Archive for Final Cut Pro

More Scene Kit/Motion integration: Models, Cameras, Lights, Transforms

Starting to make nice progress on integrating Scene Kit and Motion. I’m now able to use Motion’s 3d transforms, light and camera data.

A couple of gotcha’s, the matrix transform from the FxPlug Fx3DAPI needs to be remapped to work with a CATransform3D with something resembling the following.

void GLtoCATransform3D(double layerMatrix [4][4], CATransform3D *t)
t->m11 = layerMatrix [0][0];
t->m12 = layerMatrix [0][1];
t->m13 = layerMatrix [0][2];
t->m14 = 0.0;
t->m21 = layerMatrix [1][0];
t->m22 = layerMatrix [1][1];
t->m23 = layerMatrix [1][2];
t->m24 = 0.0;;
t->m31 = layerMatrix [2][0];
t->m32 = layerMatrix [2][1];
t->m33 = layerMatrix [2][2];
t->m34 = 0.0;
t->m41 = layerMatrix [0][3];
t->m42 = layerMatrix [1][3];
t->m43 = layerMatrix [2][3];
t->m44 = layerMatrix [3][3];

and when using Core Animation in an FXPlug the BOOL property .usesSceneTimeBase needs to be YES on the CAAnimation to work correctly in plugin time. That also means the duration property is in frames, not seconds

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Scene Kit in Motion With Core Animation

[vimeo clip_id=’71203195′ width=’500′]

I’m having a lot of fun hacking on Scene Kit, a relatively new 3D framewok for OSX. Scene Kit is a nice high-level object graph, but it lets you drop down into shaders and OpenGL as needed. Because it plays nicely with Cocoa conventions you get a SCNRenderer that speaks NSTimeInterval and fits in quite nicely in an FXPlug host. I still wish FCPX/Motion 5 hadn’t taken such a step back on user scripting and workflow tools, but you can see the bricks being built back up with a good solid foundation.

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A CSV Text Data Plugin for FCPX/Motion 5

[vimeo clip_id=’43645725′ width=’500′]

This is a small plugin for FCPX/Motion 5 that will allow you to import a CSV file to create text plates for things like slates, lower thirds, and titles.

FCPX continues to be a work in progress and I have the same reaction as most people. Seems powerful, but where’s x, y, and z? In the short term we seem to have lost a lot of data in xml transfers so I was looking for a way to populate slates in my projects without a lot of typing and this seemed to fit the bill.

This is the first public release so don’t use it in sensitive production projects until the plugin is battle tested because the project format for arbitrary data seems somewhat fragile and it seems easier to corrupt FCPX project files then you would ever find ideal. I’ve got a list of features as well as bugs to file and if there is interest this might become a useful production plugin, so please help me by trying it out and reporting any problems you might find. This will only work in the latest version of FCPX 10.4 and above.

Revision History
06-09-12 1.0 Initial Public Release
06-14-12 1.1 30% Speed increase by using GLSL/FBO for Quartz Composer composite, stability fixes

Creative Workflow Hacks CSV Text Plugin 1.1.pkg

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ProRes, After Effects, Final Cut And Gamma Shifts

Todd Kopriva posts a handy guide on how to avoid gamma shifts in an After Effects/Final Cut workflow using ProRes 4444. Gamma shifts have been the bane of my existence over the years and Todd gives a nice step-by-step and points to some good supporting resources.

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Apple updates sample code with new Final Cut Pro Apple Events

Apple has updated their Final Cut Apple Event sample code to reflect the new Apple Events added to Final Cut Pro 7.0. 


Apple Event List

Quite a few look really interesting and I’m hoping to dig in as soon as I get my upgrade in place.

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Workflow tools from Michael Cinquin

Michael Cinquin has developed some handy workflow tools for FCP/Pro Apps. Lots of glue code for Red, FCP,Color, etc. Most of the tools seem to be web apps which makes it handy for remote locations. I’ve been wondering lately if a lot of workflow media tools and processes shouldn’t be moving to a web service architecture? Having been doing mostly web development for a while I can vouch for how handy it is to have an API to solve a problem.

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Motion XML File Format documented

This one has taken a while, but it looks like Apple has finally documented the Motion XML format. It’s been fairly easy to reverse-engineer, but now if you’ve got questions or gotchas you know where to look to find out what the deal should be.

The section on Modifying Text is especially useful for day to day hacking.

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FCPToAE going (mostly) CS3 Only

Just a quick heads up that I’ve decided to focus my efforts on FCPToAE and related tools to the CS3 Suite only. With a strong subset of ECMA-357 (E4X) (pdf link) parsing in Extendscript 2, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to keep inventing workarounds to FCP-XML parsing. I do plan on incorporating bug fixes to the scripting side of the equation to the AE 7 app, so it’ll stay feature compliant to the current state, but I won’t be updating new features.

This will definitely make things a lot easier to develop tools, and it opens up a whole new slew of possibilites for Web 2.0 mashup tools and explorations when combined with After Effects Socket or new HttpConnection support. kuler explorer anyone? If you’re a scripter, you owe it to yourself to check out the ExtendScript Toolkit (ESTK) 2.0 there are a lot of features that sort of “hide” in Extendscript that aren’t obvious in the After Effects CS3 scripting guide(pdf link).

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Automator Action: Final Cut Pro XML to Tape Log via Markers

I’ve never spent much time with Apple’s Automator technology. Which is a little strange, considering how interested I am in automation and workflow technologies. I think some of it is a sense that it seems inaccessible, it doesn’t seem clear how to make things generalizable enough to be useful, and at least part of it is my aversion to Applescript as a scripting language That said, it’s clear that there is a lot of power available with Automator and I’ve started to dip my toe in the water and seeing If I can learn a few things and maybe create something useful.

This is the first fruit of my experimentation. I often need to make a tape log of a sequence in Final Cut Pro, and a quick way to get the sequence details into a text file could be useful. The most approachable way to address the problem seems to be with markers. You can store all of the values I need for a tape log in a marker – item number, name, description, length and the starting timecode. So, that’s how we’ll approach it.

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New Apple Sample Code – TimelineToTC

Apple posted some interesting sample code called TimelineToTC that takes a Sequence XML file and returns a basic edl file of the selected attributes. Not very full featured, as is typical of Apple sample code, but is a good starting place for someone looking to do conversion work or a more full featured edl. Worth a look especially for a nicely packaged function/method called FormatTimecode which takes a frame count and returns a formatted time code string accounting for drop and non-drop frame sequences. handy.

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