How to Get Microsoft Lifecam Cinema to Work on a Mac

By Shea Laverty

Connecting a Microsoft LifeCam to your Mac computer sounds like it should be a simple process: plug it into a USB port and go. However, because the LifeCam wasn't designed with Mac users in mind, the two devices aren't compatible out-of-the-box. There are, however, third-party applications to make these two devices get along: Macam and Mactaris Webcam Settings.

Macam

Step 1

Download and install Macam (link in Resources). Macam acts as a sort of translator for your camera, interpreting the information from it into a format your Mac can understand.

Step 2

Connect your LifeCam to the computer with the supplied USB cable. If you don't have the cable from the box, you can supplement a cable with compatible connectors.

Step 3

Copy the "macam.component" file from the Macam folder and paste it into the QuickTime library folder. The file path should be as follows:"/Library/Quicktime/"The "macam.component" file is necessary to facilitate a connection between QuickTime-based programs and the Macam software.

Step 4

Launch Macam. As the Macam software operates as a translator for the camera and your Mac, it has to be running for the camera to function properly.

Step 5

Launch the app for which you want to use the camera. The camera should run properly now. If there is no sound, you will need to adjust the audio properties in OS X -- Macam software only handles video, but the microphone in your camera should register with OS X.

Mactaris Webcam Settings

Step 1

Purchase, download and install Mactaris Webcam Settings from the Mac App Store (link in Resources). The Webcam Settings app works like Macam, ensuring the camera and the computer can communicate.

Step 2

Launch Webcam Settings. Once loaded, the program won't appear on the dock -- instead, it appears as a button on the menu bar of apps that make use of connected cameras.

Step 3

Connect your LifeCam to the computer with the supplied USB cable.

Step 4

Launch the app for which you need to use the camera, and click the Webcam Settings button. This will launch the settings menu, which enables you to configure your camera.

Step 5

Adjust the settings on the various tabs to fine-tune your picture, zoom, refresh rate and other settings to optimize your LifeCam's performance. Depending on the program in use and camera specifications, different settings will yield better performance than others.

Tips & Warnings

  • To optimize performance from your camera and associated apps, it's best you close out all apps you don't need and disconnect any non-vital USB devices. This frees up RAM, processor power, USB power and USB bandwidth for your camera.
  • While Macam is free, Webcam Settings requires a purchase.
  • Check both program's supported camera lists (linked in Resources) to make sure your exact LifeCam model is supported. Otherwise, your camera may still not interact with your Mac.