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Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #33

Final Cut HD to After Effects for free By Stephen Schleicher

Moving your Final Cut Pro HD Timeline out to Adobe After Effects 6.5 doesnt have to be a headache.  Plug-ins like Automatic Ducks Pro Import AE/Red do this, but can cost quite a bit to make it happen.  But what if there was a free plug-in that allows you to do this (with a bit of tweaking)?  And what if this free plug-in was available right now from Apple and Automatic Duck?  In this Final Cut Pro Quick Tip, Ill show you where it is, and how to use it with pretty good results.

One of the great new features in Adobe After Effects 6.5 Professional edition is the ability to work with AAF and OMF files.  This feature will make it a snap for any application that can export data (audio, video, timelines) to be opened in After Effects.  When Apple released Final Cut Pro HD, they updated their website and spent quite a bit of time talking about improvements to the XML interchange format.  Off to the side, Apple also writes about OMF and AAF and how Final Cut Pro HD supports these formats.  In what almost seems like an aside, Apple casually mentions that Automatic Duck has a free application that supports importing and exporting of AAF data.  You can read it for yourself (and download the freebie) here (http://www.apple.com/finalcutpro/extensible.html).

My ears perked up when I read that and immediately proceeded to download and install the plug-in.  Why the excitement? If you have ever looked at the Automatic Duck website, you are probably aware that Automatic Duck Pro Import AE/Red is a $495 plug-in that does an excellent job of brining in the entire Final Cut Pro Timeline along with In and Out points and supported transitions.  But what if you could save some money and still be able to do MOST of what the pricey plug-in can do?  Download the plug-in, install and see for yourself.

In this example, I have a Timeline that includes several bluescreen shots that need to be keyed over the background. Now while I could follow the Final Cut Pro Quick Tip #5 where I describe how to pull a good key within the application, I want to have greater control in this case in addition to being able to do some ?other effects.

You should note that this is a Cuts Only edit and does not include fades, dissolves, or any other FCP HD transition.

Step 1:  Highlight the sequence in the Browser and from the menu select File>Export>Automatic Duck AAF Export.

Step 2:  Name the file and save it to the appropriate drive/folder.  When you click Export, the Automatic Duck Exporter will go through and parse the Timeline and create an AAF file.

What It Doesnt Export
Ive already mentioned that this exporter doesnt export transitions very well, and Ill touch on this again in a moment, but I also wanted to make you aware that this exporter also does not export Final Cut Pro Simple Text elements, or Title 3D clips (this causes Final Cut Pro to crash).  The Exporter will also cause Final Cut Pro to crash if you are exporting any clips that have a Transfer Mode applied to it.  Interestingly it will export a clip that is a Final Cut Pro shape (Circle, Oval, etc.), and when you open the AAF file in After Effects it will show the shape placeholder in the Project window, but it will not create a layer for that shape in the After Effects Timeline.

With all of these ?It doesnt do this problems, why even bother with this exporter?  Well dear reader, the Exporter does serve a useful purpose if you are working on a cuts only edit like the example in this exercise, or if you have many layers that you will need to tweak later say creating a rotating cube, or apply a specific mask to.

When you are finished exporting, you can now launch After Effects 6.5 Professional and open the AAF file, which as well discover presents a few quirks as well.

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Related Keywords:final cut pro, after effects 6.5, editing, nle, automatic duck, import, export, omf, aaf, work flow, schleicher

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