Articles tagged with: Plugins

Introduction to VR Video with Final Cut Pro X

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

At the FCP Exchange event at NAB in April, Tim Dashwood and I gave a presentation on working with VR 360° video in Final Cut Pro X and Motion.

Initially I explained the art of spherical video from first principles comparing it to VR apps. I showed how editors can learn specialised tools that understand 'equirectangular' video, effects and graphic overlays to tell stories that play out all around you.

I also explained how editors can share their work with millions of smartphone users around the world. Tim Dashwood then gave a quick rundown of the science of high-end VR video effects that are available for Final Cut Pro X today.

 

360° Virtual Reality with FCPX from FCPWORKS on Vimeo

FCP Exchange is a series of free industry seminar days presented by FCPWORKS and fcp.co

Dashwood 360 VR Toolbox and 360 VR Express.

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

Diagnose Final Cut Pro X plugin problems

Thursday, 04 December 2014

A common problem when moving Final Cut projects from Mac is that of missing plugins. Even if the plugin is on both Macs, it works on one, but the project can't seem to find it on the other.

A useful tool to aid in Final Cut Pro X detective work is Spherico's X-FX Handler application (Direct download). If you find it useful, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to find out how to donate some money to show your appreciation.

Export the problem Final Cut Pro X 10.1.X project as an XML file and open it with X-FX Handler. It will show a list of all the effects, transitions, titles and generators in the project:

advent4-xfx

The listing shows where the project expects the find each plugin. The majority of problems occur when a plugin seems to be in the same place on the second machine, but isn't. This happens when two folders seem to have the same name. You might have two folders in the Finder named "Transitions" - if you use the Get Info command in the Finder you might find one is named "Transitions" and the other is "Transitions.localized"

For more information on how X-FX Handler works, use the Help menu to read the detailed manual. It shows how although a plugin seems to be installed on both Macs, there are different places where the plugin might be - which means a project moving from one Mac to another might not recognise that the plugin is installed on the new machine:

advent4-multiple-install-locations

 

Creating Apple Store iOS App Previews using Final Cut Pro X

Thursday, 23 October 2014

For those iOS developers who want to provide more information to potential purchasers in the iOS app store, Apple suggest using video-based 'app previews.'

Apple have provided resources for developers who want to create app previews using iMovie 10.0.6 and Final Cut Pro X 10.1.3. 

New in OS X Yosemite is the ability to record what happens on an iOS 8 device attached to your Mac. Here's an excerpt from Apple's instructions:

Capture Screen Recordings with QuickTime Player

  1. Connect your iOS device to your Mac using a Lightning cable.
  2. Open QuickTime Player.
  3. Choose File > New Movie Recording.
  4. In the window that appears, select your iOS device as the Camera and Microphone
 input source.

AP-choose-iPhone-source

Once you use the Record button, perform the actions on your iOS device that demonstrate the features of the app, you save the recording on your Mac.

Final Cut Pro X app preview settings

There's a PDF of instructions for those new to Final Cut Pro on how to create new projects and which custom size to use for each app preview: 

  • iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c,
 iPod touch 5th generation: 640 x 1136 for portrait, 1136 x 640 for landscape
  • iPhone 6: 750 x 1334 for portrait, 1334 x 750 for landscape
  • iPad Air, iPad 4th generation, iPad mini with Retina display: 900 x 1200 for portrait, 1200 x 900 for landscape
  • iPhone 6 Plus 1080 x 1920 for portrait, 1920 x 1080 for landscape

App previews must be set to a frame rate of 30p.

11 free titles

As well as the short PDF guide Apple also provide a set of free title plugins (12.2MB ZIP) to provide useful information in overlays on top of screen recordings:

APtitles-in-browser

The ZIP includes installation instructions.

A new market?

For writer/editors, creating iOS app previews might become a marketable skill: "Sales for this app were low, but after using the services of AppPreview4D, everything changed!"

Missing Final Cut Pro X plugins when moving projects between Macs?

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Andreas Kiel, the XML expert who makes many useful film production tools has written a useful primer on Final Cut Pro X plugin locations.

Read this as a first step in understanding why even though you have two Macs with the same plugins installed, when you move a project from one computer to another you sometimes get the following image in your viewer:

missing-effect-plugin

The plugin is on both Macs - what's the problem?

Part of the problem is that even though a plugin appears in the browser of both installations of Final Cut Pro X, if it isn't in the same place on the hard drive, Final Cut won't recognise a reference to a plugin saved on Mac A when opened on Mac B. As well as there being more than one place you can install plugins, the folder names that appear in the Finder may be different from the actual names of the folders. Projects use the real names of the folders - not the ones that appear in the Finder.

That means that even if exactly the same "My Cool Plugin" effect is stored in a different folder on Mac B, the fact that the Final Cut Pro project from Mac A is looking for it in the original folder will mean the effect will seem to be missing from the copy of Final Cut Pro running on Mac B. This seems very odd when you can see "My Cool Plugin" appearing in exactly the same place in the effects browser in Final Cut on both Macs.

