Note: "Command Post" was previously named "FCPX Hacks".
Final Cut Pro X is a great app, but like any app, it’s not perfect. Many users have requested additional features or enhancements that they’d like to see, and as you’d expect, some are added and some are not. Richard Taylor of fcpx.tv maintains a long list, and he’s been asking for a scrolling timeline (that moves along with the playhead) for years. Scott Simmons wanted an easy way to spot the browser playhead, and blogged about it. The call was heard, but not by Apple.
Chris Hocking of LateNite Films (seriously, go watch Wizards of Aus right now if you’ve not seen it) decided to hack in some support for this, using a third-party app with a strange name: Hammerspoon. A script was written and "FCPX Hacks" was born, adding a bewildering number of new features to FCP X. Since then, it’s grown a great deal and morphed into the more mature (and less dangerously named) Command Post.
It’s still under active development, but right now, a scrolling timeline is a reality, as is playhead highlighting. You can bring up a virtual touch bar on a Mac that doesn’t have one(!) and you can even copy and paste timelines between different Macs. Here’s the official user guide.
Yep, that’s right, turns out that an independent, professed non-developer can add collaboration support to a major NLE, on his own, because somebody asked nicely. There’s tons of other stuff too: batch export (yes, finally), control over the frequency of automatic backups, shortcuts for up to five of each of your favorite video effects, audio effects, transitions, generators and titles, and many other hidden features.
How to get started? Head to commandpost.io and grab the installer. Install, follow the instructions, and you’ll see a new “satellite” icon in your menu bar. This menu is huge, but is broken into separate sub-sections.
You’ll need time to poke around, because several features require quitting and restarting FCP X. Command Post can manage its own shortcuts, though — look for the Preferences item in the Settings section of its long menu.
There are many new options built in, and many more that you can assign keys to. Enable the Scrolling Timeline, and gaze in wonder as it scrolls as you play. Then enable the virtual Touch Bar, and wonder at how you can see its awesome mini timeline even while you’re in full screen mode. (Hold Option to drag it around your screen, by the way.) Even better, you can display the mini timeline from the Touch Bar directly in the Viewer, all the time (choose Show Timeline in Player).
Finally, if you can, send Chris a donation through his blog page. Command Post is free, but it’s worth much more than that. Chris, we salute you. Again!
Iain Anderson is an Apple Certified Trainer, videographer, editor, animator, writer, designer and occasional coder based in Brisbane, Australia. http://www.trainingbrisbane.com and @funwithstuff on Twitter.
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