I need some effects help.

Posted by ianedit 
I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 05:01AM
First I should say that I have been an Avid editor for 12 years and have set myself up with a home system on FCP and am still in the learning process on FCP so unfortunately I have to ask this question using Avid terminology because it's all I know. Sorry if I offend anyone. I have asked a few people before about making the transition and people think I come off as talking about how limited FCP is compared to Avid. This is not the case. I think that FCP is great but it's my knowledge of FCP that is limited and I look to others who know it better to help me improve upon that.

Basically I do allot of effects heavy stuff. In the Avid I would, like most heavy effects editors ( I am a bit of a blingmaster, ya know, flash and trash kind of stuff ), place add edits above clips, fill in the space with an effect and use effects as source. For instance you have a clip on V1, you go above the edit, five frames back from the edit beneath and place an add edit and then five frames forward doing the same thing. I then drag an effect from sapphire usually filling in the space and then I set my first and last keyframe to 0 and my middle to 100 making my own custom transition. I will often times stack several effects on top of each other making my own templates like maybe a lens flare with a warp perspective and a touch of motion blur, three effects simultaneously collapsed into a template. I have found that in final cut pro I cannot make custom transitions from keyframing "segment" based effects from 0-100-0. I never use transition effects, they are very limited and basic, not exactly A game stuff. I do my own thing by keyframing segment effects over a transition in and out. I have allot of transitions that no one else in the world uses because I have created them from scratch in this way. Usually I'll have about fifteen or sixteen layers of "stacks" in my time line. I also use ALLOT of animattes. I once cut a show with at least one animatte every ten seconds and often times I will have about ten or twelve animattes stacked on top of each other but with different timings and durations keyframed to actually change their shape mid clip there fore working as a composite of like twelve moving mattes. MY online guy hates me!

So, how do I do this in FCP? I need to make my own transitions and stack them together as composites so I can place not only one transition effect over a transition but several all at different duration weaving in and out of each other at different speeds. For instance effect one could be at twenty percent when effect seven is at seventy percent and I need to control the hierarchy of the effects like if I want the glow beneath the lensflare but the motion blur above the lensflare etc ... I also would like to know the equivalent of animatte.

One person gave me a nesting solution but the problem with that is that you are set to a definite in and out based upon what you nest. I feel as if I learn motion I will run into the inability to stagger effects with different in and out times due to being constricted to the in and out of the motion project in the timeline. My effects and composites weave in and out of each other all at different durations with numerous animattes incorporated.

Oh, I would like to know how to "collapse tracks", for instance if I wanted to on video layer one have a picture of say a celebrity and make the clip blue. Then on V2 throw a sapphire halo effect over the blue clip. Then on V3 take a copy of what is on V1 but change the blue to sepia. Then Animatte the person so they are sepia ( V3 ) but behind them is a halo ( V2 ) with the background being blue ( V1 ). then collapse that and place it in a box or mortisse as one piece. I hope this makes sense.

The twenty three year old hipsters who have final cut pro on their laptop who think a Eureka glow dissolve is hot stuff really isn't where I am at with effects. I have also heard that final cut pro has "rich effects" capabilities. I do not see how that is possible if I cannot do what I described above. I am sure FCP can do it but I just do not know how. My shows take about two days to render at high res just to give you an idea of what kind of work I do.

Any help would be appreciated.
Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 09:09AM
As a fellow Avid editor that did the same thing...I feel your pain. BUT, I have figured out how to accomplish this in FCP...and I have a tutorial for it.



Listen to THE EDIT BAY Podcast on iTunes
Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 09:09AM

I do not do a lot of bling. As a matter of fact, my job is more 'the art of the cut.' I am familiar with Avid and I've been using FCP for the last 2.5 years (before that I was an online guy/EVS op.)

A couple of key points. Sapphire plug-ins exist for FCP. If you are familiar with them you should get a set.

