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How To Set Up A Webcam
And Make Video Calls In Under 30 Minutes

Setting up a webcam and making your first video phone call is incredibly easy. Here are my detailed step-by-step instructions on setting up your webcam and communications software allowing you to make your first video conference call in under 30 minutes.

Buy A Good Webcam for Well Under $75

If you haven't already bought a webcam, you'll need to do so before we get started. Depending upon your needs, you could get something as simple and good as the $19 Logitech C270, or spend upwards of $200 for a more professional webcam if you like to make high quality YouTube videos. Here are our 4 favorite webcams at different price points under $75.
Logitech C270
Logitech C270 Webcam
Under $20
Features: HD, 720p, 16:9 Widescreen, 3 MegaPixel photos, Built-in noise-cancelling microphone, Automatic light correction, Fixed focus plastic lens, Face tracking

Logitech C525
Logitech C525 Webcam
$30 - $35
Features: HD, 720p, 16:9 Widescreen, 8 MegaPixel photos, Built-in noise-cancelling microphone, Automatic light correction, Autofocus plastic lens, Face tracking, 360-degree rotational camera,Premium video effects

Microsoft Lifecam Cinema
Microsoft Lifecam Cinema Webcam
$35 - $40
Features: HD, 720p, 16:9 Widescreen, 5 MegaPixel photos, Built-in noise-cancelling wideband microphone for premium sound recording, Automatic light correction, Premium video effects, Autofocus glass lens, 5x zoom lens, Aluminum body, Face tracking, 360-degree rotation

Logitech C920
Logitech C920 Webcam
$60 - $70
Features: HD, 1080p, 16:9 Widescreen, 2 MegaPixel video, 15 MegaPixel photos, Built-in dual-noise-cancelling stereo microphones, Automatic light correction, Autofocus premium glass lens, Face tracking, Premium video effects, Lens cover ($5 extra)

The Logitech C920 is the only one of these webcams available with a lens cover. I highly recommend getting a lens cover for privacy purposes, or simply keep the front of your webcam blocked with a piece of black tape or cardboard square. This will prevent a hacker from watching you. (Sounds creepy, I know).

Logitech and Microsoft, along with a number of other brands, manufacture a large variety of webcams. If you'd like to check out other webcams, here's a quick list of the most highly-rated webcams which are available from Amazon.com with free shipping.

Install The Webcam

  1. Set your webcam on top of your monitor, or other desired location.
  2. Connect webcam to your computer via a USB cord.
  3. Be sure you're connected to the internet.
  4. On Windows 8 or later, the software should automatically load and install.
  5. Reboot computer if necessary.
That's it, your webcam is installed and you can now take pictures, make videos and play with the settings and special effects. Check your documentation that came with your webcam for more instructions, fine-tuning settings, and other features. You are also going to need to install software which will allow you to make video phone calls. Skype is the most well-known name in video-calling.

Install Skype Software

For this tutorial, I'll be downloading and installing Skype video phone software.
  1. Click this link to locate the latest free Skype software.
  2. Click the "Get Skype for Windows" (or your specific operating system) link on the Skype website to download your software. Click "Run", "Yes" and "Install".
  3. Double-click on the Skype file to install the Skype software. (Uncheck the box if you do not want Google Toolbar to install).
  4. At end of install, click "Let's Go".
  5. Sign in or create a new Skype account by filling in the required info. Use lower case letters with no spaces for your Skype Name. Dashes are accepted. Write down all the info you complete. Uncheck "yes, send me Skype news and offers" after filling in email address.
  6. Click "Sign In". If your username is taken you'll be asked to try another.
  7. Follow the "Getting Started Guide" until you get to the end of the short tutorial.
  8. In the upper right of the Skype window, click on Tools > Options > Video Settings. Check the boxes labeled "Enable Skype video" and "Start my video automatically when I call". Use the dropdown box to select your specific webcam model. Click "Save".
Awesome. You can now make video calls to all of your friends and family --- assuming they also have a webcam and Skype installed.
  1. In the Skype window, click on "Add Contacts".
  2. Add your friend's email address or Skype name. (Each time it will do a search. Click on the found Skype names to add to contacts.
  3. Turn on your speakers.
  4. Click on a contact. Click on green button to initiate a call. Both ends will hear a ringing. If they are home and they answer, you will see each other and can have a conversation. The video may have a slight delay depending upon your internet connections at each end.

Questions and Answers

Question #1: The video images are delayed and/or are of low quality. The voice is traveling faster than the corresponding video image. What do I need to do to get the video to look and work better?

Answer #1: All of the following items can help improve your video...
1. Windows XP operating system or higher (or equivalent)
2. A computer that has a dual or quad core processor
3. A high quality webcam
4. A fast broadband internet connection
5. The most recent webcam software installed
6. The most recent version of Skype installed
7. Tweak your lighting
8. Use a stationary background
9. Close all unnecessary open apps
10. Use a direct ethernet connection rather than wifi if possible
11. Adjust your webcam settings
12. For better sound, consider a separate microphone

Question #2: What if I have any other problems?

Answer #2: Double check to make sure you did everything mentioned in my tutorial. If problems still persist, contact the manufacturer of your webcam or search support forums to resolve your particular problem.

Information is from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed. The information presented is a tutorial intended to assist people in settling up their webcam and video call software. Since we do not have complete control over the "Ads by Google" appearing on this page, we do not directly endorse their sites or products. Please notify us if you find any of the advertisers to be misleading. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases through Amazon links. Enjoy.

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Helpful information and sites for improving WinXP performance.

Feel free to contact me to correct any information in this article
or to alert me to additional information one should consider.

© 2008 Topher
Updated 2019

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