- Who This is For
- ReTimer for Final Cut Pro
- ReTimer as an Automation Platform
- Notes and Limitations
- Download the program
- Additional Resources
Computers` strongest advantage is their ability to execute custom code, allowing to automate repetitive tasks. Ironically, this is the one functionality that has been missing from all major editing systems. Avid, Final Cut, and Premiere - none of those programs have scripting or macro capabilities to this day.
Who This is For
About a year ago I was onlining a feature documentary which contained a wide variety of footage. Sources included film, 3/4", digitized archives, and contemporary HD footage in 60p, 30i, 24p, and 25p. The film was offlined in SD 30i, but after weighing the sources and the distribution options it was decided to master in 60p. However, FCP had no ability to modify the time base of an existing sequence. Multiple attempts to "copy and paste" the sequence resulted in completely mangled cuts. Existing tools, from Automatic Duck to Avid Media Composer, could not perform a workable conversion. I ended up developing new code myself to address this major hole in FCP's functionality.
ReTimer for Final Cut Pro
Functionality included with this release:
- Convert timebases between 24, 25, 30, and 60fps and their fractional counterparts.
- Batch search and replace clips by name (both file name and clip name).
- Selective resizing: find all images of a certain type (JPG or TIF), and if they are smaller than a certain size, scale them to fit the canvas` width.
ReTimer as an Automation Platform
The functionality of ReTimer is fairly specific by design. If you need generic functionality, chances are that your NLE already has it. The greater potential of this code is to serve as a platform to create your own code and achieve whatever tasks would help you in your work. Some examples include:
- The documentary included footage in NTSC that was a bad transfer from PAL (broken cadence). It was used frequently throughout the film. The production obtained a proper PAL copy for the online, however its metadata was mismatched in almost every way. I wrote an extension for ReTimer that found every affected clip, replaced it with the PAL version, compensated for the timecode differences, and set the scaling and aspect ratio to just the right values.
- Batch-processing titles can be particularly tedious. You could write a function to correct a spelling error in 30 out of 500 subtitles, or apply some other change to a subset of text generators that's not readily isolated in the sequence.
- Simple mathematical manipulations need to be done manually in the NLE, but are easy to perform in a script. For example, "double the scaling of every green clip" or "fit to width".
The more tedious or repetitive your work, the more you would benefit from scripting and automation.
There are other tools in the market that manipulate XML, but by and large they are commercial products and their source code is not available. They excel at doing the purpose for which they were created, but cannot be customized for automating production and facility-specific tasks.
Packaging the program in an HTML page was a side-effect of the writing process, but proved an interesting test case. All the program's elements - code, UI, and resources - are embedded in one HTML file. Even the logo is encoded using base64.
Notes and Limitations:
- This is an initial release, and the program is offered on a free, as-is basis with no guarantees whatsoever. If you need help post a comment and I'll try to assist, but I welcome you to tinker with the source code to make it fit your specific needs.
Download the Program
To download ReTimer, right-click here and choose "Save As."
If you're interested in using XML to automate tasks in Final Cut Pro X, or adapt ReTimer for FCPX, see this introduction by Jonathan Tyrrell:
XML Tools AppleScript Scripting Addition by Late Night Software.
FCP7 XML Interchange Format