Post Production

Useful Tools For Editors: Now Shipping Edition

There’s a few NAB 2016 products that are now out in the world as well a lot of other new and useful tools that have come along since the last Useful Tools for Editors.


The time around NAB, and actually at NAB, is when we see a lot of products announced and demoed. Sometimes those products even ship before  the next NAB (or IBC). We’ve got a few of those tools here in this latest installment of the long running and (hopefully) much beloved Useful Tools for Editors. And, here, we, go.

mocha Pro 5 and the NLE plug-ins

Imagineer Systems’ mocha Pro 5 is now out. While it includes a bunch bunch of major new features (including GPU acceleration) the best thing for editors are the new NLE plug-ins.

In the past getting mocha Pro data into an NLE has been a multi-step process. With the NLE plug-ins mocha Pro is an effect in Avid Media Composer, Adobe Premiere Pro CC and After Effects (they are currently evaluating FCPX support) that is applied like any other effect. You then launch the full mocha Pro 5 interface from the effect controls, do your tracking and roto work and when you close mocha Pro 5 that data is automatically brought back into the clip where you applied the plug-in.

There’s a number of controls back in the plug-in including feathering, the ability to selectively view the different tracks from mocha and other rendering options.

This will make doing advanced effects and roto in the NLE a lot easier … that is if you know mocha Pro 5. Another thing on the todo list!

Automatic Duck Xsend Motion

xsendmotioniconYes it’s hard to believe that Final Cut Pro X cannot send clips and sequences directly to Motion from within FCPX. Thankfully we now have Automatic Duck to help with their new Xsend Motion. This was announced at NAB it is now available from FxFactory.

I did some beta testing on this little app and it did a great job of getting single clips and sequences into Motion. It has to send a timeline and unlike the old Final Cut Pro classic you can’t replace with a Motion project but such is the limitations of where we are in the relationship between Final Cut Pro X and Motion. For $99 this app will save you a lot of time if you’re a big user of both FCPX and Motion. Note that Xsend Motion is available from FxFactory so you’ll need an updated FxFactory download to install and buy Xsend Motion. This is different from Automatic Duck’s Ximport AE (for moving FCPX to After Effects) as that is available from Red Giant. There’s a more in-depth video on Automatic Duck’s website. Third parties, building the tools that FCPX lacks!

AJA System Test Lite

We all know Blackmagic’s Disk Speed test and its speedometers as the disk speed test de rigueur but AJA has long had one as well. Recently they redesigned the tool and it’s a much better looking tool than it used to be. And it’s free.

There’s a number of customization options on the left. I’m liking this disk speed test better than the mainstay Blackmagic app.

Grab it for both Mac and Windows via AJA’s website or on the Mac App Store if that’s your thing.


cinextoolsiconOne of the more impressive tools from NAB 2016 was cineXinsert from Cinedeck and it is now available. We wrote about this in our NAB coverage but what cineXinsert does is it allows the insert editing of new media into a finished and mastered video file. Just imagine fixing a messed up piece of a QuickTime file without having to re-export the entire thing from your NLE. At $1,495 it’s not cheap but the time it might save (meaning you might make your airdate) could be priceless.

I’ve played with the current release and it is quite an intensive product. Those of us that are familiar with tape to tape editing will recognize a lot of the controls but those who have never experienced tape editing with transport controls, insert, previewing, might not recognize the genesis of cineXinsert.

The cineXinsert interface looks like both an NLE and a tape based editing interface at the same time.
The cineXinsert interface looks like both an NLE and a tape based editing interface at the same time.

Dig into the details page on the cineXtools website to learn a lot more about cineXinsert. It will also do a lot of things such as inserting captions, inserting audio, trimming and doing file rewraps. There are many features yet to come and development and updates should happen quite rapidly. I think Cinedeck deck wanted to get to market sooner rather than later. CineXinsert uses iLok for its license (many will not like that licensing choice) and you can request a free cineXinsert demo license. It feels like cineXinsert might be part of a larger family of cineXtools so it will be interesting to see where all this goes.

