It is easy to add some awesome special effects to your projects if you know how to use an alpha channel. An alpha channel is a transparent layer that is often paired up with other graphics, images or video. The end result means you can layer an alpha channel video on top of another background video and have them float together seamlessly. Using this technique you can add explosions, fire, breaking glass or underwater effects to any of your footage. Here’s how to do it in Final Cut Pro:

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1. Open Final Cut Pro and import your footage and the graphic you want to add. (File>Import>Files)

Step 1 resized 600

2. Place the background footage on Video Track 1.

 Step 2 resized 600

3. Place the graphic on Video Track 2 directly above the footage on Track 1. Since your template already has an alpha channel, the background will be translucent and it should just sit on top of your video on Track 1.

 Step 3

4. Now is the time to get your alpha channel to work perfectly with your project. You can change the size, the speed, the placement. Get creative! 

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5. Depending on your project and the effect you’re using, you may want to add a dissolve at the beginning and end of your alpha channel. Go to Effects>Video Transitions>Dissolves>Fade In, Fade Out.

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6. Save your project.

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7. Render your project.

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8. Save your project again!

Super easy, right? You can use these tips to add all sorts of unexpected special effects to your projects!

Have fun editing!

 

Want a free clip to practice with? Download this free alpha channel footage!

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