Investigate the XML version of your project

Andreas says

XML can help a lot: template syncing.

You can create a XML. All assets and effects will be listed in the "resource" part of the XML. So you can open the XML in TextWrangler (or something similar) and find the "effect" entries and their paths (uids) manually. This is both time consuming, boring and not effective.

That's why I made my X-FX Handler some time ago.

X-FX Handler shows listings of the plugins a Final Cut Pro X project uses. The X-FX Handler PDF includes a download link to the application installer.

Visit Andreas’ post on fcp.co to learn more about Motion templates (the way effect, title, transition and generator plugins are made available in Final Cut Pro X).

 

 

Final Cut Pro X transitions when you don't have enough media

Monday, 14 July 2014

In some situations you'll get this message when you attempt create a transition between two clips in Final Cut Pro X: 

not-enough-media

There are new extra frames after the end of the outgoing clip and frames before the start of the incoming clip for the transition to work with. This applies to compound clips and other kinds of media as well as video clips. 

There are many cases when you won't want Final Cut to ripple trim the clips and reduce the duration of the storyline you're editing.

An alternative is to use an Adjustment Layer to apply an effect to the end of the outgoing clip (or clips) and the start of the incoming clip, and to animate the effect's parameters so the effect is strongest at the first frame of the incoming clip:

Download my free adjustment layer plugin from my old plugins site.

Footage from EditStock.com.

 

 

Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 update - all you need to know

Wednesday, 02 July 2014

Today Apple updated Final Cut Pro X to version 10.1.2. Nearly all the new features and refinements Apple announced seem to be about supporting high-end workflows:

  • More control over optimised media, proxy media and render files
  • Apply LUTs to HDR and wide-gamut media from high-end cameras - Apple calls this 'Log Processing'
  • A new ProRes flavour: 4444 XQ
  • Faster export of cuts only XDCAM media (good for TV news and DaVinci Resolve workflows)
  • Fine-grained control over XML export - from individual clips, multiple clips, projects, events or whole libraries
  • Library metadata view
  • Automatically apply keywords based on tags assigned in the Finder - the advantage over folders is that the same media can have multiple tags - such as camera name, location and scene number
  • The ability to search for or create smart collections of used or unused media in the current project, compound clip, synchronized clip or multicam clip.
  • A 'Share to Vimeo at 4K' destination

As well as these features for TV, movies and live events, there are new features useful for a larger range of Final Cut users:

  • Unused range indicators for compound clips, multicam clips and synced clips
  • Tools to support voiceover Audition clips
  • Adjust relaive as well as absolute audio volume of a clip or range within a clip
  • Option to sort events by date or name within libraries list
  • The ability to import a clip by dragging directly to the browser (before you could import by dragging a clip to a specific event in the libraries list)

Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 information not promoted by Apple

  • The format for Final Cut libraries has changed, if you update them with version 10.1.2, any 10.1.1 or 10.1.0 systems will not be able to read them any more.
  • New 'Basic Surround' audio preset makes panning surround sound easier
  • Break apart Auditions to see the individual clips on the timeline (using Clip > Break Apart Clip Items or Shift-Command-G)
  • 10.1.1 could run on OS X 10.9.0, Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 requires at least OS X 10.9.2. This also applies to Motion and Compressor.
  • Using the , and . keys to nudge clips in the timeline now acts as a slide edit
  • Updated version of Final Cut Pro X XML - so a wider variety of information can be exported to or imported from other workflow applications
  • You can close all libraries - one does not have to remain open
  • More control of how synchronised clips are generated
  • Much better relinking of missing files. Select the parent volume or folder and Final Cut will now search all sub-folders until it finds the correct files
  • New text format presets
  • There are many new effects, transitions, titles and generators 

Library properties

The inspector can show information about the selected library (also available using the new Control-Command-J shortcut)

library-properties

When you are modify Storage Locations settings, tooltips pop up to show where media, cache and backups are currently stored:

library-storage-locations

When preparing to backup or transfer a library, you now have more control over whether optimised or proxy media is included: 

library-consolidation

Delete 'Generated Files'

In addition to being able to delete render files, you can now delete proxy and cache files associated with projects, events and libraries:

Delete-Generated-Project-Files

Delete-Generated-Library-Files

XML Export

XML export can now include one or more clips only and one or more projects. Final Cut lists the elements to be included in the export at the bottom of the export dialogue box:

export-xml-selection

Volume control

Using a pair of new commands, you can set new volume values without using the audio tab of the inspector:

Adjust-Volume-commands 

Then, with one or more clips selected, you can change audio volume amounts by typing a number into the timeline:

relative-volume

If you use Modify > Adjust Volume > Absolute, the audio level of the clips you selected is set to the new value. If any clips had audio level keyframes assigned, these will be deleted.

Sort events by…

sort-events-by

sort-by

Record Voiceover

The former 'Record Audio' command has more features:

record-voiceover

You can name the resultant clip, hear countdown beeps to aid timing, combine different takes into an audition and choose into which event the audio clips are stored.

If you want to use the keyboard to start voiceover recording, press Option-Shift-A. To stop recording, press the space bar or press Option-Shift-A again.

