These effects give you more control over how you change the playback speed of clips in Final Cut Pro X. They are a set of generators that give you animation graph control over which frame is being displayed of a source clip.
November 2012 update: The 10.0.6 update to Final Cut Pro X has broken these generators – they only work in 10.0.4 and 10.0.5.. This is because the way motion templates handle drop zone clips has changed. Sorry!
March 2013 up-update: I’ve created an effect that replaces these generators for Final Cut Pro 10.0.6 and newer. Go to its post to find out more.
Once installed, the three generators appear in the Alex4D section of the Generators browser:
They come in three varieties: for source selections of 5, 10 and 20 seconds.
If the length of the clip you would like to retime is over 10 seconds, add the Alex4D Retime 20s generator to your timeline.
Make sure the play head is at the first frame of the generator.
Using the Generator tab of the inspector, set a keyframe for the ‘Time’ parameter to 0 seconds:
Move to the last frame of the generator (press + and enter “20.” to move 20 seconds forward).
Add a keyframe for ‘Time’ in the inspector by changing the value to 20 (or 10 or 5 depending on which generator you are using):
Choose which clip you would like to retime by clicking the Source Clip well:
Use the Clip menu to ‘Show Video Animation’ for the generator (and ‘Solo Animation’), choose ‘Alex4D Retime’ from the parameter menu and click the expand arrow:
The generator will show a graph that shows which source frame is being displayed when. The height of the line defines the time being shown – a value that ranges between 0 and 20 seconds (or 10 or 5 depending on which generator you are using).
As the generator has a duration of 20 seconds and the graph rises from 0 to 20, this instance of the generator will display the source clip at a speed of 100%:
If you change the keyframe with a value of 20 seconds so that it appears sooner (and reduce the duration of the generator), the source clip will play faster:
Alternatively, you can increase the duration of the generator and delay the ’20 second’ keyframe, the source clip will play back more slowly:
You can produce the same effects using Final Cut Pro’s built-in retime controls, however as the time parameter of the generator can have more complex keyframe settings:
The shape of the graph shows that the source clip will initially play back more slowly than normal (as the graph slope is gradual), after the second keyframe the clip will play back faster than normal (as the slope is steeper). The clip then stays showing the same frame for a short while (as the height of the line doesn’t change). It then reverses until the next keyframe (the height of the line reduces) and then quickly goes forward until it shows the frame 20 seconds in from the start of the clip.
The segments of the curve can also have different shapes. I’ve written tips on how to change animation curves in a previous post.
Not just event clips
Note that as well as retiming clips in events, you can use timeline clips as a source to these generators. This makes it easier to choose part of a clip, or even a clip that has been sped up using Final Cut’s built-in retime controls.
This clip is three minutes long:
If you use the retime control to make the clip 20 seconds long…
…you can use the sped up clip as the source of the Alex4D Retime 20s generator. Every frame of the source clip is available to the generator, so you can slow it back down to normal speed before speeding it up using the Time animation graph.
Download this disk image:
It includes an installation script for Spherico’s Motion Template Tool application, if you don’t have it on your Mac, download it. It is a freeware/donationware tool that simplifies effects installation for Final Cut Pro X users. MTT installs the effects in the correct folders, creating them if need be. You don’t need to have Motion 5 or MTT installed for these effects to work.
Once you have MTT installed on your computer, double-click the ‘Install Alex4D Retime 1.0.mtt’ file.
If you don’t want to use MTT, install these effects in Home / Movies / Motion Templates / Generators / Alex4D:
If you find this free plugin useful, you might like my Alex4D Animation Transitions plugin pack:
There are many more free plugins on my Final Cut Pro X page