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Essential Final Cut Pro: Plug-Ins and Apps Part 2

It`s time for part 2 of my look at plug-ins and software for Final Cut Pro 6.x By Heath McKnight

It's time for part 2 of my look at plug-ins and software for Final Cut Pro 6.x (FCP).  Last time, I pointed out some great plug-ins and software apps that I use every day (check out the article here. It's time to take a look at a few more 3rd party plug-ins and software apps for FCP.

Magic Bullet Quick Looks

This is a fantastic idea for editors looking to easily and affordably get into Magic Bullet's amazing suite of tools and plug-ins.  Once you purchase, download and install the plug-in, it appears under the Effects Tab, in the Video Filters folder.  It's only one filter and you drop it onto the video you want to change.

No filter

Buffalo filter

Black and white crunch

Color Rev

Double-click the clip to send it over to the Viewer and click on the filter tab and click on the Apply Filter icon.  It will then open a new window (LooksBuilderQL), where you can start adding filters.  Looks include Basic, Black and White Tints, Diffusion, and more.  There's even Stock Emulation, which simulates specific film stock looks (see my advice below about using some of these filters).

If you want to mimic certain looks from what you've seen on TV or at the movie theater, then check out Music Videos, Popular Film, Horror, Stock Emulation, and Popular TV, which has some really awesome Looks to match your favorite show or movie's look.  My advice to you is that if you want to use one of these popular looks, shoot some footage and test it out first.  Ultimatum may not work on something that's brightly lit and very colorful, like a wedding or a comedic narrative.  Light and shoot your project to these specific looks.

Once you found the filter that best, either drag it over to the main window where your footage sits, click the filter.  Then hit OK and the filter will be applied.  You'll see it in Final Cut Pro; now just render and you're ready to go!
Want more control?  It even asks in the LooksBuilderQL; if so, click on over to Red Giant Software and upgrade to the full Magic Bullet Looks (  Quick Looks costs only $99 and you can get it at

MPEG2 Works 4 Advanced and ExportToQT

These two apps are affordable ($25 for MPEG2 Works 4 Advanced, $15 for ExportToQT) and easy-to-use ways to convert various video codecs into QuickTime movies and more.
With ExportToQT, you can easily convert various video codecs, like MPEG1, MPEG2, and more, even TiVo codecs, into QuickTime movies, so you can watch it on your Apple computer.  MPEG2 Works 4 Advanced can do this, and more, because you can also import, work with, and export various codecs; it also allows you to author and burn DVDs, add subtitles, PAL-to-NTSC conversions, and so much more.

Export to QT

MPEG2 Works 4

If you're doing simple QuickTime conversions, go with ExportToQT, but MPEG2 Works Advanced 4 does that and more, and it costs only an additional $10, so I highly recommend investing in this app.  Find out more information and make a purchase at

Raylight For Mac From DVFilm
I'm a big fan of DVFilm's products, including Maker (to convert 60i/50i footage to 24p), Atlantis (NTSC and PAL conversions), and more.  Their Raylight series of apps are essential if you're editing footage captured on Panasonic P2 cameras on Windows NLEs (non-linear editors), and are the best way to get the footage into the NLE.

Final Cut Pro has a great history with Panasonic; using File, Log and Transfer in FCP will easily get the MXF data files off the P2 cards and into FCP, while converting it into QuickTime movies you can edit.  So why do we need Raylight for Mac?  Well, after you back up the cards (and change the names, metadata, etc., with Panasonic's free P2CMS for Macintosh software) to an external hard drive, this is where Raylight comes in.
Raylight gets you editing the MXF files faster than FCP's Log and Transfer will process one clip, on average!  Seriously, it works.  I was able to connect a drive with P2 footage from a shoot/camera review I did of the Panasonic HPX500 and access the original folder with all the MXF files, and I was cutting in no time. Plus, it helps with metadata to keep you organized better.  Since we're not logging and transferring (or logging and capturing tapes), this is how you keep things organized.

Check out the software and watch the tutorial video at  Raylight for Mac costs $195 (though there's a sale going on as of April 2009, making it $150), and you can buy it at

These are some great plug-ins and software apps, and I highly recommend you check them out.  In the near future, I'll be taking a look at some more plug-ins and software, but if you have some suggestions, email me at hmcknight at gmail dot com.

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Heath McKnight is a filmmaker and author who has produced and directed several independent feature and short films, including Hellevator, 9:04 AM and December. He is currently web content manager for doddleNEWS. Heath was also a contributor to VASST's best-selling book, "The FullHD," and has written for TopTenREVIEWS and Videomaker.

Related Keywords:final cut pro plugins, Final Cut Pro, video editing, NLE, final cut editing,


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