ProRes 4444 XQ

4444 XQ is a new flavour or ProRes has data rates approximately 50% higher than 4444. Apple have updated their ProRes white paper with more information. ProRes 4444 XQ works on MacOS X 10.8 and newer. To use XQ, you may need to download the ProApps Codecs v1.0.5 installer. This should appear in the Mac App Store when you check for updates after installing Final Cut 10.1.2. If not, you can download the installer direct from Apple.

Apple will promote it as being as good as uncompressed at much lower data rates and good enough for storing camera original media:

xq-better-than-uncompressed

ARRI have announced that the next software upgrade for their cameras will support ProRes 4444 XQ recording.

Surround Sound

A new audio panning mode: 'Basic Surround'

basic-surround-menu

Basic Surround positions the signal in its default channels, with a stereo signal in the right and left channels, and a mono signal in the center channel. The Pan Amount slider setting distributes portions of the signal to other channels and can be adjusted from –100 (left channels) to 100 (right channels).

Import preferences

As imported media can be copied to a location defined by each library (within the library or elsewhere), the file location option is to follow the library setting or to leave the source clips in place.

Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 defaults to adding keywords to clips based on the tags assigned to their source media files in the Finder (and perhaps using other metadata manipulation applications one day). If you use REDCODE RAW media, the keywords assigned to the clips are based on the tags assigned to the parent folder of the media.

import-prefs

Those options are also available when importing specific clips. In this case the new clips will be imported to the storage location for the "Window Cleaner" library, which is currently set to 'relink test':

media-import-options

Final Cut Pro X XML version 1.4

Once again Apple has updated their data interchange format so more information can be exported from and imported into Final Cut.

  • Libraries and events can be encoded in XML files - but XMLs can no-longer refer to objects in other libraries
<!-- LIBRARY ELEMENT -->
<!ELEMENT library (event*)>
<!ATTLIST library location CDATA #IMPLIED>
<!-- EVENT ELEMENT -->
<!ELEMENT event (clip | audition | mc-clip | ref-clip | %collection_item; | project)*>
<!ATTLIST event name CDATA #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST event uid CDATA #IMPLIED>
  • A clearer way of encoding animated values
<!-- A 'keyframeAnimation' element describes an animation curve using the contained 'keyframe' elements -->
<!ELEMENT keyframeAnimation (keyframe*)>
<!-- A 'keyframe' element describes an point along an animation curve -->
<!ELEMENT keyframe EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST keyframe time %time; #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST keyframe value CDATA #REQUIRED>
<!ATTLIST keyframe interp (linear | ease | easeIn | easeOut) "linear"> <!-- interpolation type for point. -->
  • What was encoded in version 1.3 of FCPX XML as a 'shot marker' is now an 'analysis marker'
<!ENTITY % marker_item "(marker | chapter-marker | rating | keyword | analysis-marker)">
  • Analysis markers can encode what kind of shot is in a clip (or range of a clip) and also encode how shaky the shot is
<!ELEMENT analysis-marker (shot-type | stabilization-type)+>
<!ELEMENT stabilization-type EMPTY>
<!ATTLIST stabilization-type value (excessiveShake) #REQUIRED>
  •  Sequences (projects and compound clips) can now be assigned audio layouts and sample rates
<!-- A 'sequence' is a container for a spine of story elements in a sequence project. -->
<!ELEMENT sequence (note?, spine, %audio_comp_items;, metadata?)>
<!ATTLIST sequence %media_attrs;>
<!ATTLIST sequence audioLayout (mono | stereo | surround) #IMPLIED>
<!ATTLIST sequence audioRate %audioHz; #IMPLIED>
  • Individual multicam clip angles must include basic transform settings (intrinsic-params-video) and not applied to the whole clip
<!ELEMENT mc-source (%audio_comp_items;, %intrinsic-params-video;, filter-video*)>
  • Text in a title can now be set to 'justified'
<!ATTLIST text-style alignment (left | center | right | justified)

'Break Apart' Auditions

If you have created an audition in an event or by dragging multiple clips to a timeline, you can now exchange the audition elements with the individual clips.

Previewing first audition pick:

break-audition-1

Previewing third audition pick:

break-audition-2

After choosing 'Break Apart Clip Items' from the Clip menu:

break-audition-3

The current (third) audtion pick is now in the main storyline and the other picks are attached to it in order.

Search for used or unused media in current item

A hidden feature of Final Cut Pro X 10.1 was when looking for media in the browser you can choose to find clips based on whether they are used in the current project, compound clip, synchronized clip or multicam clip - you could get this view using the Control-U keyboard shortcut. In 10.1.2 you can carry out more complex searches or create smart collections based on whether media is used or not. 

For example you could find all the synchronized clips not used in the current timeline - be it a project, synchronized clip or a multicam clip being edited in the angle viewer.

search-whether-used-or-not

Nudging clips in the timeline defaults to slide edits

If you change the position of a clip in the timeline by entering relative timecode (e.g. typing '+15') or use the ',' and '.' keys to move a clip forwards or back along the timeline, Final Cut now does a slide edit - the neighbouring clips are trimmed to allow for the change.

