We have covered many plugins for visual content, but not many for audio, so good to see that SmartSound has just released a Sonicfire Pro Plugin for FCPX. Is this the way to choose and licence music for your productions?
We were quite excited when we saw this news flash up on Facebook pages that we subscribe to. Having a built-in commercial music library available with a few clicks sounds like a great idea. (sorry!) It's a bit more complicated than that however.
SmartSound has released a $49.95 FCPX plugin that acts as a generator place holder within a project that's the link to the Sonicfire Pro app. The idea is that you can browse music, select the genre and length and then the selected track will be placed back into the timeline with a Replace or Add to Audition command.
The plus side? It's a quick way to find music without having to go online to different music publisher's websites. You can change the length of the track, the mood, the tempo and the musical arrangement with a couple of clicks. This could be really useful for event videographers who will want to vary background music according to what is happening onscreen. Or, make the music follow the pictures instead of cutting the pictures to the music.
The downside? First of all, why do we have to purchase the plugin? For the plugin to work, you have to already have purchased the Sonicfire Pro application which retails at $99. SmartSound would get more customers if they based the plugin and application on the Freemium model. Get people to install the product and then tempt them into buying the music by download or removing an audible watermark.
Secondly, promoting a product is fine, but we are in a very visual industry, people want to watch a demo of the app in action, not just read about it! You need to have a clear marketing message as even we are confused about the way Sonicfire works. Does it come with free tracks? Can you download more free music? How much is extra music? Do you have to be connected to the internet at all times?
A lot of questions to be answered before we would get our credit cards out, but maybe the plugin is aimed at existing Sonicfire Pro users who will find the plugin cuts out a lot of steps when choosing music. Good or bad, it's always good to see the FCPX ecosystem growing.
If you've been using Sonicfire Pro with or without the plugin, we would love to hear from you in the comments below.
We found a few videos from Larry Jordan that demo Sonicfire Pro 5, they use FCP7, but they give you an idea of what the application can do.