How to iChat with Audio and Video in Mac OS X Lion

The greatest iChat feature is audio/video chatting, which is why it was once known as iChat AV. Apple dropped the AV part, but the version of iChat in Mac OS X Lion still has fantastic audio and video features that are lots of fun — and ever-so-easy to set up and use.

With iChat in Mac OS X Lion, 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 camera/microphone combination is designed just for this purpose (and works even better in most cases). It’s built into all Mac notebooks and iMacs these days, so you likely won’t have to buy anything 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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