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BlogFinal Cut Pro for iPad: How to create secondary storylinesSaturday, July 8 2023

In version 1.0.x of Final Cut Pro for iPad, there isn’t an on-screen control, gesture or keyboard command to create a secondary storyline.

Final Cut for Mac users who miss this very useful method for grouping clips together can create secondary storylines using this tip:

  1. Connect a clip to the main storyline (by dragging one from the main storyline or by using the ‘Connect at Playhead’ option of the Edit Mode control from the Project Media pane).
    Crop of a screenshot of Final Cut Pro for iPad showing two connected clips - one named 'G.O.A.T. Mall’
  2. Drag any transition from the Transitions browser to the connected clip.
    Crop of a screenshot of Final Cut Pro for iPad showing a cross dissolve transition about to be dropped on the end of the 'G.O.A.T. Mall' clip. The end of the clip displays a white rectangle that shows how long the transition will be when it is dropped.
    The clip is turned into a single clip connected storyline with a transition.
    If you have a keyboard connected, you can quickly add the Cross Dissolve transition to the connected clip using the Command-T keyboard shortcut. If the whole clip is selected, it will the add the transition to both ends. If you go into Edge selection mode and tap an edge and then press Command-T, then the transition will only be added to that edge.
  3. Select the transition.
  4. Tap the trash can to delete it.
    Crop of a screenshot of Final Cut Pro for iPad showing the cross dissolve transition selected on the end of the 'G.O.A.T. Mall' clip and the trash can icon circled in red
  5. You now have a single clip storyline which you can add to and edit. You can tap to select individual clips or select the whole storyline to move it (with the jog wheel in nudge mode too).
    Crop of a screenshot of Final Cut Pro for iPad showing the 'G.O.A.T. Mall' clip and two others in a connected storyline - which is selected as a whole. Also visible, another connected storyline with three very short clips.
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BlogFinal Cut Pro: Modify on Mac, open on iPadWednesday, May 24 2023

Final Cut Pro for iPad version 1.0 doesn’t open Final Cut Pro for Mac libraries. However, Chris Hocking of LateNite films discovered, you can export a Final Cut for iPad project over to the Mac, make changes on the Mac, and then export back to iPad and continue your work.

  1. On Final Cut Pro for iPad, use the Share button to export a Final Cut Pro for iPad Project.
  2. AirDrop it to a Mac.
  3. Don’t double-click it – the document with the .fcpproj suffix
  4. Control- or right-click the document and choose Show Package Contents from the context menu.
    Screenshot showing a context menu showing the Show Package Contents command highlighted
  5. In the new window that appears, double-click the .fcpbundle document.
    Screenshot showing a window that shows the contents of package with the Final Cut Pro library selected.
  6. Final Cut Pro for the Mac will open it without converting it to a Final Cut Mac library.
  7. Make changes.
  8. Final Cut on the Mac will make changes to the Final Cut library within the Final Cut Pro for iPad project package.
  9. AirDrop the .fcpproj document back to iPad. It will open in the Project Browser.

This method isn’t officially supported by Apple. It is a workaround so we can discover how Final Cut Pro for iPad may develop.

Some changes will confuse Final Cut Pro for iPad, so will not work. For example, Chris has discovered

– Your library should only contain a single event

– All your projects must start at 00:00:00:00

Third-party Final Cut plugins

If you want to see how third-party titles, effects and other templates made on the Mac work on iPad, change the Library Storage Locations

so that Motion Content is stored In Library.

Then add templates made in Apple Motion – such as my free Alex4D Adjustment Layer (!) – to the timeline, to see which will work in the current version of Final Cut Pro for iPad.

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BlogSoon: Build Final Cut Pro for iPad plugins in Apple Motion 5. What about distribution?Monday, May 22 2023

Final Cut Pro for iPad will be available on the Apple iPad App Store from tomorrow.

