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Up Your FCPX Game With These Five Top Paid Plugins

Joe Frederick

Get more from your FCPX editing experience with these investment-worthy plugins.

Certain investments — a better monitor, a bigger external hard drive, a faster machine — can instantly make positive changes to your editing workflow. Investing in the right plugins can have the same effect by essentially expanding your editing capabilities in ways that seriously wow clients.

If, like me, your love for Final Cut Pro X makes it your go-to NLE,  extra plugins are pretty much vital. Unfortunately, FCPX just doesn’t integrate that fluidly with motion graphics and VFX software, certainly not as well as Premiere Pro does with After Effects.

Fortunately, you can overcome this reality if you’re willing to spend a few bucks on plugins. Here’s a look at five FCPX plugins that I’m glad I invested in.

1. ERA 4 Bundle Standard

This is a fantastic collection of audio cleaning plugins made by Accusonus. The website promises “great results with minimal effort.” I can testify that this is true. This was a game-changing investment.

For just $149, you’ll receive a Noise Remover (my personal favorite), Reverb Remover, Voice Leveler, De-esser, Plosive Remover, and a De-clipper. Even if you’re fairly new to editing, these plugins are so accessible. Simply purchase, install, load up FCPX, drag the plugin of your choice onto your audio, and listen to the magic.

I recently found the Noise Remover to be a lifesaver as I was editing interviews captured on a busy street in London. With only the lightest fine tuning, the results were transformative.

2. Neat Video

As much as I love the ERA 4 Bundle, if you’re only going to invest in one FCPX plugin, I think you should make it Neat Video. It’s the ultimate digital noise destroyer. There’s really nothing I can add here — If you have noisy footage, Neat Video will make that noise go away every time.

One thing to be aware of — it’s probably going to slow down your computer drastically once applied. To get around this, I suggest not adding it until just before you hit export.  Something else you can do is to add the effect to an adjustment layer above each clip, then disable the lot of them while continuing to work. Just before hitting export, you can re-enable those layers. Once you’ve hit export, go make yourself a drink while you wait because it slows down your export times immensely!

However, the end result is more than worth it. Here are some examples of Neat Video in action. These shots were taken from a festival I edited a promo for.

Our clients were amazed at the fantastic footage we managed to capture, considering it was so dark. Neat Video did a fair bit of the work for us there. Try pausing on different frames to see what a difference it makes.

3. Skin Smoother 2

If you’ve ever wondered why actors’ faces usually look so good in films, you might be shocked to realize how much of this “smoothness” is added in the color grading suite. Skin Smoother 2 will help you take your color grading skills to the next level without leaving FCPX.

Usually effects like this are associated with grading-specific software like DaVinci Resolve or Baselight. However, this fantastic plugin gives you the capability to eradicate blemishes, again, without leaving your trusty FPCX. Obviously, like with so many of these effects, you need to be subtle with your application. Otherwise, the faces will begin to look like they’ve been animated!

4. EasyTracker by CrumplePop

Despite not being able to use the After Effects Motion Tracker as directly as you can in Adobe Premiere, using the EasyTracker plugin for FCPX definitely helps you do something similar.

It enables you to create titles, animations, and graphics that move with an object in your shot. Not having to leave FCPX to create these sorts of effects is a huge timesaver, which is why the EasyTracker is a must-have.

5. Data Pop

With plugins, sometimes it’s not about investing money. Sometimes it’s about investing time. And since new editors often have more time than money, free plugins are an awesome resource.

Data Pop is a fantastic free plugin that enables you to create visually-pleasing graph animations without leaving FCPX. You’ll get access to four different types of graphs when you install it: Pie, Ring, Bar Horizontal, and Bar Vertical. Watch the video above for more information.

Hopefully, you’ll be tempted to invest in one (or several) of the plugins showcased today. I know from experience that they can massively increase the value you bring to the table as an editor. You won’t just work faster and smarter — your work will get better. Your clients will be utterly mystified, and then they’ll come back for more.

You like plugins? Then you’ll like these blog posts. Dive in and discover your new favorite plugin for FCPX, After Effects, and more:

Cover image via fcpeffects.com.