Say you use both ICQ and Camfrog for video chat, and you'd like to keep both open at the same time. That doesn't sound like an unreasonable request, but your Webcam may feel differently about it. Don't argue with it; download ManyCam. This free app replicates your camera signal and feeds it to any and all of your video chat apps simultaneously. It starts automatically with your Webcam when you start your chat app, and it feeds streams to new apps as you open them. No more conflicts, at least with your Webcam (your cranky uncle is your problem). ManyCam works with most clients.
ManyCam is mostly automatic in setup; we knew the program was configured when we saw our Webcam feed in ManyCam's Live Studio Mode display. ManyCam's user interface is anchored by a Firefox-style start button that opens an extensive main menu (including Help file) plus a tabbed toolbar with entries for Video, Audio, and more. Under the Audio and Video tabs we found submenus for configuring Effects and Sources as well as extras such as playlists, text over video, draw over video, and camera and screen effects. ManyCam does more than replicate your video stream: it also includes lots of great audio and video effects that you can apply, such as ridiculously addictive cartoon eyes in the Face Accessories as well as Objects, Filters, and Background Effects like flames. A series of thumbnail previews help you choose effects. ManyCam's integrated Image Settings use sliders to adjust color balance.
We clicked Sources to configure ManyCam with our chat apps. The program correctly identified our camera's specs, but we could change it to other sources, such as Movies, Still Images, and even our Desktop. Changing sources is easy; for example, we quickly browsed to an image file and selected it as our source display -- a handy feature for voice chat since you can display a logo, playlist, and more when you can't use video (or prefer not to). Best of all, we could keep multiple chat apps up and running with our current feed. ManyCam handled it all and then some.