Before:

slip-1

Pressing Shift-. a few times slides the audition further along the timeline:

slip-2

The '06c-14:5' clip duration is increased and the start of the '04-13:1 1' clip is trimmed off to allow for the change.

Note that as this slide movement depends on the unused parts of the neighbouring clips, if there is no more media to reveal in the earlier clip ('06c-14:5' in this case), the selected clip will not move forward in the timeline.

To get the clip nudge result in previous versions of Final Cut, use the Position tool (press the 'P' key) to either drag the clip, or if the position tool is the current tool, nudging will insert a gap clip before the clip you are nudging:

slip-4-pointer 

More control over synchronized clip generation

In 10.1.2 when you synchronize selected clips in an event, you get a dialogue box that gives you multicam-like controls over how the new synchronized clip is generated:

make-sync-clip

Editing clips between libraries warning

For editors who regularly use clips from one library in another, there is now the option not to show this warning every time:

clips-tween-libaries-warning

Interesting that Apple have spent time on the kind of change that a few editors must have asked for - that hopefully was a task that a single programmer spent a few hours on.

New Plugins

It is interesting that Apple didn't mention the many new effects, transitions, titles and generators included in the 10.1.2 update - it is almost as if they don't want this version associated with any consumer-friendly improvements.

New Effects

Focus

Found in the Blur effects category

effect focus

Graduated Mask

Found in the Keying effects category:

effect-graduated-mask

Streaks

Found in the Light effects category:

effect-streak

Newsprint

Found in the new Nostalgia effects category:

effect-newsprint

Security

Also found in the new Nostalgia effects category:

effect-security

Raindrops

Found in the Stylize effects category - the checkerboard background shows where the effect made the clip transparent - when rendered, these areas export as black:

effect-raindrops

Textures

Found in the Stylize effects category. If defaults to using a wood texture, but you can apply your own using the drop zone:

effect-textures

Decal

Found in the new Text Effects effects category - designed to be applied to connected Titles with underlying video being used in the drop zone:

effect-decal

Stencil

Found in the Text Effects effects category also:

effect-stencil

Visual Echo

Found in the Tiling effects category:

effect-visual-echo

New Transitions

Divide

Found in the Dissolves transition category:

transition-divide

Clothesline

Found in the Movements transition category. Each clip swings as if it is hanging on a clothes line:

transition-clothesline

Color Planes

Found in the Movements transition category:

transition-color-panes

Fall

The outgoing clip falls forwards. Found in the Movements transition category:

transition-fall

Push

Although already as an option in the Slide transition, it is now also to be found in the Movements transition category:

transition-push

Scale

Scales the incoming clip or the outgoing clip up or down. Found in the Movements transition category:

transition-scale

Switch

In the Movements transition category:

transition-switch

Arrows

From the Movements transition category. Choose from Arrow, Round, Square, None and Bevel end caps:

transition-arrows

3D Rectangle

From the Replicator/Clones transition category:

transition-3D-Rectangle

Combo Spin

From the Replicator/Clones transition category:

transition-Combo-Spin

Concentric

From the Replicator/Clones transition category:

transition-Concentric

Vertigo

From the Replicator/Clones transition category. Choose from Arrow, Round, Square, None and Bevel end caps:

transition-Vertigo

Color Panels

From the Stylized transition category:

transition-color-panels

New Titles

Activate

From the Bumper/Opener title category:

title-Activate

Bold Fin

From the Bumper/Opener title category:

title-Bold-Fin

Point

From the Bumper/Opener title category:

title-Point

Stacked

From the Bumper/Opener title category:

title-Stacked

Slate

From the Credits title category:

title-Slate

Thumbnails

From the Lower Thirds title category:

title-Thumnails

New Generators

Beam

From the Backgrounds generator category:

generator-1-beam

Clouds

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically:

generator-2-clouds

Drifting

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically with a choice of dust, spark, puffball, moth and spark particles:

generator-3-drifting

Glimmer

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically:

generator-4-glimmer

Lines

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically:

generator-5-lines

Nova

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically:

generator-6-nova

Rays

From the Backgrounds generator category - animates automatically:

generator-7-rays

Here are the new transitions, titles and generators in action:

In the Divide, Arrows, Color Panels transitions there is a small fault in the built-in Motion template which means the incoming clip is moved to the left by one pixel (when the resolution of the project is 1920 by 1080 pixels) during the transition (In Motion terms: Transition B's anchor point is set to 1,0). Perhaps we'll see version 10.1.2.1 soon!

Commands and keyboard shortcuts

New keyboard shortcuts for the new and modified commands:

  • Open Library - Command-O
  • Library Properties - Control-Command-J
  • Adjust Volume Absolute - Control-Option-L
  • Adjust Volume Relative - Control-L
  • Record Voiceover - Option-Command-8
  • Start/Stop Voiceover Recording - Option-Shift-A (when Record Voiceover window is open)

The new 'Sort Event in Library list' commands can have keyboard shortcuts added using Final Cut Pro > Commands > Customize 

available-for-keyboard-shortcuts

These commands are described as 'Sort selected items...' - perhaps in future other items than events will be able to be sorted using these commands.

