Document cameras are one of the most focused products an A/V integrator regularly handles. They do one thing and they do it extremely well: provide an audience with a closer look at an item of interest. That’s more open-ended than you might think because there are many applications that can benefit from the bird’s eye view that document cameras offer. That includes corporate, educational and hobbyist applications, which clearly covers a lot of fields.
Choosing the right document camera is much like choosing the right camera for any other purpose. Quality is clearly a concern, and there should be no reason to settle for anything less than a camera that outputs HD video quality. Many corporate and educational organizations also prefer cameras that can output 60fps, as this can help with applications that include very fine details. Beyond output, many look for a document camera that is unobtrusive and brings a small footprint, as older models can really take up a lot of tabletop real estate. Also, the document camera should be easy to control and, even better, remotely controlled for smooth operation.
There are several manufacturers that design and build document cameras, including big names like EPSON. Most A/V integrators, though, prefer the Vaddio line of cameras, as they are easy to blend into the environment and easy to operate. Legrand (formerly Milestone) is the parent company over the Vaddio brand and maintains several A/V product lines that are of interest to the industry. Vaddio, though, is a standout brand among the company’s many offerings.
Vaddio’s DocCAM is one of the leading options in the document camera market, and it can power all kinds of tasks. That’s because it is installed in the ceiling, instead of being mounted to a table or desk. This frees up the presenter and gives them more room to operate. It also keeps the camera from interfering with a shot, which is particularly important if it is used for instructional content online. Anything that needs to be presented merely needs to be placed under the camera, and it will be outputted to a display or an online feed. Consider the many uses of such a camera:
1. Corporate meetings that are paperwork-heavy – Project update meetings, annual shareholder meetings, strategy meetings or brainstorming sessions – these usually involve a good deal of paperwork. This can come in the form of contracts, concept drawings, maps or reams and reams of data. As important as these print resources are, no one wants to stare down at their hands for the meeting. A document camera allows the presenter to point out important details without making everyone refer to their own print copy time and again.
2. Training sessions – Training sessions are about teaching, and most people learn better when they have a visual reference, or can see tactile manipulation of important items. Document cameras give trainers a powerful tool in introducing concepts precisely, making critical annotations, sketching out concepts, figures or formulas, or presenting examples of something for closer review.
3. Advanced lesson delivery – Higher education deals with every topic imaginable, and some of those topics are better explained with physical examples. Medical education, in particular, relies heavily on demonstration, such as those delivered in a surgical theater. Engineering and architecture students are constantly tasked with reviewing drawings and schematics. A document camera can help in just about any university lecture.
4. Online brand content – This is where companies can get creative with their brand. Product reveals and demonstrations are interesting pieces of content that can drive brand interest when done right. Show what the product can do or introduce an entire line on camera so potential customers can compare and pick their favorite.
Support content, like installation or troubleshooting videos, are also more effective with a document camera, and will be greatly appreciated by customers.
5. Hobbyist pursuits – Armies of individual content creators are flooding the internet with all manner of hobbyist content, and document cameras can provide an extra visual punch for this content. How to videos, cooking videos, tech videos – document cameras make the hobby the focal point.
Vaddio’s DocCAM is ideal for all of these applications, and there are plenty more. Courtroom, city council chambers, art and culinary schools – there really is no end to the possibilities. The DocCAM brings this content to life with 1080p high definition video, shot in 60fps. The camera is installed inside the ceiling and aimed through an aperture, so for all intents and purposes, it is invisible to those below. It is designed with a 60-degree horizontal field of view and a 20x optical zoom, so there should be no worry that it will miss something. The DocCAM pairs well with other Vaddio equipment, including its OneLINK extension technology, allowing for longer distance control. It can also be controlled remotely and over a network, so it can also be used for distance education.
People thrive on visual information, and document cameras provide as much of it as possible. It’s an inexpensive way to make meetings and classes more engaging and more effective for people in the audience.