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Old June 30th, 2015, 07:06 PM   #1
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I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

When version 10.2 came out, I remember reading a critical article where the writer sniffed that Apple had neglected the "real stuff" and instead had only produced some superficial bells-and-whistles with its new, flashy 3D titling capability.

At the time, I tended to agree. I didn't think I'd get much use or value out of that new capability. I figured I'd stick with After Effects and buying templates from VideoHive through the Envato marketplace. I don't have any formal background or training in graphic design as such, so I prefer to buy templates or plug-ins from fully-trained and practising graphic designers. I've already got enough on my plate with scripting, filming and editing. So I prefer something ready-made and visually tasteful and appealing. Especially in corporate video, where the graphics can have as much (or more) impact as your painstakingly shot and assembled footage.

And that's why I'm so thrilled with the evolving ecosystem around FCP X. I already use FXFactory (some Ripple Training plug-ins), but I recently installed some fairly new plug-ins on 3D titling by MotionVFX, just in case I might need them. Sure enough, I was overloaded yesterday and I had to quickly issue a simple 15-second piece (as a companion to a much larger video). This little piece was not a big deal, but it still had to be issued and I didn't have a few hours spare to do it in After Effects, so I turned to my new mTitle 3D plug-in and did the whole thing in FCP X. Incredibly, the whole thing only took about 15 minutes with this plug-in and the result was spectacular. I had feedback later in the day from the client's staff that it was "like being in the cinema". All thanks to a hard-working studio of graphic designers in Poland (motionVFX).

By the way, I'm not connected with any of these plug-in (or template) companies, other than being a customer. But I am an admirer of their work!

I sometimes have to do "explainer videos" and typically buy an After Effects template from VideoHive to get my basic elements for each project. But I've been splurging this week on plug-ins and templates (it's the end of financial year in our neck of the woods) and bought the mCharacter plug-in. I'm doing a new explainer video with it in FCP X for the first time. I prefer using FCP X whenever possible because it's so darned fast!

It's also causing me to re-visit Motion properly since the folding of the old Final Cut Studio. Back in the day, I did the Mark Spencer tutorials on the old Motion, but I always found it very clunky to use. When FCS folded, I jumped to After Effects and found it intuitive and easy to use. But this tight integration of Motion 5 with FCP X has prompted me to buy mObject (a 3D "engine" for use with Motion) and I've purchased a Motion template that leverages mObject that I'll be working on today.

If anyone knows of other companies that sell FCP X plug-ins/templates with good graphic design, I'd be most interested to hear about it. I figure there might be some new, emerging ones that I haven't heard of yet.
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Old July 1st, 2015, 12:53 AM   #2
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

David - totally agree with you. In my case I've been using Motion 5 a lot. In fact, I’m spending much more time working with Motion than with FCPX. The capabilities of Motion are amazing and there is so much to explore for titles and other effects.

Some projects I’m working on are for a local yacht club. They want some instruction videos about how to use various items in their facility so to keep what might be a boring instructional video interesting, Motion is really helpful.

Unfortunately, this forum doesn’t have a place for the likes of Motion. It could easily be a subset of “Apple / Mac Post Production Solutions” so we could share ideas about how to do things with it. Currently I’m using a couple books for support but that really isn’t enough. “How to Cheat in Motion” is one of them but it is older; however, still really great for ideas. The other, “Motion 5” by Spencer, Peachpit press, is another but it’s more of a text book. Nevertheless, a valuable resource.

With FCPX, multi-cam has been a slam-dunk breeze. The first time I used it the application worked perfectly. Almost a no brainer and multicam adds so much interest and makes the video look much more professional.

Color grading is an area I’ll be looking into getting my technique improved. There’s just not enough time in a day to get everything done and this is sailing season.

Thanks for your write-up.

Last edited by John Nantz; July 1st, 2015 at 07:53 AM. Reason: deleted 'haven't'
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Old July 1st, 2015, 06:16 AM   #3
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

Thanks for the tips. We recently edited a community awareness video in FCPX and leaned heavily on the Ken Burns effect. Right now I have exported the XML to Logic Pro X and am learning how to "duck" the music under the voiceover as well as making use of the other audio tools available there. Here is the original piece and I may upload an "after" version too:

https://vimeo.com/chipgallo/fallingrockdoc
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Old July 1st, 2015, 06:29 AM   #4
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

Hi John.

