Photo montage in FCP w/ pan and zoom

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by Pat H, Jan 14, 2008.

  1. Pat H macrumors member

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    Jan 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #1
    Hey all. I've been editing on windows (specifically Vegas) for several years, and I've recently decided to switch to Final Cut Studio 2 after exploring the site and demo videos. I just got my new mac pro, but now I'm having trouble pulling the trigger on final cut because I've been hearing that panning and zooming photos in FC is somewhat tedious. In Vegas it was an extremely simple process, requiring about 1 min or less per photo to set keyframes and animate since it was done much like cropping in photoshop would be done. But since I regularly do photo montages for clients (200 photos or more) and use subtle pan and zoom (ken burns effect) on almost every photo, an increase in the time taken to do the animation in Final Cut could severely delay my workflow. And since a demo for FCP is not available (still baffles me), I have no way to find out.

    I was wondering how long this usually takes per photo and whether there is a way to automate the process through plugins or program settings. Someone warned me 200 photos could take days and frankly that may put a stop to my purchase if it's true. I want to use FCP because of the workflow and features, but unfortnately it's looking like it may be boot-camp+vegas for me. :(
     
  2. mikeyPotg macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    #2
    hey, my family has me constantly doing photo montages with music and video and all and lately I've been going the easy route...

    dump them all in iPhoto, put them in order, and have iPhoto make the slideshow. afterwards I review it to make sure nobody's heads were cropped off during the pans and such, adjust accordingly, then export as a movie.
    Afterwards I edit in either FCP or iMovie with the music and any text/video that I want to add, and thats all! Quite simple, really.

    Before doing this, I used FCP for photo/video montages and it was fine for me. It allowed me to be more creative with showing several pictures at once and choosing when and where certain pictures will move to, but really, if time is more important than certain movements/effects, the above process is the way to go, IMO.
     
  3. huntercr macrumors 65816

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    Jun 6, 2006
    #3
    The only downside to iPhoto's current capabilities is that it will only export to 640x480 MPEG4. This is fine unless you're wanting to incorporate this into an HD sequence.

    Check out FotoMagico. There's a downloadable trial version that is admittedly has a hard to understand installer. ( Just keep clicking on "install" and "finish", don't click on the "buy this now" links )
    It performs wonderfully and will let you export to any quicktime codec, even the Apple Intermediate codec. ( or for the original poster's purpose, you might find it useful that it will export directly to iDVD for burning as well.
     
  4. Pat H thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 14, 2008
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    New Jersey, USA
    #4
    Thanks for the replies. iphoto would be a good solution if it weren't for the 640x480 max resolution. I'll give FotoMagico a try though and see how it goes. I just wish there was a way to do this as easily in FCP as it was in Vegas. But I guess with all the gains in functionality there has to be a few losses as well.
     
  5. willlow macrumors newbie

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    Oct 31, 2005
    #5
  6. huntercr macrumors 65816

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    Jun 6, 2006
    #6
    Forgot to give you the URL for FotoMagico,

    also check out the plugin Willow suggested, as it is integrated with Final Cut and can take advantage of all final cut features more easily.
     
  7. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    Jan 12, 2006
    Location:
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    #7
    I don't know how you'd do in VEGAS (never used it), but for reference, here are the steps it would take you in FCP (doing it "by hand"). Maybe that will give you an idea of how the two compare in this regard:
    • Drag the image to the timeline, then double click it to open it in Final Cut's 'Viewer' window.
    • Click the "Motion" tab in the Viewer window. This gives you access to a ton of parameters for the clip, including pan and zoom.
    • Move the playhead to the first frame of the picture (or whereever you want to start the animation). It takes one click to create a keyframe for zoom, a second click to create a keyframe for pan.
    • Now adjust your pan and zoom for the beginning of the animation. You can type in exact values into the Viewer window (Motion tab), or drag handles around the screen to do it graphically.
    • Repeat the last two steps for the endpoint of the animation.
    • You are done!
    One more note, if you want to apply the same animation to multiple pictures, you can copy&paste motion parameters from one clip to others.

    - Martin
     
  8. pprior macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #8
    I am also a former Vegas/PC user and do frequent still photo / Ken Burns type presentions.

    Using FCE is PAINFUL compared to vegas. I mean REALLY painful.

    However, iphoto is way too limited.

    I demoed many programs like photomagico on the Mac and ended up buying
    "Photo To Movie" but it is also limited in several things like you can't do more than one photo at at time.

    I frequently did things like 3-4 pics on the screen at a time, each panning, using vegas. There is no easy way that I've found to do this using FCE. I did find some plugins but they were only compatible with the new FCE4 plugfx technology.

    Basically what I've been doing is using photo to movie and then importing back into FCE to do music and titling (much better than the standalone app) but I've been very disappointed at what the mac scene has in this area -it's definitely a weak point given the frequent emphasis on creative use of apple products.
     
  9. pprior macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2007
    #9
    One big limitation with this is if you have file sizes that are different, it messes up the motion presets bigtime.

    I get submitted photos from many different people for my slideshows, and unless I downconvert the bigger ones to equal the smaller sizes, then if you try to copy motion settings it doesn't work at all.

    If you're using all your own pictures that are all the exact same size (in pixels) then that wouldn't be a problem, though the cut and paste of properties is not nearly as smooth as it should be (there is no way to do it with keyboard shortcuts, it takes several mouse clicks, especially if you've modified other properties).

    Another big problem - there is no easy way (that I've discovered) to quickly change the duration of multiple still clips. You can set the import duration default, but once they're in the timeline (especially if you have multiple tracks) there is no easy way to change them.


    Again, all my comments are with regards to FCE, not FCP as I haven't had the money to try it yet and quite frankly given my experience with FCE and no way to "trial" FCP i wouldn't waste my money.
     
  10. Pat H thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 14, 2008
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    New Jersey, USA
    #10
    Thanks again for all the replies. So I guess the consensus is that there is no easy way to do it. If only I could take that feature from Vegas and give it to FCP I would be set. I've also looked into the Premiere Pro bundle (w/ photoshop and after effects) and Premiere Pro has the same weakness that Final Cut does. I really wouldn't stress over this if it were just a few pictures, but doing 200+ photos using this method would probably give me a nervous breakdown :D. I'm definitely going to look into foto magico and imageflow.

    And pprior, being a former vegas user yourself, how would you rate FCP in relation to vegas (excluding ken burns of course)? Just wondering if it's really worth it to bite the bullet and buy the suite or whether I maybe should just stick with Vegas using boot camp.
     
  11. pprior macrumors 65816

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    Aug 1, 2007
    #11
    Well, keep in mind that most of my video projects are compilations of video and also still photos that I do for my church, so I'm not doing much high tech stuff.

    Having said that, I have found Vegas both more powerful and easier to use. I don't use FCE frequently (maybe a project every month or two) so maybe I'm just not using it enough, but the interface has many quirks and certainly is not as easy to do things quickly as Vegas was.

    It does have some very nice things, like easy lower thirds and the titling is much better than vegas was. I think I was using Vegas 5 however and they had gone to 6 but I never upgraded as I wasn't shooting HD so I'm comparing older Vegas versions.

    I'm not by any means an expert videographer, but I'd consider myself an advance amateur.

    Let me stress again that if you just want pan and zoom within a single photo that fotomagico or Photo To Movie both do a great job. It's if you want to have multiple photos moving around the screen at the same time that they fall flat. FCE can do it, but it's a lot of work.
     
  12. theWholeTruth macrumors member

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    Sep 27, 2006
    #12
    FCP is fine.

    Couple of things:

    1) Unless all of your photos have the exact same composition and subject matter, there is no magic button in either program that will automatically animate them to your liking.

    2) So, with that said, you will have to animate one by one. If it's a simple zoom in or zoom out, or a pan, or whatever, it would take well under a minute for each photo. Keyframe your first frame with whatever properties you want to animate, then move playhead to the last frame and resize and drag to your new position in the Canvas monitor. Done.

    3) You can also set duration length for importing, but I don't see why you would want every photo to be the same length. To me, it depends on what the photo is showing and the type of move.

    FCP is more than capable of doing what you want quickly and efficiently. If it's good enough for the pros, then it's definitely good for you. IMO, Vegas doesn't compare when you look at what you get cumulatively from each non-linear editing program.
     
  13. AviationFan macrumors 6502a

    AviationFan

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    #13
    That's what I've been thinking about, too. For my education, can one of the VEGAS experts please outline what the exact steps are that you would go through with VEGAS, so I can get an idea of the difference? Right now, I can't imagine how you might get around defining start/stop center and start/stop scale for each picture.

    Thanks,
    Martin
     
  14. Pat H thread starter macrumors member

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    Jan 14, 2008
    Location:
    New Jersey, USA
    #14
    Well after thinking for a while I've actually decided to go with the mac version of Adobe Production Suite Premium. I would have gone with FCS but it was $699 even with an edu discount, and I would have had to add the cost of photoshop onto that for my imaging work (And being in college at the moment, that's a crap load of cash to be spending on top of a new Mac Pro). With Adobe's suite I get everything for a flat $579.

    Plus, after looking at the demo, Premiere's interface looks almost identical to FCP's, so I'm basically working with a similar tool which helps with skills in both apps. Unfortunaely though, being similar means that Premiere's pan zoom tool is the same as FCP's :rolleyes: Oh well.

    Thanks again for the help everyone.



    The only reason Vegas is more simple to use in this respect is because the start/stop points are done graphically, relying less on values and the need to look at the preview window. When you decide to do a pan and zoom, you simply bring up the crop tool for the picture/clip and drag a box over what part of the image you want to appear first, and then a second box over what you want the end result to be. The keyframes are then set and the animation is created. In programs like FCP and Premier Pro, you have to use the preview monitor to set the zoom and crop by dragging the image around.

    I know I probably confused you, but the main difference is that Vegas relies on a separate pop-up window to do motion effects , while other software typically relies on using the preview monitor to see the result of the adjustments you're making (thus taking more time).
     
  15. theWholeTruth macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2006
    #15
    Good luck with Premier Pro. Not a fan, but can understand the need for a cheaper solution.

    Like the method Vegas uses, but I think just drawing a square around an area is not the same, in terms of judging composition, as scaling your photo in the actual frame it is showing in. Also, you don't need to use the Preview monitor for viewing. I use the Preview to see my keyframes, and the Canvas monitor to scale, crop, reposition the clip. By the way, you can also control the rate of pan/zooms in FCP, probably Premier too. Don't know about Vegas.

    As far as time, sounds like you'll save maybe 5 seconds with your method. Too bad there isn't a tool that lets you resize and reposition at the same time. Maybe when editing becomes more like a touchpad.
     
  16. Wingnut330 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 16, 2008
    Location:
    Central Ohio - USA
    #16
    I too have been struggling with this same dilema. I used ProShow Gold in the Wondows world and loved it. I'm not a sophisticated used, but for some reason I'm not able to find what I'm looking for. I'm disappointed because as someone else pointed out, I thought this was the kind of stuf Mac's were known for.

    I would like an easy to use program that has the following...

    1. Filmstrip view of images AND videos AND music. This allows my to more easily pick which image or video is playing at a certain point of my slideshow without playing it over and over and over and over while moving my picures around. Very annoying.

    2. I would like to be able to create and burn the DVD in one program instead of jumping from program to program.

    3. A preivew window in the same editing screen. This allows you to preview shows without surrenduring your entire machine. You can preview slide by slide, rather than the entire show at once.

    There is more but breakfast is ready. These are the big 3 for me...
     

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