The personal website of Chris Coyier

The Fancy DSLR Webcam Thing

I got me a setup!

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Be tryin to look and sound good while on video

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Inspiration

I was on a Zoom call with Dan Mall a little while back. The first thing you’ll notice while being on a Zoom call with Dan Mall is how extremely organized and professional Dan is. He can really wrassle a meeting to get things done and keep everyone on track. The second thing you’ll notice is how damn good he looks on camera. I mean, Dan is an attractive guy, but I mean just literally the sharp video quality. I asked Dan about it, and of course, he’s got a whole fancy blog post about it.

We’re used to seeing people on webcam meetings like this with built-in laptop cameras like this:

But Dan’s setup has him looking like this:

My incentive to get this done was twofold:

The Equipment

Here’s the list before we dig into it any deeper:

Recording

With all that stuff plugged in, I can test it out by opening Quicktime Player > New Movie Recording and selecting the right inputs.

Here’s a YouTube video I did with this setup:

I’m using ScreenFlow there, which records my screen, video, and audio all at once so I have zero syncing-up work to do.

The whole “Clean HDMI” thing

If you happen to have a camera that can output a video signal, and you manage to get it working as a webcam, that doesn’t 100% mean you’re in the clear. The problem with a lot of cameras is that they don’t output what the people call “Clean HDMI”.

Dirty HDMI is when the video output has things from the camera’s UI on it. I was so worried when I thought my camera has this problem:

And annoyed as well, because Elgato specifically lists the Canon T7i as verifiably having clean HDMI output. That’s why I bought it! Thanks for that handy page, Elgato. I had a Canon T3i before (which doesn’t have the right kind of output, but I otherwise liked it). I specifically upgraded bodies because I already have some Canon lenses and this new body has the video features I wanted.

Turns out the T7i actually does have clean HDMI output. You just have to tap the “info” button a few times, which thank god someone told me on Twitter as I would have never discovered it on my own.

Other People’s Journeys

Alternative Equipment