Information Bar Fill Lower Thirds …

If you look in the FCPX Titles Effects Browser under the Lower Thirds Category you will notice an Information Bar Lower Thirds. The is a bundled FCPX Title. The title itself is actually quite stylish. It’s subtle, with a semitransparent black bar and customizable text positioned on two lines.

A few days ago I was sifting through a forum and noticed a post by a member who uses this title regularly. He was asking for help regarding the opacity of the “bar.” Basically it’s opacity was not customizable. It was preset to somewhere around 50%. The forum member politely asked if someone could possibly load up the title in Motion, tweak in an Opacity slider for the bar, and make it available. I knew this would be easy, especially if the default Title supported the “Open a copy in Motion” option. It did and the rest is history.

If you review the settings snapshot below you will notice I added additional options that make my version much more useful, at least for me. I added support for Global Y Positioning (more on this below), Fade In/Out Frames, Bar Opacity, Bar Left Indent, and Bar Roundness.

ib-matrix

By default the Title places the text within the 1.78:1 Title Safe Area located at the bottom left of the zone. The Global Y Position setting allows the operator to cumulatively move all Title elements up on the Y axis to 2.35:1 Title Safe positioning.

The Original version of the Title has two check boxes that control whether all elements fade in and/or out. I added Fade in and Fade Out sliders that support frame by frame customization. Setting the sliders to zero results in no fading.

Bar Opacity is now supported. I believe I set this up to default to 50% Opacity. Regardless – it’s now fully customizable.

Bar Left Indent is an interesting setting. Notice there is also a Bar Roundness setting that will change the shape of the bar. Since by default the bar is anchored to the left of the image frame, applying roundness to it results in a partially obstructed left edge. The Bar Left Indent setting moves the bar’s left edge in a few pixels to the right to compensate. In fact It can be used without any roundness applied as well for creative purposes.

There have been some reports of font change instability. In fact this behavior is also present in the original version of the Title. I found this to be not that big of a deal.

The Installer will place the Title in the FCPX Titles Browser under the Custom Lower Thirds Category/Information Bar Theme.

-paul.

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spotPoint Lighting Duo …

spotPoint Lighting Duo is now available for download. This version features simultaneous use and control of Spot and Point Lighting. I decided to build this out as an Effect. So there is no control for text as previously suggested.

Please read the following Notes prior to installing:

I decided to use a standard installer package as a delivery mechanism as opposed to the custom version that I wrote. I could have built a new custom installer for the Duo version and distributed it independently. Or I could have set things up to give the user the option to install one version or the other (Original / Duo) – or both. This would have required much more code. The package installer that I am using already supports this. It is easier to build and maintain, especially when multiple versions of a plugin are slated for distribution.

If you look in the Customize section of the installer you will see the original version of spotPoint Lighting as well as the new Duo version. spotPoint.1 is the same exact version as the original release. The only thing that is different is the FCPX Browser display thumbnail. If you have the previous version installed and elect to reinstall it – the existing version will be overwritten. You should not notice any difference except for the visual change of the browser thumbnail.

By the way these installer packages are easy to create. If you are developing and distributing Motion Templates and need help with creating an installer package, ping me. I’d be happy to walk you through it. I’m looking into building some sort of auto-notification system (like Sparkle) that would alert the user when new plugin versions or updates are available. The community needs something like this that is non-obtrusive to the user.

-paul.

spotPoint Lighting Duo

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sp-duo

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spotPoint Lighting for FCP X …

I’m distributing a new effect that offers some interesting control for simulated Spot and Point lighting of your video shots:

spotPoint Lighting

splight

As noted there are two Light Source options:Spot and Point. You can set the color of the light to suit your needs. Global controls include Intensity, Falloff, and Falloff Start. There are two dedicated controls for the Spot source:Spread Control and Edge Softener. The positioning of the light is controlled by a Drag Target. Incidentally both light sources are flat and frontal.

I really like the Point source lighting. You can create some very interesting looks and cinematic mood lighting scenarios., especially when experimenting with different color light sources.

Check out the produceNewMedia Vimeo Page for a demo. There is also a demo for Cinemascope Toolkit on that page as well.

In case you are wondering why I didn’t embed the video – for some reason I’m having problems with the Vimeo player when it is resized to fit into the supported area of my site theme (within a blog post). I am looking into it …

The custom installer will send the effect to a new Lightsource Category located in your FCPX Effects Browser.

