Better Interapplication Workflow Through Plug-ins

by Ben Long

We shoot still images for lots of reasons, of course. At different times, I've been hired to shoot for the usual print or web projects, but I've also had to shoot images for inclusion as stills in video projects, and as plates in complex special effects workflows. Aperture 1.0 wasn't really practical for some of these types of jobs, because it was impossible to access images in your Aperture library from other applications. For example, if you want to use an image as a plate in a special effects composite in Adobe After Effects, or as a texture map in a 3D program, having the image locked up in your Aperture library can be a hassle.

Aperture 1.5 offered a handy solution to these problems in the form of referenced images. Becuase you can keep images stored outside of your Aperture library, you can easily access them from other applications. Aperture 1.5 also introduced a new Export plug-in architecture that gives you single-click exporting using specific settings and functions.

Connected Flow has released a very well-designed Export plug-in that allows you to export images from Aperture directly into a Final Cut Pro sequence. Select images in an Aperture project and choose the Aperture to Final Cut Pro export plugin, and Aperture will automatically place your images in the Final Cut project and sequence of your choice, using any of the export presets that you've defined.

Connected Flow has added some really nice extra functionality, though. You can specify a transition for your images, and the resulting Final Cut timeline will automatically place that transition type between images. You can specify the duration of each image, and pick a file to use as an audio track for the sequence.

In other words, with a single click, you can create an entire Final Cut video slideshow from your Aperture images, complete with transitions and audio. While you can create slideshows with audio within Aperture, the ability to export to Final Cut means you can now easily incorporate Aperture slideshows in video projects, export them to DVD video, or videotape.

Kudos to Connected Flow for making a great, free product!