Apple’s product page states ‘Third-party content is coming soon.’ A future update coming soon will allow you to

Enhance your project with powerful content from leading developers.

…on the iPad.

Motion for Final Cut Pro plugin development

Motion, Apple’s single-purchase $50 real-time motion graphics application, has been able to build Final Cut Pro plugins since 2011.

Motion can make four kinds of plugins: Titles (for animating text over video), effects, content generators and even transitions between video clips.

It was a big change from the FxScript scripting system used to develop Final Cut Pro 1-7’s internal and third-party filters, generators and transitions.

The majority of the tools in the Final Cut Pro for Mac ecosystem are built using Apple Motion. I have made many free plugins and two commercial plugin packs for Final Cut using Motion. I’ve also made very many for the BBC for use in the UK and around the world.

As soon as the release of Final Cut Pro for iPad was announced by Apple on 9 May, I wanted to know if I could make my plugins available on the iPad.

I contacted Apple and they replied, “you will be very familiar with the creation process.”

I think this means I will be able to use the same creation process – building templates in Apple Motion 5 – to make Final Cut Pro for iPad plugins.

That answers my development question. What about distribution?

Selling Final Cut Pro plugins on iPad

As well as seeing that third-party content is coming soon, I saw that prolific Final Cut editing tool maker MotionVFX was namechecked on Apple’s product page:

Some Motion templates on this web page are available from and are subject to MotionVFX terms & conditions.

This is interesting from a distribution point of view. MotionVFX currently distribute their tools using mInstaller – an installer application for the Mac. It acts like an app store for their Final Cut Pro for Mac products. It ensures that MotionVFX tools will only work on Macs where people have signed in with the correct MotionVFX account.

If plugin makers like MotionVFX and me don’t use installers for our tools, our plugins can be easily copied from Mac to Mac. To install most Final Cut plugins, all you need to do is to drag the plugin to the ~movies folder. Motion cannot copy-protect Final Cut plugins.

FxFactory is post-production tools app store for applications such as Final Cut Pro, Apple Motion, Adobe After Effects and Adobe Premiere. They distribute hundreds of plugins and apps from many different independent post tools makers – using a single installer. One of it advantages is that if you move to a different Mac, download the FxFactory application, sign in with you FxFactory account, you can quickly install your purchases on the new computer.

Some installers of third-party tools for Final Cut Pro on Mac are third-party stores.

Apple have a rule that prevents developers distributing third-party digital content stores for iPads. This has been the source of much friction between Apple and some developers in recent years. Apple’s ability to prevent non-Apple app stores on all their platforms (apart from the Mac) has attracted interest from competition regulation authorities worldwide.

In recent months there have been rumours that Apple is preparing to allow app store alternatives on iPhone and iPad.

App plugins in iPad App Store

Apple pre-announced that the launch of Final Cut Pro for iPad will happen less than two weeks before their annual 2023 Worldwide Developers Conference. When considering the timing, some guessed that Apple must have so many announcements to fit into the WWDC keynote presentation that there will be no time to launch Final Cut Pro for iPad.

An alternative explanation could be that the arrival of Final Cut on iPad gives Apple a case study for how they will loosen their app store rules to help developers who want to encourage third-party ecosystems for their apps.

So in what ways might Apple’s App Store policy change to accommodate Final Cut Pro plugins?

Plugins could be a new class of product that will be available on the iPad App Store and Mac App Store. At the moment only applications can be sold on Apple app stores.

If plugins are allowed, users will be able to install it via the iPad App Store. The plugin would then be available on all iPads associated with the AppleID of the person who bought it.

That same plugin could be made available on the Mac App Store. The developer could decide whether a single purchase on either App Store would cover both platforms, or make the plugin a separate purchase on each platform.

In-app app stores

Apple’s app stores are very convenient. To buy an app, there’s no need to go to a specific site on the internet, create a new user account, add your payment details, download what you want and then run an installer. The iPad App Store is much simpler.

