Final Cut Pro: How To Use Mattes

Mattes are filters in Final Cut Pro which help make areas in a video clip transparent, in order to make visible the video image on the track below. There are different types of Mattes which help in shaping the area of the video that has to become transparent, along with the area which will remain opaque. Here are few basic steps which will show how to use Mattes.

Step 1: Load Clip on the Timeline and Open the Matte Bin

Initialize Final Cut Pro and drag your video clip on to the Timeline. In the Effects Browser, select Video Filters and click on Matte. This will open the Matte Bin which has different types of Mattes.

Step 2: Making a Matte Selection

In the Matte bin, there are various filters out of which the Eight-Point and Four-Point Garbage Matte are the main Matte filters. The others are Mattes too, but they are mainly used for enhancing the original filters. The number of points in the matte is indicative of the crops points which can be manipulated to get the desired shape. For this example, we will use the Four-Point Garbage Matte and this can be dragged onto the Timeline from the bin. Now double click on the Matte to make it load into the Viewer.

Step 3: Viewing the Matte

In the Four-Point Garbage Matte Controls box, you will find the View Mode which gives you three options for viewing the Matte. Choosing "Preview", you will see the four crop points clearly marked and the matte area is transparent revealing the video image of the track underneath. "Wireframe" shows the four crop points connected with a white line and only the image on the track underneath is revealed. "Final" does not show any of the crop points and is the image you will be finally seeing when the Matte is applied.

Step 4: Positioning the Crop Points

The crop points on the matte can be moved to get the desired shape of the area of transparency. The Controls box has "+" button to adjust the numeric value of each Point. Click on the particular Crop Point you want to move, and then in the Canvas, click in the place you want the Point to be. Alternatively, you could click on a "+" button and then drag the corresponding Crop Point on the Canvas slowly to the required position. This process will take time as the software processes this quite slowly.

Step 5: Using Other Controls

There are three slider controls in the Controls box which will enable you to adjust certain aspects of the Matte. The "Choke" slider lets you change the size of the area you have created by the Crop Points. Sliding it to the right will enlarge the area correspondingly while movement to the left will result in a reduction. The "Smooth" slider is used to round off the corner Crop Points. The slider for "Feather Edges" gives you control over the border of the Matte area. You can create a fading effect on the edges, with this control. If you need to interchange the areas which are opaque and transparent, then select the "Invert" option.