The trials and tribulations of turning a real camera into a webcam

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Every time I went to record The Vergecast, I would get a small twitch of displeasure on his face, because he was one of the nice people I had met. The big, camera-obscuring elephant in the room was too big for him to address, and he would see a giant reversed Sony Imaging Edge logo against a not-quite-black square.

After four months of the big W, he asked Alex what his address was.


I can send you an HDMI accessory. He said it with a unique Midwestern clip that said, "I am being very polite and gracious, but you should know I may also commit a murder in the near future."

I think Monoprice knows about the cables, but I have already collected more than they do.

I wanted to convert my expensive Sony A7 III camera into a webcam, so I had to stare at that ugly W. I was feeling frugal, and I had already collected more capture cards and cables than Monoprice knows about, so I was sure I could figure out a way to give my zoom experience a boost with minimal cost. If you are firmly in standard, your colleagues will ask why you are in high definition. I could happily spend weeks or months perfect my look, even though some of my colleagues might prefer to tinker with phone settings.


I don't care about the quality of myWebcam.

It is supposed to be easy. You purchase a mount for your camera. The $60 arm and $20 clamp was recommended by the deputy editor. You download something to your computer. You have magic when you plug your camera into your computer.

The A7 III had other plans for me.

Many people requested software that would allow them to use their expensive cameras as webcams because of the shortage ofWebcams. Camera makers were happy to oblige. Sony was one of the last, but the additional time felt poorly spent. The Mac version is more driver than app. The software on my computer tells me that my camera is a camera, and throws up the W when the video feed isn't ready. Sony's tethering app can do some things, but there is no controlling of settings. Installation and prayers are all there. You install it, restart your computer, and then pray that the camera choices for apps you use include Sony Imaging.

Installation and prayers are all there.

You have to open an app that uses your camera, and then turn on the camera, and then wait for the Sony Edge Webcam to start running, before you can see your video on the screen. If you turn on the camera before you open it, you may get an error message saying the camera is already used. The only way to resolve it is to restart the physical Sony camera.

The order of operations is important. It's important to restart it periodically during the day. When I came back to do another one after walking away, the camera decided to power itself off again and I was staring at the W.

I bought the adapter that Dieter had been begging me to buy, and it immediately solved my orange W issue. The software didn't deserve all of the blame, but it was my fault.

:noupscale is a file on

A viable power source is not pictured.

Automatic shutdowns? I assumed they were a software problem because of the big orange W glaring at me. It was a heating problem that my coworkers and I learned about. I used a dummy battery that was powered by the internet, and it was overheating my camera, forcing it to shut down.

I am looking for an accessory that will not cause my camera to get hot. I have already spent over $100 on various items, including a stand, battery pack, and an HDMI accessory. I spent $150 to turn my DSLR into a high-powered webcam. For the same price, I could have bought a webcam from Micro Center or Newegg.

After spending a lot of money trying to get the best fidelity webcam, that's when the $300 Opal C1 was launched. My co-workers love it because it does everything I had spent 151 on, but in a tiny package that doesn't require a costly camera. I try to be a savvy enough tech shopper that I rarely regret purchases, but reading the review of the C1 gave me some powerful regret.

Noupscale is a file on

The C1 was quietly mocking me.

The photo was taken by Cameron Faulkner.

I edited Allison Johnson's piece because she didn't want to tinker with her work setup because she didn't care about herWebcam. I disagree with her. I spent a lot of time trying to perfect this setup because I wanted to tinker with it. I wanted to make the best image I could even if it was only visible to Nilay, Dieter, and Andru.

I don't think I'll get a budget webcam at Micro Center. I will probably refresh the Sony Webcam page and buy and return scores of dummy batteries as I hunt for one that doesn't add to the Sony A7 III's heating problem. I will continue to tinker even as Dieter twitches and I inevitably get roasted.

Trying to turn a real camera into a webcams will not be worth the time or money I have spent thus far. One day, I will have that perfect video quality and I will be happy with the effort I have put into it. I will feel immense pride because no one will acknowledge myWebcam.

I will probably start working on my background.