Applying effects in FCP is different than in Avid. You apply the effect to the actual clip, you can apply multiple effects to the same clip with various results, and almost everything is keyable. In other words, to achieve the "lame" luma glow transition that you never use. I blade out the portion of the clips I will use as the transiton (5frames before the cut and 5 after) and apply the 3-Way CC effect to both pieces of video. then key frame the luminance values from 0 to 100 and then back down again after the cut. There are several glow options in the effects tab that are much cooler. My point is that you can key even a color correction filter to use it as an effect.

Finally, all of these effects, anything you set up in your timeline, you can copy to other clips, as it is modified, keyframes and all. For instance, once I've created my "lame" luminance effect, I highlight the portion of the clip before the edit, cntrl click and copy attributes, highlight the section of the timeline I want to copy the effect to, paste and choose 'effect' from the menu that pops up. You can also double click the clip to bring it up in the viewer and drag and drop the effects tab onto your new clip, tomatuh, tomaaahta, whatever, but if you have a lot of effects applied to the same clip it's much easier. You can also choose three of the four you have applied and drag them onto your new clips say if you only need those effects applied to your new video.

I use Avid occasionally and I like the way you apply effects in it. I just finished a project in which I was given a quicktime out of Avid as an "example" and asked to duplicate the effects in my own piece to keep the look similar. When I was done they liked my version better and went back to the Avid editor to see if he could tweak his back to mine. Obviously the producers have their heads up their asses but WTF. They know what they like when they see it.

Hmmm, what else, I don't think you have to blade out portions of the clip but I do. It seems to save rendering time. There are occasions when you would stack video layers. I've done it before to create interesting looks, keying luminance and filling it in from another video layer with a different color effect applied to it. I've also used the 8-pt garbage matte a good bit but not enough to tell you anything about it you couldn't find out by playing around with it for about 30 minutes.

So, I think this message is long enough and there are probably like 1000 people on this forum that can give you a whole lot more information than I. Good luck.
Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 09:17AM
I hate you, but in the best possible way, I would never have written that post if I'd known about your tutorial.
I love the name 'Justice.' We were going to name our first 'Loyal' but some friends beat us to it.
All the best,
Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 09:52AM
I just wish that it was as elegant as Avid...


Listen to THE EDIT BAY Podcast on iTunes
Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 11:21AM

I dare say you've already heard it time and again, but here it is, once more for luck ...FCP is not Avid. You're are going to have a singularly horrible time with FCP if you approach it as such.

Ok, the usual mantra said and done, you do give the impression that you're ready and willing to learn how to FCP operates versus the Avid way, but you are going to have to accept that its going to be different, and that the skills and practices you've developed over the years on Avid will not all necessarily translate in a manner much to your liking.

Regarding your question on effect handling in FCP, like Andre, I may not be the best person to help as I'm a bit of an effect Nazi (I even hate dissolves) ... but to each his own, so heres some more grist for the mill: (some repetition follows I'm sure but I can't help it if I type slowly and others get in before me!)

First off, in FCP video filters do not act as adjustment layers as they do in Avid, so adding a filter to an upper empty track will have no effect on clips and/or edits on lower tracks. A video "generator" can be added to an empty track and have a physical presence there, but a filter requires a clip to which it can be attached and act upon. You can add a slug as a placeholder for a filter or filters but those filters will be acting only on the slug and not the underlying layers ... so pretty useless for your needs.

So what can you do?

Well one possible method would be to create a nest of the area to which you want to add your custom bling transition eg 5 frames back from the edit you add an edit then move 10 frames forward and add another edit, then select those 10 frames and press Option-C and Enter to collapse them to a single nested clip.

** EDIT: An option here would be to copy the nest, then press Cmd-Z to undo the whole nesting action reverting the timeline to its previous state, and then paste the copied nest onto an upper track ... this would allow you to leave the overall flow of the edit still visible in the timeline but use the nested version for the transition. Another alternative would be to export a quicktime movie of the selection as a mixed down video clip then bring that clip back in to FCP and place it above the edit as per the nest, to use for the transition **

The next step is to build the transition effect. Apply your first filter directly to the nest (or mixed down clip) and keyframe as usual from 0 to 100 and back to 0. Now add your next filter and again keyframe from 0 to 100 and back to 0 or as needed ... you can set or offset the start and/or end just as you choose (within the limits of the nest/clip duration of course).

