Exploring Beyond iChat
OK, enough of this simple stuff. You're probably not an iChat virgin and are looking for a something a little more hardcore to rekindle your techno-lust.
Like any other, your relationship with your iSight can probably benefit from a little primping, after all, what geek doesn't find dressing up their hardware with accessories a turn on? Don't be embarrassed or shy; this is perfectly natural and a part of geek love.
Most geeks will tell you that glasses are in fact a sexy addition to a significant other's wardrobe, and the same is true with the iSight. Although not designed specifically to accept additional lenses, the iSight's optics are very forgiving, so don't be afraid to experiment a little. If you already have some 37mm lenses in your stable, Kaidan makes a convenient lens adapter for the iSight. If you have other sizes of filters or lenses, you can easily make your own with a piece of tubing, some duct tape, and a bit of creativity. (See, I told you this would be sexy!)
If you haven't already, be sure check out our article, "You Sexy Thing, Looking Good on iSight," which includes many tips and tricks on using filters and lenses, including a lens-holder hack for the iSight, and details about how to set up your camera to make you look as great as possible.
They say being flexible can really add to your love life, and as a happy owner of a SightFlex, I'd have to agree. This iSight accessory from MacMice puts your camera at the end of a flexible gooseneck, one that can be twisted and bent into pretty much any shape you'd like. No more clamps, lost plastic connectors, or any of the other frustrations associated with the standard iSight mounts. It adds a degree of freedom to your iSight that is missing from Apple's mounts, and this ability to easily point your camera anywhere greatly enhances the iSight experience. But enough of me trying to bend your will; if you are you are the curious type, you can read more about the SightFlex in my review.
Lights On or Lights Off?
If you are ever in need of some mood lighting, then the Griffin SightLight may be just the ticket for you. The SightLight is a Firewire-powered accessory that slips over the iSight, with the goal of shedding some light on the subject in front of the camera. And illuminate it does! If you've ever wanted to add a touch of glamour to your video conferencing, as if you are appearing on the nightly TV news or iChatting by the glare by your paparazzi's lights, then this accessory is for you. But if you do have one, it's probably not something you'd want to leave turned on, unless of course you feel comfortable enduring police interrogation techniques.
Since the recent iSight firmware update, which did wonders for the iSight's low-light capabilities, chances are you probably won't need an SightLight except in cases of extremely low light. However, the SightLight does turn out to be handy in a few other ways. You don't have to attach it to an iSight. In fact, it's a Firewire-powered illumination source in its own right. Invaluable in dark dingy hotel rooms, or during power failures when all you have time for is to grab your laptop. (You obviously have your priorities straight. ) Or, if you ever find yourself stranded in the wilderness with just your PowerBook and a SightLight, it will serve as a powerful search and rescue beacon. In a worst case scenario, if this article doesn't help rekindle you and your camera's relationship, you can always turn your unused iSight into a stylish desk lamp.
|Griffin's SightLight: iSight accessory or Borg fashion?|
Here's where things get really kinky. Imagine stumbling across someone who is in front of their Mac flapping their arms, moving their body in strange gyrations, and reaching out into thin air to grab things. No, you haven't come across a rare and undocumented Mac geek mating ritual, you've encountered a ToySighter.
ToySight is a relatively new app from UK developers StrangeFlavour. It uses an iSight, or other video camera, to put you in the middle of the gaming action. Stand in front of the camera, choose one of the nine games included in the package, and prepare to get busy. Move your hands to aim your weapons, wave your arms up and down to activate sliders, flap your arms and soar through a virtual sky.
|ToySight developer Aaron plays The Plank!|
In ToyWar, you can even sample real objects and add them into the games. ToySight takes a snap of what it sees in the camera (they recommend a real toy) and places it in an arena, where it battles another toy supplied by a friend. Or you can be like me and use your face as a weapon:
|Is The Man with the X-Ray Vision invincible?|
ToySight is a hoot to play, increases the usability of your iSight, and it even has the side benefit of giving you an upper body workout. Are you going to feel a little goofy playing it? Perhaps, but don't worry, your iSight isn't going to reveal your deep, dark, dorky secrets. Are you going to have a great time? Definitely!
I suspect ToySight to be just the first of many iSight-tailored apps that will appear as more developers play with the hardware. Imagine hooking up your iSight and playing a virtual GarageBand drum kit, or getting in shape with DDR-style workout programs.
Many people want to use their iSight as a simple video camera, and there are several apps available that will let you do this, including QuickTime Broadcaster, iVeZeen, and iMovie. My favorite, however, is MacMice's GCam, a free way to enhance your iSight's capabilities. Like many of these kinds of apps, GCam runs on top of the Apple QuickTime engine, so all of the file format and compression features of QuickTime are available when viewing, recording, and saving your clips (depending upon whether you use QuickTime or QuickTime Pro).