As independent filmmakers very often we have to cope with various situations where there is a demand for managing multiple responsibilities as directors, cinematographers, editors, sound recordists and more all-in-one type of scenarios. There are many occasions where we also need to be able to do some fast editing on the go, however having an iMac and an additional high-res reference monitor that we usually have at our disposal in our home editing bay is not always an option.
Fortunately, now there is a way to use your Macbook Pro paired with an iOS device being iPad or iPhone as a reference display for your mobile editing dual set up while you are in the field. An app called Duet Display allows editors to use an iPad or iPhone as an extra display. The app was developed by a team of ex-Apple engineers, that claim the application is the first high performance solution that has zero lag. By sending data over a cable instead of Wi-Fi connection, Duet Display is able to improve significantly the lag issues that are typically present when an iOS device is used as a secondary display via Wi-Fi.
The following video by MacRumors covers some of the pros and cons of the app.
To setup the application on your iDevice you should purchase it first from the App Store for $14.99 and also download the free Duet software for your Mac. Connect your iDevice to your Mac using a Lightning or 30-pin cable, launch the software on both devices and your ready to start editing right away. You should be able to set up the preferences for the displays on your Macbook Pro and use the iDevice just like a properly connected monitor.
After opening FCP X, you could choose the option to Show Events on Second Display thus, you will be able to see your Libraries and Events appeared on the paired iOS device. Skimming, JKL scrubbing and other FCP X functions should work as expected.
According to MacRumors though, there is a slight delay while moving the cursor around on the paired device. However, it’s certainly usable and doesn’t ruin the overall experience. The application also gives users the ability to switch between 30 fps and 60 fps modes along with a Standard and Retina Mode. You might have some issues with the Retina Mode, though, especially when working on older devices, so it’s recommended to use the Standard one for the best experience.
This is what the freelance video producer, editor and FCP X trainer Chris Roberts shares about his experience with the Duet Display app.
One of the things I was also interested in seeing was if I could use the touch-screen functions. Indeed you can, but only to a certain extent. As you tap the screen this initiates the “click” function of the mouse. You can still drag your finger across the clip it does scrub the clip but also makes a range selection at the same time. However, using the trackpad or mouse to “point” to the clip and skim (one of my favourite features of working in FCPX) works as expected.
Overall, with the zero lag and easy to set up wired connectivity, the Duet Display actually seems to be one of the most reliable options when it comes down to connecting iOS and OS X devices at the moment. You should be aware, though; there are some existing issues reported by users on getting the software to work with some older Mac devices, so it is recommended to test the application with your personal set up first.
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