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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #50

Co-located editing with iChat and Final Cut Pro By Stephen Schleicher

The Final Cut Pro Quick Tip series is celebrating its three year anniversary, and what better way than with a milestone entry?  At NAB 2005, Apple demonstrated how you can use iChat to do co-located editing.  As amazing as the demonstration was, the actual way to do it is a bit complicated.  In this Final Cut Pro Quick Tip, Ill show you how to set it up if your editor is in one location and your producer/director is in another.

Lets just pull the curtain aside up front and reveal how this is done a minimum of two Macs on the editors end.  Yup.  Thats it, at least two Macs, one of them being a G5 to initiate the video conference.  That doesnt mean if you are a single Mac guy you cant do it, it just wont be as fancy.  Because of this, Ill show you how you can set up a session using one, two, or three Macs.

Single Mac Way
This method uses a single G4 or G5, with iChat installed, and a FireWire deck.  In this Quick Tip Ill be using the Sony DSR-11.  A FireWire enabled camera like the iSight is optional.

In this case, let's make the iSight optional...

Change the inputs in iChat to your deck.


With this set, you can initiate a video conference with the remote user.  You can switch back and forth between your iSight camera and your video deck for easy communication.

That wasnt too hard.  The drawback is your sequence needs to be on tape.  While this is a great way for your client/producer/director to review a work in progress, you really cant make changes for instant feedback.  For many though, this is a very workable method for long distance collaboration.

Two Mac Method
This set up is little bit more involved, but it does allow you to edit from the Final Cut Pro timeline and stream it to the end user.  You will need two Macs one to initiate the iChat conference, and the other with Final Cut Pro. 

Your set up may vary, but in a nutshell, you need come out of the Final Cut Pro system to a device that can do AD conversion.  The Digital out from the converter goes to the FireWire input on the iChat Mac. 

In my set up I will once again use the Sony DSR-11 Deck and a Dazzle Analog to Digital converter that has been sitting in a box almost forgotten for the last three years.

Here is a diagram of the set up.

iChat will not recognize the Final Cut Pro FireWire signal for whatever reason, and this is why you need to go the Digital->Analog->Digital route.  Surprisingly, OS X Tiger recognized my Dazzle hardware without needing any special drivers or updates.

Once again, you can initiate a remote conference with the end user.  This is similar to the first setup in the producer/director will only be able to see either the Final Cut Pro Timeline, or the iSight camera.  The one thing that would make this technique used every single day is if Final Cut Pro would implement a Video Playback>iChat option.

You can see the client, and the client can see your Final Cut Pro output.


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Related Keywords:final cut pro, ichat, streaming, editing, colocated editing, edit at distance, telecommuting, stephen schleicher, josh mellicker, jerry hofmann, charlie white, apple, nab, scrubs, schleicher, final cut pro quick tip

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