The iOS app

frameio-iphone introduced their iOS app a few weeks ago. It’s a very well designed that allows full viewing and commenting on video clips. It’s free for users and better than that you can have your clients and collaborators download the app so there are no excuses for them not to watch and comment on your video. I’ve already had clients who were away from their desktop do just that. And has just won a design award at the 2016 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference. That’s worth a congratulations.


vticon-360This is a fun little tool from the folks who brought us Final Cut library Manager. VideoTweet has a single purpose: it will compress, trim and send your video right up to Twitter. It takes care of all the formatting, size and length requirements and creates a tweet just for the video. It’s also available as a share option from the FCP X share menu. If you’re creating video for social media, or more specifically twitter. This will be the best a few bucks you’ve ever spent.

Quicktime 7 (Classic) support in the upcoming macOS Sierra?

There was a bit of panic after Apple released the beta of the upcoming macOS Sierra earlier this week. Seems it was questionable if the old Quicktime would be supported. Seems like it is in some form which is good news because if it didn’t then the old Final Cut Pro 7 Classic would probably be dead. A few tweets from the developer of some great post-production tools Digital Rebellion was tweeting about it. Maybe too early to really speculate but every time a new macOS is on the horizon we wonder if FCP7 is going to work on it.

This is still the best advice for FCP7:

HGT Software for FCPX

HGT Software has a couple of useful tools for Final Cut Pro X that might be of interest.

xwiper      X-Wiper is designed to “clean up Final Cut Pro X projects and events.” While a simple explanation it will dig into your Library and display a number of things that can be deleted. Read the description carefully as I don’t agree with the developer’s example that you should delete the ProRes transcodes from a project just because they can be recreated. If you’ve taken the time to transcode to high quality files then those are your masters so I would save those. I’d recommend this tool for the more advanced FCPX users but it could useful … and it’s free (Mac App Store link).

csv-motion-generatorHGT Software also makes a tool called Csv to Motn Generator. It’s “a batch program for Apple Motion. For generating a lot of motion files based on template. Perfect for bumpers to conference, supers(lower 3rd) to programs and others.” This could be a massive timesaver especially if you already have a spreadsheet with those lower thirds! It’s $5 (Mac App Store link).

Legal LUTs

If you’re creating video for broadcast in Avid Media Composer then Legal LUTs is a new option for creating broadcast safe video signals. I think this is a bit of a new idea using a LUTs (Look Up Tables) to create legal video instead of creating some kind of look, but it seems clever. At $79 it claims to provide a much better clipping of video signals that are illegal than Media Composer’s Safe Color Limiter.


The site that sells Legal LUTs is a bit sparse but there is an FAQ that answers a few more questions.

70 Free Sound Effects from Motion Array

motionarray-soundfxYou can never have enough whooshes and booms. Motion Array is yet another site selling After Effects templates, stock music, stock footage etc and they’ve offered up 70 free sound effects without so much as an email entry. There’s some nice stuff in there with a good selection of whooshes, booms, risers and general sound punctuation. They are 44.1 kHz instead of 48 but hey, they are free!

If fact Motion Array has quite a bit of free stuff. They’ve take a page from the SEO 101 / Premium Beat-blog page in that the Motion Array blog is full of posts that begin with a number but you can find some good stuff in there. I’m not sold on their business model as I don’t want to pay a monthly subscription for my AE templates but then again that’s not what I need on a regular basis. Their different subscription tiers might make sense for some. They do have some good looking templates though!

100 free music tracks


Speaking of free things how about 100 free music tracks? I got an email the other day from Arnav of 909 Music that they have offered up 100 Plus royalty-free music tracks for free. They’re using the freemium model as a way get the world familiar with their music service. I listened through some of them and they’re not bad. Since they’re free you’re welcome to use them if you want, or not use them at all.

Favorite tweets from the last few months that might be useful

I favorite tweets all the time to save for articles like this. Many of those tweets are about useful tools but sometimes they’re links to useful information or just good tips and tricks in the tweet itself. Here’s a bunch I’ve favorited over the last couple of months.


Finally, in Nashville or near? While this exactly for editors it’s the first workshop put on by our film guild:






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Scott Simmons was born in rural West Tennessee and didn't really realize that movies and tv had to be made by actual people until he went to college. After getting degrees in both Television Production…

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