ProPath Lesson

Camera Path Controller for FCPX

Learn how to create a camera path without ever setting a single keyframe in Final Cut Pro X. ProPath from Pixel Film Studios allows users to create camera movements with up to five points by simply using the on-screen controls in the FCPX Viewer Window.

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PROPATH Lesson FCPX Plugin - Welcome to a ProPath Lesson

Welcome to a ProPath Lesson

Welcome to a ProPath Lesson from Pixel Film Studios. ProPath allows Final Cut Pro X users to create a 3D camera path without ever setting a single keyframe.

Users simply have to set up the framing points using the on-screen controls and then watch as the camera pivots and winds its way from point to point. ProPath is a great way to make stagnant shots and images into a fun, engaging journey. 

PROPATH Lesson FCPX Plugin - Before


Before we begin, let’s go over the different types of ProPath presets.

The “Continuous” ProPath will follows the drawn path without stopping at any of the framing points.

The “Stop Points” presets add a slight pause at each point. You can adjust the length of these pauses.

Finally, the “Initiated” ProPaths will start zoomed into the first point instead of wide.

PROPATH Lesson FCPX Plugin - Step 1 - Preparing the Timeline

Step 1 - Preparing the Timeline

Let's begin by selecting an image or clip in the FCPX media library and dragging it to the timeline. For this example, we will use the image of a map.

ProPath is designed to work with 1920 by 1080 images.

If you are using a photograph that is not this size… don’t worry. You simply have to scale your image until it fits the canvas.

Then, you will need to compound the image so that it is inside a 1920 by 1080 clip. Select your photo in the timeline, then hold control and click on the clip. Now select New Compound Clip in the pop-up.

Once your image is setup, scan through the ProPath presets in the FCPX Effects Library. Click and drag one of the effect on top of your clip in the timeline.

For this example, we will use a 3 Point Continuous ProPath.

PROPATH Lesson FCPX Plugin - Step 2 - Setting up the Path

Step 2 - Setting up the Path

Now it’s time to set up the framing points.

Move the playhead to the first frame of the photograph. Then select the image layer in the timeline.

Go to the FCPX Inspector window. Make sure that the “edit mode” checkbox is checked on.

Now, use the on-screen controls to move the colored frames to where you want the camera to go. The colors indicate the order of the frames, which you can see in the Inspector window.

Use the arm attached to the puck to scale the frame. The smaller you make the box… The more the camera will zoom in at this point.

Use the rotation parameters in the Inspector window tilt or rotate the frame on its x,y, or z axis.

PROPATH Lesson FCPX Plugin - Final Touches

Final Touches

Now for some Final Touches.

Once your positions and angles are set up, unclick the "edit mode" checkbox. Scrub the timeline to examine your camera path.

If you don't like it, you can turn on edit mode again. Then, go to the time in the path you are not pleased with and fine tune the path.

Once everything is moving perfectly. Use the camera depth of field settings and light settings to create a more 3D environment.