Ishana vs Viridiana: Webcam Smackdown
I’d like you to meet Viridiana, my netbook. Viridiana is an Acer Aspire One 532h, named after a character from Brent Weeks’ Night Angel Trilogy. Of course, I ended up hating said character by the third book, but I loved her at the time. At any rate, I’ll not go into the details of the hardware architecture, but the important things to know are that Vi has a built-in webcam and came with Windows XP installed.
The Crystal Eye webcam didn’t exactly work 100%. The software for it worked perfect, I could capture video from it using Windows Movie Maker, but things got weird when I started a video call in MSN (AKA Windows Live Messenger). In a video call, you can see your friend’s video on the top left of the window and your video on the bottom left. For whatever reason, I couldn’t see my video, though my friend could. Which meant I had no clue what they could see.
It was inconvenient, but it worked. Then I installed Windows 7.
MSN wouldn’t recognize my camera, meaning I could not initiate a video call because MSN didn’t think I had a camera. However, if my friend who did have a working camera initiated the call, mine worked perfect. I could see me, my friend could see me, all was well.
I also installed Skype recently to speak with a friend of mine, and Skype had no problems at all with my webcam.
Then came Movie Maker, which also didn’t recognize my camera and would not capture video. Hence why I’ve not delivered on my promise for a full-feature poi/levitating wand video.
I figured the reason for this would be because I’d not reinstalled the drivers for the camera since I reinstalled the OS. I opened up device manager, found my webcam and told it to update.
Wait, what? Device drivers are fully up to date? …huh. To the Internetz !
I found the software for the camera and installed it. It was the same software I had before, mind you. Restarted, tried to open it, and got the message “Camera not found!” MSN and MM still didn’t recognize my camera, either.
Of course they didn’t! I installed the software, not the driver for the hardware! Back to the Internet for the driver, which I installed just this morning. MSN now seems to recognize my camera — huzzah! — though I’ve yet to test to see if it works and how well. Movie Maker, on the other hand, still won’t capture video, and the software (which I reinstalled after I installed the driver) still can’t find my camera. Well bugger.
It would be so much easier to troubleshoot a webcam that wasn’t physically attached to my netbook. I’ve now resorted to yelling at it. Will let you know how well it works. Which side are you voting for? Place your bets now!