New text format presets

Most of the text presets that were included with previous versions of Final Cut have been replaced by more flexible options:

text-presets

Appply these using the pop-up menu above the text box in the Text panel of the Title inspector.

Big improvement in relinking files

Since the reintroduction of the ability to relink missing files to Final Cut Pro X, the search aspect of feature has been limited. In 10.1.2 when relinking you don't have to directly find one of the missing files. You can now select the volume or  folder within which you think the missing files are now stored. Final Cut will search all its subfolders until it finds the missing files.

To test this I copied 8 files stored outside a library to a different drive and deleted the originals. When I restarted Final Cut, the media was marked as missing. I chose File > Relink Files and selected the parent folder of the parent folder where I'd copied the missing files. Final Cut searched through 44,621 files and found the correct 8 copies I made earlier.

Last library can now be closed

Final Cut no longer needs to have at least library open:

Untitled-2

Consumer camera option

If you have video and stills on the camera you are importing from, you can now choose whether Final Cut displays one, the other or both:

videos-or-photos

Better camera colour processing

Higher-end cameras now record colour information using Logarithmic number ranges. This makes it possible to record a much larger range of colour brightness values in the same number of bytes in the media file - a higher dynamic range. Most camera manufacturers use their own way of storing this 'log' information - but some don't encode the metadata in the clips they record to indentify which method they use. In 10.1.2 there is a new menu to tell Final Cut which log encoding to use for a clip.

If clips recorded on high-end cameras aren't displayed using a logarithmic transfer curve, they can look very 'flat' - a milky low-contrast look. All the information for full colour and a full range of brightness from inky black to brighter than the sun is stored in the clip and available for grading. Log Processing is useful to reassure directors, producers and clients that the colour and brightness levels were all captured on location.

Select a clip or clips in an event or on the timeline. Go to the Info tab of the clip inspector. Make sure the metadata view popup (in the bottom-left corner of the inspector) is set to 'Settings' - choose the correct value from the 'Log Processing' parameter menu:

log-processing

Changing the setting of a clip or clips on a timeline changes the value of the source clips in the event and vice versa.

Pasting transitions 

I read in Tom Wolsky's 10.1.2 rundown that transitions that you have copied can now be pasted to the ends of one or more individually connected clips.

You can also paste a copied transition to multiple clips:

paste-transitions

Note that the transition wasn't pasted between the first and second clip of the secondary storyline - that's beacause there wasn't enough media in the clips for the transition to work.

Bug reports

Sadly no software updates are bug-free. Some problems happen on specific setups, others are more widespread:

The good news is that various versions of Final Cut Pro X can work on the same machine with few problems. Whenever the library (or project and event) file format changes, before using Software Update to get the new version, zip the 'Final Cut Pro.app' on your computer (Control-click it in the Finder and choose 'Compress "Final Cut Pro"' from the context menu). If you move that .zip archive to an external drive, you can expand the archive and run the older version of Final Cut when you want to access older projects.

Compatibility with 3rd party products

Final-Cut-Library-Manager

Final Cut Library Manager from Arctic Whiteness has been updated to work with the new library format, as long as users don't store render, optimised media or cache files outside their libraries. Arctic Whiteness are reviewing how to update the utility to take into the account the new library flexibility in Final Cut 10.1.2.

FCP-Backups

Backups for Final Cut Pro by NP Associates works with 10.1.2. They plan to release a small update that doesn't back up sync files.

X2Pro

X2Pro Audio Convert and X2ProLE Audio Convert from Marquis Broadcast have been updated to support Final Cut Pro X XML version 1.4 - these applications converts XMLs into Avid Pro Tools audio sessions.

pro-maintenance-tools

Pro Maintenance Tools from Digital Rebellion has been updated to support 10.1.2.

Red Giant have reported that most of their Final Cut products work with 10.1.2, now including Magic Bullet Looks and PluralEyes 

7toX iconXto7iconChange-List-XiconSyncnlinkXiconProducers-best-Friend-icon

Philip Hodgetts of Assisted Editing reports that 7toX and Xto7Change List X and Sync-N-Link X have been all updated for 10.1.2, Producer’s Best Friend has been updated but there's more to do.

lumberjack

The Lumberjack on-location real-time logging system has added a new mode enabled by the new version of Final Cut XML that 10.1.2 uses

Resolve-11

In the case of Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve, version 10.1.5 cannot read XML 1.4 exported from Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2. A workflow that worked for me was to import the XML into DaVinci Resolve 11 Beta 1. 11b1 exports as FCPX XML 1.3 - which can be read by Resolve 10.1.5 (and Final Cut Pro X 10.1 and 10.1.1). 11b2 is supposed to be more compatible with XML 1.4.

shotnotes X

Shot Notes X - the application that combines logged on-set information with Final Cut Pro X XML - has been updated to support FCP X XML 1.4. 

