Video Conference Tutorial for iChat and AIM

Video conferencing is easy to use once it is set up correctly. With the right equipment video and audio quality are surprisingly good. This video conferencing tutorial will show you how to set up iChat 4 and AIM 6.5 to allow you to audio or video conference with a Mac or PC. (View my original tutorial for iChat 3 and AIM 5.9 here.)

Included are step-by-step instructions for getting a free screen name, downloading free software, installation and use, video conferencing camera recommendations, firewall port settings, VoIP interference tips, and troubleshooting guides for both Mac and Windows XP. (Solid underlined links open in a new page while dotted underline are within this page or web site.)

To video conference between AIM and iChat you will need either an AIM (AOL Instant Messaging network) screen name or a .Mac member name (Mac users can use either.) Both are free. You do not need to sign-up for AOL to get the screen name for video conferencing.

 

AIM screen name / .Mac member name

To register for an AIM screen name go to this AOL web page. Fill in the Desired Screen Name: and other fields and follow the instructions. After you register, AIM sends you an e-mail allowing you to confirm your registration request. You can also get a screen name the first time you start AIM by pressing the "Get a Screen Name" button. Windows XP users click here for AIM set up.

For Mac OS X users, your .Mac member name (membername@mac.com) is a valid screenname on the AIM network, even if you no longer subscribe to .Mac. iChat to iChat conferences use the AIM network. You must give out your .Mac member name with the @mac.com on the end. Mac users do not use AIM for video conferencing; they use iChat. Only PC users need to use AIM.

When Mac users start iChat for the first time a screen comes up asking if you want to get a .Mac name. You can sign up for a 60 day free trial of .Mac and register a .Mac screen name good for iChat. After 60 days, even if you do not keep .Mac, you can still use this member name for video conferencing.

Mac users can also use a regular AIM screen name created at the link above.


           Get the 20" Apple iMac with built-in camera. Perfect for video conferencing.


Macintosh users

iChat 4 makes video conferencing simple and easy. iSight users see yourself in the above, freaky cool local-only window. Smile. More info

If you are using Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard you have all the software you need for video conferencing: iChat 4. You only need to connect a camera. Current iMac's and Apple portables have a high-quality camera built-in, so those users won't even need that. Mac users do not need or use AIM to video conference with a PC since iChat will video conferencing with the PC version of AIM. If you have iChat 3 and Mac OS X 10.4 you can update to iChat 4 by purchasing Mac OS X 10.5.

iChat allows you to connect with other iChat users at around 20 fps, 640 by 480 pixels and even expand that up to full screen, which looks great. iChat 4 allows 4-way video conferencing, (if one of your group has a fast enough Macintosh and connection), 10-way audio conferencing, screen-sharing and many other features.

iChat connects directly to a Firewire camera and the version of iChat included with Mac OS X 10.5 includes support for many USB 2.0 web cams. You can also use Firewire cameras or your firewire DV camcorder. Though most new Macs come with a built-in iSight camera if you need to use an external camera get the Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro for Mac or any USB 2.0 WebCam you find at Amazon or locally.

To use a USB web cam directly with iChat there are two things: 1- the camera must support the USB Video Class (UVC) standard and 2 - you will need to update to Mac OS X 10.5. (Mac OS X System 10.4.9 with iChat 3.1.8 (v445) or higher also works with USB web cams)

To use a USB web cam that is non-UVC then you must purchase iChatUSBCam. While you are there get the bundle, because iGlasses is well worth the price. I use iGlasses for easy color and brightness corrections of my iSight in all lighting conditions and notice that many who contact me could use it too. See below for another great use of iGlasses.

 

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iChat tutorial - start iChat by clicking on it's icon in the dock. The first time you will be given the opportunity to enter the AIM screen name you got beforehand (see above) or sign up for a .Mac member name. Click Continue to get started and go through the screens.

