May 4, 2021
In an interview with FILM COMMENT, American film editor Thelma Schoonmaker shared her perspective on the post-production process:
“There's a great deal of mystery in film editing, and that's because you're not supposed to see a lot of it. You're supposed to feel that a film has pace and rhythm and drama, but you're not necessarily supposed to be worried about how that was accomplished.”
If you were only part of a film’s audience — and completely removed from the production process — you might nod in agreement and leave it at that.
But if you, as a fellow video editor, were on the other end of this conversation with Schoonmaker, you’d lean in and want to know everything she was willing to tell you about the how of it all.
Because, as you know firsthand, so much relies on video editors in post-production.
After weeks of strategic planning and filming, you have a mass of audio and video material to sort through, cut, edit, and finalize.
It’s intimidating and time consuming. And it can make you question your own judgement on which clip stays and which one goes.
This guide outlines 7 Final Cut Pro (FCP) plugins that can help you expand your video editing capabilities.
For our Premiere Pro folks, we’ve highlighted which plugins are compatible with Adobe systems, so there’s some value here for you too.
In no particular order, here are our top picks for FCP plugins:
Whether you’re producing YouTube videos, films, or corporate advertisements, the Motionvfx mTracker 3D plugin allows for blockbuster-worthy automated 3D tracking.
If you want to add new elements to your footage — such as text, graphics, or animation — you can do this seamlessly by choosing from a variety of tracking presets.
This plugin is compatible with Apple Motion and Final Cut Pro.
The Motionvfx plugin mTitle Cinematic 2 gives you access to 50 pre-animated opening titles and closing credit templates — all of which are fully customizable.
Once you choose a template and position it on the timeline, you’re able to make quick adjustments to the text’s content, appearance, and animation via on-screen controls.
This plugin is only compatible with Final Cut Pro.
The last Motionvfx FCP plugin featured in our list is the mFlare 2.
During production, you want to have as much control over the lighting as possible.
Because natural flares are almost impossible to control when shooting in real-time, video editors use plugins like the mFlare 2 to create this effect during post-production.
With this plugin, you can play around with 100 presets and customize the effects as much or as little as you want.
The mFlare 2 is compatible with Apple Motion and Final Cut Pro.
The 3D Perspective Plugin 2 is one of the most affordable and beginner-friendly options in our list.
If this is your first foray into 3D animation, the 3D Perspective Plugin 2 might be a good tool for you to invest in — especially since it doesn’t have a steep learning curve and is easy to use in post-production.
This plugin is compatible with Final Cut Pro.
If you’re looking for an easier way to grade your images, the Cinema Grade plugin offers various capabilities and presets in the Basic, Pro, and Filmmaker tiers.
An interesting feature that’s available with any of these packages is “False Colors.” With this tool, you can see the varying luma values in your footage. So if a shot is overexposed, this area will be red. If it’s too dark, it will be purple.
Each package also offers more than 60 color presets and the ability to preview your LUTs.
Another perk of this plugin is that it is compatible with Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro, and DaVinci Resolve on the Mac.
If you’re working as part of a video editing team or with clients, Frame.io is a plugin that helps you facilitate seamless collaborations, feedback, and approvals.
The tool is cloud-based, which means that you can share media assets with your team and any changes will be saved and secured in the cloud.
Because it was built for existing non linear editing (NLE) systems, Frame.io is compatible with Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, and DaVinci Resolve — as well as our stock media library at Soundstripe.
(That way, you can streamline the song search process and integrate the right music into your project without constantly jumping from one tab to another.)
While plugins like the Cinema Grade and mTracker 3D enhance the visual quality of video projects, iZotope’s RX 8 plugin is designed to improve audio.
Instead of re-shooting the footage or re-recording the audio, you can use features like the D-hum, Voice De-noise, and De-reverb to work with the material you have until it sounds exactly how you want.
This plugin is compatible with Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, and several other systems.
In your day-to-day work, some processes just make sense — from the camera gear you choose for production to the plugins you use in post-production.
If you’re editing on Final Cut Pro, the plugins that you use will likely be different than the ones that someone with Premiere Pro uses.
While some plugins will be compatible with multiple editing softwares — as was the case with Frame.io and Cinema Grade — this isn’t always the case.
Instead of switching to a different editing software — and familiarizing yourself with a whole new system — you search for the best plugins for the program you currently have.
It all comes down to finding the resources that help you do what you do, only better.