Have you figured out why Apple doesn’t sell the iSight camera bundled with a Windows version of iChat AV? I have.
iSight with iChat is just too cool for Windows users. Here’s the four Mac utility applications that make iChat AV perfect on Tiger.
At first thought, it seemed like a great way for Apple to make another $150 selling something ultra cool to Windows users. iSight with a Windows version of iChat AV. With the tens of millions of AOL’s AIM users, it’d be a big hit.
Then I thought, ‘Wait a minute. iChat AV is one of the most ultra cool differences between Macs and Windows. Let Windows users drool and then buy a Mac.”
After all, iChat AV combined with an iSight camera is the perfect audio video combination, right? Wrong.
Amazingly, there’s three superb utilities that make iChat AV and the iSight camera the truly perfect combination.
One of the problems I have with the iSight camera is that it tends to need plenty of light. That’s fine for my laptop which can be carried into the well lit living room. It’s not OK for my PowerMac.
The PowerMac is in my home office and there’s one little wall light. The whole place looks like a Leo McGarry, Josh Lyman late night meeting in The West Wing. Dark.
Worse, the $150 iSight doesn’t have any ‘easy’ way to modify the video settings. Last year I ran into a great utility for my iSight from Ecamm Network. It’s called iGlasses.
iGlasses lets you modify the video settings on iSight. For $8 it’s a must have. What’s it do? iGlasses lets you manipulate and adjust iSight’s video settings from within iChat AV and other video applications.
Even better, Alexis pointed out that iChat AV doesn’t work on some G3 iMacs. The queen of the low end is sharp. iGlasses activates the video conferencing on G3 Macs which don’t meet iChat’s minimum requirement of 600Mhz.
iGlasses has a simple pop up menu which lets you select Standard, Extra Bright, Super Bright, Enhanced, Sepia, Black and White, Night Vision, and the all important Macro Focus for when you want to send a video of nose hairs or bloodshot eyes.
You can also change the settings to match your lighting conditions and use them as built-in presets. iGlasses is an amazing utility that Apple should have in OS X Tiger for iChat.
Tera has wanted to do a Podcast, and seemed excited to learn of the video Podcast capabilities in the new iPod.
The only problem with Mac360 doing a Podcast is getting all of us together in one place. I’m in Nevada, Tera’s in LA, Jack and Carol are in St. Louis, Ron is in Honolulu, and Alexis is in San Diego.
Guess what? The same folks who make iGlasses also make a nifty iChat AV utility called Conference Recorder. Find a need and fill it.
Conference Recorder does just what you’re thinking it does. It records both audio and video from an iChat AV video conference. The whole audio video conference is recorded as a QuickTime movie file on your Mac.
You can control the movie size and quality (get a fast Mac), or just record yourself with iChat. You can set Conference Recorder to start automatically with each iChat AV conference, or start and stop manually.
Regardless, it couldn’t get much easier to record your own audio and video Podcast using this horribly expensive $14.95 utility. Just kidding. It’s a bargain.
Need a recorded audio and video record of the video conference? Click. It’s done. That’s soooo cool. An excellent audit trail with a click.
OK, I know, I know. I’m beginning to sound like a commercial or an advertisement. But if you’ve read much of Mac360, we tend to call it like it is, and don’t mind promoting good work when it’s good.
Alexis, our resident queen of Mac bargains and Guardian of the low end, pointed out that Ecamm just released another nifty utility aimed at Mac users who don’t have the horsepower necessary to run multi-party iChat video conferencing.
This one is Ecamm’s PowerBoost which makes iChat AV (Tiger) multi-party video conferencing work on G4 Macs where it wouldn’t work before.
That’s right. One channel is OK, but multi-party requires more horsepower than older iBooks, PowerBooks, or iMac G4s can handle.
Add the $8 PowerBoost utility to iChat AV and those of you with older Macs can also get up to 10 iChat users, and up to 3 or 4-way video chats.
Are you starting to see what I’m seeing? Apple has some holes to fill in the iChat AV audio and video conferencing world, and in steps a Mac utility maker to fill the void.
I love it when Apple does great stuff. I love it when utility publishers fill in Apple’s gaps.
OK, so you don’t have an iSight camera. After all, they’re $150. Each. But you do have one of those cheapie USB cameras that does NOT work with iChat AV.
Ecamm comes to the rescue again, this time with—no, not a USB camera—but a simple utility that lets your cheapo USB camera work with iChat AV. It’s creatively called iChatUSBCam.
Yeah, it’s a not-very-creative title for a utility that makes your Mac do more. You’re going to give them a hard time for that?
iChatUSBCam lets you use those less expensive USB cams with iChat AV. It also lets you use DV cameras on older G3 Macs. And it lets you adjust iSight’s built-in settings that Apple doesn’t make easy to adjust.
You can also use it to switch between video sources plugged in to your Mac.
The only real fault here is two-fold. One, Apple doesn’t have this stuff built-in to Mac OS X in the first place, and, two, Ecamm doesn’t have a packaged bundle for all four. They do have two bundles of three each, though, so I’m not faulting them too much.
Is this a recommended Mac utility? Yep. Why? They let you try out the software before you buy. Grab your cameras, your AIM contacts, and start audio and video conferencing. And let us know how it goes.