100 has a good omni-directional microphone. That pairs well with the camera’s 89-degree viewing angle, because you can have multiple people sitting in front of the camera and viewers will be able to both see and hear them.
Putting together a popular streaming show on Twitch, YouTube or any of the other upcoming new channel options is still going to be a lot of hard work. However, the Toucan W100 can at least provide an easy and affordable way to get started with everything you will need. Just add in some cool video games, a theme for your new show, and heaps of your own amazing personality and talent. The Toucan W100 can provide you with a good start on that road to stardom.