I’ve been further exploring the ways to share projects between Final Cut Pro X (FCP X) editors (now made easier by the latest 10.1 release), and I recently ran into a gotcha when it comes to Motion templates. Hopefully, I can help some others avoid the head-scratching I went through trying to get this to work.
When you use a Motion template in your project, then share the project with another editor, you need to make sure they have the same template. If you’re making a custom template, such as a special lower third you designed, the other editor needs to install it in the exact right folder or FCP X won’t load it. And if FCP X doesn’t load it, you’re left staring at that red media offline warning again.
It’s a royal pain to tell your co-editor which folder to put the file in, especially if you’re organized like me and put everything into sub-folders by theme. “Put this in your /[user]/Movies/Motion Templates/Titles/My Great Project/ folder, okay?” Messy. And then multiply that by the number of templates you’re sharing.
So I was thrilled when I found Motion Template Tool (MTT), a great utility that installs the template files in the correct folders. If you, the originating editor, know where the template belongs, you can use MTT to make a zip archive that you hand off to your other editor. They then use MTT to open the installer file, and it puts your templates where they belong. Launch FCP X and you’re done. Right?
Well, not quite. I discovered a problem with MTT’s default settings while I was testing this for a project.
If you launch up MTT and save your template files with the default preference settings, then try installing them on another machine, you’ll see this when you open the project in FCP X:
What gives? Why doesn’t this work? My MTT installer created a folder with exactly the same name as the original template path, didn’t it? Didn’t it?
No. I know it looks like it has the same name, but it most certainly doesn’t. In fact, if you leave your original template folder in place and run the installer on the originating system, you’ll end up with two folders with the same name. This isn’t allowed by Mac OS X, so what’s going on?
Turns out that MTT has a setting in the preferences to add a .localized extension to the templates it installs, which is on by default. This extension is invisible in the Finder, so it looks like the installed template folder is identical to the original, but FCP X sees the full name and throws a fit.
Turn it off and things suddenly start behaving the way they should. Make a new MTT installer and try the process again.