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QC Direct from Connectix: their The Connectix QuickCam FAQ
QC QuickCam and AppleTalk Remote Access (ARA)
QC Connectix QuickCam Frame Rates
QC Connectix QuickCam Audio
QC Dealing with Flicker when shooting monitors, televisions, etc.

Related web pages

QC Cornell University's CU-SeeMe video-conferencing

I've often been asked (and I've answered) questions about the technology I use to transmit video across the Internet. (I use Cornell University's CU-SeeMe desktop videoconferencing software.)

What is the Connectix QuickCam hardware?

Connectix QuickCam

The Connectix QuickCam is a golf-ball-sized video camera (and supporting software) designed to provide video input for your Macintosh computer and Windows computers. It's inexpensive, trivial to connect and operate, and works with most software that understands QuickTime. It connects via a serial cable.

Technically, QuickCam:

QC provides images up to 320 by 240 pixels in 4-bit grey (16 shades of grey)
QC depending upon the horsepower of your Mac, you'll get up to 15 frames per second
QC draws power from your Macintosh's serial port
QC has an on-board microphone, but using it makes the audio bits compete with the video bits for the serial cable bandwidth. Use your Mac's built-in or add-on microphone
QC has a field of view of about 65 degrees (the equivalent of a 38mm lens of your 35mm camera)
QC is a fixed-focus (18 inches to infinity) camera with a maximum lens speed of f1.9

Which Macintosh models can use QuickCam?

QuickCam will work with any Macintosh that has at least a Motorola 68020 processor, one available serial port on the motherboard, 4 MB of RAM available, hard disk space available for QuickCam's supporting software (and resultant pictures and movies), and is running at least System 7.0. Therefore, it will not work with:

QC the Portable
QC the Macintosh 128 and 512
QC the Mac Plus and SE
QC the Original Classic

Can use QuickCam if I'm using Apple Unix (A/UX)?

On 10 Dec 1994 Thom Hogan (Thom_Hogan@connectix.com) said:

We have not tested QuickCam's software under AU/X; if AU/X correctly supports QuickTime, the camera should work.

On 23 Jan 1995 Benjamin Griffin said:

Myself and some others of comp.unix.aux (where I found out about your page) have tried without success. The software gives an error about the port being "in use". This is quite likely a symptom of A/UX's in-general hardware greediness. It likes to run "on the bare metal", as I've heard said. I've gotten modems and printers to work of either port, but no luck from QuickCam. QuickTime 2.0 works fine with A/UX, so that's not the issue.

On 23 Jan 1995 Kenneth R. Brownsberger said:

I tried installing the latest version of QuickCam and appropriate software on a MacIIsi running A/UX v. 3.1.1. QuickTime 2.0 and Apple Media Tuner 2.0.1 work fine, but A/UX ties up the printer and modem ports, so QuickCam isn't recognized. It's possible that one could deactivate one or both of the ports and get QuickCam to work, but I didn't try. Also, the installer disks won't load the software in the System folder on the '/' disk. You have to install it on another disk and drag it over to the correct System folder by hand.

Just wanted to let you know that it doesn't work straight out of the box. You'd have to fuss with it, and even then, if might not work.

What software is bundled with QuickCam?

The floppy diskettes that come in the triangular (!) QuickCam box contains an installer that will copy the following to your start-up hard disk:

QC QuickMovie - a basic application that lets you create and edit QuickTime movies
QC QuickPICT - a basic application that lets you create still PICTures
QC QuickFrame - an application that lets you create pictures to replace your Mac's desktop pattern or to create a gallery of pictures (you know, those mattes that have a bunch of holes in which to put a collection of related (wedding) pictures)
QC QuickSaver, an After Dark module - (if you have an After Dark folder in your System folder)
QC QuickCam extention - needed by the Macintosh to access QuickCam
QC QuickCamMic extention - needed by the Macintosh to access QuickCam microphone
QC QuickTime 2.0 - (if you don't already have it) needed by the Macintosh to generate motion pictures
QC Apple Multimedia Tuner 2.0 - (if you don't already have it) fixes bugs in QuickTime 2.0

Which of my applications will work with QuickCam?

