Alex4D ML HDR Compose+

I’ve updated my Magic Lantern Compose Final Cut Pro X generator.

November update: The 10.0.6 update to Final Cut Pro X has broken these generators – they only work in 10.0.5. This is because the way motion templates handle drop zone clips has changed. Sorry!

Magic Lantern is a system for adding features to Canon DSLRs, Unified is a recent ML package enables some cameras to shoot footage that can processed to produce content with a larger exposure range – i.e. High Dynamic Range.

The files produced are made up of alternate frames of under- and over-exposed footage. The generators take these frames and give you better control over how these frames are combined.

For more information on Unified and Magic Lantern and the software to for your Canon DSLR, visit its home

Note that you must shoot footage at twice the framerate you need, as 50 fps footage results in 25 fps HDR footage. These generators don’t do any interpolation.

Installation

Download this disk archive:

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 effects for Final Cut Pro X 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 ML HDR Compose+ 1.0.mtt’ file.

If you don’t want to use MTT, install these effects in Home / Movies / Motion Templates / Generators / Alex4D:

Workflow

1. Start Final Cut Pro X, add your HDR footage to an event.

2. Create a new project at the native frame rate of your footage – 59.94 or 50 fps, or half the frame rate of your footage – 29.97 or 25 fps.

3. Add your ML footage to the project.

4. Go to the ‘Alex4D’ section of the Generators panel:

The Magic Lantern HDR Compose+ generators default to a duration of 10 minutes, so to set the correct length, drag the generator you need on top of the ML footage:

When you release the mouse button, a pop-up menu will appear. Choose ‘Replace from Start’.

5. The ML footage isn’t automatically added to the generator, so you need to click it, click the clip well and choose your ML footage.

6. Use the Show pop-up menu to choose which version of the HDR frames are shown by the generator:

The default setting is to show the source frames: the interleaved over- and under-exposed frames as produced by Magic Lantern.

You can display the + or – frames only: before and after processing.

You can choose to compose the + frames over the – frames, or the – frames over the + frames.

The processing you can perform on the frames is choosing blend mode, overall opacity, luma key and RGB levels.

The luma key controls allow you to select which parts of a frame are used based on their brightness. If you increase the value of Luma Low from 0, the darker parts of the frame aren’t drawn. If you decrease the value of Luma High from 1, the lighter parts of the frame aren’t drawn.

The levels controls are the same histogram controls over overall brightness, contrast and gamma.

There is also an overall saturation control that is applied after the other effects.

7. If you use the 50 fps version in a 25 fps timeline (using 50 fps ML footage), or the 59.94 fps version in a 29.97 fps timeline the Show menu cannot display all the source frames, but should work otherwise.

Check out my other free effects and articles on my Final Cut Pro X home page.

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34 comments
  1. Nima said:

    Awesome thanks for the update. Since the ML update last month, been looking a lot more into this and planning to use it for some shoots. This definitely makes the workflow much easier than having to split the frames in a 3rd party software.

  2. Nima said:

    Alex if I’m planning to shoot some HDR footage that’ll end up in 23.98 for the states, will this plugin work? Or will there be a future release to cover that? Thanks again.

    • Alex said:

      Given that HDR works best at frame rates at 47.95 fps and above, what frame rate can you capture at?

      • Nima said:

        I was thinking about using Magic lantern’s fps override to capture at 48fps. Seems like the best bet when working on a 23.98 workflow. What are your thoughts? Thanks.

      • Nima said:

        Hey Alex. Is this possible as an addition to be able to work with a 23.97 timeline? Thanks.

      • I wonder the same thing Nima! Hopefuly Alex give us good news…

      • Ignacio Artinano said:

        Actually I’m capturing at 25 fps. I’ll tray 50

  3. Mahen said:

    Hi Alex, am not able to install the HDR generator in FCPX. Any help please. Thanks for the work.

    • Alex said:

      Which install methods did you try?

      Did you download MTT or install to the folders directly?