10.1.2 feature demos and tutorials

Here are some videos that demonstrate some of the new features:

FinalCutProX.net (9:45)

Novedades de Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 (14:34) - finalcutpro.es

What's New Final Cut Pro 10.1.2 (12:48) - VideoEditOz

FOCUS: FCPX 10 1 2: Le Tour complet des nouveautés ! (54:27)- YakYakYak.fr

FCPX-Update10.1.2 (6:54) - Und wieder gab es ein Update von FCPX und Motion5 ein kurzen Einblick in die Neuerungen seht Ihr hier

FCPX 10.1.2 First Look and Impressions - Karl Reith

Tutorials:

Media management - Guidelines & Operations (16:45), Library Model Overview (8:38) and Choosing a Storage Location for Your Media (17:33) -  free excerpts from Ripple Training's two hour Media Management in Final Cut Pro X tutorial.

Final Cut Pro 10.1.2 Media Management Changes (11:21) - MacBreak Weekly

File Management in FCP X 10.1.2 (9:42) - MacBreak Weekly on how file renaming and relinking have improved

10.1.2 Interesting reports

John Davidson of Magic Feather is very happy with the new 10.1.2 library media management - very useful for workgroups sharing media elements.

Ryan Velin reports in a post at FCP.co that while editing a 1 hour show for Danish TV, he found that 10.1.2 was noticably faster and that XML 'really works'

Larry Jordan on how keyframe editing has changed in 10.1.2.

Alex Snelling (@slackalicefilms) has updated his comprehensive Final Cut Pro X in a Share Environment workflows primer for 10.1.2.

Updated Apple documents

Online help

PDF version of 10.1.2 User Guide

Final Cut Pro X: Version 10.1.2 release notes 

Apple Media Management White Paper - June 2014

Final Cut Pro X 10.1 and later: Back up libraries and archive projects

Hiding Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2 has a delay on external display

Final Cut Pro X 10.1.2: Updating and working with libraries FAQ

About Apple ProRes

ProRes white paper

PDF of Motion 5.1.1 User Guide - very few changes, mainly repagination

PDF of Compressor 4.1.2 User Guide

Apple developer documentation for those wanting add tools to Apple application ecosystems - including Final Cut Pro X

  

Red Giant Universe: A new VFX plugins subscription community for Final Cut Pro X and Adobe Premiere Pro

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Red Giant have announced that they are changing the way editors, motion graphics designers and visual effects artists access their visual effects plugins.

Red Giant Universe is a new free online community for Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Apple Final Cut Pro X and Apple Motion users. Today it hosts 31 free plugins in categories including Blur, Distort, Glow and Generators. 

rgu-plugin-listings

If you sign up for a Monthly or yearly subscription, you also get access to 19 premium plugins

The initial premium plugins are Universe versions of current Red Giant stand alone products. Launch tools include Knoll Light Factory EZ, Holomatrix, Retrograde, and ToonIt:

rgu-premiere-plugins

Here are samples of Universe Chromatic Glow, Universe Glo Fi and Universe Prism Displacement:

rgu-free-plugins

Red Giant say that they'll be regularly adding new free and premium plugins to Red Giant Universe.

What makes Universe a community? Red Giant will use user feedback to determine their development priorities - which of their non-Universe plugins to convert and make available to premium subscribers, and what new features to add to current Universe plugins.

Unlike Adobe's Creative Cloud, as well as monthly premium ($10) and annual premium ($99) membership options, you can buy Red Giant out with a one-time lifetime subscription fee ($399).

Not an Adobe-style migration

Red Giant say that most of the plugins they've sold up until now aren't part of Universe. Their colour, keying and Trapcode plugin suites are still available in the normal way. 

GPU Power

Final Cut Pro X and Apple Motion users are used to the near real-time rendering speed of GPU-based plugins. Red Giant Universe brings that same power to Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects users on OS X and Windows.

The secret to Red Giant Universe is the 'Supernova' tool. This development system uses a javascript-like scripting language to access the Red Giant Universe Library; a collection of image processing libraries whose code is combined together to make cross-platform Universe plugins. As well as using the RG Universe Library to build new free and premium plugins as months go by, Red Giant say they'll also be adding new modules to the code library - so new plugins will have access to more advanced GPU code.

 

No third-party plugins yet…

Sadly Supernova is only available to internal Red Giant developers for now. Supernova looks like an interesting alternative to the model used by the FxFactory system. FxFactory uses Apple's Quartz Composer tool as the basis of its multi-host app plugin development and distribution system. Many developers would probably be more comfortable using Red Giant's scripting language. An extra advantage is that Red Giant Universe plugins work with the Windows versions of Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects.

Although Red Giant Supernova would be a powerful tool for third-party plugin development, FxFactory has many more years experience in dealing with promoting, selling and supporting third-party plugins. Although if I did sell plugins I would turn to FxFactory, the potential success of Red Giant Universe is good news for plugin developers.

