Video Conferencing for the Rest of Us

© Morris Firebaugh

RK-MUG, November 12, 2003


A. Previous Attempts of Video Confereencing

B. Characteristics of iSight

C. Characteristics of iChatAV

D. Demonstration

E. Problems

A. Previous Attempts at Video Conferencing

B. Characteristics of iSight

Apple brings award-winning product design to iSight — and it’s like no other camera available today. A versatile, durable, lightweight and portable camera capable of delivering high-quality audio and video, iSight features a strong aluminum-alloy exterior which protects sophisticated electronics and its autofocus lens. A single FireWire cable streams video and audio and also delivers power to the camera.

Three stands and a tilt-and-swivel mechanism allow iSight to capture video at the best possible angle. While traditional web cameras sit off-center on your desk, capturing the side of your head iSight sits directly in front of you, at eye level. This provides a more natural, life-like conversation and a more familiar TV-like viewing angle. Its compact size makes it easy to take with you anywhere.

iSight includes a built-in, dual element noise-suppressing microphone that delivers crystal clear audio. The microphone takes in the sound from both microphone elements, then determines which sounds are essential to the conversation with an algorithm that filters out extraneous noise.

But iSight doesn’t just look good, it makes you look good, with the highest quality video of any chatting solution. A custom-designed, three-part lens consists of two aspherical elements that focus on a 1/4-inch CCD sensor with 640x480 (VGA) resolution. The camera’s lens aperture is a wide F/2.8, allowing it to collect more light than most web cams. iSight also offers a far wider range of shutter speeds than most other cameras. Put it all together and iSight delivers smooth, top-quality, full-motion video at 30 frames per second in 24-bit color.

The result is that whether it’s in a poorly lit hotel room or a bright sunny kitchen, iSight will provide true color reproduction and a crisp image. The camera also sports a small green “on air” light that lets you know that you are participating in a live video chat session. One simple twist of the lens cap turns off iSight, ensuring your privacy and letting your buddies know you’re no longer available for video and audio chatting.


Answering System Features


Audio Input

Form Factor Integrated


Connectivity Details Included Qty 1
Connectivity Details Type IEEE 1394 adapter


Diameter (in) 3.5
Length (in) 1.375
Weight 2.3 Oz


Compatibility Mac
Country Kits United States
Localization English
Manufacturer Apple Computer
Packaged Quantity 1
Product Line Apple iSight

Interface Required

Connector Type 6 pin FireWire
Total Qty 1
Type IEEE 1394 (FireWire)


Included Accessories (DG) Carrying case
Mounting Kit Included

Optical Sensor

Optical Sensor Resolution
640 x 480
Optical Sensor Size 1/4"
Optical Sensor Type CCD


Support Type 1 year warranty
Support Details Full Contract Period 1 year
Support Details Service Included Parts and labor
Support Details Type Limited warranty

System Requirements

Min Operating System Apple MacOS X 10.2.5
Min Processor Speed 600 MHz
Min Processor Type PowerPC G3

Video Input

Audio Input Support Standard
Color Depth 24-bit (16.7M colors)
Color Support Color
Digital Video Capture Resolution 640 x 480
Digital Video Capture Speed 30 Frames per second
Features Digital noise reduction
Focus Adjustment Automatic
Form Factor External
Interface Type IEEE 1394 (FireWire)
Lens Aperture F/2.8
Min Focal Length 5 Cm
Type Digital video camera

The cheapest (non-educator) source I know of is CDW for $144.95

C. Characteristics of iChatAV

Finally, you can chat with folks thousands of miles away in a full-screen personal video conference over any broadband connection. Thanks to the advanced graphics built into Mac OS X, they’ll truly look like themselves, instead of strangers made of children’s building blocks. And if you use a wide aspect ratio screen, iChat AV uses patented anamorphic resizing techniques so that the video of the person you’re chatting with fills the entire screen without distortion.

Detailed information available at Panther_iChat

D. Demonstration

Demonstrate features of iSight + iChat

E. Problems

Updated Nov 12, 2003