Configuring a Webcam or Microphone in Skype

July 8, 2011, By Christian Cawley

So, you’ve created an account, downloaded the client to your computer and perhaps even purchased some credits. You’ve found some friends and have successfully purchased a webcam and microphone – so what’s left to do before you can use Skype?

Well, you might have to configure your new hardware, but that shouldn’t take too long…

Configuring a microphone or webcam is a two-step procedure. First of all, you need to make sure that the device is recognized by your computer. Once this has been done, you should be able to quickly configure Skype to detect and utilize the device, thereby affording you some very useful new multimedia options on your computer!

Configuring a webcam in Skype

Configuring Microphones in Skype

With a new microphone you should almost exclusively be looking for a USB device. A few years ago this wouldn’t have been the case, but unless you’re using some sort of home recording studio with high quality phono inputs mounted on a PCI-e card, USB is the way to go.

As a general rule of thumb, a USB microphone or headset shouldn’t require a driver disc, but if it does then insert this and connect the device to your computer, following the on-screen prompts.

In most cases, however, connecting the microphone directly to your computer should prompt the operating system to find and install the necessary drivers.

Once this has been done, open Skype and find Tools > Options > Audio Settings. In this screen you will be able to select the audio device that is used to capture your voice, and assign a volume setting. You will also be able to Make a free test call to confirm that you have correctly configured everything.

Use the Microphone drop down menu to select the device you connected earlier, and repeat the step for Speakers. Note that with the Show advanced options button you can set a hierarchy, useful if you plan on ever disconnecting the headset; this will allow you to default to desktop speakers for listening out for incoming calls, for instance.

When you’re done, click Save to store these changes.

Setting Up Your Webcam for Skype

Similar steps are required to configure a webcam for Skype. After installation of your USB plug and play webcam – which should be pretty straightforward with a modern operating system – head to Tools > Options > Video Settings where you should find a preview of the image that your webcam is currently relaying.

Using the Select webcam option you can select your webcam device, and via Webcam settings adjust any available options (this depends on the camera but you might be able to adjust brightness, color, etc.).

With these changes made, hit Save – you’re now ready to chat via webcam!

Opening a call in Skype is simple – if you’re planning on a standard voice call then either right-click a contact and select Call, or if you’re planning to see them as well as chat to them select Video Call.

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