Seldom is it possible to have so much fun with a Mac application. Econ Technologies has their act together with the latest version of ImageCaster; web cam software that makes your Mac a live video center. More or less.
The Mac has had video cam software for as many years as I can remember. The advent of the Internet spawned many so-called “web cams” that would snap a photograph at a timed interval, save it as a file, or send it via FTP to a web site to be viewed on a web page. Remember CoolCam, EvoCam, and others?
That’s not exactly crazy cool in this day and age of cell phones making QuickTime movies and sending photographs instantly all over the world.
Still, there’s something special about ImageCaster. It’s billed as a “complete webcam solution” and it seems to come close to that lofty goal.
To be sure, it’s web cam software for your Mac.
It’s just that Econ has a knack about putting confusing configurations and options into a simple, straightforward interface, that must makes this thing fun to use.
Very quickly you start thinking of other things to do besides a basic web cam.
Web cams don’t cost much these days and come either USB or Firewire, mostly color, and in the case of Apple’s iSight (if you can find one) microphones are built in. ImageCaster makes your web cam become something it probably wasn’t intended to be—cool.
iChat not withstanding (and it doesn’t do much if you’re not there or there’s no one to call), ImageCaster may be the most fun you can have with your iSight camera.
Multiple web cams? Can do. Oh, iChat only does that with Mac OS X Tiger.
Resize, scale, or rotate images in ImageCaster. Then save, or FTP to a remote web site. Remember, your Mac comes with the Apache web server built in, so, with the right Internet connection you’ve got everything you need to web cam, camera nanny, spy cam, or security cam your home or home office or office.
Single images can be snapped by ImageCaster and saved in sequence. You determine the frequency and number of images. Prefer to have a QuickTime movie instead of a time-lapse gallery? Can do. In fact, multiple documents can store multple options.
“ImageCaster may be the most fun you can have with your iSight camera.”One of the things I like about EvoCam was the ability to overlay a time-date stamp and text. ImageCaster can do all that and even more jazz. Not only are the typical font attributes present (size, color, opacity, drop shadow), you also place any kind of graphic on the “window cam” canvas, and scale to fit.
“I want “secure” transfer of files between my Mac and a web server. SFTP or SSH.”Another feature that’s just too cool is Sensor Zones. You set the zones in the “window cam” canvas (what you see). When something within that zone moves, the camera (ImageCaster) goes into high gear and becomes a motion sensor.
The Three Bears could have used that against Goldilocks.
Saving captured images is one thing, knowing what to do with them and WHEN is important. ImageCaster handles that with a visual Schedule that makes taking the picture and uploading it a breeze.
Come to think of it, had the Three Bears used ImageCaster on their Mac, they would’ve been able to create web pages even though they’re just bears.
ImageCaster has a great way to create web pages for you with a set of Templates. Select a style, fill in the necessary information for headlines, add graphics, add links to other pages.
As you’d expect when comparing web cam software, ImageCaster carries an extensive list of features.
• Customizable toolbar
• Open multiple “documents”
• Grabs images from files or web
• Works with all Mac OS X supported cams
• Motion sensor detection
• Overlay text and graphics
• Make QuickTime movies
• Web page Template Maker
• Grid scheduler (worth the money)
• FULL AppleScript support (with scripts)
• Logs (oh so handy)
Bored yet? Or are you checking your credit card balance to see if you have enough room to get this? ImageCaster is $30. Click Here to check out the basic Features and FAQs.
What’s missing in ImageCaster?
A few things. First, I want “secure” transfer of files between my Mac and a web server. SFTP or SSH. I don’t care which, but more and more basic FTP isn’t cutting it for me. Multiple images and multiple destinations. There might be an easy way to do that but I couldn’t figure it out and the ImageCaster interface is about as simple as it gets.
One more thing. I’d like graphic “animation” on the screen. You know, just like the kind on TV weathermaps. That would be waaaay cool.
Is ImageCaster worth the money? Hey, going to see a movie with a friend or spouse will cost you that and all you’ll get will be two ticket stubs and a full tummy of popcorn.
This will be fun that’ll last awhile.
Editor’s Note: This was an ‘Encore Article’ from Jack.