the problem with iChat…my face

I can see myself.

There it is. Right up there—first sentence. That’s the biggest reason for the lack of use of iChat videoconferencing (in the workplace, at least). At home its a big hit with the kids. They eat it up. Especially in Leopard, with the addition of cool “Effects” that let you distort your image like a Picasso or have a dynamic background using a poor man’s green screen. There are also developers creating add-on effects for it.

Back to the work issue. I think iChat would be a great tool at work. Especially with increased telecommuting, increasing numbers of permanently remote users, and for groups who need to collaborate, it can be a valuable tool. All of the new MacBook and MacBookPro laptops in our group have the video capability built-in. I can count on one hand the number of times it has been used.

I was wondering why we use it so little, then it hit me. I don’t want to see my ugly mug on screen and if others feel the way I do, that explains it. Its not that I or any of my friends and co-workers look particularly unappealing (People have told me I look a little like Andre Agassi and Uncle Fester, so go figure).

Nobody, wants to see themselves on screen. When you’re speaking to someone, you don’t see yourself. When I’m talking to someone, in my head I look like _______________ (fill-in the name of some Hollywood mega-star), but on iChat, its not that guy.

So rest assured, there is a solution, in Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), but it is not enabled by default. From Apple.com:

Hide Local Video
Remove the picture-in-picture view from your iChat video conference if you prefer not seeing yourself in the chat. Just select Hide Local Video from the Video menu.

Link: http://www.apple.com/macosx/features/300.html#ichat

So, the challenge for me now is to fix this on every machine in my group. Which I will attempt to do next week. I promise to report back if the use of iChat video increases.