Video Connectivity

August 20, 2008 at 4:01 pm | Posted in Media, Security, Software | 2 Comments

Webcams have a remarkable range of uses – security, location monitoring, videophone, event capture, and more. Lots of programs support them – instant messaging, Skype, and so on. But they suffer from one flaw – quality usually sucks. Why not use your DV (digital video) Camera as a webcam?

If you live in the Mac world, this is pretty simple. Plug your DV camera into a firewire port (sometimes USB too) and put it Camera mode. Voila, DV quality picture. For things like video conferencing, you actually may need to lower the quality settings to ensure a smooth transmission.

Some cameras have trouble if there’s a tape in. You may also have to turn off any demo or screensaver mode that may kick in after about 5 minutes. Just browse the Menu or manual for settings. Oh – and plug it in.

Windows users have a little more challenge. Even though it technically can do this, there is usually a little messing around to get it working. In the Skype forums, they suggested a few tools.

Trackercam **, a free program made by makers of camera motion hardware. I tried this one but it didn’t find the camera – it did find the other drivers though. I suspect I need to update drivers for the camera or fix a WMA issue I’m having.

SplitCamera is also free and has evidently solved the issue for several. But it has a designed 1+ second lag which may make it unsuitable for things like videoconferencing.

Someone else suggested Willings Software. Their package is $30 for the Lite version and $60 for full. There’s a feature comparison on the home page.

Note that the products are designed to enhance webcam functionality but allow for DV Cams in the process.



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  1. […] I touched on over on Video Connectivity, you can use a regular video camera for a better picture and the ability to pan, zoom and such. […]


  2. ** as a followup on TrackerCam – in a recent system review, I discovered the long uninstalled TrackerCam software was throwing system errors. Turns out it had left behind a phantom hardware device that was being called by some old registry entries, trying to start a non-existent service. I would not recommend testing any software that leaves behind junk like this, bogging the system on every boot.

    The WMA issue was due to the same type of problem with another former piece of hardware with a TV tuner. Just drafting a post on how I fixed the issues.


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