Foxvideo Productions

Media Production

January 2013

Stills in FCP? - Easy peasy!

SlickFX-Logo (1)
There are some Mac system tools and Final Cut Pro tools that I just can't work without, Carbon Copy Cloner or more lately, Super Duper (free), Lyric Media's Shadow-Highlight filter (free) and until recently, Boinx FotoMagico for producing clips for FCP from stills.

Stills in FCP can be manipulated using the Motion tab and keyframes but this can be a long slow job if you have a series of stills to work on, FotoMagico allowed "Ken Burns" type movements on stills with a twin window giving a before and after view, then just export as a .mov and drop into FCP - simples.

Boinx also produced a FCP plugin which simplified the editing process, this plugin has now been dropped and all support for it stopped, 8 months after I bought it!

A current long term project I'm working on has many old photos scanned to jpegs, using these in Final Cut Pro without the use of FotoMagico would be slow progress so I was browsing around looking for alternatives and came across SlickFX PhotoMotion ($99), it looked interesting so I downloaded the demo. This works as a Generator within Final Cut Pro 6 or 7, select it from the Generators menu, drop it on the timeline, double click to edit and then select Configure.

The interface is self explanatory, I loaded a folder with some images, selected an image and then using the twin view window applied some sizing and movement, a preview button lets you see the effect, there's some presets for ease in/out to give a polished look to the move. One feature I really appreciate is to be able to set a "hold" on the start or end frame as a percentage of the duration of the clip, I've lost count of the amount of times I've had to add a freeze frame to a still to allow for a transition!

Screen Shot 2013-01-17 at 16.28.51

PhotoMotion comes with PhotoMotion Producer included, this lets you import a folder of images and automatically apply moves and transitions to a selection of images with very little effort, the result is a new FCP sequence you can just drop in to an existing sequence.

PhotoMotion is "smart", it automatically sizes for aspect ratio, and the timeline resolution, keyframes are automatically adjusted if you shorten or lengthen the clip. As you're working from within Final Cut there's no need for an export then import, the effect just needs rendering on the timeline to complete - this plug seemed to tick all the boxes for me.

Then I started getting crashes, not good. After a few emails back and forth to SlickFx Support I think I found the problem, their support was quick and helpful, I found it was probably a conflict with another plugin I had installed, disabling that plugin and PhotoMotion worked fine with no crashes, it's something that's not been reported before so it's probably unique to my setup!

I can't believe I'd not come across PhotoMotion, I've been using FCP since early 2001 and never heard of it before, but for those hundreds of thousands of FCP 6 & 7 users still out there, if you need to work with stills, this is one plugin/generator that really does have to be in your toolbox.

Postscript.
I found an out of date plugin host, not part of PhotoMotion, that was causing my problems, I've updated it and PhotoMotion is now working perfectly with no crashes.

A good start to the year...

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Do we become less tolerant as we get older? I'm beginning to think I must be. So far this year I've had a row with a software company who bombarded me with emails to upgrade some software I'd had from them and then 8 months after I did, they pulled the program and stopped development, a row with a used equipment web marketing company who use a slightly different approach to eBay, it seemed a great idea until I tried to buy something through them, over a week on and we're still no closer to buying than I was in the beginning, and a mobile phone company who wouldn't match the same deal to me as an existing customer to that of a rival company using the same service provider, so I then changed the service they had been supplying me to an alternative and they lost the order, only solved when I phoned to complain I'd not received the new SIM card.... and we're only 8 days into 2013!

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