Chat with Audio and Video in Mountain Lion Messages

The greatest Messages feature is audio/video chatting, which is why it was once known as iChat AV. Apple dropped the AV part and changed its name to Messages, but whatever you call it, the program still has fantastic audio and video features that are lots of fun — and ever-so-easy to set up and use.

With Messages, you can conference a video chat with up to three other people at the same time and audio chat with up to nine other folks at the same time.

To conduct a video or audio chat, follow these steps:

  1. Connect a FireWire camera and/or a supported microphone to your Mac.

    Although many FireWire and USB camcorders and webcams will work fairly well for video chatting, Apple’s iSight and FaceTime HD camera/microphone combinations are designed just for this purpose (and works even better in most cases).

    The latter is built into all Mac notebooks, iMacs, and Apple displays these days; the former was built into previous generations of Macs. In other words, you probably have a camera and mic, so you won’t have to buy a thing to video (and audio) chat.

    When you have appropriate hardware connected to your Mac, your buddies’ names in the buddy lists display little green telephone or camera icons if they have the right hardware and an adequate Internet connection on their end.

  2. To start an audio- or videoconference, click the appropriate green icon(s).

    Your buddies receive an invitation to begin an audio or video chat.

  3. If they accept the invitation, a Video Chat window appears.

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If your Mac has a built-in iSight camera or you have a compatible camcorder or webcam handy, why not give it a try?

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