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May 22, 2010

by http://www.thedvshow.com

Question: I’m looking for some plugins or tools to enhance my productions. I mainly use Final Cut Pro and was wondering if there are any free or low cost alternatives to make my videos look better.

Answer: Here are 14 of the best you may want to add to your editing tool arsenal:

Post Haste

A free program that really simplifies the creation of project files and asset folders within Final Cut Pro.

Enter some basic information about your project and let Post Haste take care of copying and renaming your files. The number of fields and their names are customizable to fit your preferred naming scheme.

Use your own existing folder structure or modify the included template. Post Haste will create a folder for your project with everything in place. It will even rename project files to match. Just include your files with the name “Template” and Post Haste will take care of the renaming those files.

Adapter

It’s a free video converter for Mac & PC that does more than MPEG Streamclip. It converts avi, saves flash .flv, crops video and more! It even works with audio and image files so you can convert wav to mp3 and transform jpg files! This tiny freeware program lets you quickly and easily change any file type to any other file type.

MediaInfo Mac

The multimedia file analyzer and reporting tool for the Macintosh.

MediaInfo Mac is a tool designed for the Audio & Video professional or enthusiast. It helps in the process of analysis and reporting of multimedia files of any type.

For it’s impressive multimedia analysis capabilities, MediaInfo Mac uses a custom build of the outstanding MediaInfo Library, developed by Jerome Martinez.

It would be impossible to list all the reporting capabilities of MediaInfo Mac in this brief introductory text, so you better download the latest version and try it for yourself.

River Rock Studios Final Cut Plug-ins

The free plug-ins include

Jitterbug – Want your titles to flicker and jump just a little bit? Jitterbug will simulate the slight motion titles often have because sprocket holes on film aren’t perfect.

Chromatic Glow – Pick a color and make it glow. Pick a color and make it glow with a different color. Choose white to make your highlights glow like an overexposed negative. Select black and make the shadows spread. Fully adjustable.

Day for Night – Shoot your night scenes in broad daylight! Use this filter to make it look like you shot at night. Includes Infra-red and night vision simulation.

Alex 4D’s Feathering Mattes

Alex has way too many filters and plugins to list here- just go check them out!

Aperture to Final Cut Pro plug-in

Lets you take your images stored in Apple’s professional photo management application and send them directly to a video sequence in Final Cut Pro.

Sheffield Softworks color filters

The two strip color process was an early color system that used red and green to construct a color image. This plugin drops the blue channel information and reconstructs it from a combination of the red and green channels. The spectrum slider controls the ratio between the two. The warm button simulates something not found historically. It tosses the green channel and re-constructs it from the red and blue channels.

Preference Manager

This tool allows you to manage preference files for Final Cut Studio and Final Cut Express. Preference files store information about user preferences, window and toolbar placements, and launch settings. Sometimes these can become corrupted, causing problems. Preference Manager allows you to trash corrupted preferences and keep backups of working preference files in order to quickly restore your settings.

Final Cut Assistant


Final Cut Assistant is free software, but it still costs money to write, support, and distribute it. The continued donations of users is what allows Final Cut Assistant to be available for free today.

FCPFolderMaker and FolderDateMaker

FCPFolderMaker is a simple app that builds a folder structure for you to organize your project with. The structure is as seen in the photo below. It generates folders named Projects, Assets, Cache, and Exports. The idea is that this type of directory structure will greatly ease finding assets and clean things up considerably.

FolderDateMaker is an app that has many potential uses, but it only does one simple thing: it creates a folder named with today’s date. I use it in my export folder to keep apart every day’s exports.

Canon 5d / 7d FCP Plugin

This new plug-in allows simple and easy transfer of video content from Canon’s EOS DSLR cameras directly into Final Cut Pro. The EOS E1 video plug-in takes advantage of Final Cut Pro’s powerful Log and Transfer feature, which allows users to select and mark the video directly while it is still on the camera, add custom metadata and ingest the clips in the background so the editing can begin immediately.

Shadow-Highlight plug-in for Final Cut Pro

Lyric’s free Shadow-Highlight plugin filter provides functionality similar to the Highlight/Shadow function in Photoshop CS, revealing detail in under or overexposed footage by lifting shadows or reducing highlights. In the following before-and-after example, details in both the shadows and the highlights have been recovered.

Andy’s Plugins

If you love plug-ins for Final Cut Pro, you’ll love these free plug-ins even more.

Haiku Plugins – Free plugins – Easy Vignette and Facelight

From the Haiku blog:

Ok folks – you asked for it. There are a couple of things that have bugged me about Final Cut Pro. The main one was a lack of an easy way to vignette a shot. So I present to you my easy vignette plug-in.

Just download the zip file from here and copy the contents of the zip into:

Macintosh HD/Library/Application Support/Final Cut Pro System Support/Plugins

The plug-in then appears in the ‘color correction’ effects tab. Have a play – I may post a tutorial at a later date, but don’t count on it.

It comes with no warranty or money back guarantees.. It has not been tested with Final Cut Pro 5 and doesn’t work with the 32-bit render option (blame Apple). But it has been used on TV shows for channel 7 & 10 as well as a fair few commercials – so it can’t be that bad.

There is also the ‘Facelight’ plug-in which is a fast way to make under-exposed faces look prettier. But more on that later.

Pan and Zoom

The Pan and Zoom plug-ins let you create the photo animation style made popular by Ken Burns with intuitive controls and automatic motion control that achieves stunning results without a single keyframe.

Even More Plugins can be found here

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