The very flexible realtime video and graphics compositing tool Conduit has an exciting new lease of life. It is now called PixelConduit, it works in FCPX and it is now free.

If we were not writing this story this morning, we would be trying to build new sets of plugins for FCPX with PixelConduit!

The majority of plugins that are now released for Final Cut Pro X are written in Motion. In fact they shouldn't really be called plugins, they should be called Motion effects. There is a limitation to what you can build within Motion and very complex effects tend to slow everything down

The free app PixelConduit allows users to build effects and publish them as plugins. If the idea and the GUI look familiar, the application was just called Conduit before and although had a few devoted followers (Some on our Forum) it lacked any real traction in the plugin market.

It seems that the version 3 app has had a rebirth and distributing it for free will guarantee an uptake especially if third parties start building and distributing their own custom effects.

What makes the app interesting to us is the use of a node based model which will be familiar to anybody who has used Shake or Quartz Composer. There are over 80 different image processing 'nodes' which are connected together with 'noodles.' You can connect colour correction nodes, keyers, blurs or any node and wrap it all up into a plugin that can be loaded into FCPX and other platforms such as Photoshop and even Aperture.

pixelconduit 2


So what could you do with the application? As you can see from the diagram above, there is a curves node which means in a couple of minutes you could have your own custom effect for handling DSLR files that have been shot with a flat picture style. A good point to note here is support for Cineon/DPX and OpenEXR, although if you want to use the effect in FCPX you will have to use the media available in events.

Building complex effects that can't be built in Motion (as it lacks expressions) is possible in PixelConduit as it supports JavaScript. Ever wanted to use a Kinect with FCPX? PixelConduit has a patch for that! 

PixelConduit is very, very flexible and we suggest you take a read of the 145 page Version 3 User Guide for more information. 

If that wasn't enough to write off an afternoon of experimenting, Lacquer, the company behind PixelConduit has also released PixelConduit Complete. This is a $119 add-on pack that brings batch actions, capture tools, live tools and most interestingly, stereo 3D tools. It looks like a very inexpensive way to get good 3D results.

We will be watching the development of PixelConduit with a keen interest.

conduit3d FCP Example