Rinse and repeat until it knocks your socks off.

Now you have your custom transition in the timeline but want and need to make it a template effect. The way to do this is to drag your nested clip up into your project This clip is now a place holder all future uses of your custom transition. (I'd recommend you create a new effects project and store all your effect placeholders there ... and keep that project file somewhere safe so that you don't accidentally lose the effects somewhere down the line).

For future use of the transitions within the existing or later projects you start by replicating the first part of the process ie defining and creating a nest or video mixdown clip for the edit or timeline area you want your transition to work upon eg 5 frames back and add edit, then 10 frames forward and add edit, then nest / export / replace etc

Now select the required effect placeholder from your effects project (in the Browser window) and press Cmd-C to copy it, select the nest/clip in your current project (in the Timeline window) and press Option-V to Paste Attributes ... tick the Filters checkbox and untick the Scale Attributes Times checkbox, and press OK.

That's it ... the previous filter stack with all keyframed parameters and timings etc will be copied to the new nest/clip.

There will likely be times when you want or need to modify the effects as applied and obviously you can do that by simply modifying the keyframes of any filter in the stack, rearranging the order of the filters in the stack, adding and deleting filters etc. Plenty of ways to fine tune the copied effect for each specific transition placement. I'd recommend you turn on Clip Keyframes in the timeline (Option-T) where you can move individual keyframes around as appropriate and/or slide individual keyframe groups or indeed the whole effect up and down clip. You could also play with enabling Scale Attribute Times when pasting the attributes, which may be appropriate on occasion too.

If you're not too keen on the nest or mixdown hoopla then you could avoid that by instead employing a twofold transition approach ie in to and out of the effect as separate entities ... it would be the same basic premise of saving placeholder effects but instead you'd just cut into the existing clips on the timeline and paste the in and out parts of the transition attributes separately.

Hopefully this'll help you to better grapple with replicating your existing workflows after a fashion but once again remember that FCP and Avid are different beasts and you might be banging your head against a rather pointless wall trying to use the wrong to tool for a very specific job.


PS Apologies if this is just a repeat of Shane's video tute, but it won't download here so I can't check :-(

PPS Have updated the post to try to make it more readable and cover some other options that didn't occur till after I'd gone to bed!
Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 11:59AM
Welcome to FCP.

My best suggestion is 1- Listen to those guys above- they know what they're talking about, and 2- Do lots of tutorials. There are lots of them on this site, from Larry Jordan, at the Moviola Resource Site, and on Lynda.com. I'm working to compile links to as many as possible on one site, [www.fcptutorials.com]. There are 20-30 tutorials so far on video effects.

Best of luck!

www.JamesNWeber.com - Socially Aware Media

and introducing-
www.FCPTutorials.com - One source for all Final Cut Tutorials
Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 03:18PM
One person gave me a nesting solution but the problem with that is that you are set to a definite in and out based upon what you nest. I feel as if I learn motion I will run into the inability to stagger effects with different in and out times due to being constricted to the in and out of the motion project in the timeline.

If you have numerous overlapping effects that have different keyframe starts/stops, then your best bet is to nest. To prevent from being constricted, just make sure you nest more than what you know you need. Then if you make changes to length or keyframes, you're always covered.

Nesting is the closest approximation to creating an adjustment layer in the Avid, because filters can be applied to the nest and they will affect the clips in your nest across cuts and such. You won't have to break up the keyframing of the effect as in Shane's tutorial.

You could also duplicate the clips where the effect takes place before nesting. This then creates an "effects" nest that can be turned on/off without affecting the original cut. That's how I've done it in the past.

Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 03:37PM
I posted the original question on this thread. I want to thank everyone who responded. I feel truly educated now and the links to tutorials were very helpful.

