Monday, July 13, 2009

WebCamMax

Being the coordinator for the Southern Maryland .NET User Group and have 10 or few people show up for our meetings I need to come up with a better plan on getting our information out there. I heard of some companies that would permit us to broadcast - for free - our meetings. Now being a member of INETA we are entitled to a free license of Live Meeting. This is awesome, but it requires people to download and install another application that they are only going to use a few times a years. I was looking for something that I could embed directly into our website, where people could go to our URL and watch the stream live. I found that ability at UStream . Now that I had the ability to transmit video across the net, now I need to let my viewers see what I am doing on the screen.

I was reading UStreams online help file and they recommended WebCamMax. So I went to their website, download their free 30 trail version and started playing. The first feature that I wanted to make sure worked was the ability to transmit screen - check, then the ability to record - check. Now that I had the client set up I needed to make sure it was working with UStream, so I went to my UStream account and they provided a dropdown, so I could transmit either my webcam or the WebCamMax feed - very sweet.

Now that I have the basic features needed for my user group I went and played with WebCamMax, and this is where the fun starts. If you are away from your broadcast and don't want people to view old broadcasts or a blank screen - you can set your WebCamMax to stream a photo directory. Now all those photos are transmitted over the internet - please be careful on the images you place in this folder; you could also show old movies.

Now let's say that you want to have a little fun when transmitting live. WebCamMax can place you in different locations without leaving your couch. Really neat, you just take a snap shot - without you in the picture - select your backdrop and now you are magically broadcasting from the beach. You want people to think you have a dinosaur head; you could do this as well.

I only had one problem with WebCamMax, last night I was on a video call – via Skype – and noticed that my image was stationary. I asked the person I was speaking to if I was just an image or a video feed – he told me I was just an image. I needed to go and start WebCamMax in order for the other person to see video. Since I never had to do this before I would like to see that I don’t have to do it again, other then this small issue WebCamMax is an excellent piece of software that I highly recommend.

The cost is minimal, less then $50 for a lifetime subscription or try it out for six months for under $20.

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