It's certainly new plugin Monday here on FCP.co and we have to thank Andy Mees for releasing three free plugins to download. They all work on FCP7 & FCPX, Motion, Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects.
Free is always good, but even better when the free product on offer is actually useful. Longtime FCP guru and contributor to our Forum Andy Mees has very kindly published three free plugins for editors. We chatted with Andy about how the plugins came to be released, but let's detail each one first.
Andy’s Elastic Aspect
A free plugin to dynamically stretch the aspect of mismatched footage to fit a standard 16:9 frame. There's a demo to show you exactly how to reformat 4:3 footage without having to enlarge the whole frame. This is a great plugin that many other plugin writers would charge for.
Andy’s Region Tool
An essential tool to apply effects only to the part of the image that needs it.
Andy’s Safe Guides
Display a variety of safe area overlays. All three are compatible with Final Cut Pro 7 & X, Motion, After Effects and Premiere Pro.
Three great free plugins, but how did they come to being released? We asked Andy...
As readers might know, I was a relatively active FxScript plugin writer for for FCP (Legacy) since around 2005. I regularly threw together small, simple plugins designed to help either myself or a colleague to achieve (or just make easier) a specific task. And once built, I was always very happy to make them freely available to anyone and everyone who wanted them.
Following the launch of FCP X, I was quite surprised by the number of users who contacted me to ask if I might consider remaking my old plugins for FCP X, or in some cases, for Adobe Premiere. One of those latter cases was a contact at GoPro, who explained that they were regular users of my Elastic Aspect plugin, and that they were looking to transition to a Mac based Premiere Pro post workflow ... but felt they couldn't easily do that due to a lack of an alternative non-linear stretching plugin available for that platform.
Well, I love GoPro cameras, and I wanted to help, so I had a quick look at the Adobe Premiere and After Effects SDKs (software development kits) and built a few test plugins (and they worked) ... but the Adobe plugin development environment, I discovered, is clearly intended for "real" programmers with plenty of time and energy to delve deeply into their code. For a part-timer like me (even though I played the part of a "real" programmer in an earlier life) the sacrifice required to master it just wasn't worthwhile ... I like spending my evening and weekends with my family!
Then, towards the end of last year, Noise Industries announced version 4.0 of their excellent FxFactory application, bringing qualified host support for Adobe Premiere Pro ... and it just so happened that I'd been sitting on a copy of FxFactory Pro for some time. Long overdue, I cracked it open to have a look ... and what an amazing tool it is! I'd investigated Quartz Composer only a very little in the past, not a lot but at least I wasn't coming at it as a complete novice, and yet despite that inexperience, just few evenings of tinkering later I had an early re-version of my Elastic Aspect plugin working inside Adobe Premiere. With some help from the awesome support at Noise Industries I sent that off to the guys at GoPro ... and with a bit of feedback from them over the following weeks, and a bit of tweaking in my spare time, I ended up with this new Elastic Aspect plugin.
Fast forward to the end of last month ... I contacted GoPro again to let them know I was going to put it out as a public release, did some last minute polishing (had to write some kind of manual) ... and here we are. Happy campers.
Future development? Well ... as soon as Elastic Aspect was packed up and ready to go, and buoyed by the overall experience and the ease of development in FxFactory, I thought I should probably have a look at some of the other more popular old plugins that I'd put together in the past ... and so new versions of my Region Tool and Safe Guide plugins made it out just in time to join Elastic Aspect. There's a fair list of other plugins that I may or may not port, I've got a couple on the go at the moment, one is done, the other nearly there (but still need to make icons, write guides etc for both). On that point, I really want to make sure any re-creations of my earlier free plugs will stay free, but I'm certainly not ruling out the possibility of launching new commercial products in the future. We'll see how it goes.
We thank Andy for the information and of course the great plugins!