How does a webcam work?There are two different ways to use a webcam at home — through e-mail and with instant messaging programs.
E-mail your video filesTouse a webcam with e-mail, first launch the software that comes with thecamera. Depending on the model, the process of e-mailing and recordingyour video messages may vary. Press Start or Record to begin the videomessage. Click Stop and then preview the video. You can then clickE-mail or Send, which will automatically open your default e-mailprogram (Outlook 2007).
When sending a video e-mail, the longerthe video message recorded, the bigger the attachment will be, so makesure the recipient’s computer can handle the size. The recipient of thee-mail does not need special software to see your video message; he orshe simply chooses to open the attachment and the mini-movie will play.
Instant MessagingA popular way to chat with webcams is in “real-time” with instant messaging programs such as Windows Live Messenger
. Note that both ends must have a webcam to chat visually.
Duringa chat, there will be an option to start the webcam right on thescreen, or under the Options or Tools pull-down menu. In Windows LiveMessenger, click Actions > Video > Start a video chat. If youhappen to have a Microsoft LifeCam, starting a video chat is eveneasier.
The Windows Live Call button is similar to speed-dialingon your phone. Pressing the Call Button — located at the top of theLifeCam — will automatically bring up your buddy list, showing youwhich contacts are online. Simply pick one and start your video chat.
Youcan also blog your webcam photos. For example, the LifeCam one-touchblogging feature allows you to take a still photograph with yourLifeCam and post it directly to your Windows Live Space blog. Instantshow and tell, if you will.
To show off your favourite webcam pics, head to the Windows Live Spaces homepage
, click Create your space, and start expressing yourself!
Helpful hintsBefore you start using your webcam, follow these tips on security, operation and webcam etiquette.
- It’s highly unlikely — but not impossible — that someone would try tohack into your webcam to tap into the conversation or use the webcam tospy on you, says Payette. Sending recorded video messages via e-mail ismore secure than real-time Internet chatting.
- Here’s alittle-known fact about some webcams: the user has the option to turnon a motion sensor function that transforms the device into a “nannycam” so it’ll begin recording once it senses movement.
- Don’t expect terrific video quality. It’s often possible to adjust theresolution by toying with the webcam’s software settings. But thehigher the quality, the choppier the video frame rates.
- Some webcams require an additional microphone to record audio, so check before buying.
- Adjust your camera’s focus, point it towards your face and, mostimportantly, look right into the “eye” of the webcam so your friends onthe other end see more than just your forehead.
- Webcam netiquette and dress are just like real-life: be polite, be courteous, and wear something casual but presentable.