Timecode window for Final Cut Pro X

Tuesday, 05 May 2015

Newly available for Final Cut Pro X users: a flexible timecode display window. It is a free download for users of the FxFactory post production plugin management system. FxFactory is a free download that manages custom plugins for Final Cut Pro X and other post production applications.

Because plugins cannot yet modify Final Cut's menu, you access the new Timecode window by right- or control-clicking the timecode display above the project timeline:

Screenshot of using shortcut to show timecode window in Final Cut Pro X

The window always shows exactly what Final Cut's timecode display shows:

Screenshot of Final Cut Pro X timecode window showing native timecode of clip that is being skimmed in the timeline

You can resize the window by dragging the corners or edges.

You can also choose what colours are used for the text and the window background:

Screenshot showing shortcut menu that accesses timecode colour settings

The colour controls include opacity:

tc 4 opacity

The examples shown in these screenshots include a background colour with an opacity of 33%.

Timecode over full-screen video

If you have two displays attached to your Mac, you can also overlay the timecode window on top of full-screen video:

Screenshot showing timecode with transparency appearing over full-screen video in Final Cut Pro X

To do this

  1. Drag the timecode window to your secondary display
  2. Go to full screen mode on your primrary display using the 'View:Playback:Play Full Screen' command or use the Shift-Command-F keyboard shortcut
  3. Drag the timecode window back over your primary display

At the moment the window shows the same information as Final Cut's normal timecode display panel. X displays time project timecode when skimming in the timeline, clip timecode when the cursor is over a specific clip.

If you set the timecode display to show subframes in order to do sub-frame audio editing, the window doesn't yet show the same precision:

Screenshot showing that when subframes are shown by Final Cut Pro X, the FxFactory window doesn't show them

In Final Cut Pro 7 and earlier, there was an option to overlay timecodes of all the clips in the timeline at the playhead. Since June 2011 Final Cut Pro X's information overlays have been simpler.

Maybe the ProApps team are hoping that the need for editors to know so much about timecode will go away. On the other hand, they might be working on a much more configurable overlay system for a future version of Final Cut. Time will tell!

Timecode and FxFactory are free downloads for Final Cut Pro X 10.2 and OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 and newer.

Primordial metadata

Timeline and clip timecode are an example of of a form of metadata that is over 100 years old. When films were shot with celluloid, editors had to manage film edge code - sometimes adding their own code to shot film to be able to manage every frame.

Hopefully Apple will add features that will allow Final Cut users to view and edit any metadata in a floating window - including timecode. The kinds of metadata that would be useful in this case would be

  • Timecode
  • Slate/Scene/Take
  • GPS-recorded location (co-ordinates / colloquial name of place)
  • Keywords
  • Colour grade name
  • Name of person who last made changes/changed metadata