I’ve done this list before, but it’s time for an update. On it’s own, FCP X is a really powerful NLE. But, if you use it “professionally” (whatever that means) there are a number of things you’ll need to add.
Need to send out EDL’s/AAF’s for finishing? Need to do rotoscoping, tracking, or work with 3D objects without switching apps? Have really crappy audio that needs fixing? Had a hard drive die? Need to change the source TC of a master file? Need to see source TC in the timeline? Need to send a project to, or import from another NLE?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then here’s what you need. Some things are free, some are cheap, and some are… not. I use, or have used all of this stuff, and it’s awesome. I’ve grouped them as “Free”, “Inexpensive”, “Essential”, and “Extravagant”.
You won’t need all of this, especially the “Extravagant” stuff. However, if you dowloaded or purchased everything other than the extravagances it’ll cost about $1200. Add in the $300 for FCP X and, for $1500, you have an NLE that can do almost anything without leaving the timeline. You’d likely need 2 or 3 other apps – apps that are expensive and/or require a subscription – to do what some of these products enable.
But you don’t need to spend that much money. Mix and match. FCP X is a platform. Buy the inexpensive base app, and you can extend it to do what you want (or need), for not a lot of money. And with much of this stuff, you pay for it once and it’s yours forever, updates and and all.
This isn’t a comprehensive list, and In general I’m not listing Effects Plugins here. Google will find you a myriad of more specialized add-ons. I’m just listing what I feel is essential stuff to enhance your workflow and add functionality. No pretty pictures, just information. Hope it’s useful.
Alex 4D Widescreen Matte. Matte your footage to every aspect ratio under the sun.
Coremelt Source Timecode. Part of the Coremelt free bundle with lots of other cool stuff.
Role-O-Matic. Batch assign Roles to multichannel audio files
Digital Rebellion Preference Manager. Backup and restore preferences. Works with most other NLE’s as well
Spherico myFiles. See where every file and all effects used in a project are located on your drive(s). Great when you need to share projects and want to make sure the recipient has everything they need.
Digital Rebellion FCS Remover. Great if you need to troubleshoot/reinstall.
Slice-X Free. NEW, mocha planar tracking in the NLE. Limited to oval and rectangle shapes. Full version below adds way more flexibility
Resolve 12. Besides being the standard for Color Correction and having a decent NLE as well, It’s kind of a Swiss Army Knife for FCP X. Translate FCP X projects to Media Composer. Not flawlessly, but it works. 🙂
FxFactory. In addition to the many paid plugins, there are tons of great workflow freebies. I recommend disabling all the demos as soon as you install it though, it’s a little intrusive. Also I highly recommend anything in here from Hawaiki. Not free, but awesome.
INEXPENSIVE ESSENTIALS ($50 or less)
Compressor ($49.99) & Motion ($49.99) If you don’t own these, get them now. WTF is wrong with you?! lol
X-Wiper. ($4.99) Easily slim down Libraries. Deletes render files and other crap with one click. Run it before you archive Libraries to save drive space.
Backups for Final Cut Pro. ($17.99) You need this. If you don’t run some sort of backup app, you are a fool. Easy to use incremental backups, works great.
Pro Versioner ($49) Another backup app. I run this as well, can’t be too careful! This one works with most other major NLE’s
7toX ($9.99), and XtoCC ($49.99) Get your stuff to and from other NLE’s. You will need these sometime, just get ‘em. 🙂 IA has a lot of other great tools for production workflows as well.
Marker. ($19.99) Easily keep track of Media Files used in FCP X in the Finder.
Final Cut Library Manager. ($22) While I prefer the simplicity of X-Wiper for Library cleaning, FCLM is a really great app for keeping track of stuff across drives, creating Library templates, and other useful tasks. A bargain.
ESSENTIAL PRO APPS ($150 or less.)
Sound Soap. ($149) Audio noise removal at a very nice price. Standalone and plugin versions. Great results.
mObject Pro Bundle. ($149). A true 3D environment, text and objects, right inside FCP X. Works with Motion too.
EDL-X. ($99.99) Sadly, you still need this. Happily, it’s a great tool! It generates really good EDL’s right from FCP X. Better and more detailed than the built in stuff other NLE’s spit out.
SliceX/Track X bundle. ($149) Planar tracking in FCP X. Amazing. There are lots of other Coremelt bundles available here, but you need this one.
X2Pro. ($150) Create AAF audio packages to import into DAW’s for mixing. Great app, don’t bother with the cheaper LE version. Preps your project for mixing better than anything else using Roles. 2 clicks, done. all split out with tracks named. If you get asked for OMF, which is a dead format unless you use Fairlight without the AAF add on, use this. Any modern system will open it just fine.
Color Finale. ($99) Powerful supplement to FCP X’ built in tools. Wheels, Curves, LUT’s and more. Great stuff.
ClipXporter. ($109+ in app purchase for xtra functions) Export clips and projects for Ae, Nuke, or just trimmed media. Great app. Great integration with Frame.io as well.
Producers Best Friend. ($99) Create detailed spreadsheets listing pretty much everything in a project. No more reporting hell, just a couple clicks and you’re done.
Digital Rebellion Pro Maintenance ($129) and Pro Media ($99) Tools. dozens of media and system repair and analysis tools. Well worth the money. If you can only get 1, get the Media Tools. Both packages work with all major NLE’s
EXTRAVAGENT PRO APPS (Pricey, but awesome.)
Izotope RX5. ($349+ depending on version) Gold standard of audio repair/analysis. Works in most NLE’s and DAW’s as well
Boris SoundBite. ($295) Find words in source files by analyzing waveforms. kind of indispensable, for me anyway.
Stereo3d Toolkit. ($1499) Edit Stereo 3d material in FCP X There’s a $99 LE version as well
There ya go. Start downloading! 🙂
You forgot Davinci Resolve.
lol… good point, I’ll add it. 🙂
Oh yea, Fusion 8 for special effects
Can’t really call that “essential” Plus it’s still in beta… I gotta draw the line somewhere. 😉
Great list. Thanks. I’ll link to it in my Video Whisperer Blog.
Thanks, hope it’s helpful. 🙂
How do you disable FX Factory demos?! Thanks for this list – it’s fantastic!
Go to Preferences->Products and click the “Disable Trials” button. 🙂
You forgot to mention qualified editors and assistants that know FCPX.
lol, yeah, very true. I’ve been trying to spread the word for quite some time. It’s really stupid that more people don’t jump in. It’s a chicken egg thing I think. Good editors don’t want to learn it cuz they think there’s no work, and producers/companies who’d like to use it think there no talent pool of good editors. In a way they’re both right. There needs to be critical mass on one side or the other. Or a “big” company has to start using X to validate it. Apparently feature films, documentaries, and in house studio marketing depts aren’t “big” enough. Dummies. 😉
Although it’s really a plugin for After Effects, Automatic Duck XImportAE would be a nice addition to this wonderful list. Thanks for sharing, Charlie!
And Automatic Duck Media Copy. 🙂 http://www.redgiant.com/automatic-duck/
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Does anybody uses Primaries Exporter and Coremelt’s Source Time Code? Is roundtripping to resolve for dailies with burn-in still the best method, with ProResHQ files from BMPCC?
Do you know of any good workflows for FCPX to Izotope RX5 other than using the AU plugins directly in FCPX?
That’s how I use it. Though I guess you could export a file to the desktop app, then re-import…