How to stream Final Cut Pro X over Zoom without lag

From YouTube videos to full-length cinematic masterpieces, content created with Final Cut Pro X is seen by millions of people worldwide every single day. So why is sharing your works-in-progress with your team just across the city so incredibly difficult? 

Why are our choices limited to either hopping on the train or the 405 and hauling laptops and hard drives to a central location for a meeting or sometimes waiting hours to render out draft exports only to be inundated with a barrage of emails with mismatched revisions? 

Corporate teams can share their projects through remote meetings streamed over Zoom, so is there a way for creative teams to do the same? Is it possible to stream a live editing session over Zoom the same way you stream a meeting or presentation? 

We’ve examined the features and capabilities of Zoom and Final Cut Pro X to see if Zoom can support live workspace streaming and make it possible for content creation teams to recreate the feeling of a live editing/brainstorming session whether they’re across the city or the world. 

The Challenges of Streaming Final Cut Pro X Over Zoom

Ok, let’s start with the bad news first; Zoom simply isn’t built to natively support streaming a platform like Final Cut Pro X. There are no built-in features or plugins that will allow you to just “plug and play” your Final Cut Pro X workstation straight into Zoom. 

While this may initially seem like an oversight, it appears to be by design. Zoom requires a significant amount of processing power to function. If there is not adequate power available, its priority becomes maintaining the connection of the meeting, which means Zoom will downgrade video and audio quality to prevent the call from dropping entirely. 

Final Cut Pro X (and other editing platforms like it) also require a significant amount of processing power. Running a program like this simultaneously with Zoom can cause substantial problems for Zoom, which is why there are simply no native features to support it. 

But creative teams are no strangers to technology not being quite fit for them, so to the workarounds we go. 

The most significant advantage to hosting a live editing session over Zoom always comes down to accessibility. Almost everyone has Zoom, and almost everyone knows how to use it. This means if you, the editor, can figure out how to stream your Final Cut Pro X workspace over Zoom, you’ll avoid that 45-minute phone call with your *ahem* less than technologically inclined producer trying to walk them through a software install and initiation. 

So the question that stands is this; will any workarounds be powerful enough to show your work in full detail but simple enough to use for your least tech-savvy team member? 

We’ve compiled some common workarounds that creative teams can utilize to stream programs like Final Cut Pro X over Zoom and examined how functional they are for the demands of creative teams, both large and small. 

Common Workarounds to Stream Final Cut Pro X over Zoom

In our research, we’ve found three solutions that will allow you to stream your Final Cut Pro X workspace over Zoom. Most of them will require at least one additional piece of software, and some require other hardware as well. 

Solution #1: Two CPUs and OBS

This solution requires:

  • Two separate screens 
  • Two separate CPUs (for best performance)
  • A broadcasting program like OBS (Open Broadcasting Software) 
  • An NDI (network device interface).

This workaround will require you to download an NDI to the system running Final Cut Pro X and download OBS to the system you’ll run Zoom on. Once these programs are in place, open Final Cut Pro X and your NDI and use the NDI to broadcast a feed of your screen.

On the other system, open OBS, locate the NDI stream and set it as your video source. You should now see a live broadcast of your Final Cut Pro X workspace. 

The last step is to open Zoom and set your camera as the feed from OBS. This will allow you to broadcast your workspace to meeting participants over Zoom as if it were your webcam. 

This workaround allows you to broadcast your workspace, but beware; it may not solve the downgrade issue.

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Solution #2: A Capture Card

If you have two separate systems and don’t want to deal with the hassle of setting up an NDI, you can purchase a capture card that can receive the signal from one system and broadcast it to a second. 

This is an external device that can be somewhat costly, but if you plan on using it regularly, you may be able to justify the expense. 

To use it, plug it into the system running Final Cut Pro X using an HDMI cable. Then run the signal back out to the system running Zoom using a second cable. You’ll still need to download OBS to receive the signal and broadcast it to Zoom, which you can do following the final step above. 

This can be an effective solution for anyone running Final Cut Pro X on an iPad or laptop. You can hook these more mobile devices up to a capture card and then stream them to your desktop, where you can run your Zoom meeting. 

A big disadvantage to this is cost and mobility. Capture cards can be expensive, and this setup will require you to have enough physical space to wire everything together and still be able to actively edit. 

Solution #3: A Second Webcam

If you don’t feel like learning the ins and outs of installing, connecting, and streaming an NDI feed, don’t want to use OBS, and don’t want to shell out big bucks for an expensive capture card, you can use this lower-tech workaround. 

Get an external webcam, point it at your screen running Final Cut Pro X, then stream the webcam feed to Zoom as your video input. This will solve some of the Zoom downgrade issues, as most webcams stream in 1080p; however, the video quality of a webcam pointed at a screen is hardly the HD experience you may be looking for. 

Also, you won’t be able to stream your face simultaneously unless you run both webcams through OBS first to combine them into a single video feed. 

So the first question is, do these workarounds work? Yes, they technically do, but in real-world use, they lack consistency and quality. 

If you want a truly seamless experience, you’ll need a purpose-built system for creative teams and their HD workspaces. Thankfully, there is a platform built specifically for your needs: Evercast. 

Streaming Final Cut Pro X with Evercast

If you find yourself frustrated with the results of these workarounds, that’s understandable. The problems that you’re running into still comes down to the fact that Zoom was just not purpose-built for the needs of content editing teams. 

That’s why other creatives got together and created Evercast. This platform is designed to make streaming professional-grade editing programs like Final Cut Pro X nearly seamless.  

Evercast allows you to stream your workspace in full HD with ultra-low latency (less than 150ms on average) while simultaneously video chatting with your entire team. This means no lag or pixilation, just a high-quality video feed that feels as close to “being there” as possible.  

Speaking of your team, Evercast also supports on-screen annotation, allowing participants to visually indicate exactly what “that thing they saw” was. And when participants make text notes in the chat, Evercast timestamps each message so you can quickly reference the exact frames that were being discussed. 

And for your less tech-savvy participants, they’ll be relieved to know that they don’t have to download any additional software to participate in a meeting. Just follow the link and join from any device, anywhere in the world.

If you’re looking for a better way to bring your team closer together and collaborate more efficiently from a distance, check out Evercast. We believe real-time collaboration is the key to unlocking your best ideas, and better collaboration starts with software that works with your team, not against it.

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