Once you have entered your account name start iChat and open up the Buddy List (Cmd-1, or Window >> Buddy List.) Check that your camera is on by clicking the green camera next to your name. By design, iChat shows you as a mirrored image (flipped horizontally) in the preview window. Adjust as needed by clicking on Preferences. Fix your hair.

On the bottom left corner of the Buddy List is a plus sign: click on the plus sign to add a new buddy. From the screen that appears select New Person. On the next screen that appears fill in >>> Account Type: AIM or .Mac , and Account Name: (fill in the AIM screen name or .mac member name). The person's screen name will appear in your buddy list, along with their current status.

Typically, iChat AV users connect between 150 to 350 kpbs at up to 20 fps. iChat AV can connect using your full upload bandwidth, up to 2000 kpbs. If your connection is a bit on the slow side you may need to set the Bandwidth Limit (iChat >> Preferences >> Video) to a lower setting. For now, leave it at "None."

To initiate a video conference double click on the camera icon next to their name and you will send out an invitation. Once they accept the invitation and everything connects your camera will be in a small picture inside their picture. You can drag to re-size either picture.

To receive a video conference click anywhere on the small window that announces the invitation.

The video screen will show your camera (so you can clean up the mess behind you) with three buttons on the bottom.

Click on the Accept and, once connected, the invitee will appear in the main screen with your camera in a smaller screen inside.

Go Full screen - If you are connected to another Mac user with an iSight then for a real treat click on the button to go full screen. Prepared to be "Wowed"

To disconnect just close the video window by clicking on the red button in the top left of the video screen. By closing just the video screen iChat is still connected and you can accept other conferences.

iChat multi-video or multi-audio conferencing. If you have a fast enough computer (Intel, G5 or dual 1Gig G4) you can initiate a multi-video conference. In your buddy list Command-Click (hold down the 'Apple' key and click) on each buddy you want to invite. (up to three) They must have a multi-camera icon next to their name. Then click the camera icon at the bottom of the Buddy List. All will be connected one at a time. PCs with AIM cannot initiate or participate in a multi-video conference. Windows XP users should upgrade here.

For multi-audio chat the same procedure applies only this time you can invite up to nine others and you click on the audio icon at the bottom of the Buddy List. You can invite people to an audio chat once a chat is in session. The cool thing about multi-audio chat is you can see who is talking at any given time. The clarity is fantastic!

To send an SMS message to a cell phone start a new chat, enter the phone number with a plus sign in front of it, (+12345551212) type then send your message. Or place the phone number into your buddy list as a screen name.

It is possible to configure iChat to automatically accept incoming video calls. Steve J. bought an iMac for his 86 year-old mom who loved getting iChat video calls. To make it easier for her he came up with a modification that allows iChat to automatically accept video calls, then disconnect when the caller 'hangs up'. Really neat. Here's what to do: Open a Terminal window. (in the Finder navigate to Applications >> Utilities >> Terminal)

Then just type:     defaults write com.apple.ichat AutoAcceptVCInvitations 1

This sets a hidden preference within iChat that persists after iChat is closed. To undo just change the 1 to a 0.

 

Apple Store

 

iChat troubleshooting: Most issues with iChat AV can be resolved by either restarting iChat or update to the latest version. (Apple menu >> Software Update... )

The rest of the main issues involve trying to connect a USB camera without updating to System 10.5 (see above), firewall ports (see below), Vonage, Lingo or other VoIP interference (see below), or trying to video conference with a PC user who is using the wrong version of AIM (see below) or has not opened up video conferencing ports. (see below) More info on iChat can be found on this page and Apple's iChat forum is also helpful.

New buddy not showing online: If after creating a new buddy they do not show up as online (grayed out icons) but you know they are online just Log Out of AIM then Log Into AIM. Find those menu items in the upper left hand iChat menu or just type Command - L (Apple-L).

