2009 Mac: best webcam/mic for audio input to make training vids & Skype?
February 15, 2015 8:57 AM   Subscribe

I need an external mic or webcam that will work with my aging MacBook Pro in order to tutor via Skype and to create recordings of my screen for video tutorials. I can't use the built-in mic because I want to do all of this with the laptop shut and hooked up to a Cinema Display.


1) Use an external mic or the built-in audio input of a webcam to tutor my students via Skype while sharing my desktop with them

2) Use an external mic or the built-in audio input of a webcam to record my voice while simultaneously recording the screen to make instructional videos.

3) Not spend a whole lot of money on the necessary device


I have a mid-2009 MacBook Pr, Intel Core 2 Duo, 8GB RAM. I tutor via Skype and share my screen so the kids can see us work through the math problems as we talk about them. Ever since I got an iPad, I mostly leave the laptop closed and hooked up to my giant Cinema Display and use it as a desktop. Unfortunately, now, every time I have a tutoring session, I have to unhook it and move it somewhere else and hook up the Wacom tablet, and my screen real estate becomes much smaller and more difficult for me to work with.

I would also like to make short video tutorials, in which I record what I'm doing on the computer visually and narrate it at the same time -- but again, it would be so much easier if I could do it while the laptop was in its little 12 South arc, hooked up to the Cinema Display. Unfortunately, the mic is inaccessible when the laptop is closed, so I need something external.

I don't need to record myself on camera, but I do need to record my voice. However, I'm happy to buy a low-end webcam if there's a way to tell the computer to record the screen via some software (Screenflow or such), but record the audio from the webcam while leaving the video part of the webcam idle.

I hope this makes sense. Does anyone have any suggestions on a decent-but-not-ridiculously-expensive webcam or external mic that will work with a very old MacBook Pro, and does anyone know if the software is customizable in capturing audio only if I'm using a webcam as my recording device?
posted by tzikeh to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
Blue Microphones are really popular for Windows and Mac, they're USB and pretty affordable. Check out the Yeti or the Snowball, but there's a whole range of them, and they're sold everywhere.
posted by JauntyFedora at 9:25 AM on February 15, 2015

To answer your question about "is software able to handle using a webcam mic as an audio input," the answer is yes -- to software on your mac, a webcam mic is just another mic. I've used the audio input from a variety of webcams for a variety of purposes.

Blue is a solid bet for microphones. You might also look at headset mics. I use a Sennheiser PC360 headset at home for skype/etc, and it's pretty great (now discontinued). There are definitely cheaper headset mics around that'll work, too. The benefit to a headset mic is that the mic will be placed consistently and close to your lips, which cuts down on room noise and changes in volume if you move around at all.
posted by Alterscape at 9:31 AM on February 15, 2015

I have the exact same Mac and I just recently started attending more gotomeeting/webinar webinars. I used this headset which works great audio-wise but goto keeps telling me that it is disconnecting/reconnecting. The headset has a heavy USB connection and I'm thinking my USB port is...loose? I have to use a USB extension cable so that the weight isn't on the actual connector. I bought, but have not yet tried, this bluetooth headset. The reviews are good but it feels like I could accidentally break it without trying too hard.
posted by pibeandres at 9:56 AM on February 15, 2015

Ooh, I hadn't known about/thought about headsets. Thank you for the info on those. More suggestions are welcome.
posted by tzikeh at 10:13 AM on February 15, 2015

Do you have an iPhone? The microphone on the earbuds should work on your laptop.
posted by O9scar at 4:56 PM on February 15, 2015

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