Free Final Cut plugin: Lower Third

In which I provide a free Final Cut plugin that provides more typeface, position and design options for adding text to productions.

This plugin gives you an extra style to use in lower thirds plus a few more extra features.

This how it looks with default settings:


Here is what the controls look like. As you can see from the text entry boxes, you can have more than one line of text in each section. You can also add a graduated fill behind the text.


If you change some settings, the generator can look like this:


Download Alex4D Lower Third
To use this plugin, download the ZIP document, copy the ‘Lower 3rd – 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)

‘Lower 3rd – Alex4D’ will appear in the ‘Text’ generator category.

Visit my Final Cut home for more plugins and tips

  1. Steve said:

    Very useful. TY.

  2. Well, that plug-in just about wraps up 97% of my tummy-tag needs! IOU beer for that one.

  3. Sheila said:

    Thanks for the info. Are there any restrictions as to operating systems (OS10.4 – pre-Intel) and version of FCP?

    All the best!

    • Alex said:

      Should be fine back to version 5 of Final Cut, and whichever versions of OS X it used.

  4. Quicker then using Live Type which I customize for same effect.


  5. Healey said:

    Sweet. Thanks.

  6. Larry Leake said:

    The location you suggest for Final Express Files does not exist, or is not accurate. Can you clarify where I should put the file for FC Express?

  7. Dave B said:

    Excellent – really useful and an amazing ‘gift’ Many thanks!

  8. This is a great plugin. Is there any way you could add the ability to add a drop shadow on the text. That would make it my primary text tool. Great work keep it up.

  9. Jon D said:

    my gradient disappears after it’s rendered in FCP6 (ProRes SD timeline). anyone else suffer from that?

    • Bill Moore said:

      Hi Jon D, I too suffer the loss of the gradient effect when rendering in FCP6 (ref. lower thirds title generator). I cannot find any solution to this problem. How disappointing to have such a fault in such a useful and pleasing effect.

      • ksummerall said:

        I have the same issue on a DVCProHD timeline.

  10. Andy MacLarty said:

    Hi Alex,
    thanks for this, I can confirm it works fine in Final Cut Express.

  11. Stasi said:

    Dude, You Rock!

    Please keep them coming.

    Thank You.

  12. Michel said:

    This works only for Pro? I have Express (v 4), installed as outlined above but ‘Lower 3rd – Alex4D’ does not appear in the ‘Text’ generator category. When directly invoking the plugin, I get: File error : wrong type.
    I am lost… Thanks!

    • Michel said:

      Sorted! Did not know that I needed to tell the program where the plug-ins are:
      – CONTROL-click Final Cut
      – Get Info
      – Scroll to Plug-ins
      – Add your Plug-in folder

      • Julie said:

        When I do the first two steps, I don’t see anywhere the “plug-ins” section on Get Info. Any ideas? I’d love to add this into my FCE collection.

  13. Do you know how to uninstall plugins? I have some that expired..

  14. Suzan said:

    Very cool, Alex. Saves time from going into other plug ins I have. One question, I can’t get the leading to change. I really want the two lines I have entered to be closer together. Is there something I’m missing?


  15. Llaurie said:

    One question. Can you control the width of the solid background? From the example on the page it looks like you can, but I can’t find the controls. Help! Thanks!

  16. Michael said:

    Great plugin but I too cannot get the leading to work, making the plugin not usable for me. I really need to get the first and second line closer.

  17. Steve said:

    How can you make a transparent Gradient like the one shown at the top of the article? All I see is the option for “Solid”. Thanks

    • Alex said:

      Use ‘Solid’ if you want a gradient fill, change the gradient centre and width to see different gradient effects.

      • Jeremy said:

        It doesn’t seem to work when I use the gradient sliders. I seem to get a solid bar no matter what I do.

  18. Alan Cooper said:

    Dear Alex
    I have final cut express on iMac OSX 10.5.8 and wish to add French subtitles to an English 2 minute film. Would your software do this?

    • Alex said:

      People have used this plugin with Final Cut Express.

  19. Thanks you soooo much!!! I just reformatted my machine and was glad I could find this plugin again. The multi-line, shading, typeface and other support are awesome. I’m glad you made/posted this for free. You rock!

  20. Nicholas said:

    Wow! Thanks Alex; just terrific!

  21. Randy said:

    I downloaded it but when I try to install it I get a message saying Wrong File Type. I’m using FCP7… any ideas?

    • Alex said:

      What method are you using to install it?

  22. I’m also trying to install this in my FCE Express folder. When I go through the route of my username, I see no folder for Final Cut Express under Application Support.

    When I go through the main drive to /Library/Application Support/FinalCut ExpressSupport/Plugins/ , I drop the app in there but when I open FCE I get the same message as Randy “Wrong File Type”

    Any ideas? thanks, Bob Krist

    • Alex said:

      I don’t have Final Cut Express, so can only suggest…

      1. You create the Your Startup HD/Users/your name/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Express Support/Plugins folder hierarchy to see if that works
      2. Search the internet for instructions on how to install plugins for FCE and try them. I have no way on confirming which methods work in this case.

      Good luck!