      • Mahen said:

        Hi Alex,
        thanks for replying back. I went through MTT…downloaded it…and after installation launched with the two programs. I opened FCP X but could not found Alex in effects folder. Or am missing something with MTT? Please advise. Thanks dear. Once again I want to thank you heartily for the beautiful work you do and free for everyone.
        Mahen.

  4. Mahen said:

    How to proceed to install directly to the folders?

    • Alex said:

      If you’ve downloaded MTT, double-click the ‘Install Alex4D ML HDR Compose+ 1.0.mtt’ file.

      Or create the folder hierarchy shown: Your startup drive name / Users / Your user name / Movies / Motion Templates / Generators / Alex4D and put the ‘Alex4D ML HDR Compose’ folders in the Alex4D folder (as shown in the screenshot above).

  5. Hi Alex have installed the new generator but every time I click the clipwell FCPX (version 10) crashes any ideas?

    • Alex said:

      Sorry, no, because it doesn’t crash on my Macs running OS 10.6.8 or 10.8.2.

      Make sure the version of Final Cut Pro X is 10.0.5.

  6. Ignacio Artinano said:

    Is there any possibility to have a video workflow of this plug-in. After several repetitions i can’t get the desired HDR clip I always have a blinking clip as the original ML one

  7. Cesar said:

    hello, in the package theres no 29.97 or 23.98 FPS, only 59.94 and 50, how can i get the full farm rates? did you pull them out of the DMG? thx a lot

  8. Chris said:

    Have just tried with new FCPX 10.0.6 update and I can’t seem to get any of the Alex4D ML HDR Compose+versions to work including latest version posted here. Previously all worked fine with FCPX 10.0.5

  9. Chris Norman said:

    Can’t seem to get Alex4D ML HDR Compose+ working in FCPX. Worked fine before updating to FCPX 10.0.6
    Wondering if anyone else has noticed this?

  10. Billy May said:

    Mine is broken in 10.0.6 too 😦

  11. Guy Stewart said:

    Can anyone confirm if this works with FCPX 10.0.6? Using the default settings my final clip appears no different to the source clip.

  12. Darius said:

    Looks like 10.0.6 has rendered this plugin useless.

  13. peter said:

    Looks like 10.0.6 Broke it 😦

  14. Eric said:

    Yeah, I just shot something using the HDR ML option and the plugin seems to be broken in FCPX 10.0.6. Was working fine before. Hope, you’re able to fix ti. Thanks Alex, keep up the great work!!!

  15. Evan said:

    After spending the last couple hours tweaking with the program, I’m still getting the constant blinking in FCPX 10.0.6. Like a lot people, I captured at 30fps – 1080p on a Canon T3i. My project is a 30fps project, and I dropped the 59.94 Generator over the clip in the timeline. Would appreciate a tut watching someone going through step by step in FCPX 10.0.06. Thanks!

  16. Morten said:

    Really great work, I have the same problems with it, not working in FCPX 10.0.06 – can you give a hint, if you are going to look into it?

    • Alex said:

      I did spend a few hours taking a look at it.

      As well as drop zone clips working differently (the time in the source clip you click sets the offset of which part of the source clip is used in the generator), it looks like the Motion playback part of Final Cut now works differently.

      I may have to build up the core part of the generator from scratch in the coming weeks.

      Sorry!

      • Tom said:

        Hope you can fix it for 10.0.6… really a donation worth!

      • Alexander Swensen said:

        This makes so much sense now… i started using this plugin just after the 10.0.06 update came out and i could never figure out why it wouldn’t work.
        Looking forward to seeing a fix for this! Totally worth a donation!

        Thanks for all the hard work!

  17. Morten said:

    Apple should be sorry 😉 This is a really power fool tool. They should have informed you, worked with you, a really big plus for FCPX. I’l donate to if working in FCPX

  18. Chris said:

    Many thanks for this update. I tried with FCPX 10.0.7 today and it seems to work well.

  19. Maksim said:

    When i try to download this file it takes me to a host website alex4d.com i cant find the download 😦 Help pLZ

  20. Maksim said:

    Thnx

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