This Final Cut Pro X effect is for combining HDR footage produced using the Magic Lantern tool for Canon DSLRs. Magic Lantern is open-source firmware that adds many useful features to cameras.
This effect is for HDR clips recorded with Magic Lantern. High Dynamic Range imagery relies on taking two pictures of a scene using different exposure settings: the first underexposed, the second overexposed. Combining these pictures results in more detail in the brightest and darkest areas. Magic Lantern does this for video by modifying exposure settings for alternate frames. Alex4D Magic Lantern HDR gives you control on how these frames are combined.
Visit the Magic Lantern site to find out more about the many features it adds to Canon cameras.
Here are the controls:
This is an effect that you apply to an Magic Lantern-recorded HDR clip.
Prepare the clip
Before you work with this effect, make sure the frame rate of the clip matches the project you are using it in. It is best to edit ML HDR clips in projects with matching frame rates i.e. 59.94 fps clips in 59.94 projects and 50 fps clips in 50 fps projects.
If the frame rate of your HDR clip doesn’t match your project, once you have added it to the timeline, select the clip and choose Conform Speed from the Retime menu:
The effect should be in the Alex4D section of the Effects Browser.
With the HDR clip selected, double-click the effect to apply it, or drag it onto the clip.
In the effect, choose the frame rate of the project you are using:
Choose composition settings
Depending on your footage you can choose whether you want to compose, or ‘comp’ the lighter frames over the darker frames, or vice versa. You can also choose which blend mode to use, opacity, contrast for each set of frames. You can also ‘key out’ or not to include the brighter or darker areas of the frames.
The effect defaults to showing the even frames overlaid on the odd frames using the Lighten blend mode with an opacity of 50%. This adds some detail from the overexposed frames on top of the underexposed frames.
For each set of frames have their own composition controls:
For more on the differences between these modes, visit the Motion online documentation on the subject.
The next section is the Luma Key section – you choose whether to include the darkest or brightest parts of the frame. If Luma Low = 0, the darkest parts are included. If you increase this value, more and more of the darker parts are not composited. Higher values of Low Smooth soften the edges of the darker keyed out areas. If Luma High = 1, the brightest areas are included. If you reduce this value, more and more of the brighter parts are not composited. High Smooth softens the edges of the brighter keyed out areas.
You can use Levels section change the brightness and contrast of the frames using Adobe Photoshop-style controls.
You can use the View pop-up menu to show the source frames, the even frames composed over the odd frames, the even frames without processing, the even frames with processing (showing blend mode, opacity setting, luma keyed version and contrast using Levels controls), the odd frames without processing, odd frames with processing and the odd frames comped over the even frames:
Which frames are which?
This effect counts its frames from the start of the clip as used in the timeline. Be careful about choosing your first frame. If you trim off a single frame from the start, the even frames will become odd, and the odd frames will become even.
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 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.
If you have MTT installed on your computer, double-click the ‘Install Alex4D Magic Lantern HDR 1.0’ file.
If you don’t want to use the Motion Template Tool, install these effects in Home / Movies / Motion Templates / Effects / Alex4D: