You’re about to hear of three nifty neato Mac utilities that fill a few holes on my Mac desktop, and you’re bound to fall in love with at least one of them. Like one of those triplets who were “friends” of The Fonz and Jenny Picolo (Cathy Silvers).
To start, a little history.
I bought Apple’s Firewire iSight camera microphone last year. It’s great. Integration with iChat is perfect, quality of audio is excellent, and, as usual it’s just plug it in and it just works.
Except for one thing. In low light situations, iSight’s video is dark. And my office doesn’t have much light, so it’s a low light situation all the time.
Then, along comes someone else who probably had the exact same problem and “iGlasses” for iSight was born. It’s a nifty neato Mac utilitiy that gives iSight better vision. Video controls, some enhancements, a few effects.
iGlasses isn’t just for iChat AV as it works with iMovie 4.x, iVisit, EvoCam (haven’t tried it yet with ImageCaster, my current favorite), iCamShare, and so on.
Basically, iGlasses installs and shows up when you’re ready to record using iSight, and gives you better control over the video.
First, though, something newer from Ecamm. It’s called Conference Recorder and I can’t imagine why Apple doesn’t have this built in to iChat AV.
Conference Recorder lets you record your iChat video and audio chats. That’s simple enough, right? The whole process could not be much easier.
Once installed, Conference Recorder displays a small VHS-like “recorder” on the screen. Click the red Record button and your entire iChat AV video or audio conference gets recording to a QuickTime file on your Mac.
The preferences settings couldn’t be easier, either. Save the video or audio as high, medium, or lower quality. Simply click the Settings button. Duh.
You can also adjust frame rate and image size. So, while you’re enjoying your super duper iChat video/audio conference, Conference Recorder is recording the whole thing.
Geez, that’s handy, and a perfect “audit” for those sensitive conversations with your significant other (like you don’t have “she said, he said” conversations!).
Once you’ve concluded the iChat video conference, you can open the QuickTime file, play it back, edit, do whatever. Even drop it into an iDVD video.
iGlasses. OK, just a recap. iGlasses gives your iSight camera the video controls you wanted in the beginning.
Select Standard to get iSight back to the factory settings. Select Extra Bright to use when the light is really dim.
Super Bright must be for a closet in the basement.
Enhanced setting appears to adjust the color saturation as color shows up more vivid and enhanced.
There’s also a setting for Sepia tone, Black and White (for the artiste in you), and Night Vision (think of US soldiers tracking down the enemy in the dark with their night vision goggles).
Wait. There’s more. There’s also a Crazy Colors function which will disturb your brain and cause you to hallucinate. Or laugh. And, for those of us who are a tad overweight but with violet eyes to die for, there’s Macro Focus which lets your iSight camera focus up super close.
You can even turn the iSight video upside down or mirror. I don’t know why. Maybe you want to show that special someone that the mole is really on the left side; most of the time. But you can make it move just by blinking.
What? You don’t have an Apple iSight camera? I know. The economy is rough in some underdeveloped areas. Like Canada.
iChatUSBCam from the same folks who brought you the gushingly attractive and useful iGlasses and Conference Recorder.
This is a nifty add-on which lets owners of older USB cameras to use iChat AV. For example, the Logitech QuickCam. Of course, USB isn’t as much fun as Firewire which is what you get with the iSight camera.
But you go to war with what you got and if you got a USB camera, that’ll have to do. Ecamm is just helping you use what you got while you got it.
iChatUSBCam has a healthy list of USB cameras that should work on your Mac, so make sure to check the list and the configurations. Yes, I think you’re better of selling off your sister’s CDs and buying an iSight, but it’s nice to know someone has your needs at heart.
iChatUSBCam gives you camera settings for brightness and contrast. It works as a DV camera on some G3s. You can even use your Mac’s screen as a video source. Like, “Hey, mom. Look at this graphic I made today.” They’ll come back for more. Or have your taken away.
That’s three excellent Mac utilities from a single source. Click Here for a look at iGlasses, Conference Recorder, and iChatUSBCam, as well as a bunch of other Mac-only utilities.
Why do I like these guys and their utilities? First, install and they work. That’s always a positive sign. Updates are steady so they’re regularly improving the utilities. That says something about their ongoing efforts. They excellent value (meaning, they’re priced low).
iGlasses is a whopping $8.00. See. I’m a sucker for value, too. iChatUSBCam is less than $10 (or, less than $1.00 per letter in the name). My favorite, Conference Recorder, is only about $1.25 a month, amortized over a year.
Like all good Mac developers, FREE demo; try before you buy.