Camera is in use by another application: If you see this error message and you started up iChat after opening this web page then this page is using your camera. Bookmark this page. Close it. Then you'll see yourself in iChat. Feel free to open this page back up and a black box will appear instead of your head. The cause is that freaky, cool, see-yourself-in-this-page iSight effect that is toward the top of this web page. BTW - It is a local effect and I really am not taking over your iSight. No one can do that. More info about the that effect.

iSight - no audio out: iChat can select from any audio-in source you have. So, if you can't be heard, but can be seen, change the audio source in iChat's video preferences. Some have reported that from time to time the microphone in their iSight is no longer recognized and that they must unplug and plug back in the iSight. Before doing so, change to a different audio source in iChat preferences (not the system's Sound preference) then change back to iSight mic. I've seen that work on many occasions.

You did not respond error message: What? Of course I responded... I clicked the Accept button. Then why does iChat give an error message stating that I did not respond? Simple answer: firewall ports. You most likely got this error message when trying to video conference with a PC user who did not go through all the steps listed in the XP internal firewall settings sections. Tell them that turning off the internal firewall is often not enough... go through the entire process listed for best results. If you then still get this error message start looking at other places (your router, ISP or corporate network) that could be blocking the ports listed below.

Cannot connect using wireless: Half the people who now contact me with connection problems are using a wireless router. I am using a wireless router on our network but since it is an Apple Airport it "just works" with no fuss. Other wireless routers may have to be set up so the router to modem section is not blocking video conference ports AND the wireless to computer section is not blocking video conferencing ports.

The easiest way to tell if it is your wireless router to computer section is causing the problem is to temporarily bypass it by plugging in your computer to the wired part of your network. Then if it works you know you have a firewall port issue with the wireless connection.

Not working after upgrade: If you are experiencing a variety of problems with iChat 4 after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard the next thing to try is trashing the iChat preference file. Preference files are text files the system uses to know how you like a particular program set up. Every Mac program has one, or more, and many irregularities can be solved by trashing them. Don't worry, the program will create a clean copy the next time you launch that program.

You can find the preference file for iChat in Home Folder (the name of your user/ little 'home' icon on the left in the Finder) >> Library >> Preferences >> com.apple.iChat.plist    Quit iChat, drag that file to the trash, then restart iChat. There are three other iChat specific preference files that can be trashed if problems persist.

Camcorders not connecting: If you find your camcorder can no longer connect to iChat (you get the "camera in use by another application" error message) try re-installing QuickTime 7. It is easy to do and has helped many with the same problem. Download a clean version from www.apple.com/quicktime.

Still not working: If after everything above you still cannot video conference then it is time to isolate the problem. Move your computer off of the router and plug it directly into your modem. Move it to another location and try from there as some ISPs have old routers that block video conferencing.

Additional Support: More info on iChat and router settings can be found on Ralph John's iChat Pages. Ralph is a constant on the Apple iChat forum, which is also helpful.

PLEASE do not telephone my phone number for video conference support. Everything I know about Mac to PC video conferencing is in this tutorial. Thanks!


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Windows XP users

If you are using Windows XP (Pro or Home) then you can video conference with iChat via AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) 6.1 or higher. (also with versions 5.5 - 5.9) You do not need to sign-up for AOL to use AIM and can use any Internet connection. If you do not have AIM version 6.1 (AIM 6.0 won't work with iChat but version 5.9 does. Go figure) go to www.aim.com/get_aim/win/latest_win.adp. This web page will allow you to download the latest version of AIM. Click the Install Now button. If you want to just get a screenname click the Get a Screen Name FREE! link. For AIM 5.9 click here or see the original tutorial.

After clicking Install Now a small application will download to your computer. If asked you should Run the application, which will download the full package. After the full software package downloads you will be asked to run the installer. Agree to the terms and AIM will install. Unselect the AIM Install Options and click Continue and when the installation is complete press Launch. When AIM stats for the first time you will have to type in your Screen Name and Password, or click Get a Screen Name if you don't have one.

