THE TRUTH About 4K Webcams for Virtual Meetings

Casey Neistat tweeted out about the Opal C1 webcam. The first professional webcam that has better 4K video quality than a DSLR camera. Casey asked in his tweet, “Why hasn’t anyone done this yet? As I replied in my own tweet, most virtual meeting software uses only 720p video. The truth about 4K webcams for everyone else is that they add nothing to virtual meetings.

Opal C1 Webcam

That Casey Neistat fell head over heels for the Opal C1 4K webcam shouldn’t surprise anyone. He reinvented vlogging in 2015 by using a $1,000 US DSLR camera for video recording. A whole generation of wannabe vloggers got $1,000 US DSLR cameras. Never mind that he had years of filmmaking experience to make the best use of a DSLR camera.

I talked about that in my previous video, “Is Wreck-It Ralph The Next Casey Neistat?

I doubt that the former YouTuber will inspire a new wannabe generation to get 4K webcams. The Opal C1 webcam has three features that might turn off everyone else from getting one. It cost $300 US, works only on the Mac, and has a $4 US per month subscription fee. The killer feature it does have is a magnetic lens cap.

Movo WebMic HD 4K Pro Webcam

A friend recently got the Movo WebMic HD 4K Pro webcam with all the bells and whistles he doesn’t need. One of the big complaints about this webcam was the poor visual quality in virtual meetings. He asked my advice on how to use the video with Zoom and Microsoft Teams. I told him he was out of luck.

Virtual meeting software uses 720p video for HD visual quality and low bandwidth.

  • The free version of Zoom uses only 720p video.
  • The paid business and enterprise plans of Zoom can use 1080p video.
  • Microsoft Teams can use 720p or 1080p video.

Using 1080p video for either application requires ideal network conditions. No third-party webcam software can upgrade Zoom or Teams to 4K video.

The $60 US Logitech C920 1080p webcam is still popular for virtual meetings. Although the newer model of this webcam is the C930e for $90 US.

Microsoft Teams IRL Example

I work in government IT and use Microsoft Teams for virtual meetings with 50 to 300 attendees. No one uses video because audio is reliable and uses less bandwidth. If everyone got on video, the call would grind to a halt and Teams would crash to the desktop.

Besides, most of my coworkers and I have black tape covering the laptop webcam.

Should You Get A 4K Webcam?

You can spend two to five times for a 4K webcam that will make you look good on your end of the virtual meeting. Paying extra for a 4K webcam won’t change how other people see you in virtual meetings.

If you’re a content creator or streamer who uploads 4K videos, an “inexpensive” 4K webcam might make sense.

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