I should say that there seems to be a tone of "FCP isn't Avid and you just need to learn how FCP does things" ... exactly I know, and I am trying but it's like learning a foreign language and it takes time. My thinking has been so Avid entrenched over the years. I am someone who knows everything there is to know about Avid worth knowing so it's a new experience to be fumbling through a new way of thinking. But I am open minded and am making the effort. I am also giving FCP the benefit of the doubt as opposed to saying that Avid is more sophisticated I am trying to reserve judgement until I learn all I can about FCP. I don't believe in any sort of tribalistic allegiance to software. I just want to get there. But, I also need to be able to take anything that exists in my head and make it happen the way I could in Avid. And I refuse to believe that there are things I cannot do on FCP. I will find a way or invent a way or email the software designers if I have to. There are things I could do on Avid that allot of others cannot and I plan on attacking FCP's toolset and doing the same thing and maybe even pioneering a few new methods of total effects dope-ness. But it will take a long time to think outside of Avid terms. That's just human nature when something is so entrenched.

My point is stop busting my balls ya'll for using avid speak when that is the only language I know right now. Thanks ...

In my currently uneducated mindset about FCP I still miss allot of Avid's finer and more sophisticated features but I am making the switch because aside from small stuff like slipping, sliding, trimming, media management etc ... I think Avid just does not get the big picture. They have too many products and it's always changing. They just got rid of adrenaline and now have a whole new line of products, different version of this and that etc ... But since it is so expensive and people usually upgrade at a slower rate than Avid discontinues products for new ones there are never really less than seven or eight versions floating around out there. If you take an Avid job you could end up on any myriad of systems. I like the fact that Final Cut is Final Cut period. Everyone is on basically the same setup minus what CPU or cards they may be using. Everyone is using an all in one media machine and the same all in one media machine. That's really cool. Also I wanted to drive to Tewsburry and throw stones at the building when they introduced their software to PC. I HATE PC and most creative people do. It still runs on Mac but allot of the advanced features of new releases are only available on PC. Sounds like they are tone deaf and just do not get it. I think if they wanted to truly stop FCP from interloping into their market share they would have to come out with ONE machine or basically take the symphony, rename it and have only that. Also I have noticed that there are allot of things that you can do on FCP you cannot on Avid, specially with audio. I have noticed that you can mix a track on the fly as it plays. I'm sorry but that is totally sick! Avid cannot give an inch to FCP like that if they want to stay relevant. There are allot of things that Avid can do that FCP cannot ( at least as far as what I know right now but I could be wrong ), but allowing FCP to come up with things that Avid cannot do without addressing that in new releases could be the death of the company. It would help to dump all relations with PC as well. What would be amazing is if they bought Avid, merged the software and we could all be done with it.

I do however find that there are allot of younger editors without allot of experience coming up who only know final cut. Unfortunately these editors are not very good. They are great software operators but not good storytellers and their cuts lack the pacing, structure, eb, flow, nuances etc that good cuts have. I think that this is because editing is an innate skill that you do develop over time like singing or dancing. You start off at a C+ and gradually make it to A+. I find you top out with mad skills after about five years. Learning software cannot help you chose the right music track, the perfect sound up to sell the byte, when to end one idea and start another etc ... Software cannot help you stay cool, calm and collected under pressure, deal with difficult personalities, not take notes personally, navigate the treacherous waters of sensitive politics in the edit bay with producers ... etc. This stuff is actually what will determine your success as a professional editor more than anything and that all takes time. It's best to have someone with thousands of hours of editing under their belt, someone has has learned these skills the hard way sitting in the chair and all of those people are Avid people or Avid people making the switch. I am always skeptical of editors under thirty having the ability to hold it together under massive pressure or to handle being thrown under the bus for a writers mistake and come away unscathed. Unfortunately Final Cut Pro has not been a viable professional tool until it's most recent version in my opinion so if someone says they learned on FCP you can assume that they have not been cutting for five years and are most likely not any good or at least do not have the political skills and temperament to come away clean from trying situations. The best FCP editors I know of are the Avid editors who have made the switch because anyone who has been editing long enough to have a truly sophisticated sense of cutting ( and the political skills ) most likely learned on Avid just due to the chronology of current technology. But I do end up having to go in and fix the work of younger editors who only know Final Cut Pro who get fired either for being a lousy cutter or being a good cutter who cracks under pressure or sticks his foot in his mouth saying the wrong thing at the wrong time to the wrong EP. I hear allot of pimply youngsters pontificating at the apple store and I think to myself, I'll get a call next week to fix their mess. But I am sure as time goes by that will all change and they will come into their own at the same rate FCP does. But if you are the type to be overheard saying in a bar the "Avid is a dinosaur" you better make damn sure you are better than 90% of editors calling themselves cutters and have a self evident reputation to prove it or you will only come across sounding incredibly stupid, totally missing the point that it's about the painting and not the paint brush.

