Smoke Dec Launch

A nice Christmas present if you can afford it, Autodesk has released Smoke 2013 for the Mac. Industry leading keying, nodal compositing, super-accurate tracking and 3D environments all in one app. 

It seems a long time since we were sitting in the press briefing at Dream Vision Studios in Las Vegas during NAB when the new Smoke for Mac was announced. Since then there has been a free trial period that seems to have drummed up a large support base for the program.

Smoke2013 1

Quite amazing that the tool's list price is $3,500 which is almost a fifth of the previous version's cost. If you buy before the end of January they will also give you a 20% discount. Still a bit steep for your one man band setup, but maybe Smoke is more geared to high end broadcast and corporate work. 

“The anticipation for Smoke, since its thrilling announcement at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Vegas in April, has continued to build throughout the community of creative professionals. As a leader in high-end effects and 3D, Autodesk is committed to making that technology increasingly available to a new generation, and the new Smoke is case in point. The Smoke team has fielded thousands of inquiries and product recommendations in the process of developing Smoke 2013. I’m so excited to announce it’s here,” said Mark Strassman, Autodesk Media & Entertainment vice president strategy and marketing.

Want to see Smoke in action? take a look a this 52 minute demo from NAB 2012. Switch the kettle on!


So would Smoke make a good finishing tool for FCPX? We think so as we can't see the true 3D capabilities of Smoke coming to the FCPX/Motion combination for quite a long time, if ever. It might be slightly overkill should you want just colour correction, but if you need true 3D multi-layer compositing with graphics, greenscreen and whatever else you can throw into a comp, then Smoke is probably the best application for the job.

We still feel that Autodesk would sell more copies and make more money if the price was $999. The post production business is evolving at an alarming speed and the dollars they would lose on the price would be made up by the number of licences sold. We suggest Blackmagic Design's DaVinci Resolve as a superbly positioned product to learn from. A note here to point out that Smoke won't support any Blackmagic or Matrox box for broadcast monitoring, you will have to own an AJA Kona 3 or if you have a Thunderbolt port, an IO XT. 


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What Smoke will need is the 'Magic 4' requirements on your Mac to get the maximum performance. An SSD, Lots of RAM, fast storage such as a Thunderbolt RAID and a beefy graphics card. Sounds like a very good reason to go out and buy a new Retina MacBook Pro! 

It looks like there are a number of companies now producing training materials for Smoke 2013. We managed to find this FCPX to Smoke tutorial from Smoke-Training.com which gave us the info on how to get your FCPX projects into Smoke. The author has pointed out that the tutorial is rather old and uses an out of date beta, so he suggests looking at Grant Kay's conforming video from Autodesk's Smoke Learning Channel.


You can also check out the Autodesk Smoke 2013 tutorials.



Written by
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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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