Each web-camera from Creative comes with exclusive unified software for standard tasks such as recording video, capturing still frames, remote monitoring, movement sensor, etc. The Lapse Video feature can even be used to watch for the growth of your home plant, for example: the program will be making shots of it with a specified time interval, producing an interesting sequence of pictures.
The start window of the control program offers you to select the current task.
The Motion Detection feature transforms the camera into a surveillance tool for making shots of anyone who has entered the protected area. To do this, you have to aim the lens at this area and specify some driver settings.
This is simple. There is a Sensitivity slider that determines the threshold for shooting, and an option for monitoring a certain part of the controlled zone. The program can be set up in such a way as to capture still frames or record video clips. All video information recorded can be transferred to an email address or FTP server.
Using the Remote Monitoring feature you can configure the camera to broadcast still frames over the Internet after a specified time period. The Remote Monitoring tab contains parameters for the FTP server or web-page and for setting the time interval between the frame captures.
Cameras with support of TWAIN in the driver can transfer the image directly into third-party software. For example, you can capture still frames by means of Adobe Photoshop. The only shortcoming is that the preview window is too small.
Web-camera parameters are specified in the Console window. You can play with the available options to achieve the desired image quality. The selection of options varies from model to model, but there are always such options as Exposure, Brightness, Contrast, and Color. Additionally, the driver may offer Backlight Compensation (to compensate for the lighting behind the object being shot) and Sharpness.
You can enable additional special effects in the Advanced Video FX section of the Cam Console. If you do, a filter will be applied to the image being displayed in the window: for example, the image may look like a holiday postcard or have a landscape background or be displayed in kaleidoscopic form, etc. These effects are rather for play, not for something serious.
The main software shell may differ from model to model, but the overall setup and control concept is the same for all web-cameras from Creative.
Summing everything up, I should acclaim the Creative Live! Cam Voice as the best product in this roundup. It offers good reproduction of colors, a high-quality optical system, and a set of useful features that one would want to see in every such device.
The Creative Live! Cam Optia can be commended for its cute design, but it does not support TWAIN and is not quite good at reproducing colors.
The notebooks-oriented Ultra model looks good among the others, too.
I have reviewed only a few web-camera models offered by Creative today. Hopefully, we will have an opportunity to return to this topic again and review cameras from Creative as well as other companies.