I need configuration advice and what to buy

Here is an interesting problem. I need some advice on what to buy to accomplish the following:

I will be taking the California Bar exam. I have already decided on a Bar Review course that reqires an IPad so assume I already have a 2020 12.9 inch 256 gig IPad Pro and associated Magic Keyboard. After the review course i will be taking the Bar Exam online that requires a webcam and microphone so tge proctors can monitor me. I would prefer an external omnidirectional directional mic and webcam (an iPhone 11 Pro will do for a wide angle Webcam). However I need a laptop that will run this software natively: https://examsoft.force.com/etcommunity/s/article/Examplify-Minimum-System-Requirements-for-Mac-OS-X

I would like a Mac laptop because it will work for the exam and will run Windows ( should be able to run Parraells. https://www.parallels.com/products/desktop/resources/)apps when I practice law and it works with sidecar

Given the above what Mac laptop and configuration, Webcam, mic abd possibly lighting would be the best reasonable solution?

I’ll let someone who knows MacBooks answer but I’m curious why you would not just use the inbuilt webcam and mic as a ‘good enough’ solution?

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I want an external mic becauce the built in mic is not omnidirectional and directional. I need both. The omnidirectional mic to listen to the entire room during the exam And the directional mic is for online meetings when I practice

The webcam should have a professional clarity during the exam and online meetings. Also the wideangle lens would show most of the room during the exam which is why i mentioned the iPhone

Besides with both external they can be placed independently for best results

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This is difficult to get my head around. Sounds like you’re going to spend $1K in mics and cams to take an exam? This can’t possibly be a requirement of the proctoring. I don’t see anything about needing two mics in the link: just a webcam. Is the sw designed to work with two mics? Seems doubtful.

What you describe here is pretty complex. Here are some issues.

  • How will you transmit two video feeds?
  • If you want to use two mics, I think you will need a mixer to put audio together.
  • I don’t know what “professional clarity” means to you, but I think 720p is good enough. Pay more attention to lighting and background which cameras don’t fix.
  • All MacBooks have 720p cameras. Some people complain about the MBA’s though.
  • A webcam is probably a good idea because laptop webcam (from desk surface) gives up-the-nose view and can’t adjust separately from screen angle.
  • Any built-in microphone is going to pick up the noise in the room.

Maybe I’m reading too much into “professional”… I will presume you mean for a “profession” rather than audio/video “professional.”

General Recommendations:

  • Any current MacBook Air/Pro will do what you want (other than 2 mics and 2 cams).
  • Get 16GB RAM if you want to be running Parallels or other VM routinely.
  • 512GB SSD is probably adequate.
  • Sweetspots by increasing price: MacBook Air i5, upgraded MBP 13" 10Gen i5 (it has many improvements over lower 13" model), MBP16" i7
  • Depending on budget and tolerance for weight, the 16" is most powerful option. 13" is probably best all around. MBP16" has superior array of microphones (and speakers).
  • Logitech are probably best webcams for general “business use” - C920s, and other C92xx are very good. Even the C615 is good-enough.
  • Logitech C930e is aimed at “business users” and has a wider field of view.
  • For any business use, have a secure backup strategy and make sure you follow it.

Also, I would plan to wipe the MacBook after finishing with the exam software. Likely very invasive. Or maybe run it in a VM, but I lean toward the first.

Does any of this help?

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