The Connectix QuickCam FAQ

    The Connectix QuickCam FAQ

    The Connectix QuickCam FAQ

    In addition to this FAQ, there’s a page dedicated to the Connectix

    in general.

    Hardware Technical Questions

    Summary: QuickCam is a QuickTime compatible video camera which also includes a


    Having a QuickCam attached to your Mac is like having a AV Mac with

    a camcorder connected.

    No, QuickCam will only work plugged into a serial port on the Macintosh’s


    Yes. The cable should not extend beyond 12 feet. At longer lengths you will see

    black “snow” in the video image.

    With the current software, only one QuickCam will be recognized at a time. You

    may manually switch between multiple QuickCam’s with a serial switchbox, if the

    switchbox correctly switches all eight pins of the cable and the total cable

    length from the computer to the camera is no more than 12 feet.

    PhoneNet is only needed if you’re using something that requires

    LocalTalk, such as an Appleshare network or an Apple Laserwriter printer.

    QuickCam does not use LocalTalk and thus does not use or require a PhoneNet

    connection. An A/B box is used to MANUALLY switch between two things hooked into

    one serial port (i.e., you can’t use both items simultaneously). We find that

    many users have a modem and a QuickCam, and thus want to share that port, since

    they never use both things simultaneously.

    QuickCam will produce about 15 fps on most Macs in a window size of 120×160. FYI

    – Saturday morning cartoons are twelve frames per second. A few Macs will only

    achieve 10-12 fps. These include the SE/30, IIcx, IIvx, and PowerBook 165c. At

    smaller window sizes, frame rates are higher (e.g., 30 fps at 80×120), at larger

    window sizes frame rates are lower (e.g., about 4 fps at 320×240).

    Nothing. QuickCam comes with everything you need to make movies and take pictures.

    Yes, because QuickCam uses direct digital video instead of NTSC or PAL, QuickCam

    will work on all QuickTime compatible Macintoshes. Since it draws its power from

    the computer, you do not need special power adapters.

    Fixed focal means that anything greater than a fixed distance is in focus. With

    QuickCam anything at a distance of greater than 18 inches is in focus. There’s no

    need for you to focus.

    QuickCam has a tripod mount on the bottom and is spherical. It would be easy to

    build a case in which it fit (remember to leave room for the cable to escape).

    Mount the camera to the case via the tripod socket.

    The CCD is probably the most temperature sensitive element and is rated by its

    manufacturer as being capable of working from -10*C to 40*C. In the course of

    Connectix’ testing for various certifications, the camera was subjected to

    extended testing from 32*F to 90*F.


    We’ve had reports from users who have successfuly used QuickCam on an Amiga

    running the Emplant Mac Emulator. Connectix has done no testing on an Amiga and

    can’t vouch for these results, but if you have that emulator it might be worth a


    Software Technical Issues

    Summary: Any application that correctly implements QuickTime video or audio is

    compatible with QuickCam. Any application that accepts PICT files is compatible with the

    QuickPICT software supplied with QuickCam. – QuickTime 2.0 is included with


    QuickCam comes with: – QuickMovie: a movie recording application that includes

    simple cut-and-paste editing functions and the ability to do time-lapse video. –

    QuickPICT: an application that allows you to take still photos – QuickSaver: an

    AfterDark compatible video screen saver module – QuickFrame: a desktop photo

    gallery application – QuickTime 2.0 – Apple Multimedia Tuner (Apple’s patch to

    QuickTime 2.0)

    QuickCam is a standard QuickTime device. Any software that writes to Apple’s

    published QuickTime vdig API (as documented in Inside Macintosh)

    will work with QuickCam.

