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FCP X Scrolling Transition In Motion 5

Check out our Motion: Creating Content For Final Cut Pro X course!

This is a neat transition that looks like a film strip scrolling by quickly. Yet more important are the techniques I’m showing in this article. Especially how to use organized groups and replicators to make very complicated effects relatively easy to create. You can apply these techniques to any number of imaginative ideas to create amazing effects, transitions, even titles and generators for use in FCP X.

Step 1 - Project Setup

Launch Motion 5, from the Template Browser select “Final Cut Transition”. Make it 1 second long, the normal default transition duration in FCPX. I’ll use 720p30 for my examples here, but you can use any video format you want. Move the playhead to the start of the timeline, and Shift-Z to resize the Canvas. Rename the default Group to “Master Group”. Right-click Transition A, select Group, rename it “Group A”. Do the same for Transition B, rename it “Group B”. 

With the playhead at the start of the timeline, select Group B, hit “i” to make it start there. Move the playhead to the end of the timeline, select Group A, hit “o” to make it end there. Use Command-S to save the project. Call it “Film Scroll”, and save it to your own custom Category. Be sure your playhead is at the start of the timeline.

fig 1

Step 2 - Film Perfs

To create film strip perforations, use “R” to get the Rectangle tool, draw a bar down the left side of the frame. Hit “esc” when done drawing. F4 to the Shape tab, make the fill Black. Hold the Command key while using the up/down/left/right arrow keys to move it around, drag its handles in the Canvas to adjust it. Line it up with the left side and the top and bottom of the frame. Right-click this “Rectangle” layer, chose Group, rename it “Film Perf Left”.

Draw another rectangle at the top left to be our first perforation hole, leave it white. Use “L” to make it a Replicator. In the Replicator tab change Shape to Line, set all start and end points to zero. Click and drag down on the End Point Y parameter to spread these out and downward, space them out evenly, use Command with arrow keys to align.

Highlight the Film Perf Left group, Command-D to duplicate, rename “Film Perf Right”, Shift-Drag to line it up on the right side of the frame.

Highlight both of the Film Perf Left and Right groups with Command-click, right-click, select Group, rename “Film Perf Group”.

fig 2

Close this new group, Option-drag it into the Group B group to put a copy there.

Step 3 - Replicating Clip A Frames

Close all groups but the Master Group. Highlight the Group A layer, “L” to make it a Replicator, rename the group that gets put in to “Scrolling Frames”. Drag and drop this group up into the Master Group layer. If necessary, use Command-] (right bracket) to move it to the top of that group.

fig 3

Select the Replicator we just created, change Shape to Line, Start and End points all to zero, leave points at 5. Use Command with the minus key, about 10 times, to zoom out of the Canvas very far. Shift-V to show elements outside of the video frame, then click-drag downwards on the End Point Y parameter to spread our frames downward. I’m using -2915 with a 720 frame size.

F1 to the Properties tab, click the keyframe diamond to the right of the Position parameter. Move the playhead to the end of the timeline. Click-drag on the Position Y parameter to line up the last frame of our Replicator to line up visually. I’m using 2915 in a 170 frame size. If desired, Shift-Z to refocus the Canvas to line up this last replicator frame. Rename this Replicator “Replicator A”. Rename its sub-layer (cell layer) “Cell A”.

fig 3b

Step 4 - Replicating Clip B Frames

Highlight the “Replicator A” layer, Command-D to duplicate it. Rename it “Replicator B”, rename its sub-layer “Cell B”. Select Replicator B layer, use Command-left bracket to move it below the Replicator A layer. 

Select the Cell B layer, F4, drag and drop the “Group B” layer at the bottom of the layers pane, into the “Object Source” well at the bottom of the Inspector pane. Be sure the “Group B” layer’s visibility check box is unchecked.

fig 4

Step 5 - Fading Clip A Frames

With the playhead about 1/3 way into the timeline, select the A - Replicator layer, F1 to Properties, set a keyframe for Opacity at 100. About 2/3 into the timeline set another Opacity keyframe to zero. Playback and watch what you’ve done! Very cool, eh?

fig 5

Step 6 - Lagniappe

Finally it is time for my little something extra! You can do this with any filter or generator you wish. With the playhead at the start of the timeline, and the Master Group highlighted, F2 for the Library, go to Generators, to the Generators folder, select Lens Flare, click Apply. F4 to the Generator tab and make keyframes for Size and Intensity. Change Intensity to zero. Move the playhead to the end of the timeline and manually set the exact same keyframes.

Move the playhead to the mid point of the timeline. Change Size to 10,000 and Intensity to 4. F1 to Properties, right-click on the Opacity heading, chose Add To Rig, Create New Rig, Add To new Checkbox. With the Checkbox unchecked, click the Edit Mode’s Start button. Move the Lens Flare.Opacity slider to zero. Click the Stop Rig Edit Mode button in the floating window. Check the box, click Start, move Opacity to 100, click Stop. Rename the Checkbox layer “Lens Flare”. Right-click the Lens Flare heading in the Inspector, select Publish.

fig 6

Shift-V to hide elements outside of the video frame. Command-S to save. Now test it out in FCP X.


You should notice that the default ease in/ease out actually works to our advantage. Also, if you have any film damage, light leaks, any other filter you want to put on top of this, add it to the Master Group layer. Think of variations. Have the first clip stop, then the second clip fly across in a different direction. Experiment! 

I hope this lesson not only gives you a neat transition, but a better understanding of how organizing groups and replicators can help make very complex effects fairly easy to create.

Check out our Motion: Creating Content For Final Cut Pro X course!

Ben Balser

Ben Balser | Articles by this author

Ben Balser studied educational psychology at Loyola University, and after retiring from a 20+ year IT career, now produces, consults, teaches, and rents equipment for media production as a full time job. As an Apple Certified Master Trainer, he ran the Louisiana Cajun Cutters FCP user group for 8 years, taught post-production at Louisiana State University and has lead their annual teen filmmaking bootcamp. He teaches currently for AATC facilities across the USA and for The Orchard Solutions. He has consulted for higher education, government, broadcast and private production facilities.


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