FCP 7: Working with Motion Templates

Posted on by Larry

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

This technique was sparked by an email from Craig Olmstead, who wrote:

Is there was to do the sliding fx in Motion or in FCP and save the sliding fx, so that every time I’m wanting to do the same sliding fx in FCP I just load the clip in and apply the fx I created.

The answer is yes — provided you have Final Cut Studio 2.

One of the new features in FCS 2 is the ability to create Motion templates, then reuse them in Final Cut. The thing I like best about this is that, as my design skills lean toward the weaker side, I can hire a graphics designer to create the template, then reuse it over and over without having to go back into Motion.

Even better, Apple provides a whole flock (which is a technical term) of templates that are ready to use inside Final Cut Pro. Here’s how.

1. If you want the template to open in the Viewer, select the Viewer. If you want the template to be edited into the Timeline, select the Timeline. I prefer opening the template in the Viewer first, so I start by selecting the Viewer.


2. Go to Sequence > Add Master Template



3. Scroll down the template collections on the left side until you find one you like. Then, in the middle pane, Final Cut will display all the variations of that template that are available. In this case, I selected the Slider collection.




4. Click the specific version of the template you want to use. In this case, I clicked Slider-Open.NTSC. As soon as you click it, a small animated preview is displayed in the top right corner.


5. Click Open in the lower right corner to open the template into the Viewer.


6. Depending upon which template you select, the Viewer will either display a picture, a gray screen, or black. Don’t panic. Edit the Viewer clip into the Timeline where you want the template to appear.


7. Put your playhead in the middle of the template, then, double-click the template in the Timeline to load it back into the Viewer. This allows you to customize the template – and see the results immediately in the Viewer.


8. Click the Controls tab in the Viewer.




9. A drop zone is where you can customize the template by adding a video clip. This clip needs to be a self-contained QuickTime movie. It can’t be a Livetype or Motion template. In this example, I’m dragging a clip from the Browser into the little graphic well to add it to the template.


10. The text boxes correspond to the various text elements that are part of the animation. The text you type here shows up in the final animated template. You can change the point size and spacing between letters, but you can’t change the animation.


Add text to each box until your template is complete.




11. Preview the results by either rendering or typing Option+P (which plays an unrendered clip as fast as it can without first rendering it).




12. One of the reasons I like loading templates into the Viewer before adding them to the Timeline is that FCP makes it easy for me to change templates – while retaining as much of the customized text or images as possible.


For example, select the Viewer, then choose Sequence > Add Master Template and pick a different template. Click Open to load it into the Viewer.


13. Drag the template from the Viewer to the Timeline then HOLD it over the timeline template. Wait.




14. After a few seconds, a pop-up menu appears asking whether you want to replace just this one template with your new choice, replace all the same templates in the entire sequence, or replace all templates in all sequences in the entire project.

This is a VERY fast way to make a whole lot of changes in a hurry.

Using Motion templates in Final Cut is a great way to create something once, then reuse it over and over again.


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