Friday, September 3, 2010

Update #2: Document Camera Under $100, now even spiffier!

eyeCamD (Logitech Camera on a stand) website for teachers!

NEW! Awesome directions for exactly how to build this document camera, aka "bootleg Elmo" from Chris "C. J." Thompson, Associate Director Rice University Elementary Model Science Lab (see his blog here). Thanks so much, C.J. for your skills, time and effort to promote this project.

Awesome technology guru Brian Bisbee of Conroe ISD fame also wrote this handy script you can use to open your document camera full screen with VLC media player.  You'll see a neat camera icon on your desktop after you install all the other software and with it, you'll automatically get a full-screen view with VLC media player.

If you've been following us, then you know that we implemented a document camera made from a web cam many months ago. Fortunately for us (and for you), the project has exceeded everyone's expectations! We have teachers and students all over our huge school district Skyping, recording lessons, and seeing stuff they could never see before! Want one for yourself? It's easier than ever. in September, after our friend Paul Lindsay send us photos (see above) of a camera zip tied to a flexible desktop mic stand, we stopped making stands from PVC, which was cheaper, but MUCH more difficult to do, so unless you have tons of time, take our advice, and buy these parts:

Low Profile Die Cast Mic Stand: $9.99 (at press time)

Black 19" Gooseneck: $3.99 (at press time)

Logitech 9000 Web Cam: from $69.99 (at press time)

About 10 large zip ties, 100 for $9.95

And about 10 smaller zip ties, sold by the pound at Amazon for $1.99

The real trick for educational use though is having the right software. First, be sure to tell the recipients NOT TO PLUG THE CAMERA IN BEFORE INSTALLING THE SOFTWARE. Missing this step can cause the drivers to install incorrectly and important functions to be missing! Use the latest Logitech software that comes with your camera, but also install VLC Media player so that you can see that cool, glossy image FULL SCREEN. Next thing you know, you'll be on Oprah via Skpye! Or, you'll have extra energy at the end of the day because instead of repeating yourself a million, billion times a day, you'll record your lesson and put it online (for free, of course) using your new camera and

To see what we talk about in our teacher staff development sessions, check out our notes.

If you want to buy a similar product already packaged, try the Dukane Image Pro. The gooseneck isn't as long, the base isn't as sturdy, and the price is as much as $200 (or as little as $140), but you'll avoid the logistical problems of distributing all the parts if you're in a big district like we are.

Still have questions? Post here or email


Unknown said...

This works great. I teach physics, and needed a way to project homework solutions. I bought a Logitech HD Webcam C510 for $45. The resolution is sufficient, but I needed a way to get a full-screen image. I downloaded the "handy script" supplied in the post. There is a little file in there that I tweaked to work with my camera. Fantastic!

Sure, some people will suggest that a document camera is superior to a cheap webcam clamped to a ring stand. But a webcam in my classroom is infinitely better than a document camera setup that my school district would never buy.

Nice work Fried Tech. I'm new to your blog, but I'll be following you now. I like the way you think.

Visualedtech said...

This system works pretty well.
However, There is a new Recordex SC5i 5 megapixel document camera that retails for $149.00. The supplied software is excellent and it works right out of the box.
Worth a look....JJC

Visualedtech said...

This setup works pretty well.
However the Recordex SC5i 5 mexapixel document camera is only $149.00 2 year warranty.
It is worth a look.

Unknown said...

This is the easiest, most user friendly set up I can possibly imagine. As a campus tech, I am called to do a thousand things teachers aren't capable of doing on their own (time limits, accessibility limits, know-how limits, etc), but with this set up, I can drop their webcam off and send them a link to the file with step by step my campus of over 225 teachers all have webcams with full screen projection and they are used DAILY!

**The AverMedia cams some of them had previously were hardly used...too cumberson, too bulky, and just too hard to work with**

Unknown said...

A 700 tvl dome camera that has the wire going in through a sealed grommet is no more or less weatherproof in that location than a bullet that has the wire entering the same way