I hooked up a live audio chat with a client today. My client wanted to read off some changes to a graphic design project I was working on for her company.

For the audio chat—which allowed us each to have our hands free—we each respectively started iChat and then turned on our Mini-DV cameras, camera mode, initiated a Video Chat from the menu, then blocked the lenses. I used a lens cap and she used a piece of paper.

Besides offering privacy, covering the lenses greatly reduces the amount of video data that needs to be compressed and sent (since the software attempts to send only the data that changes from frame to frame of live video) and therefore left the bandwidth to the more important audio information being transmitted.

We were able to have a hands-free conversation for nearly an hour, having a conversation much like one would have over a live intercom. I was able to save and e-mail several full-color PDF files of the job/changes while doing this “video” chat at the same time, using DSL.