About Importing Video Files

You can import any QuickTime-compatible media files into Final Cut Pro, but to avoid rendering, your media files need to match your sequence settings. For example, if you create a motion graphics title sequence in another application and then export to a QuickTime movie for use in Final Cut Pro, make sure you export using the same settings as the sequence into which you plan to edit the title sequence.

To export a movie file for use in your Final Cut Pro sequence
  1. Check the following sequence settings of the sequence you want to edit your exported media file into:

    • Frame rate (editing timebase)

    • Image dimensions

    • Pixel aspect ratio

    • Video codec and quality settings

    • Audio sample rate and bit depth

    For details on how to do this, see Sequence Settings and Presets.

  2. Set your QuickTime export settings to match the settings of the sequence you want to edit your exported media file into.

To import a QuickTime movie file into Final Cut Pro, follow the steps in Importing Media Files.

If any of the settings in your imported QuickTime file don’t match your sequence settings, a red video render bar appears in the Timeline when you add that clip to the sequence. You can check the settings of the clip by choosing Edit > Item Properties > Format.

About MXF-Based Formats

MXF is not a video format itself, but rather a format that can contain almost any kind of video or audio media. MXF is similar to QuickTime, which is not a single video signal, but a general media format that can contain video compressed with supported codecs, audio with different sample rates, video with different dimensions, frame rates, and so on.

A number of video formats can be stored within MXF files. For example, a DV movie can be stored within an MXF file. Final Cut Pro works with QuickTime media files, so you need to convert MXF data to QuickTime before you can start editing.

Some examples of popular video formats that are stored in an MXF container include:

  • IMX: A standard definition, MPEG-2, I-frame-only video format. IMX media can be stored on a tape, hard disk, or optical disc.
  • Footage on Panasonic P2 cards: P2 cards store DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, or DVCPRO HD footage within MXF files.
  • Sony XDCAM HD footage: All Sony XDCAM formats are wrapped in an MXF container file, except XDCAM EX, which is stored in an in MPEG-4 container file.

For more information about importing these formats, see Professional Formats and Workflows, available in Final Cut Pro Help.

Importing from a Sony VDU

Final Cut Pro allows you to import media stored on a Sony Video Disk Unit (VDU). These hard disk–based devices are typically connected to a camcorder during production, so a copy of your footage can be recorded directly to disk. When shooting is finished, you can efficiently import your media from the VDU instead of your original tapes.

For more information about using this device, see Professional Formats and Workflows, available in Final Cut Pro Help.

About Media File Optimization

Final Cut Pro captures and writes media files to maximize the number of simultaneous streams and real-time effects during playback. Video streams are defined in terms of the number of simultaneous media files that can be read from your scratch disk, and do not necessarily correspond to the number of video tracks in your sequence. For example, you may have ten tracks in a sequence, but if the clip in the topmost track covers all the others, only one video stream plays from the scratch disk.

In rare cases, Final Cut Pro alerts you if imported media files cannot be optimized for multiple-stream, real-time playback. These files are perfectly fine to use in your Final Cut Pro project. Unless you are editing with multiple uncompressed video streams that demand maximum media file performance, you can usually leave the files as they are and continue editing normally. Since Final Cut Pro always optimizes files when capturing, simply recapturing should maximize the file’s performance.

Note: If you are editing standard definition DV captured in Final Cut Pro, your media files are already optimized.

Final Cut Pro may not automatically optimize the following:

  • Media files captured or created with a third-party codec not supported by Final Cut Pro

  • Some media files captured in early versions of Final Cut Pro

To turn off the non-optimized media warning when importing files into Final Cut Pro
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > User Preferences.

  2. Click the General tab.

  3. Deselect “Warn when importing non-optimized media.”

Final Cut Pro will no longer warn you when it discovers a media file that it cannot automatically optimize.