Once you have downloaded the installer and installed AIM, connect your camera to your PC. I recommend a USB 2.0 Hi-Speed, (not just "Full-Speed) instead of a cheaper USB 1.1 camera. I've chatted with people using either and the difference is noticeable. If you have a Firewire connection on your PC your DV camcorder should work, though you may have to leave a tape in or the door open so it does not shut off. Anyway get the highest quality camera available. Thirty dollar web cams may seem like a good deal but most often look and sound... well... less than great.

Typically, AIM users connect at 100 to 150 kpbs and at 10 fps. So make sure your connection is at least that fast.

Alternately to AIM, use Trillian, which is an all-in-one chat client that can also connect with iChat. For video conferencing you need the Pro version (a two-week free trial is available.)

Windows XP cannot fully use Apple's iSight. Drivers have not been written for the iSight to run properly on Windows XP. Video displays but the microphone is not supported.

 

AIM 5.5 lower control panel.

AIM tutorial - If you have upgraded XP to Service Pack 2 then open up internal firewall ports and change other settings before doing anything else. Turning off the firewall may not be enough so just go through the step-by-step process.

Begin AIM by selecting the AIM icon from the bottom right task bar and select the Sign On menu item. Once you are connected select the Setup button toward the lower right hand of the AIM screen. Then click on the Add Buddy button. Type in the AOL screen name of or .Mac member name (ending in .mac).

To initiate a video conference go to your buddy list and click on the name of the buddy you wish to invite. (Hover over their name and a pop-up window shows their status and mentions if their camera is on.) An IM session window will open. Toward the bottom of that screen is the video button. Click it to invite the buddy to a video conference. Once they accept and you are connected select the My Buddy tab in the video screen area.

To accept an invitation to a video conference first press the Accept button. Then select the My Buddy tab in the video screen area.

To disconnect press the Disconnect button in the My Buddy window.

To send an SMS message to a cell phone start a new instant message, enter the phone number with a plus sign in front of it in the "To" area, (+12345551212) type and send your message. Or place the phone number into your buddy list as a screen name.

 

General AIM troubleshooting: Most problems involve around these simple things: Internal Windows XP firewall settings after upgrading to SP2 (check that out first), external firewall settings in a router, camera not "seen" by AIM (camera driver issues), or no video/low frame rate (install patch below).

Black screen in My Camera window: AIM cannot compete with other programs for use of the camera. If you can "see" that the PC user's camera is connected but they cannot see themselves from AIM then there is a conflict with other software installed on the PC that is trying to access the camera. The PC user will need to quit any other application that could be trying to use the camera before AIM can have access to the camera.

No camera icon in buddy list : If the PC user can see themselves with their camera in AIM but a Mac user cannot "see" that their camera is connected (in iChat it is the camera icon next to their name) then there is most likely a firewall issue. If opening local router ports does not help (see below) move the equipment to another location to see if you can then connect. If so, then there is a firewall or other hardware device blocking access at the original location. Some universities regularly block access to video conference ports.

Cannot connect using wireless: Half the people who now contact me with connection problems are using a wireless router. I am using a wireless router on our network but since it is an Apple Airport it "just works" with no fuss. Other wireless routers may have to be set up so the router to modem section is not blocking video conference ports AND the wireless to computer section is not blocking video conferencing ports.

The easiest way to tell if it is your wireless router to computer section is causing the problem is to temporarily bypass it by plugging in your computer to the wired part of your network. Then if it works you know you have a firewall port issue with the wireless connection.

Mac user did not respond error message: If you are trying to connect to a Mac user running iChat and an error message comes up saying they did not respond don't feel bad. They are not ignoring you. It is most likely that they really did click the Accept button AND they go an error message stating that they did not respond! But why? Simple answer: firewall ports. 90% of the time it is on your side, not on the Mac.

