Macworld Masterclass: Importing video into Final Cut Pro X

Preparing video material ready for editing

By

  • icon Intro
  • 1FCP Menu 1. Getting started
  • 2Preferences Panel 2. Setting preferences
  • 3Organising files 3. Organising files
  • 4Transcoding 4. Transcoding
  • 5Analysing footage 5. Analysing footage
  • 6Balance Color 6. Auto balancing colour
  • 7Finding people 7. Finding people
  • 8Smart Collections 8. Smart collections
  • 9Analysing audio 9. Analysing audio
  • 10Importing Files 10. Importing files
  • 11Background processing 11. Background processing
  • 12Importing camera footage 12. Importing camera footage
  • 13Importing from tape 13. Importing from tape
  • 14Importing iMovie events 14. Importing iMovie events
  • 15Camera Archives 15. Camera archives
  • More stories
Next Prev

Intro

Importing footage into Final Cut Pro used to be the first in a series of laborious stages of preparation, just to organise your video material ready for editing. With the release of Final Cut Pro X (FCPX), Apple has streamlined the ingesting process, with transcoding and analysing features that significantly speed up your workflow.

Final Cut Pro X is, in effect, acting like an assistant editor, helping you to organise your footage so it’s easier and quicker to create your first edit, or rough cut.

Over the course of five FCPX masterclasses, we’ll be looking at importing files, editing, sweetening audio, colour correcting and exporting video.

Next »

Next Prev icon

Importing footage into Final Cut Pro used to be the first in a series of laborious stages of preparation, just to organise your video material ready for editing. With the release of Final Cut Pro X (FCPX), Apple has streamlined the ingesting process, with transcoding and analysing features that significantly speed up your workflow.

Final Cut Pro X is, in effect, acting like an assistant editor, helping you to organise your footage so it’s easier and quicker to create your first edit, or rough cut.

Over the course of five FCPX masterclasses, we’ll be looking at importing files, editing, sweetening audio, colour correcting and exporting video.

 

Step 2 of 16: 1. Getting started

There are several ways of ingesting footage into FCPX; directly from a camera or memory card, from a camera archive, or by importing files or folders. Before you start, it’s important to tell FCPX how you want files organised, analysed, and stored. Access the Preferences panel from the FCP menu.

 

Step 3 of 16: 2. Setting preferences

FCPX helps you save time by preparing and organising media automatically. As well as adding Keyword Collections and transcoding footage into higher quality formats, FCPX has algorithms for analysing and fixing footage. You can analyse on import, or have FCPX analyse it whilst you’re editing.

 

Step 4 of 16: 3. Organising files

Select Copy files to Final Cut Events folder, and FCPX creates copies of your files within the Movies folder on your Mac. If your clips are already organised into folders then select Import folders as Keyword Collections, and FCPX will add information to them, which is useful for grouping and organising.

 

Step 5 of 16: 4. Transcoding

Although FCPX can work natively with highly compressed video formats, transcoding to a higher quality format leads to faster performance. These higher quality ProRes encoded files are collected into their own folder. If you prefer to work with native files, leave Create optimized media unchecked.

 

Step 6 of 16: 5. Analysing footage

Stabilising can help improve shaky handheld footage, and FCPX can look for rolling shutter artifacts, which can be a problem with some cameras that use CMOS chips. This analysis adds keywords to the clips, which prompts you to address these issues at the editing stage.

 

Step 7 of 16: 6. Auto balancing colour

Click Analyze for balance color to assess if your shots have a problem with contrast, or if they have colour cast or tint that needs to be corrected to bring it into colour balance. After your footage has been analysed, you can then balance the footage with a single click in the Inspector.

 

Step 8 of 16: 7. Finding people

If you select Find people, then FCPX will analyse the clip to identify the number of people in the frame and the type of shot. After analysis, a range of keywords can be added to the clip, depending on the content: One Person, Two Persons, Group, Close Up Shot, Medium Shot, and Wide Shot.

 

Step 9 of 16: 8. Smart collections

The Create Smart Collections after analysis setting allows FCPX to arrange imported footage into collections based on the keywords added during analysis. Think of it as an advanced way of organising bins of footage. You can also create custom Smart Collections and add custom keywords to clips.

 

Step 10 of 16: 9. Analysing audio

If you check the box for Analyze and fix audio problems, FCPX will analyse for noise, hum and loudness issues in your audio. Severe problems will be automatically fixed, and less severe problems will be indicated. Selecting the other two Audio checkboxes automatically manages the audio.

 

Step 11 of 16: 10. Importing files

When you import files from the File/Import Files menu, you have the option of overriding the main preferences, and you can set up custom transcoding and analysing tasks for those files. Dragging files directly into an event uses the main preference settings, so it’s a good idea to check them first.

 

Step 12 of 16: 11. Background processing

One of the advantages of FCPX is its background processing feature. An example of a fast workflow would be to import files natively and then have them transcode to a higher-quality format while you’re editing. You can reveal the Background Tasks window by pressing Cmd-9.

 

Step 13 of 16: 12. Importing camera footage

To import footage from a camera or flash memory card, click the Import from camera icon. Within this window you can skim the contents of clips using the cursor. Click and drag on each clip to select in and out points. Press the Cmd key and click to select multiple clips and then click Import Selected.

 

Step 14 of 16: 13. Importing from tape

FCPX can capture from some tape- based decks and cameras via FireWire. Once you connect the camera, press Cmd-I, or choose File/Import From Camera. Use the playback controls at the bottom to control the camera, press Import to capture your footage and then press Escape to finish the capture.

 

Step 15 of 16: 14. Importing iMovie events

FCPX can import iMovie Projects and also your entire iMovie Event library. Choose File/Import and select the item for importing. iMovie Event libraries can take time to import, so if you want to continue working on a project you started in iMovie, import just that iMovie project itself.

 

Step 16 of 16: 15. Camera archives

Create an archive of video files or clips on your camera as backup, which can be transferred to multiple computers. This is useful if you want to keep shooting and import later. From the Camera Import window, select the camera, flash card or folder containing the source media, and click Create Archive.

Surface Pro (2017) vs Surface Pro 4

Surface Pro (2017) vs Surface Pro 4

20 groundbreaking 3D animation techniques

20 groundbreaking 3D animation techniques

How to mine Bitcoin on Mac

How to mine Bitcoin on Mac