Ever had trouble coming up with a montage? Sometimes it's tough to make sense of the footage that you have available for montages, and sometimes the lightning of inspiration simply refuses to strike. XMiL Dicer is a tool that can help in those situations. It will take the shots of your Final Cut Pro sequence, shuffle them around, and put them back into you sequence in random order - all at the press of one single button. Please note that Dicer requires Final Cut Pro 7, and will not work with Final Cut Pro X.
Take a look at how Dicer works in this 10 minute video:
Shuffle your shots
When you click the Dice button in Dicer the application is going to ask Final Cut Pro for an XML representation of the front most sequence in the timeline window. It will then randomize the order of all shots on V1 and send the sequence back to Final Cut Pro, where it will appear as the new front most sequence in the timeline and canvas windows. The new sequence name includes a time stamp so that it is easy to keep track of things.
Your cut can go from this...
... to this...
... and this within seconds!
Dicer will only shuffle clips on V1, it will leave the other video tracks alone, as well as all audio tracks.
The intended workflow is to use Dicer many times while working on a montage. This helps you exploring your footage and evaluating its strengths and weaknesses quickly - simply by presenting your shots in a new random order each time you 'roll the dice'. While you shouldn't expect the application to create a montage all on its own, Dicer can help you a lot in the rough and early stages of putting together your montage.
Refining your montage
Often times when you watch a string of footage you are surprised by how well a couple of particular shots go together, though you may have never thought they would. When you encounter such a situation while working with Dicer you can have the application keep those shots together in a group when you roll the dice some more. Simply place markers of a specific color on the clips in the timeline (not on the timeline's timecode track), and select the marker color in Dicer's main window.
The application will keep the shots grouped together in further versions of your 'diced' timeline. As a convenience the marker durations will be extended, so that the markers will cover the complete length of their shots, and the markers will appear as colored lines at the bottom of the track in the timeline.
Adding & Deleting Handles
When you look at progressive versions of your montage you often times want to adjust the length of your shots. Dicer lets you add or extract handle frames at the heads and tails of all shots across the board. For example, with a value of -2 in the Add/Delete Handle field in the main window a total of 4 frames will removed form each shot on subsequent rolls of the dice, 2 at the head and 2 at the tail. With a value of 3 a total of 6 frames would be added to each shot.
To keep distractions to a minimum Dicer can display a unobtrusively small Dice button that floats on top of all other applications' user interfaces. Thus users don't have to go back to the application itself to trigger another roll of the dice.
Dicer will have Final Cut Pro load each new sequence into the timeline. It will also ask Final Cut Pro to resize in order to display the entire timeline. This feature requires 'access for assistive devices' to be turned on under Universal Access in the Mac's System Preferences.
Dicer runs on Mac OS 10.6.6 and newer. It requires Final Cut Pro version 7 and up, which is part of Final Cut Studio 3.