Final Cut: Ideas for my improved Text Crawl generator

I hardly ever use text crawls to create on-screen ‘news ticker’ effects, so I’ve never came up against the limitation mentioned in the July edition of Larry Jordan’s Final Cut Studio newsletter:

crawls will only show 2 minutes worth of text, no matter how long you make them in the Viewer.

This is due to a limitation in FxScript, the Final Cut language that implements most filters, transitions and generators. You cannot draw any text that is wider than 32767 pixels wide. Even if your video is only 1920 pixels wide, in order to move the text past the screen, the generator draws all the text for each frame, moving it a little each frame.

I’ve fixed that limitation in a new version of Text Crawl. I’ve also added the ability to animate based on a keyframe value and at specific speeds (as well as the usual from in to out), also if a font you want to use doesn’t appear in the menu, you can type its name into the ‘Other Font’ field:

crawl_Alex4D_suggestions

Before I release this, I’m wondering what other features you would like. Add a comment below, and I’ll see what I can do.

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9 comments
  1. Zak Ray said:

    Not sure how difficult this would be to implement, but integration with Motion 4’s credits generator would be nice– so that if I clicked “Send to Motion”, it would open in the credits generator.

    • Alex said:

      Unfortunately, scripting for plugins doesn’t allow for that sort of interaction.

      The scripts for filters, transitions and generators are called very single time Final Cut wants to draw to the screen. The controls can only set values that make the screen look different. You can’t have commands that work with files to export elsewhere, or deal with metadata.

      What would you want to do in Motion with a text crawl?

  2. Zak Ray said:

    Well as I understand it, the new Motion allows for modification of single characters or words– obviously any extensive 3D stuff or text behaviors is out of FCP’s range, but does your plugin let me format different pieces of text differently?

  3. Eva said:

    perhaps add a background color ? or gradient ? – But maybe it’s already there ?

  4. tvsoup said:

    Way, way back in the days of the Aston 4, there were two features of crawls that I used a lot:

    – Start paused (e.g. a centred single line lower third as in “you have been watching”), which then starts the crawl on a cue.

    – End stop: crawl stops at a specified point, usually a (c) list

    The latter using a special character perhaps?

    But I guess I’ll stick with Motion for 2 line crawls (separate objects sharing the same Throw behavior)

  5. Michael Maitzen said:

    Since you mention it. I think the ability to embed graphics into a crawl would be a good feature. Don’t know if that is possible.

    • Michael Maitzen said:

      Now that I am investigating your plug-ins I see that you already accomplished adding graphics with your 4D move plug-in. Sorry, I was not familiar with your previous work. It looks very handy.

  6. Can you write a plug-in that will turn FCP into a Smoke?

    • Alex said:

      Sure…

      If you stump up the £15,000,000!

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