    Under special cases we will release this information. You must sign a

    non-disclosure and special license agreement. Send your request to


    Several items affect frame rate: – A movie records faster at a smaller frame size

    than a larger frame size. For instance a movie recorded at 160×120 will be faster

    than a movie recorded at 320×240. – Using the Mic that comes with your Mac will

    give you the faster frame rate. – The setting you choose for fps. With QuickCam

    you can select your frame rate. – The speed of your hard drive – The speed of

    your Macintosh’s serial port – Whether any extensions are running in the

    background (File Sharing and networks, for example) – The amount of light where

    you point QuickCam (in low light situations, the shutter speed slows down frame


    Yes, to do this we have implemented the VOX (voice activated recording) feature

    of the Sound Manager (pre-MacOS 7.5 folks may get the Sound Manager 3.0


    It’s going to be different with different frame rates, compression types, CPU

    speeds, etc…, but here are some examples: 320×240 PICT ~ 64k 160×120 10 second

    movie (uncompressed) ~5MB 160×120 10 second movie (compressed) ~1MB.


    Teleconferencing sends information over the telephone lines which are probably

    too slow to handle video data (QuickCam generates over 2Mbits a second of data at

    maximum frame rates, which is more than virtually any modem can handle). You can

    do videoconferencing with QuickCam via Ethernet, ISDN, or other networks

    greater than approx. 128k bits per second.

    Usually. However, well-written videoconferencing applications balance network

    load so that this does not inhibit other traffic.

    Anything that is QuickTime compatible should be compatible with QuickCam.

    Products known to work are: – MovieTalk by Apple (unreleased technology as of

    this writing) – BeingThere PRO by Intelligence at Large – CU-SeeMe by Cornell

    University CU-SeeMe is available by FTP at

    You are looking for the following file(s): CU-SeeMePPc0.80b1 – for Power Macintosh

    models CU-SeeMe68k0.80b1 – for 680×0 Macs The first version of CU-SeeMe that

    worked with QuickCam was version 0.70b13.

    If you had video conferencing software that worked on multiple platforms you

    would be able to do this. For example, CUSeeMe allows video conferencing between

    Macs and PCs running Windows.

    That was a technology demo of QuickCam and an unreleased product from Apple

    called MovieTalk. We will be able to provide you with more information as the

    release date of MovieTalk gets closer.

    AppleScript allows the user to automate common tasks (it’s similar to writing

    robust macros). QuickCam is a video input device which is controlled by

    applications. If the application that is controlling QuickCam is Apple scriptable

    (like Adobe Premiere) then you can script QuickCam. The applications we provide

    with QuickCam are currently not scriptable; this is the number-one user

    feature request, so we are looking at implementing it.

    Top Technical Support Questions

    You should use QuickCam’s microphone, not the built-in microphone. Apple designed

    PowerBooks so that the hard drive is automatically spun down whenever the

    built-in microphone is activated.

    Apple did not implement TV Tuner correctly: it looks for the first video device

    it finds.

    This can be caused by: – Trying to use CU-SeeMe with a modem slower than 32Kbps.

    – Having “Push to Send” activated, but you forgot to push the button. – A problem

    CU-SeeMe has with non-Apple microphones on networks (e.g., the QuickCam’s

    internal microphone won’t work, but the Apple-supplied microphone will; this

    problem also affects products like MacRecorder, and is not a QuickCam


    Your PowerBook doesn’t have enough power on the serial port to run the camera.

    Call technical support to order a power adapter for your computer, available for

    a $9.95 shipping and handling charge.

    About one-third of the 605/475 motherboards cannot hold communications with

    QuickCam. We have a software patch available that corrects this problem. Call

    Connectix technical support to obtain a copy. This patch is included with all

    QuickCam’s starting with version 1.0.2.

    QuickCam Futures

    Connectix has announced that it is working on a color version of QuickCam and

    will offer an upgrade path to current QuickCam owners. No further details are

    available at this time. (Note: color cameras will produce more data, and your

    storage requirements for movies will at least double.)

    Connectix is investigating the feasability of producing a Newton version.

    However, the Newton’s current screen is incapable of displaying grayscale

    pictures, so it is probably impractical at this time.

    Connectix has announced that it is working on an IBM PC version of QuickCam. No

    further details are available at this time.

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









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