All effects and plugins work with any aspect ratio in Final Cut Pro right? Wrong, and here's why.

Today is the launch date of a new set of transition plugins designed especially for 9x16 vertical video format productions. So I thought I'd go into some detail on why I thought these needed to be built and some of the problems encountered.

There's no doubt that there are many editors who scoff at anything to do with vertical video. It's been the butt of many jokes, but you cannot ignore the growing use of vertical video on YouTube Shorts, Tik Tok, Snapchat and of course Instagram. Don't believe me? A YouTube #Short of two guys eating spaghetti got 210 million views in one month! 

A while ago I edited a vertical video for a large corporate client, I didn't give much thought on how Final Cut Pro, plugins and the rest of the video ecosystem would handle 9x16. 

final cut pro vertical video 01


The first hurdle was easy to jump over, Final Cut Pro has built-in vertical video Project settings for 720, 1080 and 2160 widths. Then the downside, although 'full frame' processing plugins work, there were a lot of effects and transitions that didn't. It all got a bit funky with edges showing, duplicate layers, things not timed correctly and drop zones in the wrong place or wrong size.

Now, I can hear many of you saying 'Doesn't Motion give you the opportunity to include different snapshots for different sizes?' and you would be correct. But, building a complex plugin with a lot of moving parts that works in all aspect ratios is really hard and can actually be detrimental to the plugin's functionality.

No problem, build your own then. You would think that the size presets in Motion would mirror those of FCP for quick 9x16 plugin construction. No luck, you have to use the Custom setting and enter your dimensions in manually.

final cut pro vertical video 02


final cut pro vertical video 03


One tip here, maybe it's worth saving a 'blank template' of each size that you can reuse as a starting point for new plugins. Also if you have all the normal coordinates and sizes in your head from 16x9 projects, just remember that everything is the other way around!

Another wrinkle, thumbnails. in Final Cut Pro, the 9x16 generated thumbnail gets stretched to 16x9 so it looks really odd in the effect/transition browsers. I chose to shrink them down manually into a 16x9 frame with black edges and then load those into the plugins. 

So why did I make a pack of 9x16 plugins available commercially? Well, I already had a set of plugins that I had scrambled together for the corporate video, so why not expand on that and let everyone else enjoy them? Ahem, did I mention that they are on sale at $29 on the FxFactory store at the moment?

On to making the promo video which you should see below. The question was whether to make it in 9x16 or in 16x9 with black edges. I went for the first option, building it in vertical video UHD 2160x3840. No drama there, but how does YouTube handle it and what do you need to upload?

YouTube does accept 9x16 videos, indeed they have a whole section of YouTube Shorts in vertical video. I had real problems getting good quality though and in the end uploaded the full sized ProRes 422 master. Processing took a long, long time.

I've tried embedding the 9x16 video, but each time it defaults to shrinking it down into a 16x9 frame. Full screen should be 9x16 playback which is great for watching on mobile devices, check it out yourself below. Our CMS isn't happy with the embed code and it defaults to the small size.



And that's the story of making vertical video plugins. Well almost. You might have come across video reverting to its original size during transitions, this happens a lot when you are reframing content to fit a new aspect ratio.

In the tutorial video below, it shows how to stop this happening. It can be really annoying if you re trying to shrink a 9x16 video down to fit on a phone's screen for example. 


I have experimented using 16x9 plugins on 9x16 media in a 16x9 Compound Clip that gets placed into a 9x16 project. It makes some effects work, but it's not a reliable work around. 

Let's hope I don't get asked to make any square videos! 


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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