Last week, I was watching on TV the US Open at Chambers Bay, which I think is in your neck of the woods. They had a lot of shots of people sailing on the bay and it looks like a great area for it, so I understand your priorities at this time of the year!

Regarding Motion, I personally don't think it needs a separate forum. The more I learn about it and use it, the more I understand how entwined it is with FCP X. When it comes to FCP X titles and generators, etc., Motion seems like a "second skin" to me.

Today I worked with that Motion template (which leverages the mObject plug-in) which I mentioned in my first post. I spent ages in Motion trying to change the wording in the titles, etc. and got very frustrated. Then, because Motion and FCP X are now so tightly integrated, I decided to see if it also showed up in FCP X. Sure enough, there it was! In the Generators Browser. I simply dragged it onto the timeline and then modified it in FCP X itself. The makers of the Motion template (motionVFX) have designed it so that the titles and the entire scene are easily editable in the Inspector pane in FCP X. So it was an absolute breeze to customize it after that. So Motion is rapidly becoming an integral part of my FCP X experience.

And hats off to Apple for setting it all up that way so that developers and designers can take full advantage of this (the "ecosystem" I was talking about earlier). Exciting times.

Now, here's my first tip about Motion 5 (something I discovered today). The Motion templates I bought are in 24 fps and I work in 25 fps. I was unable to change the fps rate of the project in Motion. A search of the Apple website said that you can't change the fps of a Motion project once it's been created. Period. I wasn't too happy about this, because it only takes about 3 seconds to change the fps of a project (or composition) in After Effects, yet Motion 5 can't do it at all!

But I soon found a great solution. A free app which will change the fps of any existing Motion project. It's called "mFPSconverter" and it's available from the motionVFX website. It worked great!

I found some Motion 5 tutorials on Lynda.com. They're about 4 years old, but I've got a Lynda subscription, so I'll probably check them out over the coming days.
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Old September 12th, 2015, 09:38 PM   #5
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chip Gallo View Post
Thanks for the tips. We recently edited a community awareness video in FCPX and leaned heavily on the Ken Burns effect. Right now I have exported the XML to Logic Pro X and am learning how to "duck" the music under the voiceover as well as making use of the other audio tools available there. Here is the original piece and I may upload an "after" version too:

https://vimeo.com/chipgallo/fallingrockdoc
Chip,

Didn't know if you are aware of it, but ducking audio in X itself is really simple - particularly if it's in it's typical form as a standalone connected clip. (It still quite doable with muxed audio in an imported A/V clip, but it's the easiest in a standalone music track).

Just hit the R key to go into Range mode.
Drag across part of the audio clip to define the range where you want to "duck."
Click and hold on the thin white level bar and drag it down to lower the level to taste.
X automatically inserts the 4 keyframes and ramps the in and out volume change for you.

Super fast and easy.

Just in case you hadn't yet come across this yet.
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Old September 13th, 2015, 07:14 PM   #6
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

Thanks Bill. Knew about the "R" but not about the "X." I used this method on a recent trailer: https://vimeo.com/ondemand/virtualconcertforhf
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Old October 21st, 2015, 05:38 PM   #7
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

Hey, has anybody tried the mMorph plug-in yet? (It's a new one from motionVFX.) I handed in a testimonials video 3 days ago, where I had to make a number of tiny dissolves with one particular speaker, rather than present the piece with jump cuts. Something like this plug-in would've been perfect, if it works as advertised. If no-one's tried it yet, I may take the plunge and report back.

It just occurred to me that I might be able to use this in training videos where the "talking head" is speaking to the camera directly. I may instruct them to ride over any fluffed line and continue, rather than do endless takes or use cutaway shots (graphics). If this plug-in works as advertised, it could have a lot of possibilities!

