It is very close to being exactly what i need, but it doesn't work with skype from what i can gather and from the simple testing i have done this morning. It wont recognise Skype as a video source at all, which is a pity.
I think the jit.desktop/cam twist solution/may be the way to go with soundflower to record the audio if and when needed.
It will mean a two stage process for the project i am working on (a reinterpretation of a Max Neuhaus piece Radio Supply IV (http://www.max-neuhaus.info/audio-video/Broadcast_Works_and_Audium.pdf) where i will have to manually record the skype calls in realtime, save them into a folder, and then a max patch will look for files in that folder, open them and process them.
I will look into it more but if in the meantime, if anyone has any other ideas they are more than welcome!!!
I did it one time: grab the portion of the screen using a Syphon server in quartz composer and getting the video in a syphon client in Max.
The reason I did it was to transform an iphone into a wireless camera.
It works but it's kind of a complicated way around... and you have to keep the space on the screen for the skype window.
I can understand why skype is an attractive avenue for your project, given its ubiquity and accessibility. But have you considered working with Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP)? I have worked on a couple of projects using RTSP in Max, which only needs jit.broadcast and jit.qt.movie to work. Then you could have everything native in Max without the complexities of hacking skype....
hope that helps-
You might also want to look into the Skype Java API. You need to register as a developer to have access to all recources. It is a long time ago since I worked with it and at that time there was no video stream available. but that might have changed meanwhile...
thanks for all the ideas, and i have taken them on board, but as this projects core focus is all about people being able to get involved/participate in the performance through calling into it, then actually using skype is essential, as Skype is the chosen medium for this interaction.