Sorry for the rant ...
Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 04:15PM
Well that IS a bit of a rant and a bit unfair to this forum and those that participate, but understandable that you've taken the time to write this. Seems lots of Avid editors who come to lafcpug pre judge the folks who use this tool as fan boys due in no small part to the name of this group. Guess I could of called this group the LA Desktop Movie Making Coalition, but LADMMC sounds like something you step in.

The folks who responded to you have gone through and still go through what you are going through. It may sound to you like "busting your balls" but they not. You will also be hard pressed to find anyone who will say Avid is a Dinosaur or find FCP to be the holy grail of NLEs. More likely you will read, "it's just a tool, chill!" This is a FCP troubleshooting forum and thus the mind set here is on that.

This group exists because we chose this tool and want to learn it. Avid forums exist because we chose that tool and want to learn it. Premiere Pro forums exist because we want to learn the tool. We honestly don't give a damn about the companies who make these products except we hope they all keep their jobs and continue making great stuff for us.

And while we are on the subject of busting balls...

It is not "allot," it's "a lot."

smiling smiley

Michael Horton
Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 04:25PM
And...FYI...there are many of us here who still use and like Avid. The new version is a treat to cut with. But I still swear at it for not being able to do things that I have gotten used to on FCP...but then I am on FCP and curse at it for not doing something the Avid does handily.

Yes...FCP being as cheap as it is makes it available to people who think that now they can edit features or TV shows. Just like Microsoft Word made people think that now they can write the Great American Novel. But now that Avid is cheaper...REALLY cheap for students ($300!) you are finding more and more people who know Avid who can't edit their way out of a wet paper bag. As we say over and over...this is just a tool. Learn how to use the tool to the best of your ability. And just because you know how to handle a hammer and can pound a nail, doesn't mean you know how to build a house.

Heck...a lot of us here are even considering buying iLife '09 because we like the way the new iMovie looks and does things! I am one of those people...


Listen to THE EDIT BAY Podcast on iTunes
Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 04:33PM
Sorry if I offended you dude. Maybe it was a little too rantish and inappropriate for this forum. I will stick to tech questions in the future and use this forum for what it was meant for.

Overall I am pretty excited to be learning FCP and especially motion. I have a feeling I may actually be able to do MORE with effects after I learn motion and possibly shake.


Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 04:50PM
Wow. Long post. Not sure if you got this part covered, but make sure you get media management in FCP (not the media manager tool, but how to organize and name the clips).

It's fairly common and it creates huge issues eventually (and it doesn't just affect guys who picked up FCP on their own, but also editors moving over from Avid) especially when you're archiving or shifting your project to another workstation for finishing/export to tape, etc...

Shane has a DVD on that under his banner.

On the other hand, I'd love to give a shot on the old lady (Avid) again if I could, but FCP's so afforadable that a lot of houses use it.

As far as maturity, FCP 5.1.4 was that for me- with the multi-cam function, in-built scopes, and some extremely important tools in Soundtrack Pro.

Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 05:09PM
Unfortunately Final Cut Pro has not been a viable professional tool until it's most recent version in my opinion so if someone says they learned on FCP you can assume that they have not been cutting for five years and are most likely not any good or at least do not have the political skills and temperament to come away clean from trying situations. The best FCP editors I know of are the Avid editors who have made the switch because anyone who has been editing long enough to have a truly sophisticated sense of cutting ( and the political skills ) most likely learned on Avid just due to the chronology of current technology.

Ouch. I felt that since I am one of those editors who first learned on FCP. Well, if you want to get technical, I actually learned on U-matic...

