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Currently we recommend the Logitech IM web camera as the best choice for use in clay animation. It supports 640 x 480 resolution as a webcam and has a long usb cable and most importantly a manual focus ring. It can also be used with the tripod described below. It is available at approx $70 ex GST in Adelaide from:
If you need an inexpensive webcam that works in both Mac OSX and Windows the MSI StarCam 370i webcam is another possibility at around $60.
We have tried several other web cams including two cheaper cameras from Logitech and they all work but with different levels of quality. Look for a web cam that has a 640x480 resolution rather than the cheaper 320x240 resolution if possible as the animation will be clearer and viewable as a larger size movie.
The cameras ideally should be mounted on a desktop tripod eg these Premier tripods from the suppliers mentioned above - approx $20
A desk lamp with a 40W globe and adjustable height and angle is very useful for lighting your stage.