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.