Well, according to Connectix, the current versions of Adobe Illustrator, Adobe PhotoShop, Aldus FreeHand, Aldus Persuasion, Aldus SuperPaint, Aldus PageMaker, Being There, Claris MacWrite Pro, Claris FileMaker Pro, Claris MacDraw, Claris Works, CU-SeeMe, Deneba Canvas, Quark XPress, MacroMind Director, Microsoft Word (although I personally won't upgrade past Word 5.1 until Microsoft gets the lead out of Word 6.*, which is a resource pig), Premiere, Sound Edit Pro, WordPerfect for Mac, and "virtually every other word processor, page layout, presentation, and graphics program."

Where may I buy QuickCam?

Pretty much every well-stocked computer store (CompUSA, CompuTown, ComputerWare, Fry's, Computer City, Egghead) and mail-order shop (MacWarehouse, MacConnection, MacMall, Mac's Place, Rocky Mountain).

What are the known problems and incompatibilites?

Known incompatibilities, bugs, etc.

On 12 Dec 1994 Thom Hogan (Thom_Hogan@connectix.com) said:

What about ARA (AppleTalk Remote Access)?

On Fri, 13 Jan 1995 Rob Westergaard of Connectix Tech Services said:

I don't think you're going to like my answer. Basically, your set-up requires 3 serial ports, and you only have 2.

Your modem uses the modem port, so QuickCam can't go there.

AppleTalk (for ARA) keeps the _logical_ printer port active (even though the _physical port is empty), so QuickCam can't go there, either.

We're working on a software change to address the printer port problem, but we have to be very careful about it - we can't just blast over the printer port, in case it actually is in use by AppleTalk.

However, even if this were available today, I don't think you'd be happy with the overall performance. Your connection to the 610 is limited by your modem's speed - for the sake of this explanation, I'll assume it's a 9600 baud modem of some sort (even if it were a 14.4 or 28.8 modem, this explanation would be pertinent). 9600 baud is 9600 bits per second. One frame of video (160x120 pixels at 4 bits/pixel) is 9600 _bytes_ of information. Therefore, a 9600 baud connection would allow you to exchange at most one frame of video every 8 seconds. Even with a much faster (28.8) modem, this rate would still only be one frame every 3 seconds, which isn't enough for videoconferencing.

With an Ethernet connection between the machines, videoconferencing is quite viable - on our Ethernet LAN here at work, we've gotten frame rates over 10 frames/sec using CU-SeeMe.

On Fri, 13 Jan 1995 Christopher Davis replied:

Go to the Network control panel. Select "remote only".

This will free up the printer port, as it will no longer be "in use" by LocalTalk. This is not "new" and Connectix doesn't have to change anything. This has been part of ARA since 1.0. Similarly, if you are using EtherTalk (say you have an ISDN etherbridge or similar connection to the Internet) your printer port will be available.

On Tue, 17 Jan 1995 John Harrison replied:

I think if you are using ethernet, your printer port is still active (some wierd mac thing...) The work-around I had to do was to put my modem on the printer port and tie the camera to the modem port (ethernet on the ethernet port). Otherwise the printer port is still held open.

What about QuickCam with the Web?

"Bill" said:

I have it taking a picture every 15 minutes. Then I have a script on my SPARC that ftps to my Mac, does a binary "get" on the saved PICT file, converts the pict to a GIF, then moves it to my directory so it's visible from my web page.

See also...

Francisco Luis Roque has put together his own QuickCam page.

Have you found errors nontrivial or marginal, factual, analytical and illogical, arithmetical, temporal, or even typographical? Please let me know; drop me email. Thanks!

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