Webcam performance on new M1 Macbook Air and MacBook Pro with image signal processor (ISP)

One of the talking points in the recent Apple event that announced the M1 MacBook Air and 13" MacBook Pro is that the image signal processor will be leveraged to improve the web cam quality. I was not sure what that meant for me until I watched this video by The Tech Chap wherein he interviews Bob Borchers, Apple VP Worldwide Product Marketing, and Tim Millet, Apple VP Platform Architecture in a Group FaceTime call. Bob Borchers says that both VPs are using M1 MacBook airs. Now that I can see what kind of video is possible from those webcams, I am very impressed.

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As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, people have bemoaned the camera being “only 720p” but Zoom limits people to 720p anyway, so figuring out how to get the best 720p image possible will actually come in more handy than you might think.


I wonder if the optimisation is on the receiving end or the sending end.

It’s on the sending end.

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That’s great quality. We shoot a lot of webinars and interview shows for Facebook and YouTube and the host usually records her intros using her ~2018 MBP webcam, but using QuickTime’s camera recording. It is significantly better than her Zoom recording, which is what she uses for the interviews. So I can only imagine how much better the new M1 Macs will be!

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So then I wonder why that’s helpful. But I guess the proof of the pudding is in the eating…