How to Get Started with Webcams …

Video calling may seem a bit like science fiction if you haven’t tried it before, but it’s used by millions of people every year to keep in touch with friends and family.

My job requires me to travel a lot and without video-calling I’m not sure I’d survive the distance from my family. It still amazes me that I can be in China and celebrate my husband’s birthday over a video call even though he is in the U.S.

Getting started with video calling can be daunting. Once you have your webcam and your computer, make sure you have a good broadband connection. Now here comes the tricky part: You have to decide which free video calling software you’d like to use; just remember that you and your friend/family member will have to use the same software.

I can recommend a few – all available as free Web downloads. Skype is my favorite because it offers high quality video if you have a Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000 or Logitech QuickCam Pro for Notebooks webcam. This might seem like a shameless plug – and of course it is – but these two webcams do have the best image quality on the market.

Windows Live Messenger has very good quality video calling and is widely used. If both you and the person you’re calling have Macs then you can use iChat, although Skype offers better quality for the Mac and lets you talk to a friend using a PC.

How to register for an account and locate the video calling feature isn’t always apparent. To help, Logitech developed some how-to guides to get you started on video calling, which you can find here.

I hope you have fun with your webcam and video calling – I’d love to hear about your experiences and maybe some time we can do a video call.

Author

Vice President, Internet Communications

18 comments

  • My webcam is: Logitech QuickCam Orbit AF.
    Please tell me how I can use that in Skype.
    Thanks, douglas

  • hi, i really wanna buy a logitec webcam but i am running XP 64 bit and i have had endless problems with other devices not functioning. are the newer logitec webcams etc compatible with xp 64 bit???

    thanks

  • hi,

    I have a Mac OSX 10.4 and I buy a logitech communicate MP, how can i use my webcam with my computeron Skype ?

    Thanks,Lynda

    • Unfortunately the QuickCam Communicate MP does not offer full compatibility with Mac computers since there are no software drivers, but you can get basic functions up an running. Begin by connecting the Logitech webcam to the Mac. After your Logitech webcam is installed and working, check that you are using the most recent version of Skype for Mac (which you can download from http://skype.com/download)

      Also ensure, that your computer software is up-to-date – run Software Update by clicking the Apple logo on the menu bar and selecting “Software Update”. Additional hardware such as webcams, sound cards, etc. should also have their drivers updated. Please contact the individual manufacturers of your additional hardware for details of the most up to date drivers.

      If your video camera does not have drivers for Mac OS X (which the QuickCam Communicate MP does not), please use the drivers available from http://webcam-osx.sf.net/

      Make sure that the correct video device (webcam) is selected in Skype, under Skype > Preferences > Video and also, in the same preference pane the checkbox Enable Skype video, is checked.

      Finally, check that you have closed all other applications that might be using the webcam.

      These include: Video editing software, instant messengers (e.g. iChat), browsers (e.g. Safari or Firefox) and open the “Finder“ window (video is sometimes previewed here). Simply restarting both Skype and Mac may also help.

      Happy video calling!

  • I have Logitech Quickcam Communicate STX that will not funtion with Yahoo messenger, Why. It works for the installation and works when not in Yahoo messenger. Tryed all option given by install instuctions and web advice. What can be wrong???????

    • Hi Jim – I’m sorry to hear about your problems getting the QuickCam Communicate STX working with Yahoo. We have some very good troubleshooting tips in our customer support forums and step-by-step information here.

      If you are still having trouble, please contact Logitech’s customer support team via email or phone so we can get you up and running!

  • Hi, I have a logitech webcam but I dont know the model of it. It’s white mostly with blue around the outside of the lens and in a little patch above that with a white button in the middle. Please Help!!!!

  • Gina,
    I was talking to the Canadian office in reference to webcams for classroom applications. It seems that manfacturers are overlooking a huge opportunity. None of the cuurent webcams are suitable for a classroom conference application. I am heading up a project to network First Nations students and classrooms across Toronto and Ontario. The average webcam is suitable for face to face conferencing but in my environment we need to track a teacher or guest speaker around the room, zoom up on the face of a student asking a question. The orbit cam doesn’t offer the flexibilty required. Optical and mechanical zooms are needed and the ability to place the camera on a tri-pod to follow a guest. The average class might be able to afford a couple hundred dollars but all the solutions I have seen are at the professional level which cost thousands. With school boards around North American building portals for the secure use of live webcasting and voice chat … where is logitech’s solution?