Go through the entire process listed below to for firewall settings for best results. While you are doing that have the Mac user update their system to the latest as the version of iChat. If you then still get this error message start looking at other places (your router, ISP or corporate network) that could be blocking the ports listed below.

Still not working: If after trying everything above and opening Windows XP internal firewall ports you still cannot video conference then move your computer off of your router and plug it directly into your modem. Or move it to another location and try from there as some ISPs have old routers that block video conferencing.

Additional Support : More info on iChat, video conferencing with a PC and router settings can be found on Ralph John's iChat Pages. Rick sent in a link to a forum post he found useful for setting up AIM.

PLEASE do not telephone my number for video conference support. Everything I know about Mac to PC video conferencing is in this tutorial. Thanks!

I no longer have my PC hooked up for video conferencing so I cannot answer specific questions regarding your particular set-up.

Recommendations

Here are a few recommendations and an easy way of purchasing the recommended items through Amazon.com. I base these recommendations on 100s of different video conferences the past three years, 20+ years experience using, teaching and developing on many computer platforms, and the firm belief that quality pays for itself in the short and long run. MVLDesign.com is an Amazon associate and using the below links to purchase from Amazon helps support this tutorial.

Camera for PCs with AIM - good: Logitech QuickCam Communicate STX and FlexStand.

Camera for PCs with AIM - better: Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000.

Camera for PCs with AIM - portable: Logitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks is OK to use. The Logitech QuickCam Fusion is much better and connects at USB 2.0 Hi-Speed. For the ultimate get a QuickCam Ultra Vision.

Notebook for PCs with AIM: Though all the Apple Macs below can run Windows natively and PC World Magazine said they run Windows Vista the fastest, here are two notebooks with built-in video cameras. Sony VAIO 15.4" and Sony VAIO 14.1 ". Only get this if you already have and can only use a PC running windows. DO NOT get this for your parents or grandparents... get them an Apple iMac, they can run Windows on it if absolutely needed, though this link will be helpful.

Camera for Mac: Most new Apple Macintosh computers have a web cam built-in. If you get one that does not (Mac Mini or Mac Pro) then any USB web cam that supports USB Video Class will work with iChat. Most of the latest Logitech web cams work on a Mac and quality can be quite good since they also support USB 2.0 Hi-Speed. (see links above) I recommend Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro for Mac.

Software for Macintosh: iChat 4 comes with Mac OS X 10.5.

System for Home: If you have a keyboard and monitor you like then get a Apple Mac Mini with Intel Core 2 Duo, a Logitech QuickCam Vision Pro for Mac and The Mac OS X Leopard Book. If you need an entire computer system get the 20 inch Apple iMac Core 2 Duo.

System for Grandparents: Take my advise and you will get a computer that is simple to set up, easy to use and provide stunningly clear video conferencing to best see your children and grandchildren (life-size and very-clear if they have a good Mac). You'll be able to initiate multi-video conferences. With this you will get the best computer software for video conferencing, editing video, sorting photos, making DVDs, reading email, safely surfing the Internet, listening to music, watching movies and more. Plus no chance of automatically installed malware, spyware or Windows viruses. Don't waste time, get the following: Apple iMac with a 20 inch screen which comes with the iSight built-in. (optional - 24 inch screen iMac with iSight built-in)

I recently took my own advise, clicked on the above link, and ordered this system for a family member. Squeals of joy and many thank you's every day. Definitely a gold-star, multiple-point generating, well-received gift. :-)

System for Students: with an Intel processor, built-in iSight camera this is the best for running iTunes, video conferencing with the family back home and getting school work done: Apple MacBook.

System for Traveling on Business: with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, built-in iSight camera and much more, this is the finest portable computer ever made: Apple MacBook Pro.

System for Traveling: with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, built-in iSight camera this ground-breaking portable computer has everything you need: Apple MacBook Air.

