Google Hangout and the uncooperative camcorder

Reader David d’Angelo has a camcorder and Mac, but can’t make a desired connection between the two. He writes:

I read your recent article about Skype and a crashing camcorder and it reminded me of a problem that’s frustrated me for awhile. Like that reader, I have a FireWire DV camcorder that works great with some video applications, but I can’t make it work with Google Hangout. Any ideas?

After reading your question I gave the setup a try with my Sony DV camcorder, and you’re right. Google Hangout tells me that no such camera is connected even though Skype and Messages sees it. Given that, I’ll lay the blame at the feet of the plug-in necessary to use video in a Google Hangout.

Thankfully there is a free workaround—ManyCam. Designed primarily so that you can use your webcam with multiple applications at the same time, when you install ManyCam you’ll find that Google Hangout also now recognizes your attached DV camcorder.

ManyCam’s talents don’t end there. With it you can add a variety of effects, green-screen-like backgrounds, face accessories (silly eyebrow, eyeglasses, faces, hair, and hats), type text over your image, place a clock in the picture, and draw over the picture as it’s projected.

I’ve found that video produced by ManyCam to be not as smooth as the native video offered in Skype or Messages, but it’s not terrible. If your Mac doesn’t have a built-in FaceTime/iSight camera or you just want the power of a camcorder’s optical zoom, it’s a setup that’s worth your while.

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