But if the tool you need only works in one or very few of the apps on your iPad, it would be much more convenient if the ability to use your AppleID to buy what you need was in the app you are using.

Final Cut Pro for iPad has a browser for effects, transitions, titles, backgrounds and objects. In the initial version, this browser will only show built-in tools. There is a search tool for these tools, because even in the first version there are too many to browse without search.

‘Coming soon,’ this browser in Final Cut Pro for iPad will also show installed third-party content. Imagine if Apple went further, and included unsinstalled third-party tools available in a Final Cut plugin in-app app store.

This would require Apple policies on plugin watermarking, trial periods, subscriptions, bundling and cross-platform bundling.

I look forward to finding out what Apple decide, how it will effect the Final Cut Pro ecosystem and also how it will effect third party developers who want more control over their ecosystems.

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BlogComing soon from PostLab: Final Cut Pro event locking for collaborationTuesday, April 18 2023

Final Cut Pro doesn’t have bins – it has events. Final Cut Pro events hold media and timelines.

The way that collaboration works now for teams of Final Cut Pro editors, assistant editors and others is through using transfer libraries and the third-party PostLab service from Hedge.

As documented in Alex Snelling’s ‘Final Cut Pro Shared & Remote Solutions 2021’ white paper for

Essentially PostLab takes the transfer library concept and manages it in the background, using its own cloud storage, allowing users to concentrate on the (editing) job in hand.

In Final Cut Pro terms, PostLab works by syncing multiple users’ local libraries to and from its cloud storage, managing access and tracking changes. The idea is to use PostLab to open and close Final Cut Pro libraries, work as normal within Final Cut Pro (using local libraries) and then go back to Postlab to share your session.

In a new video yesterday by the Office Hours team streamed live from the NAB 2023 show floor, Paul Matthijs of Hedge announced big changes to Hedge, PostLab and other Hedge products.

Most of the big Hedge news is listed in a new blog post on the Hedge website.

What isn’t yet on Hedge’s site is that a future version of PostLab will allow event locking.

The embedded video below jumps straight to the part of the interview about PostLab. The video is a recording of Office Hours’ daily two hour technology show.

Here is a transcript of the conversation between Felipe Baez and Paul Matthijs of Hedge:

Paul Matthijs
PostLab is our version control system for Final Cut Pro and Premiere editors. And it’s been around for quite some years. It’s been used by a lot of editors that, well, with Final Cut Pro, you don’t have any collaboration features. So it’s the only way to actually do collaboration, but it’s on a Library level and we’re now revealing that we’re building a new PostLab that can actually do that on an Event level for Final Cut Pro.

Felipe Baez
Okay. This is big news because I have a lot of friends that have been texting me and sending messages in forums saying, Hey, we’ve been hearing that Hedge is making a new version of PostLab. So what type of details? I mean, what is it exactly that we can do with Event locking that we can’t do with a Library lock?

Well, let’s take a step back to the problem of collaboration, is that it’s completely dependent on the cloud. So it’s also a component on a dependent on subscriptions, and we want to get rid of that. So PostLab currently is subscription because it needs a server component. The new PostLab that we are building is serverless. So it can work locally, it can work on shared storage, but can also can use Amazon S3 as remote storage where you control the storage yourself and so there is no vendor lock in.

On top of that you get what we call Event locking, and it’s a big paradigm shift for Final Cut Pro editors where you no longer work in a Library, but we just give you a list of all the Events that you have and you can cherry pick the set of events that you want to work in.

We create an ad-hoc library. That’s what you work in. When you’re done, we save the events back so that other editors on your team know which events you are working on. So it’s not all events in the library are locked to all of them. It’s only the ones that you want to work on that day. [If someone is working in an event, they] can open a copy of that event and still use that media.

Right. So that’s massive. It’s going to be completely different for everyone that’s using PostLab right now. Do you have any idea about when you’re planning on making that available for people?

