Have you ever used the built-in iSight camera on your iMac or MacBook Pro for video conferencing – or anything else for that matter – only to get REALLY frustrated with the lack of controls over exposure and color?
Yeah, me too.
Recently, I’ve been teaching some online courses which all use Adobe Connect – a piece of software that needs to be retired, soon – in my opinion. And every time I use the built-in camera on my iMac, I look over exposed.
I did some research and found that, while Apple doesn’t provide any adjustments for their camera, that doesn’t mean the camera can’t be adjusted. In fact, it can – it just takes a bit more software.
Enter iGlasses. iGlasses works with Messages, FaceTime, Skype and web chat apps like Google Talk and Facebook video. With some kludging, I can also get it to work within Adobe Connect.
Published by eCamm, a Massachusetts firm started by two twin brothers – Ken and Glen Aspeslagh – they specialize in creating clever utilities for audio and video. I’ve been using their Call Recorder for Skype every week for the last year or so, recording interviews for the Digital Production Buzz.
Call Recorder is upgraded frequently, is rock solid and does everything it’s supposed to do. A second utility that I also use every week is Ecamm Movie Tools, which extracts the audio from Call Recorder. Both of these utilities are solid and well-built and provide excellent quality.
The quality of their other software made me interested in trying iGlasses. iGlasses provides two key benefits when using the built-in iSight camera:
Which of these you are most interested in is, I suspect, strongly dependent upon your age.
Price: $19.95 (US) 7-day free trial available
Installation is easy. Download the software from their website and install. The whole process takes about two minutes.
Start any application that uses the video camera and this dialog appears. I’m using the demo currently, which provides full access to all features for 7 days. More than enough time for you to decide if you like it or not.
NOTE: This dialog goes away once you purchase the software.
This is me, looking depressed in FaceTime because the camera is blowing out highlights and adding other woeful things.
This is me, after applying a few adjustments in iGlasses. Much gooder!! (Though, um, I should try to look happier.)
Click the Adjustments icon in the floating control panel and iGlasses gives us access to nine different camera adjustments. For the image above, I turned off Auto-exposure and Auto White Balance and moved both sliders a bit to the left.
The sharpness setting is a bit too aggressive, but applying a very small amount can improve the apparent focus of older cameras.
NOTE: The Temperature setting works backwards to what we are used to. Yellow is normally on the left.
These settings are such simple things, but they make a huge amount of difference in the quality of the image.
For those less interested in good looking video, Ecamm also provides something like 50 different effects.
Click the Effects icon at the top of the floating panel and access a wide range of, um, eye-popping effects.
For example, this is Tryptamine. Should you wish, you can adjust the amount of the effect and, ah, how much glow it has.
Using the Zoom & Flip feature, we can zoom, rotate, flip and mirror images.
And, in a feature that I like a lot, using the Presets button, we can save our settings to save us time in the future, or access a variety of existing presets that lean more toward effects than image quality.
We can also pause the camera, as well as hide the small control panel. If you need it again, you can access it from the menu bar at the top of your screen.
I’m impressed. iGlasses solves a problem that we can’t easily fix any other way, from a company with a track record of supporting its products. Download the free trial and let me know what you think. It’s clearly geared toward a younger crowd that wants to create silly videos. But, we can still use it to make our iSight camera look a whole lot better, as well.
Final Cut Pro X 10.4
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