Video Slideshows with Aperture and Final Cut Pro

by Charlie Miller

You can create slideshows from Aperture using iMovie, Keynote, even iPhoto. So why use Final Cut Pro? Well for me it’s about control. Final Cut allows you to control your slideshow at a much more granular level than anything else out there. Decide exactly how your photos are positioned and customize the transitions between images from a huge selection of options. Control the dimensions and framerate of your project from Final Cut’s selection of industry-standard codecs. And speaking of codecs: keep in mind that this post is about creating video slideshows. If you are looking to create slideshows to accompany a spoken presentation and you want to be able to “drive” the slideshow’s transitions, then I’d suggest looking to Keynote.

The key to this workflow is the Aperture to Final Cut Pro export plug-in from Connected Flow. Start by downloading and installing the plug-in. Next, select the photos for export and choose File -> Export -> Final Cut Pro… to bring up the export options. In the options dialog you can specify your slides’ durations and choose transitions from Final Cut’s library of transitions. If you’re like me and you want all your photos to use the same duration and transition, simply select all your images from the list with a Shift-click.

Give your project a name and be sure you consider the options under “Sequence Preset”. If you intend to play your movie on a standard definition television you’ll want to pick DV NTSC 48kHz for North America or DV PAL 48 kHz for Europe. You can also experiment with a huge selection of HD codecs as well. Finally, consider the choices under the Version Preset menu. Depending on the dimensions of your photos, the default, JPEG - Original Size, is potentially overkill for standard def video. (Remember, standard def is only 720px x 480px.) Pick a preset that makes sense for you, enter a name for your images and click Export.


I would strongly recommend exporting your images to a folder dedicated to this project; if you pick an arbitrary location without thinking about it you are going to end up with a slew of JPEGs scattered across your machine. Once you click Export for the second time, the plugin will export your images using the criteria you specified and create an XML interchange file that specifies your durations, transitions, and codec choices. This file will open automatically in FCP and you’ll be asked to enter a name for the new project file that gets created. Then simply double-click on the sequence in FCP’s Browser to open it in the Timeline.

Now you’re in Final Cut Pro-land: you can edit the clips, change transitions, add music and video clips. Finally, I know this is Inside Aperture, but I’ll leave you with a good Final Cut Pro tip that will be helpful if you decide to try this on your own: in the Canvas window, click on the View pop-up menu and choose “Image+Wireframe”. This will make it much easier to change the images’ positions if you need to crop or intend to create some custom panning or zoom effects.



David Medina
2007-05-22 18:13:40
Does it wrk on Final Cut Xpress?
2007-09-21 09:06:46
So this method will not allow you to add animation to the clips? Still much easier with iPhoto, although I do agree it doesn't have adequate export options. Seems as though FotoMagico still holds the crown for slideshows. I think this would be too time consuming to pick through 400 photos and animate them all.