Turn your PC into a video phone using a webcam
Microsoft LifeCam’s VX-1000
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For me, using Windows Live Messenger is part of everyday life. It’s invaluable for keeping in touch with friends and family over long distances – and saves a lot of money on phone calls. Also, if I need to ask a colleague a question, I can just send a message to them and they get right back to me.
Instant messaging has come a long way in the last few years. The latest version of Windows Live Messenger has incorporated shared folders, PC to PC voice calls, PC to telephone calls and now video messaging. You can see and hear your contacts even if they are on the other side of the world.
I’ve been trying out Windows Live Messenger in conjunction with Microsoft’s LifeCam VX-1000 webcam, and I’ve been surprised at how easy it is to use. Each of the Microsoft LifeCams has been designed with Windows Live Messenger in mind, and all come equipped with features to help you stay in touch. You can also use special effects during video chats, such as snow fall and butterflies, which add an element of fun to your video conversation.
Follow the steps below to get everything set up. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is with the Windows Vista Audio and Video Setup wizard guides to help you.
1. Sound and Vision
Before you get going with video calls, you need to make sure everything is working correctly. The Audio and Video Setup wizard guides you through configuring your speakers, microphone and webcam so that they are set up correctly.
2. Sound Check
Choose which audio output to use (in my case, I’m using Speakers) then click the Play Sound button to check you can hear everything OK. If necessary, simply adjust the volume using the control on the right-hand side of this panel.
3. Voice Control
The Microsoft LifeCam VX-1000 comes with a built-in microphone, so I’ve selected that to pick up my voice. After reading out the sample text, the Setup facility works out the level that the microphone volume should be set at.
4. Picture This
This step enables you to tweak the picture being taken by your webcam. Click Options to tweak the image by changing things such as contrast and brightness. Now you’re ready to make your first video call in Windows Live Messenger.
James Senior contributes to Windows Vista: The Official Magazine, and works as a technical specialist at Microsoft UK. His blog can be found at blogs.technet.com/james/
This entry was posted on Saturday, April 7th, 2007 at 8:00 and is filed under Guides. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a comment, or trackback from your own site.