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FCPX & Motion 5- Alpha Channel Not Working

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Paul Parish
FCPX & Motion 5- Alpha Channel Not Working
on Mar 30, 2013 at 2:02:37 am

I recently purchased a piece of stock video, supposedly with a black alpha channel. After downloading I opened the clip in FCPX to edit, then saved as ProRes 4444 and imported into Motion 5. I added the needed effects, saved the file and reimported into FCPX. Alas, no alpha channel, only a black box around the video. So, I imported the native stock video directly into Motion 5 with the same result, no transparency. Regardless of which program I use I cannot get the alpha channel to work. I'm no pro but I have had a good bit of experience with green screen keying, and a bit of work with alpha channels. FCPX and Motion 5 almost always recognize the transparent layers without much effort. I contacted the stock video site regarding the video and they assured me that the video does include an alpha channel. I've spent several hours trying to get this to work and am on a deadline to get this video edited. Most of the tutorials I've seen online deal with FCP 7 in regard to alpha channels or mainly deal with exporting to ProRes 4444. Does anyone have an idea how to make this work in FCPX and/or Motion 5? See the following link to the source file: https://www.dropbox.com/s/xfsez6s29hu6a35/shutterstock_v2756600.mov

Can anyone get this to work?


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Bret Williams
Re: FCPX & Motion 5- Alpha Channel Not Working
on Mar 30, 2013 at 4:28:19 am

There is absolutely no alpha channel. It's a photo jpeg codec. Not even possible. It has an included matte. The black and white version after the color version is the matte channel.

Place the black and white layer above the color layer. Choose stencil luma as the blend mode in the inspector.


Highlight them both and make a compound clip.



Now, under the compound you can put your background, etc. The compound clip is essentially an alpha matte clip now. Here's I've added the drop shadow effect with some perspective to the compound clip.


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Bret Williams
Re: FCPX & Motion 5- Alpha Channel Not Working
on Mar 30, 2013 at 4:30:50 am

And you might not want to make shutterstock media available for download on an extremely well traveled public site. I think that would be a breach of contract but I'm no lawyer.


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Paul Parish
Re: FCPX & Motion 5- Alpha Channel Not Working
on Mar 30, 2013 at 11:26:05 am

Wow. That's exactly what I needed. Thank you. Quite honestly, I don't fully understand why that worked, but I'm grateful it did. And yes, I didn't even think about copyright issues until after I posted. I was a bit tunnel-focused on completing the task. I think you're right, I probably shouldn't have posted. Is there any way to take it down? Thanks again for your help.


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Bret Williams
Re: FCPX & Motion 5- Alpha Channel Not Working
on Mar 30, 2013 at 10:12:46 pm

Take it off your Dropbox account.


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Bret Williams
Re: FCPX & Motion 5- Alpha Channel Not Working
on Mar 30, 2013 at 10:20:40 pm

A luma matte is a greyscale image representing transparency. Silhouette luma is a mode that says cut through and only show what is beneath the white areas, and don't show what's under the dark area. Greys would be partially transparent. In legacy you'd put the matte above (or maybe below) and use luma matte mode, which would do the same thing, but only applies to the one layer. Silhouette cuts through all layers beneath, that's why you have to compound clip it to put a background underneath.


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Paul Parish
Re: FCPX & Motion 5- Alpha Channel Not Working
on Mar 30, 2013 at 11:16:43 pm

Thank you for the help. I really appreciate it.


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