I'm also looking at a titles plug-in from FxFactory called XEffects News Graphics. I've got a fairly substantial amount of titles plug-ins already, but this looks like it has an interesting side panel with bullet points. That feature might prove very handy for an upcoming job.
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Old October 26th, 2015, 02:20 AM   #8
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

I gave the XEffects News Graphics a trial, then bought it. I used it in a job I handed in this morning and it worked great! A very impressive plug-in. I specifically used the "Key Points" layout which was very handy for explaining things in a training video.
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Old October 26th, 2015, 10:53 AM   #9
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

anyone using Hawaiki Analyzer? it looks really great, but unfortunately it is the only plugin from fxfactory that refuses to show up in FCPX 10.1.3 with Mavericks. really aggravating. tried reinstall of fxfactory but no love.
anyone else having this problem? Hawaiki and FXFactory are no real help...
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Old October 26th, 2015, 10:14 PM   #10
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian David Melnyk View Post
anyone using Hawaiki Analyzer? it looks really great, but unfortunately it is the only plugin from fxfactory that refuses to show up in FCPX 10.1.3 with Mavericks. really aggravating. tried reinstall of fxfactory but no love.
anyone else having this problem? Hawaiki and FXFactory are no real help...
At least in my version of FXFactory (5.0.6) it says FCPX 10.2 Required.
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Old October 27th, 2015, 12:30 PM   #11
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

uninstalled fxfactory, ran disk utility from recovery mode to repair permissions, reinstalled, and it showed up.
i ended up buying the Hawaiki Color plugin too. Really great combo with the Analyzer to use color wheels and to achieve accurate skin tone. very pleased with these tools.
Magic Bullet looks won't output to my TV through my Matrox mini, so nice to see color changes in real time on all my monitors.
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Old October 27th, 2015, 04:15 PM   #12
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

Hey Brian, does the Hawaiki Color plug-in allow you to use keyframes as well (such as to change the Exposure control settings throughout a shot)?

Thanks.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 05:17 PM   #13
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

I thought I'd mention a new plug-in I just bought from FxFactory called Audio Denoise by CrumblePop.

I downloaded the trial version for a very quick test and it sounded a lot better than FCP X's inbuilt Noise Removal function. I've found the existing FCP X tool to be pretty much unusable for serious work. It removes too much of the quality from the voice and, in my experience, it kicks in too harshly (difficult to apply "just a little"). When I've really needed to remove some background noise while retaining voice quality, I've had to export the sound and fix it in Adobe's Audition. But, for me, that consumes too much time compared to just dragging a good plug-in directly into the timeline. Bang. Done.

I'll test this out properly on some problematic voice-over footage in the new year. Then I can give it a proper critique. But I've bought it right now because they've only got the half-price new-release special (US$49) going this week. Which is why I thought I'd mention it in case, like me, you've been hanging out for a decent noise-removal plug-in to drop straight onto the clip in the timeline.
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Old December 21st, 2015, 09:56 PM   #14
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

+1 on mMorph and Audio Denoise

Audio Denoise is dead simple to use and retains vocal quality much better than the built in Noise Reduction. It's pricey though for a one trick plugin. I probably wouldn't have gotten it for $99, but the $49 intro pricing is reasonable.

mMorph is fantastic for cuts as long as the subject does not move much between the two shots. It does work on cuts with more motion, but starts to look too obvious. If that's the case I just use a very short cross fade instead.
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Old December 23rd, 2015, 08:46 AM   #15
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Re: I'm loving the "ecosystem" that's growing around FCP X!

Important non FX plugins for me are:

CoreMelt - Lock & Load
CoreMelt - TrackX & SliceX
Color Grading Central - Color Finale
MotionVFX - mMorph Cut
CrumplePop - Audio Denoise

Audio Denoise is a major improvement of FCPX near useless under water effect errr noise reduction plugin.

Soundness - SoundSoap looks impressive and as a previous user when it was from the defunct Bias which I used in FCP legacy I can get for $49 upgrade but the trial is for the independent app only. It has more features like declick and declip (and that's a big one if you've ever accidentally overdriven your audio). It's Learn Noise feature seems like it takes a bit of hand eye coordination since you have to hold the Learn button for the extremely short noise area. Much easier to just place the cursor on CrumplePop's software. That and the lack of trial for the FCPX plugin lead me to purchase Audio Denoise.
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