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final cut pro

Here’s a filter which uses the name of a clip’s reel to define which font to use when drawing text. It is a bit of a bodge, but it might save you a lot of time.

Once you have installed the plugin*, here’s how you use it:

1. Choose ‘Slug’ from the generators menu:

2. Apply the ‘Text – Reel Font Alex4D’ filter (which is in the ‘Text’ folder of ‘Video Filters’)

3. Make sure the pixel aspect ratio setting of the filter matches the pixel aspect ratio of your Sequence. Have a look at ‘Settings…’ in the ‘Sequence’ menu:

Make the same choice from the pop-up menu in the filter settings:

You need to do this because there is a fault with FxScript, the plugin programming language which means filters can render differently depending on whether you use Safe or Unlimited RT to render your sequence.

4. To set the font the type uses, right-click the Slug clip and choose ‘Item Properties:Logging Info…':

Enter the name of the font you want to use in the ‘Reel’ entry:

5. Now you have a prototype clip, you can use it elsewhere in your project as much as you want, you can drag it to the browser, option-drag it along the timeline, blade it to divide it into two. As these clips will remain affiliated, you need only change the font named in the Reel of one instance of these clips for them all to change.

6. When you change the font in one of the clips, the reel name (i.e. the font to be used) will change in all the affiliated clips. However, Final Cut will not know that the clips need to be re-rendered. You need to force the clips to be re-rendered. First select one clip and choose ‘Reveal Affiliated Clips in Front Sequence’ to select the other clips with the same font:

While they are selected, disable and re-enable the visibility of the clips. You can do this quickly by pressing Control-B twice, or choose ‘Clip Enable’ twice from the pop-up menu:

Download Alex4D Reel font

*To install the plugins, download the ZIP document, extract the file and copy the ‘Reel font Alex4D.fcfcc’ file to

Your Startup HD/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Pro System Support/Plugins

(Your Startup HD/Users/your name/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Express Support/Plugins for Final Cut Express users)

The filter appears in the ‘Text’ filter category.

Visit my Final Cut home for more plugins and tips
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If you find this plugin useful, please consider donating as a sign of your appreciation. Thank you.

Spent most of the afternoon trying to chase down a Final Cut Studio bug.

Today’s task was to generate an audio-only OMF version of my movie for the sound editor. I wanted to check the OMF included the handles and keyframes that I had specified. As Soundtrack can import OMFs, I tried that.

My audio OMFs exported from Final Cut Pro 7 weren’t importing into Soundtrack Pro 3. There was no error reported, the command just did nothing.

After some trial and error, I discovered that OMFs won’t import if they have any clips created using the Bars and Tone generator.

Ironically you are more likely to use bars and tone generators in timelines you export as OMF, as sound editors like pops at the start and finish of sequences on all tracks to make sure everything stays in sync.

The workaround is to make a QuickTime pop by exporting your Bars and Tone frame as a single frame movie, import it and replace the generated tone on all your audio tracks.

PS: Don’t use OMF to transfer information from Final Cut to Soundtrack, use ‘Send to Soundtrack’. I wanted to use Soundtrack to check the OMFs to see if they’ll import into ProTools.

Watching ‘Hustle’ on the BBC this evening, I noticed a ‘good enough’ day for night shot.

It was made obvious by a transition directly from the day version of the setup:

To the same shot colour-corrected to look like night-time:

Click the shots to see bigger versions.

They used a flat monotonous sky to pull a key, but they ended up letting quite a lot of the tops of the trees floating in mid-air. Some of the house roof details vanished too.

They even added an owl hoot to the soundtrack to sell the idea. To imply that they had crossfaded between two shots, they moved the second shot down a little so that the whole image changed.

For the budding colourists, you can use these images as before/after references on how to change a day shot to look as if it were shot at night.

If you’re in the UK, you can see the the original episode for the next few weeks. Spool to (27:51).

This Matte filter gives you much more control over feathering. You set up two shapes – one is the inside of the matte, the other being the outside of the matte.

Here is the filter in Wireframe mode, where you can see the two shapes:

IO_Matte_wf

If you switch to Preview mode, you can see how the blend between the inside and outside shapes effects the matte:
IO_Matte_lowsteps

If you change to Final mode, increase the value for Steps in the Smoothness section, and overlay on top of a desaturated, darkened copy of the clip, you get this:
IO_matte_comp

Here are the controls:
IO_Matte_controls

You can enable and disable points on the matte:
IO_Matte_3_points
IO_Matte_all_8_points
If you enable less than three points, all eight points become temporarily enabled.

