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Faster Work Flow in LiveType, Motion and After Effects for Final Cut Editors

By Kevin McAuliffe

A few years ago, program integration was for the most part, non-existent. I've worked with Adobe After Effects for about 11 years now, and I remember that whenever I would have to leave the Avid world to delve into the After Effects world, I would cringe, as it was always a real pain, as the programs never really talked to each other. Thankfully, Automatic Duck has more or less solved that problem for all the Avid users out there working in After Effects. For all of us Final Cut Pro users, Apple has given us some easy ways to speed up our work flow between LiveType, Motion and Final Cut, and there is even a great "hidden" workflow enhancer for Adobe After Effects that most people are unaware of.

I'm a big fan of using different tools to suit the final product I am trying to achieve. What I mean by this is that I let LiveType handle my text effects, Motion handle my backgrounds, effects, particles and generators, and Final Cut handle my editing. The most common workflow that many editors work with is they edit their piece, and as they come to a section that requires some type of "text treatment," they will switch over to LiveType, create the effect that they want, render it, import it into Final Cut, place it into their timeline, and continue working (Motion has a very similar work flow). The only problem is that once you have rendered your animation, you have a flattened QuickTime file that is now useless to you if you need to come back to it six months from now to edit. After Effects has fixed this problem by allowing you to embed copies of your project into your QuickTime animation, so you can just import your QuickTime with the project to edit at a later date.

The best piece of advice I can give editors is "DON"T RENDER." I know what you're thinking, "I have to render to get my files back into Final Cut." Well, you don't! When working in LiveType or Motion, simply save your project, go into Final Cut and select FILE>IMPORT, and navigate your way to your saved LiveType or Motion File, select it, and import it. You will now see it in your project, and you can drag it into your timeline as if it were any other clip. The best part about this is that if you are working in standard definition (DV), and have a fast enough computer, you can even turn RT Extreme on, and watch your sequence play back in almost real time (depending on how many layers you are dealing with). Now, here is the best part about this work flow. If a producer or director decides to change their mind (how often has that happened?), simply right click on your LiveType or Motion clip in your timeline and select OPEN IN EDITOR, and depending on the clip, either LiveType or Motion will open, and let you alter your composite, and once you click save, it will automatically update in Final Cut. Excellent, isn't it? Not as excellent as what I am about to show you.

Like I had said earlier, I like to work with different programs that have different strengths. For example, I like the text effects of LiveType, the particle effects of Motion, and 3D elements of After Effects, but as with the Final Cut work flow, most people will render elements out of each program (LiveType/Motion) to work in Adobe After Effects. Well, once again, you don't need to. In this case, the idea is the same, but the process is slightly different. Create an element in LiveType or Motion, and save it to your desktop.

This is Text

Open After Effects, and select FILE>IMPORT, as you will notice, the file is greyed out. Can't import it, right? Wrong! Hide After Effects, and select the clip you want to import. Once selected, click on the name of the file, so it becomes editable. Add the extension .MOV to the end (it doesn't need to be in upper case). As always, the Mac will ask you if you are sure about what you are doing, and you can then select "yes". Now, the file will appear on your desktop as a Quicktime movie, even though it's still a LiveType/Motion file.

QT Before and After

Go back into After Effects, and now import your new "QuickTime movie", and now it's ready to be worked within After Effects with no rendering required from LiveType or Motion.

After Effects--After

I find this After Effects work flow to be especially effective working with HD files, especially when you have preview/render enhancing add-ons such as Gridiron's Nucleo Pro, which crunch through your renders at lightning speeds.

These days, everything is about speed and how quickly a client can see something to approve and once you start delving into HD, renders can get big and complicated. The best advice I can give is use the best of all worlds, and know how they can work together to give you the best (and quickest) results.  

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Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at kevinpmcauliffe@gmail.com

Related Keywords:After effects, NLE, editing, video editors, LiveType

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