Want to Do More with an iSight than Chat?

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Derrick Story

Derrick Story
Jun. 24, 2003 11:56 PM

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The minute I saw the iSight, I knew I was going to have a ball with Apple's latest hardware goodie. And indeed I have.

When combined with iChat AV, this little FireWire input device streams good looking VGA video up to 30 fps, and even better sounding audio via the dual-element microphone with noise suppression. Just make sure you have lots of bandwidth and no lettuce between your teeth.

But the fun doesn't stop with iChat AV. This is a legitimate camera that you can use for other things too, and I want to introduce you to one variation right now -- EvoCam 3.1.

I've been using this software since Evological first introduced CoolCam in the early days of Mac OS X. They've continued to refine this application since then, taking it well beyond standard webcam software. Take a look at just a few of the features listed on their site:

  • Includes built-in web server with Java-based streaming video support.
  • Supports Rendezvous for publishing your webcam on your local network. (Rendezvous-enabled Safari browsers can auto detect your iSight web images and display them.)
  • Uploads images via FTP to remote web servers.
  • Emails images as MIME attachments to your email account.
  • Saves images locally for use with Web Sharing or other web server software.
  • Includes a Java webcam applet to display your webcam image on your web page.
  • Unlimited motion sensors for automatic image capture when motion occurs.
  • AppleScript support for control and customization.
  • And more, believe it or not.

I've been using this software with my Canon DV camcorder, and quite honestly, it's been a pain in the port. The battery runs out, camera goes to sleep, it's clunky to lug around, etc, etc, etc. So the second thing I did with my iSight after setting up iChat AV, was to fire up EvoCam to see if it recognized my new toy.

Not only does EvoCam recognize iSight, it even calls it by name. And unlike using it with iChat, you can do lots of stuff without having to connect to someone on the other end of the line. Plus, the Rendezvous functionality in EvoCam is very, very cool.

EvoCam 3.1 is shareware for Mac OS X only. You can buy a license for $20 US. It's worth a look.

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit www.thedigitalstory.com.