Multiple parties video-conferencing with Skype and Global IP Video

The other day, my friends and I decided we’d like to participate in a video-conference. At this point, I was the only stumbling block – the Luddite on Linux, with Skype 1.4 Beta, and no webcam. I proceeded to move to my Mac OS X powered laptop, that are all now coming with built-in iSight’s (and thinking back, I’ve been Intel-Mac for a little over a year now).

The 3 Stooges

Shiny happy people, video-conferencing

Guess what? Skype does not do multi-party video-conferencing. Sure, you can do multi-party voice chats (these work on Linux too, obviously), but they only do one-on-one video conferencing. This is where Global IP Video comes to the rescue… In a nutshell, its a Flash-based application that harnesses your webcam and allows multiple parties to video conference. From what I gather, it doesn’t do voice – for that you still need Skype.

Everyone else had no problem working it, except me (as always, the non-Windows running person). To make Global IP Video work with the iSight, you need to right-click the Flash application, click Settings, then go to the 4th tab, which has a graphic that represents a webcam. Choose the appropriate Camera – for the built-in iSight its USB Video Class Video. Close the tab, and like magic, you’ve got a working webcam now!

need to change video settings for it to work with the built-in iSight
The correct Camera allows everyone to video-conference

Bandwidth usage for both video and voice seemed to taper around 20-30KB/s, so you have a pretty clear picture that video is taking about 15-25KB/s. Everyone was on a DSL (or Cable) connection of some sorts, and this spanned countries far and wide. No real delay in the video, so we were all pretty impressed.

Update (09/09/2009): Removed the link to Global IP Video because the service is no longer available.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. JZA says:

    This is interesting but it never got to load on my Linux box. Also I don’t have a webcam so this might not be for me. But I wonder if this hasn’t been done before. I guess with the continuously risen in popularity of stickcam and this might be a more popular interaction environment.

  2. byte says:

    Hi JZA, it loaded on my Linux box just fine. I have the Flash plugin (nonfree) and all is well. Of course, I have no webcam, but I could configure/play around with the app itself.

    Working Linux webcams… oh the joy

  3. mark says:

    How sad is it that this is still so hard on a regular linux box… :)