How to Use a MacBook Camera

By Lawrence Harris

The built-in webcam on a MacBook laptop computer is known as the iSight camera, and it is a versatile instrument. It is integrated with a number of software applications that come already installed on every new MacBook. These applications include Photo Booth, iChat, iPhoto and iMovie. You also can take photos and video with the iSight and use the resulting files (just like any other photo or video files) in other built-in applications such as Apple Mail, iWeb, Address Book, Front Row, iCal, iDVD and GarageBand.

Using the MacBook Camera with Photo Booth and iPhoto

Step 1

Navigate to the Applications folder in the Finder, then double-click on the Photo Booth application icon. When Photo Booth opens, you should be staring at a live image of yourself taken by the iSight camera.

Step 2

Click on the red camera icon directly beneath the image. The app will provide a three-second countdown and will then snap a still photo through the iSight.

Step 3

Click on the new photo that has just been dropped into the line of photos below the live image. A strip of menu icons should appear. Click on the various icons to either use the newly created image in a new email, import the image into iPhoto, make the image your new Account Picture, or make it your new Buddy Picture in iChat.

Step 4

Click on the grayed-out camera icon, and it will turn red to let you know this function is active again. Click on the gray filmstrip icon to the left of the camera icon. The camera icon will turn into a video camcorder icon. Click this icon to begin shooting video with the iSight camera.

Using the MacBook Camera with iChat

Step 1

Navigate to the Applications folder in the Finder, then double-click on the iChat application icon.

Step 2

Click the camera icon next to the name of the buddy with whom you wish to chat. A window will open and show you a preview of what your chat buddy will see.

Step 3

Click the camera icon at the bottom of your list of buddies. When your buddy accepts the invitation, her image will open in the chat window, and your image will shrink and move down to the corner of the chat window.

Using the MacBook Camera with iMovie

Step 1

Navigate to the Applications folder in the Finder and double-click on the iMovie application icon.

Step 2

Click on "File." From the drop-down list that appears, select "Import from Camera... ." A pop-up window will appear. If there are no external cameras attached to your MacBook, the pop-up window will contain a live image of what the iSight camera sees.

Step 3

Click on the "Capture" button on the far right of the pop-up window. A drop-down menu will appear, asking you whether you want to save the video file to an existing event or start a new video event. Fill in these choices and click "OK" to begin capturing live video and audio from the iSight camera for use in iMovie.

Step 4

Click the "Stop" button when you're finished capturing video. Click on the "Done" button to close the video capture window.