You can also only use the outside shape to form the matte:
IO_Matte_Outside_w_controls
IO_Matte_w

In this mode you can choose a feathering value to apply to the outside shape:
IO_Matte_Outside_f_controls
IO_Matte_Outside_final

Download Alex4D Inside Outside Matte
To use these plugins, download the ZIP document, copy the ‘Alex4D IO Matte.fcfcc’ file to

Your Startup HD/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Pro System Support/Plugins

(Your Startup HD/Users/your name/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Express Support/Plugins for Final Cut Express users)

The filter appears in the ‘Matte’ filter category.

Visit my Final Cut home for more plugins and tips
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Over at the Los Angeles Final Cut Pro users group forum, ‘debe’ asked for a differing horizontal and vertical controls for the feathering of mattes. Here are three free Matte filter plugins to do this.

This is the kind of effect that Eight-Point Garbage Matte-hv has if the feathering is vertical only:

V-feather

featherhvcontrols

Included in ‘Alex4D Mattes-hv‘ are Four-Point Garbage Matte-hv, Eight-Point Garbage Matte-hv and Mask Feather-hv.

Plugins are implemented using FxScript code. These can be stored as text files in the Final Cut plugins folder. If you take a look at the code you’ll see that I changed very little of the code compared with the filters supplied by Apple.

Download Alex4D Mattes-hv
To use these plugins, download the ZIP document, copy ‘4-pt Garbage Matte-hv.txt’, ‘8-pt Garbage Matte-hv.txt’ and ‘Mask Feather-hv.txt’ to

Your Startup HD/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Pro System Support/Plugins

(Your Startup HD/Users/your name/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Express Support/Plugins for Final Cut Express users)

These filters appear in the ‘Matte’ filter category.

Visit my Final Cut home for more plugins and tips
finalcuthomethumbnail

Those of you starting to use Snow Leopard will notice the new QuickTime player.

qtX

Apple markets this as part of QuickTime X. However, it turns out that the new player is a small part of this new version of QuickTime.

As detailed as part of a 23 page technical review of Snow Leopard over at Ars Technica, as with the rest of the OS, most of the changes to QuickTime are hidden from end-users. The first release of QuickTime X is for developers to create new media manipulation applications.

The way Apple does this is through ‘abstraction’ – hiding which software is carrying out requests for applications. For the last few years developers have been asked to use a part of the OS known as QtKit instead of QuickTime 7. In earlier versions of OS X QtKit called QuickTime 7 to perform operations. In OS 10.6 Snow Leopard some operations are carried out by QuickTime X while most are still performed by QuickTime 7. As future versions of OS X are released, more of the application requests will be carried out by QuickTime X.

qt7X

A wider advantage of Snow Leopard is that more of the OS is 64-bit compatible. The advantages won’t be immediately apparent for most users. This release (and the fact that it doesn’t cost very much to upgrade) is to encourage developers to create 64-bit applications and drivers. The eventual benefits will be access to virtually unlimited amounts of memory and much better processor performance.

For more on the 18 year history of QuickTime, the advantages provided by QuickTime X and how the 32-bit Final Cut Studio suite fits into the picture, read the QuickTime page of the Snow Leopard review over at Ars Technica.

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For more on the QuickTime X player, QuickTime 7 player in Snow Leopard and the question of Pro feature unlocking, there’s another page of the Ars Technica review on these subjects.

This is an alternative to Final Cut’s crop section of the Motion tab.

This blog post used to host version 1 of my Crop plugin. I’ve updated it, so now you can download version 1.1.

When you blur the crop using the Edge Feather control, it only adds the feathering to the edges you crop. The built-in crop feathers all edges.

crop_1_result

Here are the controls:
crop_1_settings

You can also invert the crop, so that the area removed is inside the area defined by the slider values. You can also choose the have different feather values for each edge:
crop_2_result
…the result of these settings:
crop_2_settings

Download Alex4D Crop
To use this plugin, download the ZIP document, copy the ‘Alex4D Crop.fcfcc’ file to

Your Startup HD/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Pro System Support/Plugins

(Your Startup HD/Users/your name/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Express Support/Plugins for Final Cut Express users)

‘Alex4D Crop’ will appear in the ‘Matte’ filter category.

Visit my Final Cut home for more plugins and tips
finalcuthomethumbnail

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