Everybody loves plugins within Final Cut Pro, there are now hundreds to buy or download free in the FCP 'Ecosystem.' With the radically new FCPX less than a month away, what is going to happen to your favourite FXScript plugins?
You are probably more familiar with the names of commercially available FXScript plugins such as Nattress, CHV, Joe's Filters, Digital Heaven, CGM and more. So what the hell is FXScript anyway? It's a scripting language that allows you to describe simple or complex visual effects using FXBuilder within Final Cut Pro. Apple officially describes FXBuilder here:
"FXBuilder is a scripting utility in Final Cut Pro that gives you the ability to create, test, and modify custom video effects, such as filters, text generators, or transitions. You can build and connect effects, modify existing Final Cut Pro effects, and combine several effects into one FXBuilder script.""
We are sure most editors have never even seen the FXBuilder menu item let alone tried to build an FXScript plugin. One editor who did exactly that a few years ago though was Shane Ross and you can watch his tutorial on how to build a simple colour correction plugin from scratch. Pretty impressive.
So why all the fuss? FXScript is more than 10 years old and along with the existing Final Cut Pro is now showing its age. Over the last few years Apple have been very keen for plugin writers to move over to FXPlug, their newer image processing technology that uses the graphics card rather than the CPU. This means that FXPlug plugins can benefit from Apple technologies such as Core Image and will harness all the power your GPU can supply. FXScript plugins will not run in Motion.
So you can see why Apple might just take this opportunity to quietly leave out FXScript from FCPX when it gets released. You can be sure that the internal Apple effects plugins will be written in FXPlug, doing them in FXScript would be like filling a Formula 1 car up with two star! Would writing an emulator to wrap FXScript plugins up into a package FCPX could understand make economic sense? Probably not.
So why can't plugin writers convert their plugins to FXPlug themselves? Well FXScript and FXplug are completely different. FXScript is written within FCP and FXPlug plugins have to be built using Xcode, the app that's also used to build Mac applications. They are two very different ways of thinking.
We hope this isn't the end of the road for FXScript as this will mean the end of some of our favourite plugins that we have used over the years.
If you'd like to have a go at writing your own FXScript plugins, these links should help.
Using FXScript (Apple) Article removed
FXScript Basics Article removed