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Saturday, November 17, 2012

[Review] Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920. Does it work on a Mac?

I've seen that many of my friends on Google+ who produce live video hangouts love using the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920.

Image: Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920

So I've been happy to recommend it and the previous model, the C910.

Some features of the C920 that are most appealing are:
- H.264 encoding
- Full HD 1080p recording
- Tripod Mount
People do get confused though from the Logitech requirements page for the C920 where it says:

C920 Technical Specifications:
OS Support (at release) - Windows XP x32 / x64, Windows Vista x32 / x64, Windows 7 x32 / x64
No mention of it working on a Mac, at all.

Then there's this:

Taking full advantage of the H.264 Logitech C920:
To take full advantage of the H.264 codec with your Logitech C920 webcam:

- If you're using UVC drivers instead of Logitech drivers, you'll need an app that supports UVC H.264 extension.
- If you're using Logitech drivers, you can take advantage of the H.264 codec using the DirectShow app in Windows.

NOTE: For H.264 preview, you'll need an H264 decoder. Microsoft bundles this with Windows 7.
Um, UVC drivers? What are they?

I'm on a Mac. We don't do drivers.


Looking further, I want to see if my favorite live streaming software, Telestream Wirecast, might support the C920 despite the system requirements above.

Wirecast 4.1.4 Release Notes [PDF]:
New! Support for Logitech C920. (Mac OS X & Windows)
Here's the Wirecast 4.2.2 Release Notes [PDF] if you are interested in the latest.

So let's take a look at the camera and see how it performs.

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920


Yes, the C920 has a tripod mount. This is great!

Logitech C920 Tripod Mount
Image: Tripod Mount

Logitech C920 has a Tripod Mount. See?
Image: With Tripod


The C920 connects to the Mac via a USB port. Despite the requirements on the box, the camera shows up on a Mac as Logitech Camera.


I tested it out first, as a still camera, with Photo Booth.

Here's the first photo:

Logitech C920 - Impressed?
Image: Logitech C920 photo test with Photo Booth (with Photo Booth Flash turned on)

Compare that to the FaceTime HD camera on the Thunderbolt display and MacBook Air.

FaceTime HD Camera (Thunderbolt Display)
Image: FaceTime HD Camera (Thunderbolt Display)

FaceTime Camera (Built-In) MacBook Air
Image: FaceTime (Non HD) Camera (Built-In) MacBook Air


Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 Wins


- Video test
- Microphone test

My first test was with the C920 and it's on board microphone using Photo Both again, to record video.

Make sure you go into system settings first to set the microphone input to HD Pro Webcam C920.

System Sound Settings
Image: System Sound Settings

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 Mac Video Test

I exported this video with Photo Booth as a quick test, and then uploaded it to YouTube. Video quality is great. Sound isn't quite in sync. I'll need to do more testing with QuickTime and Final Cut Pro X to test both HD and sound. Stay tuned.

When you upload a video file recorded with QuickTime Player, you get this message from YouTube:
For better results, adjust your Quicktime settings to prepare videos for internet streaming. For more information, visit our Help Center.
Over there all the export settings are listed out to make sure your audio and video are in sync.

QuickTime Player Video:
I ignored those instructions, recorded a new video with QuickTime Player Video, and uploaded the raw video file. It came out ok.

Take a look:

Click the settings button on the video and change the resolution to 1080p to see the best quality.

Another Test:

Recorded this video with the C920 using QuickTime Player, Audio Technica AT2020 USB mic, imported into FCP X, edited, exported with compressor, and uploaded to YouTube.

In FCP X the audio seemed a little out of sync, but when I exported for YOuTube, the audio seems fine.

This time I used the YouTube 1080p export settings, but still got a warning from YouTube. Looks and sounds good anyway.


Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 Works on a Mac

I cross-posted a link this review over on Facebook and am getting lots of comments from people who use the C920 as their primary camera for web video. Take a look.

The C920 is not officially supported on the Mac by Logitech.

For settings, I'm told the Mac App, Webcam Settings By Mactaris, $7.99 in the Mac App Store, allows you to control the C920 Webcam Settings.


Live Streaming..

- Ustream Producer
- Google+ Hangouts
- The Mac version of Telestream Wirecast
- Livestream