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Essential Final Cut Pro: Plug-Ins and Apps: Part 1Some of my favorite FCP plug-ins and apps that help steamline my workflow
Over the last couple of months, I've been reviewing some of the most essential Final Cut Pro plug-ins and apps that I use all the time. Now I'm ready to present to you some of my favorite FCP plug-ins and apps that help steamline my workflow, add effects to my video, and even keep things running smooth. I had so many that I've decided to break this into two parts. Here's part one.
Nattress Filters by Graeme Nattress
By far the most common plug-ins I use are the filter and conversion sets from Nattress (www.nattress.com), which allows me to convert 60i video to 24p (and vice-versa; Film Looks), NTSC to PAL (and vice-versa; Standards Conversion), specific looks for my footage (Big Box of Tricks), and the Advanced Plug-Ins for Color, Apple's color corrector and finisher.
I've been using Nattress filters for years, and Graeme Nattress is one of the smartest guys out there; he even works for RED (www.red.com)! If your digital video camera has no film-style features, such as 24p or cine gamma settings, Nattress has filters that can help give you a film look that will convince viewers you shot it on a great film-style camera. You can also use some of his Big Box of Tricks filters to change the overall look and style of your footage.
I've reviewed Nattress filters extensively, and if you'd like to see some examples, check out my article on "Achieving a Film Look", and a look at some of the image filters.
Loader from Digital Heaven
Digital Heaven's Loader (http://www.digital-heaven.co.uk/loader) is a great little software app that really has streamlined my workflow. When you launch FCP, Loader launches as well, and then things get fun. If I want to load up songs from iTunes, graphics, and/or video, I could do it within Final Cut Pro, but if I were to just drag the items into the Loader tab, it actually speeds up that importing process AND creates a folder linked to my project.
Otherwise, I'm copying files to specific folders, hitting File, Import, and so on and so forth. Loader has actually cut down my import times significantly, and has made my life SO much easier.
Oh, and my favorite part: anytime you import music (MP3, M4A, CAF, etc.) from a CD or another folder, Loader will convert it to a 16-bit, 48kHz stereo AIFF file! As my friends on Twitter would say, "W00t!" FCP got rid of importing (and copying to a folder) songs from music CDs with version 4, I think, so this is probably one of the greatest benefits of Loader.
I recommend watching the teaser video and the tutorial to learn more about how Loader can help you. Also, download and try it out for 14 days to get the most out of it before you buy it. I love demos because it gives me a chance to really take an app for a solid test drive.
Digital Rebellion's Free Apps
I came across Digital Rebellion's free Mac software apps (http://www.digitalrebellion.com/resources.htm), aimed at Final Cut Pro users, while searching for apps and plug-ins. Their three apps include Final Cut Studio Remover, Preference Manager for Final Cut Pro, and Compressor Repair. I don't use their apps all the time, but when I do, I can count on them to help me out.
Final Cut Studio Remover makes it easier to uninstall any of the FCS suite of apps. I recently reloaded FCS 2 and decided I don't use Soundtrack Pro enough to justify keeping it on my hard drive. I opened FCS Remover and easily uninstalled it (and I found the gigabytes worth of loops and deleted them, too). Yes, you can just drag apps to the trash to uninstall them, but FCS Remover removes everything.
I remember when I first started using FCP about a decade ago with version 1.0, and I rarely had problems. If one arose, I usually had to "trash (corrupted) FCP preferences," which ends up being a hunt for those preferences. Preference Manager for Final Cut Pro makes it easier to trash the corrupt preferences.
Finally, if you're having problems with Compressor and Qmaster, which allows Compressor to use multiple processors and/or computers to work faster, one of the easiest ways to fix this problem is with Compressor Repair. It helps to fix incorrect permissions, find missing files, and much more. I haven't had to use this app yet, but as I use Qmaster more and more, it's good to know if I have a problem, Compressor Repair is standing by.
All of these plug-ins and apps are affordable or free, and you should own them. For part 2 of my Essential FCP Plug-Ins and Apps, I'll be taking a look at Magic Bullet Quick Looks and Instant HD, and a few others.
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.
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