|Logitech QuickCam Ultra Vision SE Webcam|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: WebCam | Camera|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Wednesday, 09 May 2007|
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Closer Look: QuickCam Software
Installation was extra-simple; so easy that even your grandmother could install the QuickCam Ultra Vision (assuming grandma has a Pentium 4 2.4GHz PC with Windows 2000, XP, or Vista). A tag is attached to the cap which covers the USB port on the QuickCam, so there's no excuse for not installing the software before you start plugging in the camera. Initially, I installed the software from the included CD-ROM (version 10.5). Make sure to get the latest software for the QuickCam Ultra Vision Special Edition direct from Logitech here before you start, because you will be sent there anyway if the software on the CD is older (which it was).
Logitech offers a service called VideoCall. This would be a good time to refresh your memory regarding my long introduction which included the VideoPhone of another era. Logitech's VideoCall software allows you to share conversations with friends and family in real time using Logitech VideoCall for Broadband. After a relatively easy configuration process you can begin experiencing the clear audio and smooth video provided by VideoCall. The software even allows you to share pictures while you talk!
Logitech Video Effects is a fun application, designed exclusively for compatible Logitech web cameras such as the QuickCam Ultra Vision, which enables you to personalize your on screen appearance using Avatars and Face Accessories. The avatars are fully-animated 3D renderings that replicate the facial movements of the webcam user, and Face Accessories are 2D images such as hats or glasses that are superimposed on your video image. If you or aren't a very exciting subject, you can dress up dull images by adding glasses, a mustache, a hat or a crown. Video Effects face accessories use the same fundamental technology as the avatars so that the accessory moves with you. Unlike the avatars, the original source video is kept intact and the animated accessory is overlaid on top of the image.
Working with the video can be fun, even for a seasoned professional like me. At first I thought this would turn into a boring review (hopefully it hasn't), and then I discovered that Logitech offers dozens of free video avatars and video effects for facial mockups on their site. I was so excited to see some animated figure taking on my facial likeness.
Unfortunately, due to either QuickCam and IE7 compatibility issues, or software engineering issues, my playtime was cut short. I tried for hours to make the Video Effects feature to work, and even using QuickCam v10.5.1 build 2029 (latest version at the time of this article) didn't help. Later I learned that I am not alone, because there are at least a few reviews mentioning the quirks of the Video Effects feature in Logitech's QuickCam software. Furthermore, the Logitech support forums seems to have some very informed members, because they are not only aware of the problem but they have suggested how Logitech can fix it. Hopefully Logitech will learn to listen.
Here is a video example of what I could have been playing with. Additionally, a the images below give a basic idea as to what the Video Effects are capable of. Until Logitech releases a new version of their software, it looks like I will have to wait to play with Video Effects.
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