Using Final Cut Pro and After Effects Together

Final Cut Pro is an excellent program for editing films; however, if you want to add cool 3D or special effects, you will need a program like Adobe After Effects. Once you have finished editing sequences, altering timing and making other edits with Final Cut Pro, you can export the finished project file into Adobe After Effects, so that you can add some razzle dazzle to your video. However, exporting the project into After Effects (along with all of the edits) can be difficult - if you don't know how. So, this simple to follow guide will show you everything you need to know.

What You Will Need

  • A computer with Final Cut Pro and Adobe After Effects installed
  • A video file to export from Final Cut Pro in Adobe After Effects
  • FCP2AE from Popcorn Island (or another plug-in of a similar type)

Step 1: Download FCP2AE from Popcorn Island

First, you will need to visit the Popcorn Island website and download the FCP2AE plug-in for After Effects. There are other plug-ins that you can use to transfer all the settings for a Final Cut Pro project into After Effects; however, FCP2AE is an excellent plug-in - that is free to use. Some other plug-ins offer a better looking interface, but they are also very expensive. FCP2AE does the job very well and doesn't cost a thing.

Step 2: Install FCP2AE into After Effects Scripts Folder

Once you download the plug-in, make sure that it gets installed in the folder you use for your other Adobe After Effects plug-ins. If you are unsure about the plug-in folder location, go to the preferences settings in After Effects and check the location there.

Step 3: Copy Video File to a Work Folder

Create a work folder and then copy the Final Cut Pro video file that you want to export to After Effects into it.

Step 4: Open Video Project in Final Cut Pro

Open the copy of the video job file (not the original) in Final Cut Pro.

Step 5: Export Video Data in Final Cut Pro as an XML File

In Final Cut Pro, click on the clip you wish to and then export the data for the video to an XML file. You choose to export to XML under the 'Export' Menu link.

Step 6: Exit Final Cut Pro

Close the Final Cut Pro program.

Step 7: Open Adobe After Effects

Launch Adobe After Effects on your computer.

Step 8: Load the FPC2AE Script

Click on 'File | Scripts | PI_FCP2AE_CS4.jsxbin. This will launch the FCP2AE script so that you can import the video file into Adobe After Effects.

Step 9: Open XML File

Once you initiate the FCP2AE script, you will be shown a dialogue box that will allow you to browse for the XML file containing the data for the Final Cut Pro file you want to import into After Effects. Browse to the work folder you created earlier and double click on the XML file you created. This will import the movie file into After Effects along with all edits and changes made in Final Cut Pro.

Step 10: Edit Video File in Adobe After Effects

Use Adobe After Effects to make changes to video with special effects or make other 3D type edits to the video.

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