iGlasses Helps iSight See

by Chris Howard Oct 17, 2006

Anyone who buys an iMac or a MacBook gets a built-in iSight. Personally I think Apple is a tad ahead of the game with this one. Maybe Apple is trying to kick start the game. I don’t think video chat is so widespread that people must have a built-in iSight in their Mac. In fact, I reckon if you gave people a choice of built-in iSight and built-in TV tuner, they’d take the latter.

What is Apple up to with iSight? If you’ve ever planted a garden you’ll know it’s recommended to prepare the soil first, especially to fertilize it. I sense Apple is doing the same with the iSight. Is Apple planning a killer product that will leverage off the abundance of iSights out there? Are iSights the fertilizer enabling the rapid growth of some new product? And, of course, what is that new product? Will it be a video enabled iPhone?

But for the time being, we just have the iSight. A little black square staring you in the face, urging you to suck up internet bandwidth. Today I had my first video chat with it using Skype 2.0 beta and was reasonably impressed. I believe the person on the other end was even more impressed. She was using a PC and had a dodgy microphone and couldn’t do any clever tricks on the fly, like sepia, crazy colors, night vision, rotate, mirror and so on.

Of course it wasn’t Skype that gave me that ability. It was a must have utility for the iSight called iGlasses from Ecamm Network.

iGlasses lets you - in real time - enhance the image iSight captures. It comes with several presets but also allows you to create your own using any combination of:
- Brightness
- Colorize
- Contrast
- Hue
- Night Time
- Saturation
- Sharpness
- Threshold
- White Balance

You can also mirror and rotate the image.


And again, these settings are applied in real time. They are not some sort of post-editing feature.

iGlasses’ most useful feature is of course that it can enhance the image iSight is capturing. In particular the white balance and brightness, two things that do need some help with most web cams. So whether day time (above) or night time (below), you can present yourself as a much healthier looking specimen of humankind on your iSight.


iGlasses supports many iSight enabled applications including:
- Skype 2.0 (beta)
- Photo Booth
- iMovie HD
- Yahoo Messenger
- Quicktime
and many more.

Wish List
With Core Video, it’d be cool if iGlasses extended the range of effects - something like Photo Booth. Imagine chatting to a friend on a PC and switching on twirl or pinch or pop art? I think they might just want to know what computer you are using.

The iSight has built-in automatic white balance adjustment. It’d be good if there was a way to over-ride this in iGlasses as it messes with your image, no matter how finely you’ve tuned iGlasses.

Really, why hasn’t Apple built something like iGlasses into OS X? At $8 it is an absolute steal. Based on what I’ve seen of utilities at the low end, iGlasses would be twice the price or more at many other vendors. Ecamm are to be congratulated for its excellent pricing, and not just on iGlasses, but all of its Mac applications. Here’s a quick list:

- Call Recorder (records Skype calls to QuickTime movies. Currently audio only as Skype with video calls is still in beta) $12.95
- Conference Recorder (records iChat AV audio and video calls to QuickTime movies) $14.95
- iChatter (adds voice synthesis to iChat) $8.00
- PowerBoost (makes multiparty video conferences possible on G4 macs) $8.00
- Drag’n'tooth (utility for easily installing files on to your Palm OS PDA or smartphone via Bluetooth) $9.95
- DockStar (adds up to 5 new-mail indicators to the dock icon) $8.00 (See Aaron Wright’s review here)
- iChatUSBCam (add-on for iChat AV which allows you to use a USB webcam for video conferencing. It also enables video conferencing on Macs which otherwise fall below Apple’s system requirements for conferencing.) $9.95

Check them out. (Ecamm also make Mac and Windows developer tools and applications for Palm handhelds.)

Considering its price, its usefulness, and its functionality, I am going to give iGlasses the full 10/10.


  • I think you have your captions on the example photos backwards. The photos where you have NO added effects from iGlasses looks a whole lot better than the photo showing the iGlasses effect. In fact, iGlasses looks like it makes the output video WORSE than the native output from the iSight camera.

    So please do me a favor and check those captions to make sure that you don’t have ‘em backwards. Because if that is how iGlasses looks, that’s one product I will not be buying for my Mac.

    Frank 'viperteq' Young had this to say on Oct 17, 2006 Posts: 32
  • viperteq, as the captions say, in both cases the images on the right are the iGlasses enhanced ones.

    If you don’t like the way I’ve customized my iSight output, that’s okay, but certainly don’t judge iGlasses by that, have a look at it yourself.

    Bear in mind, neither of those are iGlasses’ presets - they are my own doing, I don’t like the dark image or the bluish white balance, so have increased the brightness and white balance to add a bit of warmth.  You can customize the output to the way you like.

    And of course, maybe it’s just my ugly mug that putting you off! smile

    Chris Howard had this to say on Oct 17, 2006 Posts: 1209
  • LOL!!!!

    My bad, I didn’t realize that you were using custom settings for the software. I saw the photos and thought that they looked grainier than the original output photos. Now that I know that that isn’t how the preset output looks, I’m more interested in trying out this software…especially since I’m picking up an iSight for my PowerBook today!

    Thanks for the review!

    Frank 'viperteq' Young had this to say on Oct 17, 2006 Posts: 32
  • No probs. In fact, I’ve tweaked the brightness, contrast, saturation, white balance and sharpness.

    The sharpness I nudged up quite a bit which is probably the biggest factor in making the enhanced one look grainier.

    Chris Howard had this to say on Oct 17, 2006 Posts: 1209
  • I’ve been using iGlasses for a while and love it - a great product at a great price and they continue to upgrade it.  Well worth investing in while the price is cheap.

    MacKen had this to say on Oct 17, 2006 Posts: 88
  • I see it does nothing to make one look more like Brad Pitt.  Put that on the Wish List.  wink

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Oct 17, 2006 Posts: 2220
  • I’m not sure why no one else has posted this yet but I’ll be the first. If you haven’t had a chance to watch the WWDC 2006 from Apple many of the things you are talking about in this article covered and many new features are discussed. Head over to http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/aug_2006/event/index.html and watch the video of the features coming in Leopard next year. iChat AV is probably one of the biggest areas they have made improvements like the ones you’ve mentioned. Most of all you won’t want to miss the “live video” playing the background of your iChat.

    Applfreak had this to say on Oct 18, 2006 Posts: 1
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