I’ve had an iPhone 4 for quite some time now, but have yet to actually use Facetime. I’ve long liked iChat AV and Skype video calls, so I’m the kind of person who would probably be an obvious user of Facetime. I use video calls though to speak to the people with whom I work, and they are normally at their desks. So Facetime’s incompatibility with iChatAV has been a bit of a drag.
I was happy therefore to see a beta of Facetime for the Mac. Awesome. I’ve tested it and it works as well as I can hope for a beta.
What caught my eye though is the aspect ratio of the video chat window. Naturally enough, it apes the aspect ratio of an iPhone. That makes sense. What I’ve just realised though is that this portrait aspect ratio is actually really very good indeed for video calls. Essentially, your head and torso (and preposterous sunglasses if you’re sitting at my rather sunny desk right now) take up the entire frame. This gets rid of the problem of messy offices, uncool wall hangings or other extraneous clutter in the background that has been one of the things that has made video conferences suck up until now.
In short, by design or by accident, they’ve fixed one of the gripes about video calling and I think that’s a good thing.