In Part One and Part Two we looked at how to set up a Final Cut Pro X project and organize media into events, clips and keywords. In this part we’ll take at look at some popular codecs and see how to import and work with them in Final Cut Pro X (FCP-X henceforth).

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FCP Viewer

How to import video with different codecs

FCP-X doesn’t support anything other than Quicktime or MOV files right off the bat. It does have support for various codecs, but one needs to install plug-ins for each of them. Image sequences are supported, and this includes native support for CinemaDNG (but only as DNG image files).

H.264

FCP-X supports H.264 natively, via the import method mentioned in Part One, as long as it is in a MOV wrapper.

Most DSLRs or Camcorders record in MOV anyway so you shouldn’t have too much trouble importing these directly. If your wrapper is anything other than MOV, you will need to rewrap or transcode it into Quicktime. Use Quicktime Pro or MPEG Streamclip to do the rewrapping.

H.264 – ALL-I

The ‘new’ entrant to the H.264 family is just an interpretation of the codec with interframe turned off. FCP-X supports it natively via the import method mentioned in Part One, as long as it is in a MOV wrapper.

Most DSLRs or Camcorders record in MOV anyway so you shouldn’t have too much trouble importing these directly. If your wrapper is anything other than MOV, you will need to rewrap or transcode it into Quicktime. Use Quicktime Pro or MPEG Streamclip to do the rewrapping.

AVCHD

FCP-X supports AVCHD natively via the import method mentioned in Part One, as long as it is in a MOV wrapper.

Most DSLRs or Camcorders record in MOV anyway so you shouldn’t have too much trouble importing these directly. If your wrapper is anything other than MOV, you will need to rewrap or transcode it into Quicktime. Use Quicktime Pro or MPEG Streamclip to do the rewrapping.

XDCAM

FCP-X supports XDCAM only via a third-party plug-in. You will need to first download the XAVC/XDCAM Plug-in for Apple (PDZK-LT2) from this link: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/pdzk-lt2.

XDCAM import is somewhat buggy (to put it kindly), so make sure you have SxS drivers installed (if you can read off them otherwise you’re fine). Make sure you copy all the files in the media card folder to your source footage drive, keeping the folder name and structure intact. FCP-X version must be 10.0.6 or later, and Mac OS X must be 10.8 or later.

After installing PDZK-LT2 restart FCP-X. XDCAM is not edited natively. FCP-X converts all imported clips to .MOV and stores them in your Final Cut Events folder. Make sure you keep aside enough disk space for the conversion. The rewrapping adds about 0.1% to the entire file size, so it’s not exactly 1:1.

Note: If you’re recording to MP4, you’ll also need the XDCAM Content Browser. I recommend you download both. Together, they’re 150 MB in size, and also come with an instruction guide on usage. I didn’t need the Content Browser for XDCAM or XDCAM EX but I’ve read some people who’re having trouble might find it easier to rewrap to MOV from within that.

XDCAM and XDCAM EX

Install the Plug-in and you will immediately be able to import it via the import method mentioned in Part One.

Drag the imported clips to the timeline to add it to your project or right-click a clip>Add to Project Media List to add it to the Project Media List.

XDCAM HD, SD and XDCAM HD422

These variants of XDCAM are not supported.

In Sony’s own words:

[Known Issues or Limitations]

– When you dismount the volume, it sometimes fails. In that case, please select other volume and dismount again.

– If the timecode of the clip you are importing is not continuous, the timecode you see in Final  Cut Pro may be different from what was in the clip. Final Cut Pro currently does not support discontinuous timecode.

– Audio playback may break or become silent when playback is performed directly from SxS media inserted in device connected via USB2.0. In this case, please copy clips onto the storage of Mac first.

– In MXF format, TAKE does not support. After ingest as individual clip and edit in Final Cut Pro.

If you want to edit MXF natively, you’ll need to buy a third-party application like MXF Import from Hamburg Pro Media.

XAVC

FCP-X supports XAVC only via a third-party plug-in. You will need to first download the XAVC/XDCAM Plug-in for Apple (PDZK-LT2) from this link: http://www.sonycreativesoftware.com/pdzk-lt2.

XAVC import is somewhat buggy (to put it kindly), so make sure you have SxS drivers installed (if you can read off them otherwise you’re fine). Make sure you copy all the files in the media card folder to your source footage drive, keeping the folder name and structure intact. FCP-X version must be 10.0.6 or later, and Mac OS X must be 10.8 or later.

After installing PDZK-LT2 restart FCP-X. XAVC is not edited natively. FCP-X converts all imported clips to .MOV and stores them in your Final Cut Events folder. Make sure you keep aside enough disk space for the conversion. The rewrapping adds about 0.1% to the entire file size, so it’s not exactly 1:1.

In Sony’s own words:

[Known Issues or Limitations]

– When you dismount the volume, it sometimes fails. In that case, please select other volume and dismount again.

– If the timecode of the clip you are importing is not continuous, the timecode you see in Final  Cut Pro may be different from what was in the clip. Final Cut Pro currently does not support discontinuous timecode.

– Audio playback may break or become silent when playback is performed directly from SxS media inserted in device connected via USB2.0. In this case, please copy clips onto the storage of Mac first.

– In MXF format, TAKE does not support. After ingest as individual clip and edit in Final Cut Pro.

CANON XF (MXF)

Apple supports XDCAM only via a third-party plug-in.

You’ll need to download the Canon XF Plugin for Final Cut Pro X, version 2.1.1 for OS X 10.8, which is a .gz 4.3 MB in size. Within it is the .dmg file which needs to be installed.

Restart FCP-X.

