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Top 10 Utility Effects — effects to help the editing process

Posted by Iain Anderson on

The nitty-gritty technical details of the editing process might not be as visually impressive as a perfect title or transition, but they're just as important. Luckily, there are many ways to extend the built-in features of Final Cut Pro X, to let you deal with special kinds of footage, to expose and burn in timecode, to generate the countdown required for broadcast delivery, and much more — all for free. Here are ten of the best, in no particular order.

Source Timecode by CoreMelt

1. Source Timecode by CoreMelt

This free effect fills a crucial niche for anyone who needs to burn in timecode for client or producer review. FCP X's built-in timecode generator can only create timecode that matches the sequence, but Source Timecode can display the original clip's timecode, alongside the file name and shot number if you need them. Grab it.

Timecode by FxFactory

2. Timecode by FxFactory

Following on, if you're a big fan of timecode, you'll probably be a fan of this product, which lets you display the timecode… bigger. Using a separate floating window, you can make those numbers as big as you like.

Rule of Thirds by Uhl Films

3. Rule of Thirds Overlay by UHL Films

The "rule of thirds" can be paraphrased as "frame things so that the interesting parts line up on the intersections of 1/3 and 2/3 across and down the frame". This overlay displays a rule of thirds grid so you can reposition and reframe more easily, and includes a Golden Ratio grid too.

4 Up by Alex4D

4. 4 Up by Alex4D

It's not too hard to manually scale and position clips in FCP X, but if you regularly need to display four clips at once, grab this generator and make your life a lot easier. You can flick to a single shot, show all at once, and even highlight one of the four.

Broadcast VT Clock by Idustrial Revolution

5. Broadcast VT Clock by Idustrial Revolution

For broadcast delivery, some networks request an introduction plate with details of the production and a countdown. This generator helps you to deliver what the network needs.

 Magic Lantern HDR by Alex4D

6. Magic Lantern HDR by Alex4D

Magic Lantern's custom firmware has extended the capabilities of Canon cameras for years now, but it's not always easy to work with all the strange formats it can produce. HDR video is one such beast, and if you're shooting with it, grab this effect and put it to use.

 Time Remap by Alex4D

7. Time Remap by Alex4D

Long-time FCP X editors may remember the time-remapping ramps in FCP 7: tricky to understand at first, but very powerful once understood. If you want to re-live the glory days of controlling speed with curves, you can, but it's not entirely straightforward. Grab the effect, read the instructions, and follow closely.

 Color and Gamma Conversion by Red Giant

8. Color and Gamma Conversion

While most gamma conversion problems have drifted into the past (just stick with modern QuickTime Player and you'll be fine) there's still an occasional need to jump between different gammas and color formats. This effect lets you change gammas, view separate channels, and more.

 RT Leveling Grid by Ripple Training

9. RT Leveling Grid by Ripple Training

The knowledgeable folks at Ripple release another simple effect, this time to create a grid that can be used as an alignment tool when rotating your content. Put this effect on your clip, then use the controls to fix a shot tilted slightly off-center.

WidesafeX by Digital Heaven 

10. WidesafeX by Digital Heaven

Broadcast delivery can still sometimes require that titles are within safe areas for older 4:3 TVs. If you need to know where your titles need to stay, grab this generator, which can show a variety of different safe zones for 4:3, 14:9 and 16:9 aspect ratios.

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