Adobe and Apple

Red Giant Universe is also good news for Adobe as it might expand the availability of cross-OS plugins for their applications - at the moment there are more Premiere plugins for OS X then there are for Windows. Universe is also an endorsement of the Creative Cloud software subscription model.

In the case of Apple, Universe means more plugins for Final Cut Pro X and Motion 5. It might provide a little incentive for Apple concentrate a little more on making post production plugins better on OS X than on Windows. If such a comparison is important to Apple, they could produce a Motion 5-based plugin playback system that they could make available to OS X-based post production applications. Imagine implementing a plugin using Motion that could then be used in any AV Foundation-based application. This would help with transferring projects between QuickTime Player, iMovie, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere, Lightworks, Avid, DaVinci Resolve and Autodesk Smoke. Combining this with an Apple Post Production Tools Store would be a powerful proposition.

Universe is now open for free membership, why not sign up and investigate the quality of the plugins? First the first 30 days you get free access to the premium plugins. this could be the beginning of something big.

 

 

 

Use TrackX to make graphics and text follow moving objects in clips within Final Cut Pro X

Monday, 10 March 2014

In earlier decades many feature films relied on matte paintings to extend sets. They locked off a film camera and filmed scenes though a pane of glass with a painting that was created to make smaller sets look like they were in much larger environments.

In the second half of the 20th Century, optical printers were used to combine filmed footage of a painting with live action film.

Empire-side-by-side

In recent years matte paintings are digital images that are stored and composited with live action footage using computers. Compositing software can detect camera moves in the live action footage and move the graphic file so that the graphics 'track' with elements in the footage.

Up until recently tracking software to cost thousands of pounds and require expensive hardware to perform the necessary complex calculations. Most recently it was only found in high-end compositing applications. Now Final Cut Pro X editors can use a new set of plugins to track objects and camera moves in their video clips to make overlaid graphics and text line up with video that has already been shot.

Here is my sample video of what TrackX for Final Cut Pro X from Coremelt can do:

TrackX greatly reduces the number of workflow stages and opens up motion tracking to editors. It combines great value with ease of use and convenience.

For more information, more sample videos and a download of a 15 day free trial version, visit the CoreMelt website.

For a 84 minute webinar on many TrackX techniques, go to the Imagineer Systems video on Vimeo.

Disclosure: CoreMelt sent me a review unlock code for TrackX. Lucky for me as I was planning to buy it myself. I'd already bought their SliceX masking plugin last year.

 

 

Review: Luca Visual FX Hi-Tech Final Cut Pro X plugins

Monday, 09 December 2013

If you want to add a large variety of technological style to your Final Cut Pro X projects, try Hi-Tech. The experienced motion graphics designers at Luca Visual FX have bundled together many plugins into a single pack that can make any short film, documentary, advert, TV drama or feature film look instantly more hi-tech.

FxFactory

Hi-Tech is downloaded, installed and activated using the free FxFactory plugin management system. Although FxFactory can download, install, activate and deactivate plugins for Final Cut Pro, Motion, Adobe Premiere and Adobe After Effects, this plugin pack only works with Final Cut Pro X. Once users of those other applications see Hi-Tech, many will feel they are missing out.

Once you download the FxFactory application, you'll see many free and commercial plugin packs. Amongst them is Hi-Tech. FxFactory can download a watermarked trial version:

luca-watermarked

Downsides of the FxFactory system used to be that ts was a large download and that it added very many watermarked plugins in your NLE. The FxFactory installer is now a 69MB download, and you can use the application to turn off every plugin you don't want to see in Final Cut Pro.

In recent years handy free plugins have been added to FxFactory - including some by Andy Mees that many editors would pay to use every day. You never know whose free plugins will appear in FxFactory next.

Hi-Tech variety

Hi-tech is divided up into groups of plugins in the effects browser: Displays, Fractals, Holograms, Lower Thirds, Sci-Fi Mographs and a bonus pair of Sports themed plugins. Luca Visual FX designed for multiple  effects from this pack to be used on the same clip. They can also be used to modify clips that can then be used to make source clips that appear as elements inside other effects.

Here's a video showing all 31 effects in action:

The Lower Thirds are the most straightforward way of adding a hi-tech look to a documentary. Although these would normally be implemented as title generators, Luca have made these effects like all the other plugins in this pack.

luca-hitech-lower-thirds

Each lower third can be radically customised in many ways. For example here are the controls for the Hi-tech Chemical Lower Third:

luca-hitech-chemical-controls

The Fractals group of effects can be applied to any clip, but they also work well as elements that can be used within the hi-tech displays generated by other hi-tech filters. For example, a clip that has had the Script Factal effect applied to it can be put into a composition and that composition can then be used in a lower third - dropped in as a clip into one of the media wells (MEDIA 1 or MEDIA 2 in the controls for the Chemical lower third above).

luca-hitech-fractals

As well as being able to change colours and detail settings, the Fractal group effects have on-screen controls to help editors precisely position elements to line up with clip features - as do the majority of the Hi-Tech effects.

luca-hitech-osc

Most of the Holograms effects divide clips into multiple areas using glowing lines. Multiple instances of the Holographic Objects effect can be added to the same clip with different settings to show a variety of different animated holograms overlaid onto the same clip at the same time.