-paul.

spotPoint Lighting

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Cinemascope Toolkit …

I’ve released my Cinemascope Toolkit. The package includes a basic 2.35:1 matte (“Cinemascope Crop”) created in Motion and wrapped in a FCP X Effect. The Effect supports video Scale control and X/Y positioning. I’ve also included four Compressor Presets that output cropped MPEG-4/H.264 videos. Frame things up in FCP X and output using one of the presets for 2.35:1 aspect ratios.

The Installer is hard coded in Objective-C. All asset routing will be handled automatically when you run the installer. The Effect will be installed in a Matte Category under a Widescreen Theme in the FCP X Effects Browser. The Compressor Presets will be located in the Settings window under the Custom/CinemaScope Presets – Settings Group.

You can edit whatever is defined by the installer. For example I did not edit the naming convention that I use for my Compressor Presets. They all begin with the first four letters of my name. And of course the preset parameters can be edited to suit your needs.

You can customize the FCP Category and Theme as well. After installing the toolkit – pull the Cinemascope Crop folder out of the ~/Movies/Motion Templates/Effects/Mattes folder. Use my toMotion application to customize.

Download Cinemascope Toolkit

-paul.

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toMotion

One of the most useful features in the Final Cut Pro X/Motion 5 workflow environment is the ability to create, edit, publish, and share media content created in Motion 5. Creations like Effects, Titles, Generators, etc. can easily make their way into FCPX for widespread use. What is astonishing is these robust media tools can be created without writing a single line of code. Efficient distribution of these tools sparked my interest and lured me back into Xcode.

Before I preview my new application, let me explain the current (and kludgy) method of incorporating distributed Motion content into the necessary location(s) on the user’s system.

When you install Motion 5 a folder structure is created in the user’s ~/Movies folder. The top level folder (below “Movies”) is called Motion Templates. Below Motion Templates, 5 sub folders are created: Compositions, Effects, Generators, Titles, and Transitions. It’s important to note that each one of these folders pick up a .localized file extension. This was a very important issue that I needed to be aware of when developing the new application. More on this later …

Anyway, if a user is running both Motion 5 and FCPX, it is very easy to move Motion content to and from FCPX. This content is ultimately located and accessible in the FCPX Effects Browser. For example an Effects package can be “Published” from within Motion to FCPX and sent to a user appended “Category” located in the Effects Browser. This creates a very well organized list that makes it very easy to manage and access Motion tools while working on FCPX projects.

Here is where things get a bit confusing: As previously noted, Motion content authors can also share their creations. With this in mind I realized the user on the receiving end was forced to dig into the existing Motion Templates folder structure and manually place their acquired tools in the proper location. The minute I saw content authors including a snapshot similar to what I have inserted below, and using it to display where to place distributed content … I knew there had to be a better way.

Enter toMotion.

I won’t get into too much detail here. In fact I built a webpage, also accessible from within the application that explains the concept in full. It’s available HERE. Basically toMotion is a sophisticated folder routing tool that interacts directly with the Motion Templates sub folders and their underlying contents. You simply drag in acquired Motion content folders, set a destination with or without appending a custom Category, and fire away. The source folder is automatically moved to your targeted location. Keep in mind this is *not* a copy operation. The source input folder is in fact moved to the targeted location.

It also came to my attention that user’s who have not yet purchased and/or installed Motion 5 may still utilize distributed Motion content. The caveat here is they will not have the required folder structure in their ~/Movies folder. Without this folder structure it will be impossible for the content to be incorporated into the FCPX Effects Browser. To alleviate this I built in support for the creation of this necessary folder structure. The user can access this option from within the Application Preferences. Upon completion of this action the Motion Templates folder and it’s 5 subfolders will be in place and ready for content.

Finally I decided to add a Backup Solution. The user can select an existing folder located on their system, or create a new folder, and designate it as the backup repository. The backup action copies the the Motion Templates folder and it’s contents, appends a date, and sends it to the designated location.

I think the application turned out pretty well. I learned allot, which of course is my ultimate goal when writing these Cocoa Applications. By the way – I previously mentioned this .localized folder extension issue. I must admit this was an oversight on my part. I knew my code was working regarding folder creation and movement of folders to specific locations. I just could not send folders to the Motion Templates folder or any of it’s subfolders. I finally initiated a Get Info (⌘ + i) action on one of the folders and realized they all shared this .localized extension. I edited my code and I was good to go ..

-paul.

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