Links: Producer’s Best Friend, Final Cut Studio, 3D…

Links covering a new application from Intelligent Assistance, legacy Final Cut Studio tools, a 3D future, Final Cut Pro X 10.1 update price, the Amsterdam Supermeet, a step towards black level understanding and a free plugin maker for Final Cut Pro X who is known for his unconventional plugin names…

Producer’s Best Friend

Intelligent Assistance have launched a new tool: Producer’s Best Friend – which is secretly an editor’s best friend too.

It extracts lots of useful information from Final Cut Pro X projects and events. Timelines are stored in projects, content is stored in events.

Although Producer’s Best Friend can report on the majority of information manipulated by Final Cut Pro, it is limited to the information that can encoded in Final Cut’s XML format.

One of the features I’m looking forward to in 10.1 is an update the the XML format to include much more timeline information. That would support lots of interesting third-party applications:

Don’t forget Final Cut Studio!

Oliver Peters wrote a post reminding us that as well as pushing Apple to improve Final Cut Pro X, we shouldn’t forget the tools still available to us in Final Cut Studio.

We can still make advanced DVDs in DVD Studio Pro, fix many problems with Soundtrack Pro, do advanced colour grading in Color. We can even use Final Cut Pro 7 to save GB of disk space using its still more advanced media management tools. Every once in a while I like to have a little more control over my audio that X can provide, so I turn to Soundtrack Pro to sort things out – even now that Logic Pro X has arrived.

I’ll deem Final Cut Pro X a full success once we never need to turn to Final Cut Studio again!


SceneKit is the part of Mac OSX that can be used to create, modify and display manipulate 3D models. Apple provides kits like these to make it easier for developers to add 3D animation to their Mac applications (this article shows some of what it can do – in iOS apps as well).

The good news for Apple Motion and Final Cut Pro X users is that Dale Bradshaw is experimenting with a plugin that adds 3D graphics to Motion.

It follows that Motion templates that use this plugin could perhaps be turned into effects, titles, transitions and generators that can be used by Final Cut Pro X editors to manipulate 3D objects.

This test video by Dale shows a 3D cube being affected by lights in Motion and drawing corrected when the settings of a camera viewing it change:

This second video shows how an imported 3D model interacts with Motion 2D layers:

Final Cut Pro X 10.1 Update price?

There’s a big debate over at the forum discussing whether Final Cut users will pay for a 10.1 update:

Apple sell maintenance licenses for Final Cut Pro X. They currently cost $399 for 3 years of Final Cut updates. A 50% premium over the a single copy of Final Cut Pro X. The price of the subscription hints whether there’ll be upgrade pricing or current users will have to pay full price.

I think it will be a full-price update. If Apple don’t charge for 10.1, people who bought subscriptions two years ago will be unhappy.

Know an organisation that is worried about paying full price for 20 or more copies of Final Cut Pro 10.0.9 given that they’ll have to pay again for 10.1.0? Send them in the direction of the Apple Store for Business in their country.

Amsterdam SuperMeet 2013

There are two big annual trade shows for the post production industry: NAB in Las Vegas in April and IBC in Amsterdam in September. For many years the Creative Pro User Group Network have been organising important gatherings at these events.

By all means go to the SuperMeet to hear about the latest (and future technology), to ask questions of inspiring creative speakers, even to win a prize in a series of raffles. The main reason to go is to connect with people in person. Buy tickets in advance at and follow agenda updates at

Black levels and scopes

For many years, certainly over the last 15, many post production professionals have not understood black levels – the digital value of ‘black’ in a video signal. If signals are passed through many processes that get this wrong, the information in a digital video file can be horribly misinterpreted.

Hopefully Allan Tépper’s clarifications will be a step towards helping more people understand black and white levels in a digital world:

Free Final Cut Pro X plugin maker of the week

In the early days of Final Cut Pro X, one of users that made a big splash on the discussion forums was Brendan Gibbons. He jumped right into debates and contributed many free plugins to the community.

His effects, transitions, titles and generators pioneered many useful Motion authoring techniques that many would be inspired by. He also gave each of his plugins unconventional names.

Here’s a list of his contributions to the Creative Cow forums:

1 comment
  1. Brian Ball said:

    as always, thank you Alex! cheers 🙂

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