Should You Record on Mobile or Webcam? Here's What to Consider.
OpenReel empowers creatives to film remotely on mobile or Webcam. But which is the right method for your recording Session? Your specific use case, desired video quality, and ease of use will all impact your decision. We’ve broken down the major factors for each below.
OpenReel operates on iPads and iPhones through the Remote Capture iOS app, which can be downloaded in Apple’s App Store, and on Android devices, which can be downloaded in Google Play. OpenReel’s two patents allow a Director to establish a secure connection between their own computer and the remote device, enabling the Director to tap into dynamic camera controls and film locally on the device. This informs many of the incredible benefits described below.
Resolution, Frames-per-Second & Bitrate
The OpenReel app allows the Director to select the highest possible resolution on the recording device. For iPhones 8 or higher, you can capture footage in 4K at 60 frames-per-second and corresponding bitrate. If supported, Android devices also allow Directors to record at 4K up to 60 FPS, depending on the device and camera.
Choosing to record on an iOS or Android device will give you, as a Director, the most power in terms of controlling the camera on the Subject’s device. You will be able to adjust the white balance, exposure, frame rate, resolution, and focus, as well as turn on framing guides to help establish the shot and flip the camera between back- and front-facing.
Because our patent allows us to capture recordings locally on the mobile device, internet does not impact the video quality. Even if your Subject has a poor connection or even loses internet, the video will still be clear and clean and the clip will be saved within the OR Capture app. This will provide you and your Subject with better peace of mind while filming, as well as flexibility to record on-the-go or in remote areas with poor internet.
For your Subject, OpenReel will look very similar to a horizontal Facetime call, ensuring high familiarity. However, while apps are a familiar part of using a smartphone, verify with your Subject that they are comfortable downloading the app to their phone; while safe, secure, and fast, it is an extra step in the prep process. Additionally, we do recommend that Subjects use tripods to get the perfect framing when filming. As with downloading an app, setting up a tripod is easy, but it is an extra step that you need to coordinate.
OpenReel can also film through webcam-enabled browsers. This includes DSLR-cameras that can be connected to your computer, a traditional external webcam, or the camera built into your computer. Like mobile, the quality of the footage is dependent on the camera, but there is a great deal more variability in webcam capabilities that you should consider.
Resolution, Frames-per-Second & Bitrate
Webcam recordings have the ability to film up to 4K with corresponding frames-per-second and bitrate. 4K is excellent quality footage, but it is important to note that most webcams, especially built in ones, max out at 720p or 1080p. If your Subject’s webcam does not have 4K capabilities you will not be able to record in 4K.
On a webcam, the Director has the power to adjust white balance, frame rate, resolution, and focus. While you lose a few of the camera controls that iOS and Android filming has, you gain the ability to film your Subject’s screen in 1080p, a feature most convenient for capturing presentations and product demos. While you cannot execute this on a mobile device, it is often used in tandem with iOS and Android recordings. For example, you can capture the Subject’s face via an iPhone and simultaneously capture their presentation screen recording on a webcam.
Webcam recording Sessions do not feature local recording, which makes them more dependent on having a reliable, stable internet connection. Additionally Subjects are tied to their desk or other space where their computer or external webcam is positioned. However, Subjects may gain flexibility when they are establishing their shot; given that most built-in webcams are positioned in the middle of the computer and external webcams typically come with tripods, it’s generally a very simple process to frame or re-frame a shot.
Webcam recordings are pretty much identical to any video conference call, so the familiarity aspect can help Subjects feel more comfortable in front of the camera. Filming on the larger screen also allows the Subject to see in larger feeds their Director and any Collaborators or other Subjects, which can further add to that comfort level. These two features, alone, often sway Subjects to choose a webcam recording Session.