Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

Making a QuickTime iChat

by Phil Shapiro

QuickTime iChat with Rich Jaeggi (16.5 MB)

On May 15, 2004, the iLife SIG in Washington Apple Pi held a meeting at Mac Business Solutions, in Gaithersburg, to learn more about the videoconferencing capabilities of iChat AV. By pre-arrangement, several local people and one long distance person videoconferenced with our group.

We used a PowerBook 17-inch, which has strong horsepower, to capture some of the videoconferences to QuickTime, using Snapz Pro X 2, from Ambrosia Software. Rich Jaeggi, who works as the director of the New Technology Center at For Love of Children, a nonprofit in DC, videoconferenced with us from his home in Silver Spring, telling us how Washington Apple Pi has been able to assist him with the work he has been doing with teens.

We used QuickTime Pro to add the JPEG photo behind the QuickTime movie captured from the videoconference, copying-and-pasting the JPEG photo using "Add Scaled," from the Edit menu of QuickTime Pro. This process scales the duration of the photo to the same duration as the QuickTime from the captured videoconferencing session. (Friendly tip: First choose "Select All" in the JPEG photo before copying it. Make sure the QuickTime you're copying into is also fully selected before pasting.)

The next step is where the magic happens. Your QuickTime movie now has two layers, but you'll only be looking at the JPEG photo. To bring the other QuickTime in front of the photo, choose "Get Movie Properties" from the Movie menu of QuickTime Pro. Then choose the first Video Track from the left drop down menu. Then choose the Layer for this track in the menu on the right. Use the nearby arrows to change the number for this layer to something small (such as 0 or -1). The smaller the layer number, the more forward it will be in the QuickTime.

Close the window and the motion QuickTime that was invisible becomes visible in the top left corner your QuickTime. Would you like to move that motion QuickTime and also resize it? I'm so glad you asked. You can do that by choosing Get Movie Properties from the Movie menu of QuickTime Pro. Choose the first Video Track. Then choose Size from the right menu. Click the Adjust button. Your QuickTime movie will now have handles on its four corners and a circle in the middle. The handles let you resize and rotate the movie. You can also place your mouse onto the movie and drag it anywhere on top of the JPEG photo.

When you've placed the movie where you want it, and resized it to the size you want it, click on the button that says Done. Then press the spacebar and watch the motion QuickTime play on top of the JPEG photo (or any other graphics you would like to create for the background.)

Don't forget to save your QuickTime with a new name.

If you'd like to learn more about this kind of thing, Apple explains how to do the above in one of the tutorials on their web site at:


What we learned from this experiment: It's probably best to not compress the audio when capturing an iChat AV videoconferencing session. We compressed the audio at 22 Khz with a codec of IMA 4:1. The Snapz Pro X 2 compression preferences only show up at the very end, after the video has been captured and you're ready to save the QuickTime. (We missed seeing the preferences and adjusting them to our liking.) If we had used 44 Khz with no audio compression, the file size of this QuickTime would have been larger, but the viewing/hearing experience for this QuickTime would be much better. We may be taking a second stab at this to have Rich Jaeggi deliver much of the same information with uncompressed audio in the captured iChat AV videoconferencing session, videoconferencing between Rich Jaeggi's home and Phil Shapiro's home.

The actors in this play are:

Gracious thanks are owed to our host, Sonny Tohan, who provided the meeting room for the iLife SIG meeting to take place. Sonny Tohan, at Mac Business Solutions, in Gaithersburg, has been a longtime supporter of Washington Apple Pi.