New ClipExporter 2: Final Cut Pro X export to After Effects and Nuke
Monday, 10 November 2014
New on the Mac App store: ClipExporter 2 for Final Cut Pro X. It takes Final Cut Pro X timelines and makes them editable in Adobe After Effects and Nuke. Although Final Cut has the best NLE real-time compositor, there are times when more complex problems need to be solved. Many high-end TV and feature films use After Effects and Nuke to create more advanced effects and compositions.
ClipExporter2 also exports media managed clips from Final Cut - useful for other post production tools that need the footage used on the timeline only. A useful tool for getting media managed RED footage onto an After Effects timeline.
ClipExporter 2 has been rewritten to take advantage of all the features of Final Cut's XML format - recreating timelines in After Effects and Nuke. You can even choose which clips to export by only converting clips with specific roles.
As part of the export process ClipExporter 2 also produces a clip log listing all the clips being converted (in a timeline or the clips with specific roles which will be exported). The list includes timecode information and Final Cut metadata and can be exported as a CSV file, which is useful for workflow administration.
ClipExporter works in four modes.
Export to Adobe After Effects
Timeline elements including blend modes, position, scale, anchor point, rotation, distortion, notes and markers are recreated as AE projects. ClipExporter 2 also translates keyframes of most of these parameters.
It even converts retimed clips, metadata and notes.
Here's a timeline in Final Cut:
Including a note to the compositor on one of the clips:
Just the After Effects logo is selected - this is After Effects export mode - without media management.
On export a clip report is shown which can be exported as a text file:
ClipExporter generates .jsx files. In After Effects .jsx files are script files that are run using the File:Scripts:Run Script command.
The timeline in After Effects including a marker and the metadata note appearing as a layer comment:
Not Dynamic Link, but quick to update in Final Cut
As ClipExporter doesn't use Adobe Dynamic Link, you need to render your After Effects project as a QuickTime movie and import it as a clip in Final Cut Pro X (keeping it external to the library). However you can make changes ripple through to Final Cut easily. Once you have updated the After Effects project, re-export the QuickTime movie with the same name in a sub-folder of the location where you first exported. In the Finder then replace the first export with the second version. It will be updated automatically in Final Cut Pro - even if it is editing the timeline where the clip is used.
ClipExporter's Video Exporter exports only the video used in a timeline (with optional handles) as new clips - not re-encoding, creating new smaller ProRes, H.264, AVCHD and RED files. ClipExporter even adds Final Cut Pro X-specific metadata to the new smaller clips (on all formats apart from RED clips). Define which metadata is included by choosing the relevant metdata view when exporting the XML final from Final Cut.
ClipExporter includes naming templates which name the new smaller clips to match the import specifications of other high end post-production tools.
Export media managed timeline to After Effects - including RED footage
After Effects 'linked mode' does the media management of the Video Exporter - creating copies of only the media used in a Final Cut Pro X timeline and makes a After Effects project that uses the new clips as a source.
In this mode not as many parameters of the Final Cut timeline can be recreated in After Effects due to limitations in the Final Cut XML format, but you can add notes to the clip metadata which will appear as layer comments in AE.
Export media managed timeline to Nuke
The used footage only (with optional handles) is copied into new clips using the source codec and each clip is converted into a Nuke file. All the clip metadata is included in a Backdrop node. If you need to export a After Effects project with the same timeline, that is also an option. Here are is the result of exporting the previous Final Cut Pro X timeline to After Effects and Nuke in the Finder: