Ways to Import Videos to Final Cut Pro X

Published on by Chris King

Learn how to import video files into your Final Cut Pro X correctly.

Ways to Import Videos to Final Cut Pro X

NLEs like Avid Media Composer support what is known as native editing. They take pride in their ability to accept many kinds of codecs without the need for transcoding or plugins. In this article, we will look at how to import video into Final Cut Pro X and how FCP X deals with different codecs.

FCP-X, in its original state, only handles Quicktime movies (.MOV) natively. The Help Manual lists supported codecs, but fails to mention or warn the reader that these need additional plug-ins to work. To me, this is plain misleading and unprofessional. Here I wanna try my best to give users the clear ways based on my experience.

How to import video into Final Cut Pro X

Launch Final Cut Pro X, click the Import Icon which you’ll find under the Event Library as shown:



Once you click that, you will get this popup box:



The browser is fairly straightforward – find the files you want, select them and hit Import Selected…. You’ll get it to import files to Final Cut Event.

Important Note: To import those video files to FCP X smoothly, we need to make sure if it’s compatible with FCP X. Now I will look at each codec and see whether and how it can be imported into FCP X.

How to import videos to FCP X 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.

H.264
FCP-X supports H.264 natively, via the import method, 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.

AVCHD
FCPX can import AVCHD footage from a hard drive, but you need to make sure you preserve the original file structure. Copy the whole card just as it is, onto your drive. Then from within the FCPX import window, navigate to the folder, and voila, you’ll see the video clips and be able to import then as normal (They’ll be converted to H.264 .MOV files and copied to the “Original Media” folder.)

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.

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.

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.

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 CinemaEOS 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.

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.

Editor’s Note: As you see, FCP X, a professional video editing program although, it can’t natively support so many video codecs. It always needs third-party plugs to get the work done. If you don’t want to stuck in kinds of plug-ins and wanna a smooth video editing workflow, personally I recommend you to get a professional video converter for FCP X. Brorsoft Video Converter for Mac is highly recommended to you.

Overall, it’s the optimal video converter for you, which can help you convert AVCHD, MTS, (P2) MXF, MKV, AVI, MPG, VOB, MP4, Sony XDCAM/XDCAM EX, XAVC/XAVC S files into a different, and more edit friendly format like ProRes 422, ProRes 4444 for Final Cut Pro. So you can edit any video with FCP X smoothly under Mac OS X(Mavericks, Yosemite included).

Related Guides:
Ways to Import Videos into Avid Media Composer

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