    Pondering solutions.
    Scott

  • We have a new Logitech QuickCam Communicate MP (S5500) web cam. The video portion of the camera works fine, and the audio portion works fine when just recording videos with the camera. But when making a video call (via MSN IM) they can only see us, not hear us. Any suggestions for what we need to do??? Thanks!

  • im really new to all this. i have a dell comp w/internet from comcast – im also in windows live where i cant chat w/any1 . i have a quickcam communicator mp. it works fine , and has a built in mic – but i cant seem to get it (audio) working. please (in simple terms) tell me what i need to do. PLEASE HELP

    • Hi Patti,

      Have you taken a look at our getting-started tutorial? I would also recommend contacting customer support. They can walk through the setup process with you and will also troubleshoot what’s going on with the audio.

      Best,
      Gina

  • I have either the Communicate Deluxe or the Deluxe 7500 (can’t find it anywhere on the cam) and just updated my MSN Messenger to Windows Live. The video comes up upon offering my cam but when accepted by the other party, it crashes. If my cam is requested.. crashes. Yes, I can take pictures as well as video with the camera outside Messenger. I have updated the software as well as the drivers but still NOTHING! This is very frustrating! Do you have any idea how to fix this short of purchasing a camera not made by Logitech???

  • I bought the logitech quickcam communicate mp. I’m running in linux I get the vidio just fine but no audio? Can you help

    Thank You

  • Hi Gina,

    I apologize if you’ve already covered this: do you have an ETA for Windows 7 64-bit for the 9000? BTW, as a former Product Manager, I really appreciate your blog w/direct access to the Marketing folks.

    • Hi James,

      Beta drivers for Windows 7 64-bit are now available, although we are not offering support for Windows 7 until the official launch on October 22.

      Cheers, Gina

  • Hi I have a Logitech Quickcam Chat and it is supposed to work with Yahoo Messenger, but my friend and I have tried everything and I still can’t get my web cam to work with Yahoo Messenger. Is there anything I should try that I might not have? Please give me some suggestions.
    Thanks

    • Hi Sammie,

      You should definitely contact customer support to sort out the connectivity issues with your friend. Alternatively, you could download our new (and free!) Logitech Vid software, which allows you to video call with friends and family using email addresses instead of a chat client (e.g. Yahoo! Messenger).

      Cheers, Gina

  • Hi Gina,

    I recently purchased a Logitech Quickcam S5500 but cannot seem to load it on my Apple Mac. Please help

    • Hi Shantel,

      That model is not compatible with Mac computers. You probably want to check out the QuickCam Vision Pro.

      Cheers, Gina

  • HI Gina
    we have a Mac Mini and have received a logitech QuicCam Pro 9000, as I know very little about computers I am wondering if this camera is compatible for our computer, I need it for skype. I f it is not please could you advise me as to which camera would be o.k. for our computer.
    Many thanks Celia

    • Hi Celia,

      As I recommended to Shantel above, you want to order the QuickCam Vision Pro, which is compatible with Mac computers. Unfortunately, the QuickCam Pro 9000 is not.

      Cheers, Gina

  • Hello,
    I recently just bought the Logitech Quickcam Communicate MP and it seems to work find on its own as a camera but I cannot get it to operate in video calls with windows live, it freezes or takes minutes to just tell me the session has been ended. It isn’t a problem with the other person I am contacting because that person’s webcam has always worked with video call. My internet is also not a problem because I have about 10 mbps and my old webcam worked fine when I just had 1 mbps.

    Please help, I really don’t want to return it because of compatibility but it’s pointless and a waste if I can’t use it.

  • I just purchased a Logitech Quickcam Communicate MP Plus S 5500. I can not get the video to work with windows live messenger version 2009 (Build 14.0.8089.726)
    I am running Windows XP Pro 32 bit SP 3. When I video call someone I can see and hear them in the top box and see myself in the bottom box. They can hear me only. No picture. Just a picture with a webcam and a small red X. I have done the audio video set up within messenger. I have uninstalled and re-installed the Logitech software. I am out of suggestions to get this working. I purchased the same camera for a family member and got it work on their system perfectly. They also run XP 32 bit. I am out of ideas.

    Frank

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