About iChat Theater Preview and Final Cut Pro

During post-production, you can collaborate with colleagues working on a project or share the results of editing decisions with others at different locations. By setting up a video chat session with someone on a remote computer, you can initiate an iChat Theater Preview session and have Final Cut Pro stream video to the remote user’s computer screen.

To use the iChat Theater Preview feature:

During an iChat Theater Preview session, the remote user’s iChat window displays the media being played in the host’s Viewer or Canvas window and an inset of the remote user’s camera image, similar to the image shown below. The remote user can talk to the host user and view the playback simultaneously.

Figure. iChat window showing the video from the host computer.

The host user’s iChat window displays the video sent from the remote computer, and an inset of the video being played in the Viewer or Canvas window, similar to the image shown below. Final Cut Pro streams the video played in the host’s active Viewer or Canvas window.

Note: Your iChat window may look slightly different from the illustrations shown here, depending on the version of Mac OS X that you are using on your computer.

Figure. iChat window and Canvas window during an iChat Remote Preview session.

As you host a video chat session using iChat Theater Preview, you can play clips or sequences in the Timeline in the Canvas window. You can also open specific clips in the Viewer and play them for the remote viewer. You can switch between displaying video from the Viewer or Canvas by clicking the window you want to make active. You can also have multiple Viewer windows open and use them to show a different clip or versions of a clip. For example, you can open three Viewer windows, each holding a different version of a clip, and then play each window one at a time for the remote viewer to compare.

The frame displayed in the Viewer or Canvas appears in the remote viewer’s iChat window. In Final Cut Pro, you can stop clips and reposition the playhead on specific frames to discuss them. You can also have Final Cut Pro display the timecode of the current frame in the remote iChat window to help you identify specific frames. If you wish, you can control the volume of your video using the Audio Mixer. If you make another application active other than Final Cut Pro, a pause overlay appears in the remote viewer’s iChat window.

During an iChat Theater Preview session, the streaming of the Final Cut Pro video is optimized for viewing in an iChat window. The video is streamed at a lower, optimized frame rate, formatted to fit the iChat window. Overlays and warnings or messages, such as alerts about dropped frames during playback, are turned off. During the session, the external video, video playback, and audio playback commands are unavailable in Final Cut Pro.

The actual video playback performance that the remote user sees can be affected by several factors, including the speed of the network connection, the processing speed and power of the host and client computers, and the processing power required to play back video in a specific format.

For optimal playback performance during an iChat video session:

When using Final Cut Pro to host a video chat session, it’s recommended that you turn off or disconnect any video camcorder connected to your computer to prevent any potential video output conflicts. If you’re having problems using iChat, you can open iChat Preferences to check whether the video cameras are being recognized correctly by iChat. If you’re having problems during an iChat Theater Preview session with Final Cut Pro, it’s recommended that you check whether you can establish a standard video iChat session to determine whether the issue is with iChat or with Final Cut Pro iChat Theater Preview.

Note: When hosting an iChat Theater Preview session, it’s recommended that you remind the remote viewers that their display or external monitor may not be using the same color settings, and so there may be visual differences between the host and remote images.