luca-hitech-holograms

Most of the Sci-Fi Mographs effects are more complex patterns that add hi-tech content that fills clips. The Planet Earth and Planetarium filters can be used as single elements applied to more complex displays.

luca-hitech-scifimographs

Whereas the Sci-Fri Mographs effects are designed to fill clips, the Displays effects seem to be designed to be overlaid on top of existing footage. 

luca-hitech-displays

Hi-Tech complexity

I divide editing software plugins into two groups. The first group are those that can be used in small ways on nearly every timeline.  The second group is made of of those that can save a great deal of time on specific projects. Hi-Tech fits into the second group. Unless you only work on modern thrillers sci-fi movies or adverts for technology, you won't be using Hi-Tech every day. However, if you use some of the Hi-Tech plugins on one timeline, the time you save will immediately justify the purchase price.

A big decision when designing plugins is how much control to give busy editors. Some want to be able to adjust every possible element of an effect - others want to apply an effect and not be daunted by a long list of controls that can't fit in the effect inspector without scrolling. The Hi-Tech plugins provide very many controls - but editors in a hurry shouldn't worry: the default settings work very well. Those sitting next to impatient directors can quickly apply an effect and move on to solving the next problem. If there's more time later, they can go back and tweak the effect settings.

An example of clever defaults is that Luca have already populated media wells with interesting content. This means that for each effect to look good, editors don't have to drop hi-tech clips into each well. For example, a specific animated logo can be added to the MEDIA 1 well in any of the lower third filters, but if no logo is available, there is relevant hi-tech content already in place.

Hi-Tech conclusion

Hi-Tech from Luca Visual FX is a plugin pack that makes complex well-designed motion graphics quick and straightforward to apply to Final Cut Pro X projects. For those who need flexibility, once applied each effect provides all the controls anyone could want. With this pack editors can concentrate on being editors, while editors with motion graphics inclinations will be very satisfied by the power available to them from within Final Cut Pro X.

For those wary of installing FxFactory, take another look - smaller installer sizes and better plugin activation control are welcome changes you might not know about.

FCPX Grill podcast - Episode 3 - featuring Alex Gollner

Monday, 02 December 2013

Episode 3 of the Final Cut Pro X Grill podcast featured an interview with me. It was a wide-ranging conversation on plugins, Final Cut Pro X, Avid, Adobe and what it means to be an editor.

(0:00) Introduction

(6:15) Alex and Macs 1984-

(8:30) First edits in After Effects

(9:15) 'What kinds of videos do you make'

(10:00) Motion graphics using Final Cut Pro and Motion

(13:00) 'How did you start making plugins'

(17:45) 'Your plugin ideas come from needing them in your editing work'

(19:00) My 'Grow-Shrink' plugin

(20:30) 'Do you make money from selling Final Cut Pro plugins

(22:00) 'What was your first impression of Final Cut Pro X'

(23:30) Why insecure editors were threatened by Final Cut Pro X

(24:30) Editors can no longer rely on high barriers to entry for their competition

(26:45) Editors aren't wrong for not using Final Cut Pro X

(27:15) 'What was your a-ha moment when using Final Cut Pro'

(28:30) Final Cut Pro X was great new for Adobe and Avid's marketing people…

(30:00) Adobe and Avid weren't putting enough pressure on Apple from 2007-2011 - Final Cut Pro X could afford to be behind for almost two years

(31:45) 'Do you prefer to cut in Final Cut Pro X'

(32:45) Final Cut Pro X is as different from previous NLEs as motion graphics apps are different from NLEs

(33:15) People like to pile on Apple whenever they seem to stumble

(34:45) Why Final Cut Pro X will succeed

(36:40) Apple would rather take longer to introduce features in order to get them right

(37:30) Possible multi-user editing timelines coming in Final Cut

(39:00) 'What have you found in iMovie 2013 that hints as to the future of Final Cut Pro X?'

(41:15) iMovie can run Final Cut Pro X plugins

(43:30) The relationship between versions of iMovie and Final Cut Pro X

(45:45) Apple have relented on hiding the file system from Final Cut Pro

(47:30) 'Is Mac OS X evolving into iOS?'

(48:30) OS X Mavericks 'Tags' are the OS equivalent of Final Cut Pro X keywords for clips and ranges within clips

(50:30) Editing is organising

(50:45) Versioning for Final Cut projects

(51:15) Tim Cook = Willy Wonka

(52:30) Final Cut Pro is right for me

(53:45) Wrap-up

Website link · iTunes link

Your part in the video goldrush!

Thursday, 12 September 2013

If someone starts talking up the wondrous 'democratisation' of video afforded by sites like YouTube, here's an antidote. Last week's 'Culture Show,' the BBC's arts programme, was a YouTube special.

They included a short amount of contrary opinion during a 30 minute advert for Google's video sharing site:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrSIMJG56jk&t=20m01s

By the way, can I interest you in some free digital video mining equipment? My modest refurbished store is now open.

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