Before COVID shifted work from the office to our, bedrooms, living rooms or an Airbnb in Costa Rica, there was a code for professional appearance. It mostly centered around dressing smart and having a firm handshake. But, now that we only see our colleagues as squares on a screen, what does professionalism look like? In the era of Zoom, perhaps looking professional is less about khakis and more about cameras.
Yet, most webcams are outdated hardware that delivers a low-quality image. We live in a world where every digital image of ourselves has been edited before we present it to the world. When we post pictures of vacations on Instagram to our friends, they’re perfect. But when we log onto Zoom for our professional lives, we’re generally stuck with low-quality webcams unless we want to spend thousands on a professional studio setup with a DSLR camera and a podcast microphone.
Opal C1 comes in white and black
Courtesy of Opal
A new hardware startup Opal just launched the Opal C1 to solve this problem. They aim to bring studio level camera and microphone to the market at a fraction of the price. The Opal C1 includes the following features:
- 4K video, a collection of mics that filter out background noise and improve clarity,
- bokeh depth of field effect, which makes your video look like its shot on a high quality DSLR,
- machine learning to zoom in on your face and follow you within the frame, and
- manual controls to fine tune your camera like a DSLR.
All of this is packed into a sleek piece of hardware reminiscent of Dieter Rams, the iconic 1960’s product designer. In accordance with Rams’ ninth principle, the C1 is sustainable. It’s designed to have a long lifespan and be recycled at end of life. The packaging is 100% recyclable, with none of the polyurethanes typically used in boxes. And the camera is less than 1% plastic, with most of the device being fully recyclable.
However, the magic happens inside. What sets the Opal C1 apart from most webcams is that rather than just being a peripheral device, it actually has computing power onboard the camera itself. Much of the gains in imagery that have been recognized on the iPhone in the last few years has been driven by the ability to process images in real-time on your device to optimize a given photo. Thanks to the Intel MyriadX chip, Opal is using similar machine learning and computer vision processing on the camera to optimize …….