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Importing into FCP with transparent background

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DC Filmworks
Importing into FCP with transparent background
on Sep 14, 2006 at 7:52:46 pm

I have just been hired in at Wayne-Westland Schools as their Video Editor/Graphics Technician. I have had some past experience with Motion but am really trying to get a grasp on it. I like the templates they have, especially the lower thirds. I was just wondering if there were a way to import the Lower thirds into FCP and maintain transparency. Almost like in Live Type where I can just simply import and lay the lower thirds over video. I would like to use Motions lower thirds and transitions without importing a huge video clip into motion then back to FCP. It would seem easier to just have a transparent background. Any info would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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Martin Baker
Re: Importing into FCP with transparent background
on Sep 15, 2006 at 8:02:02 am

In Motion's built-in templates, just delete the layer called "Background- Replace Here".

To check, you can choose View > Channels > Alpha and you should be seeing black outside the motion objects.

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Re: Importing into FCP with transparent background
on Sep 15, 2006 at 8:10:40 pm

Once you save the file, you can grab the little motion file icon on the top of the project hold command (apple key) and tab over to FCP and Drop the file where you need it.

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Zak Mussig
Re: Importing into FCP with transparent background
on Sep 26, 2006 at 8:06:00 pm

Mattyc has the right idea... just bring your Motion project into FCP, and drop it in your timeline. That will take care of you.

Since you mentioned that you're doing this in a school environment, let me offer another option. My first job after school was working with high schoolers teach video production and FCP editing. Most of the students were working on eMacs, and trying to bring Motion files directly into FCP as suggested took FOREVER to render. Now I'm a full-time editor, but I'm still scarred by the eMac experience. Here's what I do now...

Do your Motion project however you like (no template required). Export your project with the "Lossless+Alpha" setting, but change a few key settings. Click the options button. The Compressor should be Animation. Select the Output tab and uncheck the use current project and canvas settings box. Now you can uncheck the Premultiply alpha box. This will give you what is called a straight alpha channel, which incidentally is an option in the alpha channel column in FCP.

The alpha channel will be automatically recognized, but you'll need to render since you're presumably working in DV, and your graphic will be in the animation codec.

If you need to update your graphic just make your changes in Motion and re-export, replacing the old file. This isn't ideal if you're constantly making tons of changes, but is a workaround for long Motion render times in FCP.

Hope that helps,

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