Using Keynote for Animated Sequences in Final Cut Pro

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the May, 2008, issue of
Larry’s Final Cut Pro Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]


I recently started doing a weekly video podcast for GIMP-TV on digital production.

To keep this simple, I thought, I decided to shoot this using a Panasonic HVX-200 camera using the DVCPRO HD 720p video format (720p/60 to be specific). This gave me an image size of 1280 x 720 x 72.

The chroma-key work proved to be trickier than I expected – in fact, I’m currently working on some training outlining different ways to do chroma-keying, what to avoid, and what the results look like.

But, I digress….

Because each of these podcasts is designed to be a short, information-rich, segment targeted to viewers who are just getting into the industry, I wanted to add some animated text graphics. But, because I had very little time for editing, I needed a system that would be FAST.

Motion had more power than I needed and took too long to setup. LiveType worked fine, but I needed to create a file for each info-graphic. Then, I remembered Keynote.

Depending upon your needs, Keynote can create simple text animations VERY quickly and easily integrate them into Final Cut. Each episode runs either three or six minutes and contains up to a dozen graphics.

Keynote Image

For instance, here is an animated graphic loaded into Final Cut from Keynote. Notice the different font sizes, colors and placement – none of which can be done natively in FCP. Instead, this video was created in Keynote and imported into FCP. Here’s how.

Keynote Image

I created a new sequence in Keynote. (I’m using Version 4, but earlier versions will work as well.) Before creating any slides, I went to the Inspector and clicked on the first (General) tab and changed the slide size to 1280 x 720.

Keynote Image

Then, I imported the background graphic into the master slide and formatted all the text. Working on the master slide meant I only needed to do this design work one. Otherwise, each slide would need to be individually formatted — which would take too long.

Keynote Image

As part of the master slide formatting, I added animation to all the bullets. This is done, like most things in Keynote, in the Inspector. This time, I clicked the third tab and adjusted the settings until I had my text moving the way I wanted. Here, I’m animating the text by bullet, with each letter animating individually within the bullet.

Keynote Image

When all the graphics were done, I selected File > Export and clicked the Quicktime tab in the top left corner. As I needed this to be sized for HD, not for the computer, I selected the Custom setting.

Keynote Image

In the Custom QuickTime Settings windows, I set the image size to 1280 x 720, then clicked the Settings button to configure the video codec.

Keynote Image

In this case, I wanted good image quality with a small file size, so I selected Photo-JPEG. You can see the settings I used in this screen shot.

When Keynote exports, it exports everything into a single QuickTime movie. However, and this is the trick, it only exports the animation – it doesn’t hold on any slides.

Keynote Image

So, after I imported the QuickTime file into Final Cut, I needed to create still frames when ever I wanted the animation to pause. In the final version, I had a quick clip of animation as the text flies on the screen, then a still while I talk about it, then more animation for the next point and so on.

I found this to be a very fast way to create a large number of animated text graphics. Using still frames to separate the animation is a fast way to time the graphics to the audio track.

Consider using this technique yourself when time is short and you need things to move quickly.


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5 Responses to Using Keynote for Animated Sequences in Final Cut Pro

  1. Amy says:

    I found this article really helpful, thanks so much. It saved me a big headache of having to figure out Motion in a tight time frame.

    One question though – when I exported my keynote presentation to final cut pro x, the colour got really faded. Any idea what this could be or how to fix it? I tried to match colour but it didn’t work out at all.

  2. […] For more details on using Apple Keynote in this way, check out this Larry Jordan tutorial. […]

  3. Jeff Krieger says:

    Larry, I have been reading your blog since converting from 7>X. It’s been like learning another language, this X. I found this article super helpful as I have a lot of PPT-like graphics to create. Creating still shots of where it needs to hold…genius. Thx for saving me tons of work.

  4. […] После того, как мы перекинули все клипы, мы использовали инструмент Inspector в Keynote, чтобы создать эффект появляющихся друг за другом видео. Потом мы экспортировали файл в видеоформате.Те, кто хочет узнать больше об использовании Keynote для работы с видео, могут почитать вот эту статью. […]

  5. […] detalles sobre cómo usar Keynote de Apple los encuentras en el manual de Larry […]

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