Dallas AE User Group: March Meeting

Last night was the March AE user group meeting. Trent asked me to make a presentation about the free ways I’ve found to move between FCP and AE. I learned some new things preparing for last night so I thought I’d post my notes here.

1. FCPtoAE (creative-workflow-hacks.com)
This was the first tool I found. The webpage is a little confusing. The script is a work in progress and has evolved from a standalone application. You can download it and then install it into your scripts folder (on mac: applications/After Effects CS3/ Scripts sorry PC users you’ll have to Google your own answer). The script started out as an expiring file that you would have to go back to creative-workflow-hacks.com each month and download the newest version. From my understanding it is now free from expiring.

Now that the script in installed lets move to your FCP project. With FCP selected you Export an XML file (It’s under your export options). This produces a file with metadata about your media that this script can read.

In AE we need to make a couple of preference changes. In the general tab make sure “Allow Scripts to Write Files and Access Network” is checked and “Enable Javascript Debugger” is unchecked. Now select the script (File/Scripts/db_FCPtoAE.jsxbin). The ExtendSkript Toolkit2 will open with a blank window. Don’t worry it’s supposed to do this. If the script ran into problems debugging info will be here.

Here’s what I’ve found this script will do:
-Translate edits from FCP to AE with handles on your footage
-Translate basic motion changes (Scale, Rotation, Position, Anchor Point)
-Translate cross dissolves

Some limitations of things not translated:
-Time remapping
-Nested Sequences
-Multicam clips
-Only Audio originally captured with the clip is translated (easy fix is to export an AIFF file from FCP)
-Content created in FCP (titles, slugs, etc..) not translated
-Transitions besides cross disolve
-There maybe more but I haven’t tried it or found it online

While researching for last night’s meeting I came across another solution…

2. Final Cut to After Effects (popcornisland.com). This script is only CS3 as far as I can tell. The script runs similar to the first one I listed but adds these features:

-Basic Editing Translation
-Segmented Clips
-Basic Keyframes
-Time Remapping
-Nested Sequences
-Multiple Frame Rates and Aspect Ratios
-Audio Channels
-Name Length Error Checking
-Support for PAL25 and 60

While these scripts pale to what Automatic Duck can do. For a simple job it should work for you. I can see these scripts being great time savers for editing your green screen footage the use this script to get your edited footage to AE to key.

Here’s the last way that I talked about.

3. Magnum the Edit Detector. This script auto detects scene changes from a video layer in AE. The script gives you a sensitivity fader then it goes to work. It will either split your layer up or leave markers. If you don’t like it’s results you just undo, adjust the sensitivity fader and try again. Depending on the format and speed of your computer it may or may not be quick. But if you don’t have a FCP file to work from this script can save you some work.

Well there it is. The brief rundown of my presentation last night. I’ve enjoyed my experience with the Dallas AE user group. It’s great to get around others who are using the same tools and see what they are doing and how they are using the tools. We will meet again the 4th Thursday of April.


March 28, 2008. Video.


  1. Champions Video « creative|ideas replied:

    […] found my free ways to get from FCP to AE were not translating my timeline accurately. The shoot was a wide shot and a medium shot. We synced […]

  2. Automatic Duck: FCP to AE the easy way. « creative|ideas replied:

    […] As I’ve written before I’ve found some free ways to get my projects from FCP to AE for free. While they work for very basic shots that are just cuts, that’s all they do. I’ve also […]

  3. Creative Church Media » Blog Archive » Champions Video replied:

    […] found my free ways to get from FCP to AE were not translating my timeline accurately. The shoot was a wide shot and a medium shot. We synced […]

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