Not to be contentious, but if you're only now learning FCP, then I find your statement above suspect. In my 10+ years experience with FCP, and 8 years with Avid, Final Cut was a viable professional option from version 4 (released in 2003 which was 6 years ago FYI).

Coming from someone who was responsible for training our new Avid editors, I found that the problem was not that they were learning FCP first, but that they were not learning EDITING first.

That's why all my new hires had to begin on our rickety old deck to deck. If you take away all the bells and whistles and even take away the "non-linear", they'll actually start to THINK about how the edit's supposed to look from the beginning, and look ahead as they are choosing which shots to use.

I can see the motivation for blaming FCP's accessibility/cost for diluting the talent pool, but it's simply not true. At $300 for Avid Express for students, I guarantee you'll see a lot more "Avid-trained" idiots in the years to come.

Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 06:13PM
I'll jump in here as one of the old-school editors.

I learned to edit in the late '80's. I started editing professionally in digital linear rooms (CCIR 601, anyone?!?) in the early '90's, which is also when Avid became my first NLE. I picked up FCP in 2000 based on a recommendation from one of the editors I used to assist way back in the wee early years.

I bashed my head against the wall trying to make FCP work the way my Avid-trained brain wanted it to work, too.

I eventually figured out trying to unravel things I'd known how to do for years and that were to me like breathing, and re-knit them into some semblance of a home-grown FCP workflow was unfair to myself, and unfair to my clients. I took a week off, took a week-long FCP training class at a local Apple Certified Training Facility, and came out of that with a day-and-night difference of how to best use the tool.

I still work on Avid. As a matter of fact, In the last two weeks, I've had 7 days in an Avid suite, and 1 day in a FCP suite nestled between two Avid days. Try unhooking your Avid brain for just one day...it's not easy.

Tutorials are great, and Shane knows how to write them. If you can learn that way, more power to ya. However, if you are like me and it's hard for you to "unknow" years of one way of doing things, I'd recommend immersing yourself in a class with an instructor there that can answer your questions directly. It sincerely worked wonders for me.

As for the young whippersnappers who know how to push the buttons in the right order but not tell a story to save their lives...they've always been there, and two decades ago I was one of them. (weren't we all?!?!)

On occasion, I've been paid a lot of money to clean up after a monkey button-pusher. The rest of the jobs I've "lost" to a lower-paid operator I'm not sure I would have wanted to do in the first place.

There's room for both kinds.

Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 06:52PM

On occasion, I've been paid a lot of money to clean up after a monkey button-pusher.

Way to go, deb. The benefit of having inexperienced people hired by cheap employers = they have to hire us to do it like it should have been done in the first place. I love those gigs. Keep on hiring the button pushers, cheapskates! More work for US!! grinning smiley

When life gives you dilemmas...make dilemmanade.

Re: I need some effects help.
January 28, 2009 08:30PM
LADMMC sounds like something you step in.

... And LAFCPUG doesn't ??? tongue sticking out smiley
Re: I need some effects help.
January 29, 2009 05:34AM
Remember D-Vision?

Remember celluloid?

4 gang synchronizers?

The marvel of the Italian tape joiner?

Why am I saying this? Who are all you people?

I am truly tottering off into senility.

(Giggles and urinates on self)

Re: I need some effects help.
January 29, 2009 07:47PM
I'm planning a Final Cut transition effect that give you the option to edit the response curve of the changing value. The alpha version here only works with the value of visibility of the outgoing clip changing from 100% to 0%.

Which Final Cut transitions would be better if you could modify the curves of one or more of the values?

Alexandre Gollner,
Editor, Zone 2-North West, London

alex4d on twitter, facebook, .wordpress.com + .com
Re: I need some effects help.
July 31, 2011 07:42PM

Which Final Cut transitions would be better if you could modify the curves of one or more of the values?

hi, Alex,
did you ever make a Slide or Push Slide transition with curves?

i'm finding i'm using the Push Slide a lot on my current film,
but it's a bit clunky the way it just starts.
i was playing with yourSwing+Curves the other day, and found it's action to be very nice.

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