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Creative WebCam Live! Motion
Web Cameras | First Looks
Thu 13 Oct 2005



Robot Eye
  "The motorized pan and tilt gives it unprecedented freedom to capture those candid moments."

 
  A luminescent blue ring surrounds the Creative logo when the webcam is powered on.

 
The multi-attach base latches on perfectly to our LCD monitor. It can also be adjusted to suit flat surfaces.

 
  Woof! We just thought this doggy pose looked kinda cute.

Web cameras are a dime a dozen aren't they? Compared to all the gadgets that have caught our fancy, the humble webcam remains relatively inexpensive. Most webcams in the market are cheap plastic gizmos with tiny cameras. However Creative thinks that there's a market for a more upmarket model and the Creative WebCam Live! Motion is their answer.

Killer Looks

Spotting a classy and refined exterior, the Creative WebCam Live! Motion definitely does not look cheap despite its plastic origins. Available in both gray and white, the silver Creative logo at the side is encircled by an attractive blue ring when it is powered on simply by connecting it to the USB port. An adjustable Multi-Attach base allows the webcam to be mounted on a variety of surfaces, from a flat desk to the uneven contours of a LCD monitor. However, we found the USB cable a bit too short and there was almost no slack after mounting it on our LCD monitor.

The internal circuitry of the 1.3-Megapixel CCD sensor camera are deliberately left visible underneath protective plastic. Overall, the design reminds us of sentry robots as depicted in movies, especially with the turret like movements as it swivels on its axis. Or, for the less violently inclined, the way it follows your motion could be interpreted as cute and reminiscent of Sony's robot dog, AIBO. 


It Moves!

As its name suggest, the Creative WebCam Live! Motion literally moves, unlike many static webcams limited only to digital zoom and focus. Enabled by a silent motor, the Creative webcam is capable of both pan and tilt motion, giving it up to 200 degrees of horizontal and 105 degrees of vertical view. Coupled with ultra wide-angle lens, this opens up new possibilities for a webcam. It has a much wider view than your typical webcam, meaning that there's no need to jostle for position while taking a group shot. What's more, the controls for the movements are as simple as a mouse click.
The webcam also has a panoramic photo snap option, where it will automatically swivel to its maximum horizontal and vertical limits while pausing to snap a shot at certain angles. The software tool included will composite the snapshots to form a seamless 1920 x 720 panoramic shot.

It Follows!

Enabling its Smart Face-Tracking feature will cause the Creative WebCam Live! Motion to follow a human face through its potentially wide range of motion. Despite its name, it doesn't necessarily require a face and the webcam was not that smart. It obediently followed our fingers and the various odds and ends we placed within its range. However, the webcam had some trouble reacting to quick motions so be prepared to have a bit of lag.

Another common but useful feature is the Remote Monitoring function, where the webcam captures still images over a period of time. The interval and duration of the capture are easily defined with the software wizard while the images can be uploaded via FTP to a server or even to a custom web page. This is complemented by the Motion Detection feature, which basically makes a fuss if the webcam detects any motion within its radius. You get to choose whether you would like a sound notification and if you want to record the offending motion at up to 30 frames per second (in VGA resolution). Finally, its integrated support for popular IM clients like Yahoo Messenger means that users can conveniently stream live video to their online buddies.
 
Final Thoughts

The Creative software did seem a bit bloated to us and the installation took ages though users can choose not to install everything. At US$149 though, the Creative WebCam Live! Motion is not exactly in the affordable price category of traditional webcams. However, it easily makes up for that by having some unique features that places it above its cheaper rivals. Add in the stylish, eye-catching design and Creative looks to have a webcam for the discerning user.

Product Specifications

  • 200° pan and 105° tilt view with ultra wide-angle lens
  • 76° ultra wide-angle lens
  • Ultra smooth mechanical motor for pan and tilt functions
  • 640 x 480 CCD sensor 
  • 640 x 480 video at 30 frames per second
  • 1.3-Megapixel photos (software enhanced)
  • Certified high-speed USB 2.0 (fully compatible with USB 1.1)
  • Creative Smart Face-Tracking with 4X digital zoom
  • Hands-free headset for clear VoIP
  • For Win2k/XP Operating Systems only

     

 

  This raw shot was taken using the Creative Webcam Live! Motion.