FCP X seems to be slow when I use plugins. Why?
Final Cut Pro X does not have a plugin interface on it's own. It is not able to address FxPlug plugins directly. Currently the only way to get any plugins to work with FCP X is to wrap them into a Motion Template file and publish their parameters. FCP X looks out for these templates and offers the Motion Template project file as an effect with the published parameters to the user.
This whole procedure takes time, because FCP X needs to render a frame from a Motion (template) project file in order to get the desired effect, instead of just addressing a plugin directly without the big overhead.
Motion however is able to handle FxPlug plugins directly. You can see that plugins in Motion are running much faster.
The second reason for the slow-down is the 64-bit architecture. Everything now needs twice as much memory and twice as much bandwidth compared to the 32-bit architecture of FCP 7.
The internal plugins of FCP X are not going through the Motion-Template-process. FCP X's internal plugins are directly addressed and are therefore much faster.
I agree that a simple blur effect should run in real time without a problem. In fact it runs in real time in Motion. Even our (internally) very complicated particle emitter "Particles Heaven FX" runs in real time within Motion while it easily calculates thousands of particles. FCP X however needs the additional processing time for the Motion Template files.
How do I unlock CHV's FxPlug plugins?
All of our FxPlug plugins in the Downloads section are fully functional and show a watermark when they are in the demo mode. You can purchase a Serial Number from our website which will remove the watermark. After your purchase you need to send us the MAC address of your computer. Therefore you need to run the "Registration Tool", which is included in all of our FxPlug plugin installer packages. The tool opens a window and shows you the MAC address. Send this number to us via email and we will send you your personal Serial Number.
When you use one of the plugins with Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express or Motion, then you will see at the top of the parameter list of each plugin a "Click to enter Serial Number" button. Click this button to enter (copy and paste) the purchased Serial Number. The watermark will then immediately disappear.
What is FxPlug and Fx-Script?
FxPlug and Fx-Script are two plugin interface technologies of Apple's video editing software Final Cut Pro and Motion. A plugin is a program that enhances the abilities of a host application. Therefore each plugin must use a given interface of the host application. Final Cut Pro and Motion are equipped with two plugin interfaces:
For Fx-Script plugins it does not matter if you use Final Cut Pro 5.1 on a brand new Mac Pro with an Intel processor, or if you use Final Cut Pro 2 on an older PowerPC Mac. Fx-Script plugins are working with all versions of Final Cut Pro (2-7) on all Mac computers where you can install Final Cut Pro. This is because of the fact that Fx-Script plugins are using directly the internal functions of Final Cut Pro. A Fx-Script plugin is actually a script that is executed by Final Cut Pro itself. The advantage of this method is that Fx-Script plugins are always completely independent from the hardware of the computer, graphics card and processor, simply because Final Cut Pro is responsible for the execution of all functions.
The FxPlug plugin interface is the newest plugin technology from Apple and was first introduced with Motion 2. It was later added to Final Cut Pro 5.1.2 and to Final Cut Express 4. All FxPlug plugins from CHV are developed in "Objective C" (or "C++") and therefore are fully capable of taking direct advantage of all functions of a Mac computer. Without any restrictions from the host applications, FxPlug plugins have full access to all functions of OSX, can take full advantage of the installed graphics card and are completely free in their process to create even the most advanced video effects.
How Do I install FxPlug plugins?
- At first you have to download the FxPlug plugin package from our Download page. Go to the Download page and click onto the disk image icon of the package you like to download to your hard drive.
- Double click the file you have downloaded. This opens the disk image and a folder will appear.
- Now you can see the installer package. Double click it to launch the installer.
- Follow the instructions of the installer.
The installed plugins can be found in this folder: Macintosh HD / Library / Plug-Ins / FxPlug
Why won't the plugins show up in Motion or Final Cut Pro even though they are installed correctly?
FxPlug plugins are only working with Final Cut Pro 5.1.2, 5.1.3, 5.1.4, Final Cut Pro 6 and 7, Final Cut Express 4 and Motion 2, 3, 4 and 5. If you have an older version of Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express or Motion, then you won't be able to use any FxPlug plugins.
Another common "problem" is that some plugins are "Video Generators". Video Generators are not accessible by Final Cut Pro in the pull down menu. This is why a user can get confused and does not find the newly installed plugins. The free FxPlug plugin "Towers of Film 3D FX" is such a plugin that is not visible in the "Video Filters" bin, but in the "Video Generators" bin. Video Generators can be accessed in the Effects tab in the Browser window.
How Do I install Fx-Script plugins?
CHV delivers all Fx-Script plugins inside a disk image file. When you order a plugin collection, you will receive the plugins attached to an email. Simply copy the attached file to your desktop and double click it. When the disk image opens you will see on the left hand side a folder that contains the ordered plugins and to the right you see an alias to the plugins folder of Final Cut Pro. Now you only have to drag and drop the CHV-plugins folder onto that alias to copy it to your hard drive.
If you like you can also copy the plugins manually to your hard drive. Therefore you have to open Final Cut Pro's plugins folder at first, which can be found here:
Macintosh HD / Library / Application Support / Final Cut Pro System Support / Plugins
Final Cut Express users need to install Fx-Script plugins into this folder:
Macintosh HD / Library / Application Support / Final Cut Express Support / Plugins
Now copy the plugins from the disk image file to this folder and restart Final Cut Pro or Final Cut Express.
An overview of Apple's plugin architectures
FxPlug is the newest and most verdsatile plugin architecture from Apple. High render speeds, perfect system compatibility and a lot of additional functions make this plugin interface the best choice for the future. The FxPlug interface is implemented in Motion 2, 3 and 4 and Final Cut Pro 5.1.2, 5.1.3, 5.1.4, 6 and 7. CHV's FxPlug plugins are also Universal Binaries, which makes them run native on both Intel-based and PPC-based Apple Macintosh computers.
Fx-Script is the plugin interface that works with all versions of Final Cut Pro (2-7) and Final Cut Express. Even though the new plugin interface FxPlug has been added to Final Cut Studio, Fx-Script continues to shine. Fx-Script plugins are also fully compatible with Intel-based and PPC-based Apple Macintosh computers.
Final Cut Pro also provides us with the ability to use some After Effects plugins. Unfortunately only older AE-plugins are supported and they only render in 8-bit RGB.