Just buy a new computer? Almost all new laptops and netbooks have built-in webcams to use for video chat or video email recordings. If you are new to webcams, your first question might be: How do I use the webcam? Often there are no instructions provided with the computer, there is no icon to click, and no webcam listed under the programs list. This article describes an easy way to test a webcam to make sure it is working and enabled, how to use a computer webcam to record videos and take pictures, how to use a webcam for video mail, and how to use a webcam for video chat services.
Make sure you have a properly working webcam. The good news is we have a free website you can use to test your camera. Simply go to mailVU.com to verify that your webcam is working properly. By clicking Allow and recording a short video with mailVU’s onlne video recorder, you can make sure your image quality is clear, your lighting is good, and your mic is working properly. There is a webcam icon and a mic icon which includes a drop down list allowing you to choose among various devices. This is useful if you decide to plug in an external webcam, or use a webcam effects program. You can record yourself on our webcam video recorder and play it back. If you want, you can even send video via email – for free! Note that you can also share your videos and get a short URL to post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other place. Share mailVU with your friends as a free and easy webcam test tool.
Now that your webcam is working select a program for taking pictures and making videos from your webcam. There are many to choose from, but two we like are Debut Video Capture and CamSnap. You may download them for free, and they are very easy to use. CamSnap even includes a 6 second webcam timer – perfect for taking pictures. When downloading the software you can choose to have an icon on your desktop for easy access. Your webcam pictures and videos can be saved in your Pictures and Videos libraries, and then uploaded to your favorite site (Facebook, YouTube, etc.). ManyCam is a great webcam tool for special effects, including substituting an image for your live video. ManyCam also allows you to use your webcam in many programs simultaneously.
Earlier we mentioned the use of mailVU’s online video recorder to test your webcam and send video mail. We actually have Five Ways To Send Video Email Free. You can send free video mail to anyone on the Internet. You can send video mail without an account, or sign up for the free account and save your videos to a dashboard. If you don’t know what to record for a video mail, see this list of 101 Ways To Use Video Messaging. If you are concerned about privacy, select the self-destruct option which is only available in the account version. You can set the number of views, or number of days that the recipient can view the video before the link is automatically destroyed.
Now it’s time to consider a live video chat service to use with your webcam. There are lots of good free services you can use, including Skype, MSN, Yahoo, and Google. Facebook now has live video chat too, compliments of their integration with Skype. These services allows person to person video calling for free. You and your friend will both need to download their software to use it. You can then see if your friend is online and conduct an instant video call to them for free. You can also use your webcam for desktop video conferencing services such as Google+ hangouts.
If you don’t have a webcam you should read an article titled Which Webcam Should I Buy? which provides tips on the features and specifications to look for, and a list of recommendations in various price ranges.