One of the unique features of the Sigma fp camera is the ability to work as a webcam without the need for a HDMI capture card. This will allow you to stream high quality video with the unique look that a full frame sensor delivers by connecting a USB-C cable.
Setting up the camera requires you to switch into Cine mode as you can see here.
Next press the Menu button and go to System/USB Mode and select Video Cass (UVC). This mode allows you to connect the Sigma fp to any device that is compatible with UVC cameras like PC or Mac and some android powered devices.
Then you connect the USB-C cable to the camera and then to your Computer. An external mic can also be added to capture higher quality audio.
Your computer should now be able to detect the camera and be able to select it in your streaming software. Here you can see what it looks like on windows 10 using Skype.
Now that we know the set-up, lets get down to changing some settings to make the most out of the device and help you get better looking videos. To do this we need to disconnect the Sigma fp as it will lock the controls once connected to a computer.
First up is the frame rate and shutter speed, this is particularly important as it can help avoid flickering from home lighting/devices. This can be found by pressing menu and moving to the second tab in the Shoot menu.
Select Record Settings and press right to get to the next menu.
Next go to Frame Rate and select 25 fps or 50fps by pressing right and selecting from the list of supported frame rates. The reason for doing this is so it matches UK 50hz power supply. In the USA or other places with 60hz power supply the 30 fps or 60fps would be a better option. Personally, I feel 25fps is good enough and would use less bandwidth when streaming.
Next is the shutter speed setting which in the video industry is often double that of the frame rate to help create natural smooth movement in the videos. There are a few ways to do this on the Sigma fp. Normally you would select a shutter speed of 1/50 if your shooting 25fps. You can also select 1/100 if you are shooting at 50fps or you can setup the Sigma fp to use shutter angles instead by pressing menu and going to the second tab in the Shoot menu.
Pressing right on Record Settings allows you to select Shutter mode and switch to Angle.
Now instead of showing the shutter speed, the Sigma fp will show the angle of the shutter compared to the frame rate and it can be changed as normal using the shutter dial.
From here you have two options, use Manual mode and adjust Shutter/Angle, F-Stop and ISO to get the required exposure or set the camera to Shutter Speed Priority.
To do this press the Mode button and select the S option. This will lock the shutter speed while still allowing the camera to change aperture and ISO to expose the frame for you. This can be handy if your using a window as your main light as it can change in power as you film.
The last setting to go over is focus. The Sigma fp does offer continuous Auto Focus while filming, to enable this press the Menu button and move to the fourth tab in the Shoot menu and select Focus (cine)
Then in the first menu scroll down to Constant AF (Cine) and select the On option.
Now the Sigma fp will continuously focus while filming. Press on the rear screen where you expect to be and the Sigma fp will look for you in that area.
Continuous focus allows you to do things like holding something close to the camera. It will shift focus to the object and it will go back to you once you take it away. It also saves you trying to pre-focus on where you will be in the video.
The down side is that there could be times you are blurry if it loses focus on you which is why lots of film makers like to use manual focus so they have control.
After all these steps are completed you should be ready to get some nice quality streaming video from the Sigma fp in your apps. If you want to stream live to Youtube, Facebook or other platforms then you can use the Sigma fp along with software like OBS (Open Broadcast Software) to get even more control over your stream and combine the footage from the Sigma fp with other sources.
A few tips for just starting out.
Lighting: If you don’t yet own any continuous lighting try finding a nice large window or use some of lighting around your home. You could even set your Smart TV to look at a white website and it will act as a nice soft light if you position yourself correctly.
Ideally investing in some LED lights will help give you more control over how your video will look and help keep things consistent to your streaming if you plan to do this long term.
Sound: Often something people forget but very important. Try placing the mic as close to you as you can, by default the Sigma fp will auto adjust the mic input but you can set this manually by pressing Menu, then the second tab in the Shoot menu and scrolling down to Audio Record (cine)
From here press right on the On section and you will get to a new menu. Scroll down to Gain Adjustment.
Press right on the Manual section to get to the last screen where you can down adjust the gain on the microphone input. Here you can also separate channel one and two but that isn’t needed for this intended use.
Color/Grading: If your feeling adventurous the Sigma fp also allows some color grading options out with the usual white balance options as you can see with the Tone and Color buttons.
You can see more images created by SCA Paul Monaghan on one of the following links: