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October 30, 2011
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Product ReviewsVideo Editing

Automatic Duck Plug-ins are now Free!

Convert between your Final Cut Pro, Avid, After Effects, Quantel and Pro Tools sequences for free using Automatic Duck!

Automatic Duck, the Seattle-based conversion software distributor (known for their plug-ins that translate edited sequences between Final Cut Pro, Avid, After Effects, Quantel, Pro Tools), has recently revamped its cost structure for plug-in delivery.  Now, their Pro Import AEPro Import FCP, and Pro Export FCP (FCP7 and FCPX) plugins are available at no charge.

This is really big news for editors.  This conversion solution, which previously ran at around $500 per plug-in, will now be available for absolutely free, enabling you to transfer sequences from one software to another—a necessity in today’s industry.

Why this change?

You’ll notice that Adobe Premiere Pro is currently not among the list of software products included in the conversions.  Well—that’s about to change.

Last month, Adobe hired on the father-son Automatic Duck team (Harry Plate and Wes Plate) to bring the same conversion tools to Premiere Pro. Wes Plate joined the Adobe Product Marketing team while Harry Plate will be working with the technology integration.

Could this be part of Adobe’s master plan to steal away more disgruntled Final Cut Pro users?  Seems likely.

What does this mean?

Because of the Plates’ relocation to Adobe, they decided to offer their Automatic Duck products free of charge, since they would no longer be able to offer the same quality of customer support.

“Because we are so busy with these new projects we cannot provide the same level of support for our plug-ins that we used to, therefore we can’t in good conscience charge money for them. But we don’t want our popular tools to go unused if they are still useful to people. Therefore we have decided to make them available at no charge. Enjoy!”

-Wes and Harry Plate

So, this seems to be the underlying word of caution to accompany this incredible deal.  Although these powerful plug-ins are now freely available, you will have to troubleshoot your own conversion problems (and for complex projects, you can certainly run into your fair share of problems). The Plates have posted a few common issues on their Support FAQ page, which is currently a rather bare-bones links page.  You can also check out some detailed step-by-step tutorials on the Automatic Duck site, which are available via each plug-in product download page.

And, no doubt, the Plates are counting on the bulk of the technical support slack to be picked up by the plethora of additional users benefiting by the acquisition of the free Automatic Duck plug-ins.  Indeed, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a steep increase in troubleshooting articles, blogs, videos and tutorials trying to tackle those conversion issues.

What plug-ins are offered in this new deal?

Here are some descriptions of what the various Automatic Duck plug-ins do, according to their website:

Pro Import AE 5.0

Allows you to import your Avid or Final Cut Pro 7 timeline into Adobe After Effects.

“Translating a sequence from an Avid® or Final Cut Pro 7 editing system, or a project from Apple’s Motion takes just seconds, importing all your media and clips in one step. Effects are translated and recreated for you and your timeline becomes a composition in After Effects.”

download version 5.10 (Mac for CS3 thru CS5.5)

download version 5.10 (Win 32-bit for CS3 or CS4)

download version 5.10 (Win 64-bit for CS5 or CS5.5)

Pro Export FCP 4.0

Allows you to export AAF files for export to Avid or Quantel editing sytems as well as Pro Tools digital audio workstations from FCP 7.

“With Pro Export FCP 4.0 you can export Avid MXF media that connects to your exported AAF file, write media that is external to the OMF or AAF file avoiding file size limits as well as translate many effects from Final Cut Pro 7 to your Avid or Quantel Generation Q system.”

download version 5.10

Pro Export FCP 5.0

Allows you to export AAF/OMF files for Pro Tools from Final Cut Pro X.

“With Pro Export FCP 4.0 you can export Avid MXF media that connects to your exported AAF file, write media that is external to the OMF or AAF file avoiding file size limits as well as translate many effects from Final Cut Pro 7 to your Avid or Quantel Generation Q system.”

download version 4.10

Pro Import FCP 2.0

Allows you to import OMF or AAF compositions from Avid editing systems, Toon Boom’s StoryBoard Pro or Pro Tools into Final Cut Pro 7.

“Using Pro Import FCP 2.0 for Final Cut Pro 7 you can import OMF 2.0 and AAF files from Avid editing systems, OMF 2.0 and AAF files from Digital Audio Workstations like Pro Tools, AAF Edit Protocol files, AAF files exported from Toon Boom’s Storyboard Pro, even XML files created by Panasonic’s HPM200!”

download version 2.10

What do you think?

Have you used Automatic Duck plug-ins before?  If so, did you have to use technical support during the conversion process?  How do you think this new model will work?  We’d love to hear from you in the Comments!

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