Just two years ago Apple had the most popular and highly valued video production package in Final Cut Pro Studio. Just two years ago Apple ditched the past and introduced the future in Final Cut Pro X.
Though promising, the latter was not as robust or capable as the former, and a hailstorm of deserved criticism was aimed at the company. Today, FCPX has become the video production standard bearer once again, made even better by a few juicy add on tools.
The Video Factory Of FX
Thanks to Apple, the Mac and Final Cut, video production has experienced tremendous change and improvements. My personal video production experience dates well back into the last century with expensive video tape recorders, huge tube cameras, but with less capability than an iPhone and a MacBook Air of today.
Say what? Yes, an iPhone 5 with 1080p video, and a MacBook Air with iMovie and Garageband built-in, brings higher quality video production to the masses– exceeding that which costs a few hundred thousand dollars just decades ago.
Today’s Mac user has tools and capability that were seldom even dreamed about 30 years ago, with higher quality, and far lower prices.
Final Cut Pro X, for all the bad press of two years ago, has matured to become a robust, capable platform which is both faster and easier to produce videos than the Final Cut Pro Studio from which it was bred (minus a handful of esoteric functions yet to be added).
FCPX supports video resolutions up to 4k, handles multichannel audio editing, imports video and audio from nearly anything, and actually takes less effort to edit and produce than FCP Studio.
I can go on and on about how FCPX has matured, describe the dual viewers to compare shots in production, talk about the new way to manage video files and projects, multicam, Motion and Compressor. But what makes FCPX really a joy is the industry of add ons.
High on my list are the goodies found in FxFactory, which brings hundreds of additional video effects right into FCPX. The app is free but plays host to hundreds of visual effects that you can try-before-you-buy. The FxFactory Pro version comes with over 100 filters, transitions, and effects. How can you argue with that?
FxFactory houses third party visual effects apps– filters, generators, transitions, and more. All accessible from within Final Cut Pro X.
Use the apps within FxFactory Pro for an Analog TV look, slideshows, and more transitions than you’ll ever use. Most of the FxFactory plugins ship with built-in presets so you’re able to use the tools immediately, without lengthy learning curve or configuration and setup.
Among the list of visual effects are motion blur options, color correction tools, image distortions (Funhouse Mirror, Hole, Pinch, etc.), and generators for noise, backgrounds, gradients, visible timecode, and more.
Halftones, sharpen, transitions, tiling, glow and more are included as add-on plugin options which turn FCPX into a fully mobile video production platform.
FxFactory is free to download and install, and gives you an option to trial FxFactory Pro for more functionality.
Among the plugins I’ve added to FCPX the past year is Tokyo PiPinator which brings a simple Picture-in-Picture effect to a video. It comes with five modules which makes it easy to build an elaborate composite video of videos.
I use Stupid Raisins’ Block Pop plugin to expand the transition library on my Mac. You can never have too many transitions, right?
It’s also true that you can never have enough visual effects. One of my favorites is the Luca Visual FX plugin which features an infinite variety of textures, backgrounds, colors, and effects, from grunge to paranormal.
All the add-on plugins in FxFactory are usable from within Final Cut Pro X. Some are free, of course, but most plugins are nominally priced, especially when considering the functionality and capability.
The Pro version comes with 176 filters, transitions, and generators for Motion, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and Final Cut Pro 7, and an additional 160 effects for Final Cut Pro X. Every Friday for the next few weeks I’ll unveil a new FxFactory plugin and highlight how FCPX has finally matured as a worthy replacement for previous versions of FCP.