Skype when my laptop is closed & connected to an (old) external monitor?
March 16, 2013 4:08 PM   Subscribe

If I buy an external computer cam and mic, can I make video calls on Skype on a MacBook Pro when it's closed and connected to an old Cinema Display monitor that has no built-in camera?

I have a Macbook Pro 5,5, running OS X 10.6.8, with the 2.26 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor. I find I am using Skype more and more often in my tutoring business, and recently purchased a Wacom tablet in order to do math problems on the screen and share them over Skype with my students while we work. Unfortunately, it's become increasingly uncomfortable to juggle the laptop, Wacom, textbooks, etc., plus craning my neck to get in the camera sight and not having nearly enough desktop to write out extended problems with any comfort. (Plus my eyes aren't what they were.)

I do much of my non-Skype work with my laptop hooked up to my old Cinema Display, which gives me lots and lots of computer desktop space, as well as hard desktop space for textbooks, notebooks, and the like. It's much more comfortable to use for longer periods of time, but the Cinema Display is old enough that it has no built-in camera. When the laptop is hooked up to the monitor, the laptop is closed, and so the camera (and mic) are inaccessible to me.

Is it possible to buy an external camera/microphone and hook it up to the computer so that I can video Skype while the laptop is closed? It only has two USB ports, and both of them would be taken up (one for the Cinema Display USB connection and one for the Wacom tablet). I assume I'd have to buy a USB hub as well, which is fine.

Has anyone done this? Any advice?
posted by tzikeh to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
Yea, this should be fine. Under options, Skype will let you choose which microphone and which webcam to use. When you want to use the external ones, just switch it over to the right camera and mic.
posted by astapasta24 at 4:43 PM on March 16, 2013

Thanks, astapasta. Any recommendations for a cheap webcam/mic?
posted by tzikeh at 5:21 PM on March 16, 2013

Not the absolute cheapest webcam, but I have and can recommend the Logitech C310 camera, which shoots 720p video and has a builtin mic. It's $31 on Amazon - I bought it here on ebay for $23.
posted by domnit at 6:06 PM on March 16, 2013

Thanks, domnit! I'll pick one up.
posted by tzikeh at 8:27 PM on March 16, 2013

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