Mac Built-in vdig problems: my work rounds

Jonathan Crellin (
Fri, 13 Feb 1998 16:51:00 +0000

A lot of people have reported problems with the built-in video
digitiser, here are my work rounds, in the hope they might be useful
for others.

I have tried some work rounds for not having a
working built in digitiser (OK, I've still got a QuickCam, its great,
but I hate unplugging/plugging in all the time). What is really
needed is a Mac version of CU-Doodle, which grabs an area of the
desktop, and sends it as the video signal. Great for digitisers that
don't work, but alas its Windows only (I also use a Win95 machine
with CU).

I *did* find
that there are some great little programs out there, which do provide
a partial solution (I believe they are shareware as I've found them on
several sites, but there is no documentation with them). Try here
for some of these items:

One provides
input from the complete Mac desktop, so that when you select it the
desktop image is sent as the CU video signal (obviously lower
resolution). This is very useful for de-bugging CU connections (you
can see if your video, and chat messages are arriving at the other
end), but if you display your digitised image on the desktop, that
gets sent too, so by displaying a large image from the built in
digitiser on the desktop, you can send a rather degraded image from
your built in digitiser over CU. Obviously not ideal, but as I said
earlier a work round until the built in digitiser problem is solved.
One drawback is that the Apple Video player uses a method for
displaying the video that is incompatible with desktop vdig. I have
found two pieces of software that do work with desktop vdig (digital
radar, and the software that comes with the QuickCam) both alas
commercial software.

Another (only partially satisfactory) workround is to use
another shareware digitiser (same site) which copies the clipboard
contents to the CU video. This can be used with the Apple Video
Player, by taking copies of the screen periodically, these are sent as
a series of still images. OK, its not really video (motion)
conferencing, but it could help someone.

There are other digitsier substitutes for Macs too, so if you can't
get the built in to work, and don't have a QuickCam, you don't
necessarily need to despair.....


Name : Dr. Jonathan Crellin
Position : Senior Lecturer
Department : Department of Information Science
University : University of Portsmouth
Phone : 01705-84-4291
Email :