Final Cut 7 Alpha Transitions work in 6.X


Alpha Transition is being marketed as one of the major new features of Final Cut Pro 7. It allows you to use a third clip as a transition between two existing clips. It uses the transparent parts of the transition clip, so that makes it an alpha transition.

This Alpha Transition effect is implemented in FxScript, Final Cut’s plugin scripting language. Which, as the language hasn’t changed, means that the effect also works in earlier versions. Probably back to version 5.1.

So if you know your version 7 project might need to be finished on a 6.X system, you can export as XML as usual, and use the Alpha Transition plugin by installing it on the older system.

Note that Apple’s license agreement may not allow you to do this (even though the transition is implemented using mere 5.62K of FxScript), but if you use 6 and 7 on your computers and 7 was upgraded from your copy of 6, you are probably bending (if not breaking) the rules already.

It should also work in Final Cut Express, but as I don’t have a copy, I can’t confirm that.

To learn more about the effect, check out the tutorial on the Ripple Training site:

Apple also supply free alpha transition movies on the Final Cut Studio resources page: [760MB Zip file]

  1. PieroF said:

    In my website you can find a preliminary version of a free Alpha Transition for FCE.
    This plugin has completely original code based on the description of the FCP 7 functionalities I found on the web. So it should have no Apple licence problem. At the moment it is tested only with the set of transition clips provided by Apple. I’m planning more work on this… so any comments and suggestions are welcome.


    • Alex said:

      I had that same idea (probably after you): produce a feature matching version for pre version 7 users. The difference is: you did something about it.

      Thanks for all your inspirational plugins. I used a slightly modified version of ‘PieroF_Value_Tester’ this very day. I added a point input so that I could use your code to report values as I dragged – useful when coding filters that work consistently on stills of any size.

  2. PieroF said:

    Hi Alex, I was trying to do something similar to my Value Tester working also in transitions… but I’m afraid I’m out of luck, since transitions cannot be stacked as filters in a clip.


    • Alex said:

      I guess all you can do is supply fxscript that plugin developers can add to the end of their code to test values as the transition is applied.

  3. Aleksandra said:

    Hello Alex, I am relatively new to Final Cut Pro and have the version 6.0.6
    Unfortunately I tried installing Alpha Transitions from the Apple website and
    cannot see them in the effects. Hope I understood this right, are they suppose to work in my version of FCP ?



    • Alex said:

      The files that support Alpha Transitions work with the Alpha Transitions plug-in filter which was introduced with FCP 7.X. As you can see from PieroF’s comment below, you need a different filter to get these effects in version 6. Take a look at his page where you can download the filter and see how his compares with the Apple version that can with FCP7. You can find out more at

  4. Aleksandra said:

    Thank you Alex ! Piero’s plug-in worked for me, I am really grateful!

  5. PieroF said:

    I’m glad it worked…!


    • Hello Piero and Alex,

      I just had an idea to try creating the transitions of my own, with the bus moving ..

      It is for a game trailer video. It would be great to have the bus move form one background to another. I thought that this can be achieved with Alpha transitions.

      When I look at the 3 movie files that have been created by Apple I am not sure how to replicate such an effect with my movie of the bus moving .. Is there a tutorial somewhere that I can have a look at ?


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