This plug-in applies to files from both the XF series cameras as well as the Cinema EOS line (Cxxx). Make sure you copy all the files in the media card folder.

MXF is not edited natively. FCP-X converts all imported clips to .MOV and stores them in your Final Cut Events folder. Make sure you keep aside enough disk space for the conversion. The rewrapping adds about 0.1% to the entire file size, so it’s not exactly 1:1.

If you want to edit MXF natively, you’ll need to buy a third-party application like MXF Import from Hamburg Pro Media.

One can also use the Canon XF Utility to reorganize metadata and clips, etc., but it is not mandatory.

HDV and DV

To import HDV or DV you need a Firewire port and a camera or deck connected to the computer.

Once FCP-X recognizes your camera or deck, you will be able to import via camera and they will be rewrapped as MOV files. Timecode and audio will be preserved.

MTS files must be first rewrapped into a MOV container and then can be imported directly via the import method mentioned in Part One.

REDCODE RAW R3D/RMD

Apple supports Redcode only via a third-party plug-in.

Download Red Apple Workflow Installer V2 from here. It’s about 6 MB.

If you have a Red Rocket card installed, ensure it has the latest drivers and firmware updates.

Once you’ve installed the Installer, you will be asked to restart your computer.

Import via the import method mentioned in Part One. Keep ‘Create optimized media’ and all others unchecked.

For Red One R3D files, import either the MOV/QT reference file or the R3D file, not both.

Once you import R3D clips you can modify color and gamma settings, or use Redcine-X Pro and save the changes.

For more detailed information on how to work with R3D files, check out the RED Workflows with Final Cut Pro X white paper.

ARRIRAW

Apple only supports Arriraw via third-party plug-ins.

E.g. you can use the Glue Tools Arriraw Toolkit to import and edit Arriraw .ARI files in FCP-X.

From Glue Tools:

Final Cut Pro will treat ARRIRAW image sequences exactly the same way it treats other QuickTime Movies. To import an “.ari” sequence, select the “File->Import->Glue Tools ARRIRAW Import…” menu item, and locate and click on your movie. Your movie will now appear in the browser. If a Time Code track is enabled, it will be attached to the movie as well.

Sony RAW 

FCP-X does not support Sony RAW from the F65 (or even F5 or F55) at this time.

HDCAM SR (SStP)

Apple supports SStP only via a third-party plug-in.

You will need do download two things from Sony:

The former is used to rewrap SStP into MOV containers. The latter supports the import and playback of SStP files (in MOV containers).

Import via the import method mentioned in Part One.

MPEG-4

FCP-X supports MPEG-4 natively, via the import method mentioned in Part One, as long as it is in a MOV wrapper.

Most DSLRs or Camcorders record in MOV anyway so you shouldn’t have too much trouble importing these directly. If your wrapper is anything other than MOV, you will need to rewrap or transcode it into Quicktime. Use Quicktime Pro or MPEG Streamclip to do the rewrapping.

X.264

FCP-X supports x.264 natively, via the import method mentioned in Part One, as long as it is in a MOV wrapper.

PRORES

FCP-X supports Prores natively, via the import method mentioned in Part One.

DNxHD

FCP-X does not support DNxHD MXF natively, but does support DNxHD if it is rewrapped as QT/MOV and if the Avid Quicktime Codecs LT plug-in is installed.

DPX

Apple only supports DPX via third-party plug-ins.

E.g. you can use the Glue Tools Cineon/DPX Toolkit or the AJA KONA DPXToQTTranslator Version 3 to rewrap DPX into QT/MOV wrappers.

Once you’ve rewrapped them into MOV containers, you can import via the import method mentioned in Part One.

IMAGE SEQUENCES – TIFF, JPEG, PSD, ETC.

FCP-X supports image sequences natively, via the import method mentioned in Part One.

CinemaDNG

FCP-X supports DNG natively only as standalone images, and not as CinemaDNG.

Import via the import method mentioned in Part One.

This list isn’t exhaustive. For more information on additional codecs, click here.

Unfortunately, not everyone feels Final Cut Pro X is a professional applications worthy of the major leagues. I don’t share that view.

As far as the tag of ‘native editor’ is concerned, it should be clear that FCP-X is capable of editing natively with some codecs, but only with third-party tools, some of which are expensive. As far as absolute support for codecs is concerned, it holds its own against any other NLE. The only serious limitation is its Apple and Quicktime platform dependency, which is why I don’t use it for professional projects. But it is a full professional NLE, and that’s the bottom line.

We have covered everything you need to know to set up your FCP-X project and media. In this article, we have also covered some of the most popular codecs and how to import them.

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2 replies on “How to Import Video into Final Cut Pro X (Part Three): Dealing with Codecs”

  1. I recommend Avdshare Video Converter which can convert XDCAM EX files in any video format to Edius more supported MTS.

  2. Whether Final Cut Pro can import
    and edit MOV or not, it all depends  on what codec inside the .mov
    files. MOV is a video container format  which may contain different
    codecs like DV, HDV, XDCAM, DNxHD, ProRes,  DVCPRO, MPEG-4, H.264 etc.
    If
    the codec is Final Cut Pro supported one like ProRes or DV,  Final Cut
    Pro will import that kind of MOV. If the codec is Final Cut  Pro
    unsupported one like H.264 or MPEG-4 which is highly-compressed and  not
    suit for editing with non-linear video editing software, Final Cut  Pro
    won’t import those of MOV files for editing.
    In order to successfully import all kinds of MOV files into Final Cut  Pro, we had better http://www.idealshare.net/imovie-fcp/mov-to-final-cut-pro.html
    Just google search Step by Step Guide to Convert MOV to Final Cut Pro with iDealshare VideoGo, you will find a detailed guide

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