For a limited time my two commercial plugin packs are on sale. They are available at 20% off.
Alex4D Animation Transitions
This pack of 120 transitions can be used to animate whole video clips, images, titles and logos on and off the screen. No need to use keyframes. Choose a few settings and your animation is done. Need to change the timing? Simply change the duration of the transition by dragging in the Final Cut Pro X timeline. No need to change the values and times for keyframes of multiple parameters.
Alex4D Animation Transitions also works in any aspect ratio. As well as traditional 16:9, they can be used to make super-wide animations in a 48:9 aspect ratio or wider. They can also add animation to square and vertical videos used in social media:
On my main site I have added a new product for Final Cut Pro X editors: VR video effects.
This kit of simple to use effects range from effects that stylise whole spheres of video to those that help viewers notice specific features of the 360° environment. As well as working with spheres of video, they also work with overlays such as logos, pictures and titles.
Alex4D 360° Effects adds vital parts of the VR toolkit to FCPX’s native abilities. I cannot envisage completing a project without them anymore, a genuine “must have” addition for me.
Alex4D 360° Effects includes three free plugins that can instantly save time in spherical video production.
The pack is divided into six categories: Repeat – to repeat footage and overlays around the sphere, Highlight – to attract attention to specific parts of the environment, Blur – blur parts of your footage and overlays, Stylize – to change the look of whole spheres at a time, Masks – to help overlay areas of 360° content inside other spheres and Flat – to make more of 360° footage used in flat non-spherical videos.
This week I’ve launched my first big plugin pack for Final Cut Pro X. Drop Alex4D Animation Transitions onto titles, images, videos and generators to animate them on or off the screen. Instead of a logo or text just appearing, it can slide, spin, scale or skid on. You can also animate clips off screen.
November 25: iMovie and Final Cut Pro X 10.1 part 4 – including a rundown of accessibility features – which are useful for those who cannot use traditional control devices and those who want to use workflow applications to control Final Cut.
When the new Mac Pro was previewed at this year’s WWDC, Apple said it would be great at editing 4K. 4K is the next size up from HD – twice the pixels horizontally and vertically: four times the detail. UHD is the consumer brand name for TVs that can show 3840 by 2160 pixel footage.
Apple also mentioned that a new version of Final Cut Pro X is being prepared to make the most of the new machine. However, Final Cut Pro users have been able to create high resolution timelines since the mid-00s.
Although it has been possible to create 4K timelines for many years, smooth editing of 4K footage requires instant playback of more than one stream of video footage at once. For example if you had clip A transitioning to clip B while clip C is overlaid as a picture in picture, your editing software would have to play back clips A, B and C at the same time – changing the transparency of clips A and B while scaling clip C.
Up until now, there have been two strategies of dealing with high quality video on systems that are too slow: wait for the computer the render the video to a single combined clip which can then be played back, or to make lower quality versions that can be edited without rendering.
What could the next Mac Pro / Final Cut Pro X combination bring to 4K editing? The ability to import 4K clips and to work with them instantly – playing more than one at the same time without having to wait for rendering.
Two problems need to be fixed to make this work – fast enough hardware to decode large amounts of video information and a fast enough connection to the storage to get large amounts of data onto the screen.
To help people work out which Macs work best with Final Cut Pro X, it is useful to refer to a standard speed test.
All but one of the MacBook Pros with Retina configurations do not have dedicated GPUs. New Mac software is depending more and more on GPU power. Editors want to know if the integrated Intel Iris and Iris Pro Graphics GPUs are powerful enough to run professional software well.
In the past we sneered at the integrated GPUs and their puny performance. Not any more. The Intel Iris and Iris Pro are every bit the match or master of discrete NVIDIA Mobile GPUs — at least when it comes to OpenCL acceleration.
Although it is great news that integrated GPUs are getting better, many are worried that the MacBook Pros should be avoided until Iris Pro has improved a little more.
A speed test proposed by FCP.co was to time the render of Final Cut Pro X’s built-in ‘Far Far Away’ title on a 23.975 1080p timeline. This test puts enough pressure on main memory and GPU memory to separate older generation Macs from more recent computers.
Over at the the FCP.co forum, qbe asked me to do the ‘Far Far Away’ test on my new late 2013 MacBook Pro 15″ using only the built-in Iris Pro Graphics and also on only the Discrete GeForce GT 750M GPU which I included in my BTO Mac.
It turns out that the test wasn’t tough enough to show a difference between the two GPUs:
MacBook Pro late-2013 Discrete GeForce GT 750M 2GB 18.8 seconds MacBook Pro late-2013 Intel Iris Pro Graphics 1GB 19.2 seconds
I’ve come up with a test that shows the differences between these GPUs and other Macs…
The BruceX benchmark
BruceX is a small Final Cut Pro X XML file that you import into Final Cut Pro. It creates a very short timeline at a high resolution: 5120 by 2700 (at 23.975 fps). It uses standard Final Cut generators, titles and transitions. As it uses many layers of complex content, it requires lots of GPU RAM.
The Bruce X benchmark is based on timing how long a Mac configuration takes to export the project.
…and time the export of a 5K master file from the timeline.
1. Have both QuickTime Player and Final Cut Pro open at the same time.
2. In Final Cut Pro, go to ‘Final Cut Pro:Preferences…’ – in the Playback tab make sure ‘Background render’ is off.
3. Make sure no libraries are open. Open the BruceX.fcpbundle library which contains a very short but complex 5K project.
4. Click the new ‘BruceX Test – 5K ‘ project timeline (this makes the Share command selectable)
5. Export the QuickTime movie by choosing “File:Share:Master File…’
6. In the dialogue box that appears, click the ‘Settings’ Tab
7. In the ‘Video Codec’ section choose a flavour of ‘ProRes’
8. From the ‘When Done’ pop-up menu, choose ‘Open With QuickTime Player’
9. Click the ‘Next…’ button in the bottom-right of the dialogue box
10. In the Save sheet, choose a name and location for the export – export to your fastest drive connected using your fastest connection.
11. Get your stopwatch ready and time from when you click ‘Save’ until you see the movie open up in QuickTime Player.
12. If possible do the export at least three times. Your configuration’s BruceX Score is the average export time in seconds. Before timing the next export, restart Final Cut (otherwise the exports speed up each time because X does a little caching renders to save time).