Firewall port issues and router set up

The main roadblock to video conferencing with a PC is firewall or network router ports not opened, disallowing the video information to get through. Although you may not realize it, firewall software may be used by your Internet Service Provider, your company, your Windows XP operating system or even in the hardware in your home that connects you to the Internet. If you have a home network or broadband router, there is likely a firewall built into it. If you upgraded XP to Service Pack Two then open up the internal firewall and change other listed settings before doing anything else.

 

Windows XP internal firewall: Updating a computer running Windows XP to SP2 (Service Pack 2) may cause Mac iChat AV to AIM PC video and audio connections to fail because, by default, the firewall created by SP2 blocks UPnP communications from the Internet. If the SP2 firewall is enabled: Go to Start > Control Panel > Security Center > Manage security settings for: Windows Firewall > Exceptions tab> add or check UPnP Framework as an Exception. Select UPnP Framework and click the Edit... button. Be sure that both the TCP 2869 and UDP 1900 ports are checked and listed as 'Any' under "Scope."

If the Scope of each port is listed as 'Subnet,' click the Change scope... button, and select the 'Any computer (Including those on the Internet)' radio button. Do this for both ports, and then save the changes by clicking the OK buttons. Simple, right?

 

Mac OS X 10.5 internal firewall: Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard includes a new version of iChat that makes it easier to conduct audio and video chats through firewalls and NAT routers. It is not necessary to activate the OS X internal firewall to use iChat safely. To chat with the Mac OS X firewall active open System Preferences > Security > Firewall. Note: I do not have my internal OS X firewall turned on.

According to this article you should set the firewall to the third option: Set access for specific services and applications. The firewall will then be active and the correct ports set for iChat. That is all you need to do. All of Apple's applications in Leopard are digitally signed and trusted, so you don't need to add iChat to the list that you see.

By default, iChat 4 on Mac OS X 10.5 attempts to use UDP port 16402 for all audio-video iChat traffic. If port 16402 is not available, iChat 4 will try the next lowest port for the next ten ports, until it finds a port that it can use. So the range of ports that must be enabled in your router or firewall must include 16393-16402. See more detailed information here.

For information on earlier versions of iChat and OS X (10.3 and 10.4) please see this copy of the original video conferencing tutorial.

 

 

Click on image to see a typical router set-up for conferencing

External firewall / router settings: Click on the image on the right to see a typical Linksys router setting for opening the ports that iChat and AIM uses. For a more complete description see the page on Apple's web site Using iChat with a firewall or NAT router or the page that shows each port and what it does. If you want the short version: open ports 5060, 5353, 5678, 16393-16402 for UDP and 5190, 5297, 5298 for both UPD and TCP. D-Link router set up.

Once you have manually opened the correct ports (if you actually need to) video conferencing is quick and easy. Please note: I used to have my system behind the above pictured Linksys router and did not have any ports "opened" (even though the photo indicates I did) and had no problems connecting to PCs with AIM or Macs with iChat AV.

If opening local router ports does not help move the equipment to another location to see if you can then connect. If so, then there is a firewall or other hardware device blocking access at the original location. Some universities regularly block access to video conference ports.


My current home network settings:
Currently I am using the following as my home network to connect for video conferencing and VoIP telephone. Cox Cable Modem >> Apple Airport Extreme >> Vonage VoIP / PowerMac G4 / Linksys Ethernet Hub (model NH1005) >> Windows PC with IE 7 / Windows PC with IE 6. A 24" iMac with built-in iSight camera is connected via wireless through the Apple Airport and a USB printer and USB hard drive are connected to the Airport USB port. ZERO firewall port set-up was involved (no firewall at all) and I only used the Airport setup wizard to name and secure the wireless access point.

I can have all four computers accessing the Internet, with the two Macs engaging in separate video conferences while both Vonage VoIP lines are being used, all at the same time! Even I was impressed how easy it was to set up.

VoIP Interference

Vonage - One potential conflict with iChat and AIM is Vonage VoIP. Vonage uses the some of the same ports as iChat. (Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) port 5060 could be one.) I have a Vonage box set up in their "alternative method" and it works well.

