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Best Of: Command Post (April 2018 update)

Posted by Iain Anderson on

Last year, I wrote an article here about Command Post, the free tool (once known as FCP X Hacks) which enhances Final Cut Pro X in many ways. Development continues at a crazy pace, and many new features have now been added. The latest update, being shown off at NAB, includes the ability to assign custom icons and commands to the elgato Stream Deck device, extensive MIDI support, plus support for Tangent hardware panels.


What does that mean? It means that you can perform fine color correction using one of Tangent’s popular (though pricey) devices, or repurpose any hardware MIDI mixer you like.

Tangent's free Mapper app

I’ve got a KORG nanoKONTROL2 which has eight knobs, eight sliders, plenty of transport controls and 24 additional buttons to assign as I see fit. While a custom MIDI box will require more setup than a dedicated panel, it’s more flexible, and almost certainly cheaper. Command Post helps either way, and of course if you want the traditional colorist wheel-based experience then you’ll want a Tangent.

MIDI example crop

In practice, this new support means you can adjust the color board or wheels using real sliders or dials, then transport control buttons to jump to the next clip. Tactile controls are faster and easier to use than software controls, and crucially, you can adjust multiple sliders at the same time. Push the shadows down as you push the midtones up, and you’ll never want to waste time selecting a slider again.

If you go the Tangent route, with their element-Vs iPad app (free trial here) or a physical device, open the Tangent Mapper software and make sure Command Post is in charge. Use the B button to switch between different modes (Color Board, Color Wheels, other) and A button to access alternate features.

MIDI preferences

With a MIDI device, you won't need any extra software, but you'll need to do some more setup, assigning dials, sliders and buttons to the preset commands. It's not hard — find a command you want to assign, press Learn on the right, then move the dial/slider/button. Any empty slots can hold your own commands too. Press Select, search for anything you like (searching for "midi" is shown above, but many other commands are selectable too) click it, then assign a MIDI dial/slider/button as before.

MIDI command search

No matter how many sliders you’ve got, you’ll never have enough, so be sure to take advantage of the “banks” system. This lets you press a button on your MIDI device to change what the other sliders and dials control. On bank 1, I’m controlling the color board. on bank 2, the color wheels. Fantastic.

For composers out there, MIDI support goes further, because Command Post can now make FCP X act as a timecode source. You can sync up an app (like Logic Pro) to the progress in the FCP X timeline, and hear your in-progress soundtrack as the timeline plays. Mind blown? Well, this feature is brand new, so test away, report bugs if you find them, and enjoy.

Command Post is free, and Chris Hocking deserves all the praise and donations you can fling his way. Grab the latest release here, now.

P.S. The latest Command Post release also protects you from a nasty selection bug in FCP X 10.4.1. If you are using this release, definitely install CommandPost now.


Iain Anderson is an Apple Certified Trainer, videographer, editor, animator, writer, designer, Command Post beta tester and occasional coder based in Brisbane, Australia. and @funwithstuff on Twitter.

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