Creating a split screen in Final Cut Pro X is a matter of choosing the plug-in that you like the most but if you want the split screens to animate, there’s only one product: Tokyo Split Animator. This plug-in, developed by a film maker, is part of the FxFactory range of plug-ins.
I’m not a big fan of FxFactory. The plug-ins they group and represent are high-quality; that’s not the problem. But I dislike the fact that you sometimes can’t deactivate plug-ins that are obsolete or don’t have a license for. There’s a preference for that, but it often doesn’t work. That leaves you with only one option: delve into the file system and throw away those plug-in files.
The people in charge of FxFactory explained to me how this works exactly, which is why I’ve deleted my original text. This is what they said: “FxFactory runs an integrity check on all its Final Cut Pro X effects every time Final Cut Pro X is launched. If you delete or change Final Cut Pro X effects in the Finder, the effects are simply replaced the next time Final Cut Pro X is launched. FxFactory is designed to manage the installation / registration of all products that are part of the platform. It is designed as a layer of abstraction so that users don’t have to mess around with the Finder at all.”
Apart from that, FxFactory groups some of the best plug-in developers around, and Tokyo Productions is no exception. Tokyo Split Animator’s Creative Director is Simon Ubsdell.
Mr. Ubsdell has been a film and video editor for about 25 years as well as being involved in motion graphics, sound design and mixing, music composition, visual effects and compositing, 3D modelling and animation, etc. Previously he was the joint founder and Creative Director of The Picture Production Company based in Soho, London which became for a time the largest and most successful creator of movie trailers outside of the US.
Tokyo Split Animator lets you create split screens that move in place and disappear again, all animated. The plug-in offers a dazzling array of different split setups, including triangular, rectangular, trapezoidal, etc. Animation is possible from all sides, with different speeds, and with customisable ease-in and ease-out. Borders can have a colour, be thin or thick or turned off altogether, they can be alpha borders, with rounded corners or cropped. Non-cropped splits can be shown somewhere in the middle of the screen too, as the X and Y positions of splits can be customised for each split individually.
Tokyo Split Animator’s many capabilities are very easy to set and work with. It’s all a matter of dragging sliders, checking buttons and dropping the split system that you want on top of the clips that participate. Because the plug-in behaves as a filter rather than a generator — like Crumplepop’s Split Screen, where you need to drop clips in the Generator and have the clips themselves sitting in the Timeline as well — Tokyo Split Animator is much easier to get your head around.
However, at the same time it’s also more difficult to create something that looks exciting and professional. It’s easy to create animated split screens with Tokyo Split Animator, but creating mind-blowing split screens requires some good creative skills. If you have those, Tokyo Split Animator will work with you and support anything you can dream up.