Reviews, Video

Add a clock to your footage with FxFactory Time Pop

If you need a clock counting up or down, or you would like to add a graphic to a video that gives some sense of timing or progress, look no further than Time Pop, distributed by FxFactory. It’s a title generator with some free clocks, but when you pay you’ll get a bunch of designs that offer more possibilities and more nicely designed progress “meters”.

Some of Time Pop’s clocks are a bit old-fashioned like the stopwatch or a bit cheesy like the hourglass or kitchen timer, but most of them are nicely designed, with some having a very nice minimal design. All of them count up and down.

A couple of timers look more — and are more — like speed dials. You can’t enter a time here but start and end numbers, with the count starting when the playhead hits the title start and stopping at the end digit when the title stops. However, it’s not as simple as this, as some dials and meters have an In/Out animation that you should take into account when synchronising timing or speed with your footage.

There’s no user guide, so this could be a challenge in its own right, but the developer has found an elegant way to guide you along. The Inspector controls are divided into categories and if there’s a need to explain — like with the In/Out animations — you’ll find a light bulb next to the category name. Clicking on the bulb reveals all the instructions you need.

Except for control over In/Out animations and the start/end time or digit, there are many controls with each “timer”. Some timers have a lot of separate components — many of them moving as you play the title. Each of those components has colour controls which allow you to completely customise the effect. Other controls that are available with most timers include rotation, position and when the timer has a sliding scale — a few timers have a moving dial that rotates independently from the counter — a slide start, a distance and even a motion blur.

With all those bells and whistles — I nearly forgot there are some on-screen controls with most effects as well — Time Pop is a complete solution for adding a real-time timer effect to your footage, either as a PiP effect or a semi-transparent overlay. And while it’s not intended to be a countdown leader, you can actually use it as a sophisticated countdown leader anyway, as the only thing that’s not supported is a backward animation of the hands of a clock.

In short, if you ever wanted a title generator with timer capabilities that you can customise in all kinds of unexpected ways, Time Pop is the best candidate. At $59 it’s not really cheap, but you can first try out the three or four free timers to see if it suits your needs.