Yeah, we’ve build the guts of it over the last one and a half years. We’re now going to build the interface. So we think we’ll be able to show something near IBC.

What this means is that a high-end media workflow specialist like Felipe will be able set up a team made of local editors or remote editors or local and remote editors and have them all work on events from the same Final Cut Pro library.

Each collaborator will be able to make changes to events they have read/write access to. Others will be able to read those events.

Editors can be assigned the events associated with a given episode of a series.

Assistant editors can update metadata of media in an event. Metadata such as rights clearances, transcripts associated with specific timecodes.

Other assistants can manage colour across the whole production using Colourlab plugins. Or prepare to handover timelines to audio professionals.

VFX editors will be able to take notes from producers and modify a timeline with new versions of VFX from vendors.

Good news for those in Final Cut Pro postproduction!

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BlogHow 10 editors and 9 assistant editors edited a six hour documentary series for HBO in Final Cut ProThursday, March 31 2022

Here’s a video from Alex Lindsay’s Office Hours detailing the Final Cut Pro-based workflow of ‘Q: Into the Storm’ – a six part documentary shown on HBO.

  • 10 editors, 9 assistant editors, working with 1,700 hours of media. Working remotely.
  • Editing start: October 2020. Delivery: March 2021
  • Home internet speeds: 200 Mb/s down, 10 Mb/s up
  • 70TB of source media
  • Footage: shot on cinema cameras, DSLRs, phones, action cameras, screen recordings
  • RAW, ProRes, MXF, H.264, H.265
  • Constant frame rate, variable frame rate
  • Proxy workflow for video: H.264 proxies = 2.7TB
  • Original audio: 1.9TB
  • Transcoded using Kyno of 1,700 hrs of media in 48 hours on a 28-core Mac Pro
  • Centralised Final Cut Pro library access for everyone via Postlab.
  • Media distributed using Postlab Drive and Chronosync
  • Remote support using Jump Desktop
  • Custom-built chat system known as ‘AE Hotline’ – in the style of Slack or Discord
  • Very many VFX/animation shots
  • VFX/animation shots: Compound clips held source plates and multiple deliveries from vendors

Featuring workflow consultant and lead assistant editor Felipe Baez and Steven Moyer, conform editor.

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Apple Motion 5Keep old Final Cut Pro templates for old timelines without allowing them in new timelinesMonday, December 20 2021

If you make a custom plugin for Final Cut Pro using Apple Motion 5, your customer might ask for an update with bug fixes and new features. There might be a problem after you deliver the second version. What happens if they open a timeline that used the first version and it is no longer on the system – having been replaced by the second version? Old projects will report that the plugin is missing, or not work the way they used to.

There is a way of deprecating a Motion template. To tell Final Cut that it can be used in previous projects but can’t be applied in new projects.

From ‘Preparing Plug-ins for Use in Final Cut Pro’ on the Apple Developer website:

When you update an existing plug-in, you may also need to deprecate the older version of the Motion template. A deprecated template is considered obsolete and does not appear in the effects browser in Motion, but it will still be applied in projects that previously used it.

The second bit of the <flags> value in the Motion XML for a template indicates whether or not the template has been deprecated. A 0 value for the second bit indicates that the template has not been deprecated; a value of 1 indicates that it has been deprecated.

To deprecate a template, open the Motion XML document and take the current value of the <flags> element (a child of the <template> element) and perform a bitwise OR operation with the value 0x2. For example, if the value of <flags> was previously 1, it would now be 3:


This means to deprecate a template you made in Motion, open it with a text editor and edit the <template> section so that the value of <flags> is 3.

There’ll only be a <template> section in the template if you have checked the ‘Designed for 4K’ checkbox in the Project > Properties Inspector. If there isn’t a <template> section in the Motion template, you can add your own.

To add your own <template> section, in your text editor, search for <build> and add this before it:

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