Friday, April 29, 2011

My Personal FCP Plug-In Favorites

I was talking on the phone with a colleague in Florida this morning and he said he would like to see a post about which plug-ins/resources I use on a daily basis. My workflow is certainly not the most organized and I do tend to get stuck in a rut many times, so I will not claim to have found the best tools out there, these are simply the ones I have and use often.

• Color corrector 3-way. This is not a plug-in, but is worth a mention since I use it all day long for quick color temp, brightness and contrast adjustment to clips.
Lyric Shadow-Highlight is a great quick fix for bringing out detail in shadows and fixing blown-out highlights.
• Transitions from Too Much Too Soon, Eureka, and Stibs (cannot find a working link currently) are great.
Digital Heaven has Grid and Guides plug-ins for centering and aligning elements and text onscreen.
Primatte Keyer is a simple but powerful way to pull keys since FCP is woefully lacking in this area.
• Face Light is included with FCP, but I did not really start using it until a couple of years ago. Now, I use it often to highlight one or more areas in a shot that need attention. It is a very handy tool to have on-hand. is an easy way to find the perfect cut of music. It has a strange way of interacting with Final Cut, but is called a plug-in. You can download "audition" versions of any cut of music and wait until the video is approved by the client before actually paying for it.
Magic Bullet Quick Looks is an easy way to give each project it's own feel. One click and your video is color graded.
• Final Cut Compressor/Limiter. Again, this is a part of Final Cut, but deserves a mention since it is a critical part of my workflow. Every project gets audio compression applied to the entire audio track before the final export.

You will notice that most of these are free plug-ins. There are some great packages of effects and transitions available out there for purchase, but I have managed to get by with the free ones for many years. The occasional addition of specialized effects from places like CrumplePop, Drop Zones, etc. have spiced up my projects from time to time, but the ones I have listed above are my go-to plugins for sure. We will see which of these are still supported once FCP X is released. Any great plug-ins that you use which I have overlooked?