Previously, I hooked it up in their standard configuration and found that the Vonage box was not good at letting through all the data my computer needs. Even checking email was not reliable. The standard Vonage configuration is Cable modem/DSL >> Vonage >> router >> computer(s).

The alternative way is Cable modem/DSL >> Router >> Mac / Vonage / PC connected to the router. The downside to this method is that the Vonage box can't "steal" bandwidth to maintain highest audio quality and you cannot use your browser to change settings. The good news is I hadn't noticed conflicts in over four years.

Lingo - I used to have Lingo as they offer unlimited calls to Western Europe as part of their regular home service. (Vonage now has a similar service)

First I got a D-Link DVG-1402S/L with Lingo VoIP. I tried to set up the router and open ports using their standard configuration. Only after ALL firewall ports were opened did video conferencing work well. However, once the phone is picked up the D-Link router stole almost all the bandwidth for the phone call and to top it off still gave terrible sound quality and an echo. Avoid the DGV-1402.

Next I got a regular Lingo box and set it up in the "alternative method". That is Cable modem (or DSL) >> Router >> Mac / Lingo box / PC connected to a router. Peace at last. Sounded great and I could video conference at full speed.

Web Conferencing Camera set up

I have received many comments about how natural I look while video conferencing. It is as if I am looking right into the camera while chatting. No, I did not drill a hole in my LDC monitor to get the camera at eye level. It is all a matter of careful camera placement.

iSight video conference camera

Click on iSight for full size image.

Get the camera lens as close to the top edge of the monitor as physically possible. Place the video conferencing window just below it. Then you can look your camera, and the person you're chatting with, right in the eye.

I have a few tricks I use that brings that camera right to the edge of my screen. The below trick was for my old monitor but if it worked for it it will work for your monitor too, as it's borders were a huge 2 inches wide.

My iSight video conferencing camera is connected via a SightFlex, which is a small gooseneck Firewire cable with a weighted stand. The weighted sat sat right on top of the middle leg of the original Apple 20 inch LDC Cinema Display. Then the gooseneck with the iSight camera was bent over the top of the monitor and placed upside down. (see photo) This places the camera lens right at the edge of the LCD display. With the back of the camera resting against the front of the display's border everything is stable and wiggle-free. Finally, the Upside Down setting in iGlasses was used to flip the camera output back right side up.

For the last two years I've had the Apple 30" monitor. For that I still have the iSight on the SightFlex but now it is on the side of the monitor with the camera facing a bit inward. I place the screen of the person I'm video conferencing with on the top right edge of the screen so it is right next to the camera. When I look at them I'm looking right into the camera.

 

Apple Store

 

Final Comments

I hope you find this tutorial useful. It was originally written in Winter of '03 and has been continually expanded and refined. (Last update: 13 September, 2011 ) If there is anything you have discovered that I should correct or can add please let me know by emailing me at ichat at mvldesign dot com. Thanks!

Finally, if you want the very best video conferencing experience then get an Apple iMac running iChat with an iSight built-in. It will be easy to set up, you'll never have to deal with spyware, adware, worms, malware, email viruses or, to a great extent, email spam and your Word, Excel and Power Point files can still be compatible. You'll have a better time in the short run and save time (= money) in the long run. Look how much attention to detail and ease-of-use Apple puts into a music player with the Apple iPod or how technically advanced their simple telephone is—their computers are even better. And Mac OS X is even better than the hardware, see more here. Included software for managing your digital life is first-rate, integrated and beyond anything you will see for Windows. Life is too short, gettamac.

Happy video conferencing!

 

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Also, see my Enhancing Your Podcast For iTunes tutorial, Canon PowerShot TX1 HD Camera Tips, and Fine Art by Lise Claire Wuebben of Santa Barbara & Cindy Dance Fitness Santa Barbara