Final Cut Pro X effect: Alex4D Dimensions

Alex4D Dimensions is a Title Generator effect that mattes the edges of a project so the visible area has exactly the pixel dimensions you specify. It helps you make videos with frame dimensions that aren’t available as standard in Final Cut Pro X.


In this example, someone here in the UK needs to use some 1280 by 720 footage in a PAL 16:9 video – the square pixel dimensions of which are usually defined as 1024 by 576, dimensions that aren’t available in Final Cut Pro 10.0.

1. Choose the generator that matches the resolution of your current project.

2. Drag it above clip at the start of the project.

3. Set the width and height in pixels.

4. Extend the title to the length of your project.

5. If some secondary elements end up being above the Dimensions clip in the timeline, drag the clip above the rest (holding down Shift if you don’t want the clip moving backwards or forwards in time).

Once the Dimensions clip is in position, you can edit away as normal – repositioning and scaling any video and graphics clips, choosing which parts will be visible in the final movie.

You can scale, move and manipulate your content in any way you want. If you wish to see what you will be cropping off your final video, you can reduce the strength of the matte.

As this title has to be connected to a specific clip, it will vanish if you delete that clip. If you need to delete the first clip, you can choose to connect it to a different clip, or even a gap clip. With the title selected, Option-Command-click the title at the new position you want your connector to be:

Here’s a demo video:


Click the Vimeo logo to go to their site to see an HD version.

Download the effect archive from here.

The 2K effect is for 2048 by 1024 projects, the 4K effect is for 4096 by 2048 projects. Comment below if you’d like versions for 2048 by 1556 or 4096 by 3112 projects.

Expand the ZIP archive and add the four folders to the Motion Templates folder in the Movies folder of your home directory. Create an Alex4D folder in the Titles sub-folder:

If you don’t have Motion installed, you won’t have a Motion Templates folder in your Movies folder. Download this set of empty folders and add them to the Movies folder of your home directory.

Although the folder is called Motion Templates, you don’t need to have Motion installed on your computer for this effect to work.

To end up with a video at the dimensions you’ve chosen, use the Share menu to export a QuickTime movie and use Compressor, MPEG Streamclip or Adobe Photoshop CS4 to crop your video.

Here are the settings to crop the 1280 by 720 movie generated in the demo video to 1024 by 576. The crop values are calculated by halving the difference between the source and destination movies. 1280-1024=256, so crop left and right by 128. 720-576=144 so crop top and bottom by 72.

Compressor

Compressor is available from the Mac App Store.

MPEG Streamclip

Click to enlarge.
MPEG Streamclip is a free download from Squared5.

Alternatively, you can use QuickTime Player 7 by following this tutorial.

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Check out my other free effects and articles on my Final Cut Pro X home page.

Visit my Final Cut Pro 7 page for over 20 free plugins and more
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5 comments
  1. Brian said:

    Hey Alex,

    I downloaded the lug in but it doesn’t show up in Titles, or anywhere else That I can see. Can you give some more insight as to how to properly install it and have it show in FCPX. Cheers

    Perhaps, a bit more detailed download and install process for us least sophisticated computer geeks.

  2. Brian said:

    Just to clarify. I DID create a Alex4d folder in the Movies/Motion Templates folder. And copied the 4 folders into it. I restarted FCP but I cant find your templates anywhere.

  3. Brian said:

    Never mind. I figured it out. I put them in the wrong folder. I realized I had to place them inside the TITLES folder inside motion templates

    • Alex said:

      Sorry I didn’t get back to you earlier, glad you worked it out. I’ll review the words I use in my instructions.

  4. Jesse said:

    I am having some trouble. I created the alex4d folder in titles but for some reason they are not showing up in fcp. any suggestions?

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