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For a limited time my two commercial plugin packs are on sale. They are available at 20% off.

Alex4D Animation Transitions

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This pack of 120 transitions can be used to animate whole video clips, images, titles and logos on and off the screen. No need to use keyframes. Choose a few settings and your animation is done. Need to change the timing? Simply change the duration of the transition by dragging in the Final Cut Pro X timeline. No need to change the values and times for keyframes of multiple parameters.

Alex4D Animation Transitions also works in any aspect ratio. As well as traditional 16:9, they can be used to make super-wide animations in a 48:9 aspect ratio or wider. They can also add animation to square and vertical videos used in social media:

Find out more at alex4d.com/animationtransitions

Alex4D 360° Effects

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This toolkit helps you tell stories with spherical video. Final Cut Pro X 10.4 introduced 360° features. Alex4D 360° Effects makes Final Cut even better.

This pack of effects includes three free plugins that speed up 360° video production.

See the wide range of effects over at alex4d.com/360effects

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On my main site I have added a new product for Final Cut Pro X editors: VR video effects.

This kit of simple to use effects range from effects that stylise whole spheres of video to those that help viewers notice specific features of the 360° environment. As well as working with spheres of video, they also work with overlays such as logos, pictures and titles.

Duncan Shepherd, LA-based VR editor/project supervisor of major productions such as Paul McCartney’s “Pure McCartney VR” and the Winter Olympics “Trending Gold” says:

Alex4D 360° Effects adds vital parts of the VR toolkit to FCPX’s native abilities. I cannot envisage completing a project without them anymore, a genuine “must have” addition for me.

Alex4D 360° Effects includes three free plugins that can instantly save time in spherical video production.

The pack is divided into six categories: Repeat – to repeat footage and overlays around the sphere, Highlight – to attract attention to specific parts of the environment, Blur – blur parts of your footage and overlays, Stylize – to change the look of whole spheres at a time, Masks – to help overlay areas of 360° content inside other spheres and Flat – to make more of 360° footage used in flat non-spherical videos.

More about Alex4D 360° Effects at fcp.co.

Find out more about Alex4D 360° Effects.

A very few times a year, my plugins are available at 20% off the normal price. Today it means you can get my pack of 120 plugins for Final Cut Pro X for only $39. Please check them out very very soon.

To help people work out which Macs work best with Final Cut Pro X, it is useful to refer to a standard speed test.

All but one of the MacBook Pros with Retina configurations do not have dedicated GPUs. New Mac software is depending more and more on GPU power. Editors want to know if the integrated Intel Iris and Iris Pro Graphics GPUs are powerful enough to run professional software well.

Early testing shows that Iris Pro graphics are better than many expected. Take a look at a new post at Bare Feats:

In the past we sneered at the integrated GPUs and their puny performance. Not any more. The Intel Iris and Iris Pro are every bit the match or master of discrete NVIDIA Mobile GPUs — at least when it comes to OpenCL acceleration.

Although it is great news that integrated GPUs are getting better, many are worried that the MacBook Pros should be avoided until Iris Pro has improved a little more.

A speed test proposed by FCP.co was to time the render of Final Cut Pro X’s built-in ‘Far Far Away’ title on a 23.975 1080p timeline. This test puts enough pressure on main memory and GPU memory to separate older generation Macs from more recent computers.

Over at the the FCP.co forum, qbe asked me to do the ‘Far Far Away’ test on my new late 2013 MacBook Pro 15″ using only the built-in Iris Pro Graphics and also on only the Discrete GeForce GT 750M GPU which I included in my BTO Mac.

It turns out that the test wasn’t tough enough to show a difference between the two GPUs:

MacBook Pro late-2013 Discrete GeForce GT 750M 2GB 18.8 seconds
MacBook Pro late-2013 Intel Iris Pro Graphics 1GB 19.2 seconds

I’ve come up with a test that shows the differences between these GPUs and other Macs…

The BruceX benchmark

BruceX is a small Final Cut Pro X XML file that you import into Final Cut Pro. It creates a very short timeline at a high resolution: 5120 by 2700 (at 23.975 fps). It uses standard Final Cut generators, titles and transitions. As it uses many layers of complex content, it requires lots of GPU RAM.

The Bruce X benchmark is based on timing how long a Mac configuration takes to export the project.

Short instructions

To use this import the XML file at

http://Alex4D.com/BruceX_Test.zip

…and time the export of a 5K master file from the timeline.

Detailed instructions

1. Have both QuickTime Player and Final Cut Pro X open at the same time.

2. In Final Cut Pro X, go to ‘Final Cut Pro:Preferences…’ – in the Playback tab make sure ‘Background render’ is off.

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3. Use the ‘File:Import:XML…’ command to import the ‘BruceX Test – 5K.fcpxml’ file to create a very short but complex 5K project.

4. Click the new ‘BruceX Test – 5K ‘ project timeline (this makes the Share command selectable)

5. Export the QuickTime movie by choosing “File:Share:Master File…’

6. In the dialogue box that appears, click the ‘Settings’ Tab

7. In the ‘Video Codec’ section choose a flavour of ‘ProRes’

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8. From the ‘When Done’ pop-up menu, choose ‘Open With QuickTime Player’

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9. Click the ‘Next…’ button in the bottom-right of the dialogue box

10. In the Save sheet, choose a name and location for the export – export to your fastest drive connected using your fastest connection.

11. Get your stopwatch ready and time from when you click ‘Save’ until you see the movie open up in QuickTime Player.

12. If possible do the export at least three times. Your configuration’s BruceX Score is the average export time in seconds. Before timing the next export, restart Final Cut (otherwise the exports speed up each time because X does a little caching renders to save time).

BruceX Final Cut Pro X benchmark

These results include those posted at the FCP.co Forum and from BareFeats.com.

The results show that BruceX tests processor power, but also shows that Iris Pro Graphics has some way to go to match a discrete graphics GPU in the new MacBook Pro 15″ with Retina

MacBook Pro late-2013 2.6 Ghz Quad Core i7
16GB 1600 MHz
1 TB SSD
Discrete GeForce GT 750M 2GB GPU
OS X 10.9.0
88 seconds

MacBook Pro late-2013 2.6 Ghz Quad Core i7
16GB 1600 MHz
1 TB SSD
Iris Pro Graphics 1GB GPU
OS X 10.9.0
163 seconds

( To choose which GPU to use for the test on my MacBook Pro, I used gfxCardStatus by Cody Krieger – a Shareware app downloaded from gfx.io )

Although many Final Cut Pro X users were disappointed that Apple didn’t announce a new version on October 22, the day’s launches provided some interesting news.

The first of which is that most of the effects, titles, generators and transitions in iMovie 2013 were created using Motion 5, the animation software used to make plugins for Final Cut Pro X.

It is possible to open the titles, effects, generators and transitions built into iMovie using Motion 5.

Also, using an undocumented method unsupported by Apple, you can install Final Cut Pro X plugins into iMovie 2013.

More later today!

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