    • Alex said:

      Try using the instructions posted by Michel in the 2nd comment above…

  23. Alex: Michel’s install method worked like a charm. Thanks to you both! Bob

  24. Jorgen Gustafson said:

    Jepp. This saved my day…and many days and productions. The one that comes with FCP is to primitive – this one I will use almost always – the fancy stuff i Motion or the Boris stuff is useless for me most of the time when I just want name signs without fireworks och “temperament”. Many many thanks from Sweden! 🙂

  25. Shashwat Parhi said:

    Nice. Like the gradiant controls. Any plans on allowing mixed font styles on a line? Specifically, would love to be able to use regular and bold versions to distinguish Firstname Lastname, like on iPhone Contacts app.

  26. deezee said:

    Loving this, but wondering why my installed condensed fonts don’t show up in the pull down list. (they show up with the other titling tools within FCP.) Thanks!

    • Alex said:

      They may work in Boris, but not in simple plugins implemented using FxScript, the FCP scripting language – it’s a bug that’s been around for at least 10 years.

      You can use some of my other plugins to access fonts that don’t appear in the pop-up menu.

      • deezee said:

        Thanks for the response. That must be it. Still very grateful for your plugin.

  27. Leslie said:

    Hi Alex,
    Such a lifesaver! Thank you so much for this…

  28. Louie Hung said:

    Wow! Thanks Alex.

  29. Alex V said:

    I also have the problem that the gradient disappears after rendering or exporting.

    FCP 7.0.3 Mac Pro 10.6.7

  30. Julian said:

    Spent hours trying to do this with Illustrator and PS, to no avail!

    Thank you Alex. This was a god-send.

    Keep the good work coming…

  31. Julian said:

    The text generator disappears on the timeline after export or after you switch to full screen viewing — any solutions?

  32. josh said:

    wow! i just downloaded this and it appears to be exactly what i need. i may actually learn to like fcp because of people like you. thanks so much!

  33. Hobal Grajeda said:

    Thank you very much for the free plugin. I have been looking for something like this, it’s very useful.

  34. Thank you for this plugin! It looks great! I had some trouble aligning the text either center or to the right, but I was able to manually move it using the position axis button.

  35. Congratulations and good work he has performed.
    I love this little plug for my needs.
    For when the FCP version for X?

    Once again congratulations
    all the best of Portugal ..

  36. John Vasey said:

    Hi, Alex, as mentioned in my post of January 1, 2011, I still have problems in preserving the gradient of your lower third (it turns into a solid bar) when rendering to MPEG-2 and also to h.264. I’ve noted one or two other users have encountered the same problem. Have you been able to replicate this? Or suggest a workaround? I have a documentary that I’m finalizing right now…and would love to use your lower third, but not if it won’t preserve the gradient. Would love to hear your thoughts on how to correct what is happening…thanks, John

  37. Paul. said:

    I love you!

  38. I’m also suddenly having problems with the gradient disappearing as soon as I render or export… it was all working fine on the last project I edited, but now, suddenly it won’t work.

    I’ve tried restarting, reinstalling… I can’t figure it out. Any ideas?


  39. Yea! I just figured out a work-around for the disappearing gradient!

    I noticed that the gradient still existed in my exported movie DURING the fade-in and fade-out (i just use cross dissolves, of course), but disappeared in between…

    So I simply cut the lower third right at the end of the fade-in, and again at the beginning of the fade-out, then moved that section to another track, and applied a cross-fade which I set to 99% at both the start and end…

    I rendered, and it worked! I exported, and it worked!

    I didn’t bother changing the ends of the fades to 99%, because the opacity on my solid is only at 35%, so I can’t see a difference. Play around with it, and enjoy!

    Thanks for your awesome plug-ins, Alex!

    • John Vasey said:

      Hi, Brian…thanks for sharing your workaround. I will try it because I have also had the issue with Alex’s terrific lower third. Also, here is another idea for a workaround that I have, but haven’t yet tested…and that is to put a base layer of black slug on video track 1, so other tracks sit on top of it, your scene, the lower third, and see if that structure preserves the gradient after it’s rendered out…if you try it out, please let me know your results…John

  40. I’d pay for an update of this useful plugin for FCPX. It continues to be my favorite for lower thirds.

    • Alex said:

      Thank you! I’ll see what is possible.

      • I would still pay for an update of this plugin for FCPX. 🙂

        Thanks again for producing this.

  41. Would also love to see this updated for FCP X1

  42. Hello,
    I have FCP 7.03 and just downloaded the lower thirds however I’m not seeing it. Hope you can help ’cause this plug-in would be great! Thank you!

  43. Hey, Sorry it’s there now. Guess it took awhile to load. Thank you!

    • Alex said:

      Thanks for waiting, and also telling me that it now works.

  44. Really appreciate this! You saved me hours.
    The issue of leading can be solved by keeping all the type in the same text box… in case anyone is still running into that.

  45. Awesome! Thanks so much, this really saved my bacon.

  46. walt said:

    as above, saved the day.. thank you

    • Alex said:

      Thank you Larry, Reyes, Ingernet and Walt!

  47. Alan Natachu said:

    This was my FAV! text generator in FCP7. Any plans to make this compatible with FCPX?

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