Importing EDLs

Importing EDLs into Final Cut Pro is becoming less common as more full-featured project interchange formats are supported. However, if you are reediting a project from an older, linear editing system, or you are having trouble exchanging sequence information using other project interchange formats, you can use an EDL to transfer basic edit information into Final Cut Pro.

Limitations of Importing EDLs

Not everything that can be done in another editing application shows up in an EDL imported into Final Cut Pro. If you export an EDL from another editing application, the following elements are excluded:

  • Filters

  • Motion parameters and keyframes

  • Any audio tracks above the first four tracks

  • Non-SMPTE standard video transitions

The above items aren’t directly part of an exported EDL, but you can export them as notes for reference.

Important: Only one video track is included, although key events on another track may be included also.

Importing EDLs into Final Cut Pro

You can import an EDL into Final Cut Pro to re-create an edit from another nonlinear system or re-create an older sequence originally cut on a tape-to-tape linear system. An imported EDL becomes an offline sequence in your project, accompanied by a bin containing master clips which correspond to all the clips in that sequence. This bin is named Master clips for [Sequence Name]. To re-create the sequence, you can batch capture the master clips or select the sequence and batch capture all of its sequence clips.

Important: If you name hard disks and folders with double-byte (or 16-bit) characters (such as characters used for the Japanese language), Final Cut Pro may not be able to either import or export EDLs. To avoid this problem, import from or export to disks and folders with names that do not contain double-byte characters.

To import an Edit Decision List
  1. Choose File > Import > EDL.

  2. Specify your import options, then click OK.

    Figure. Import Options dialog.
  3. Locate and select the EDL, then click Open.

    When you import an EDL, a sequence is created in your current project tab, along with a bin that contains master clips for the clips in the sequence.

    Note: When you import a Sony 5000 EDL, the title of the created sequence is “Untitled.”

Problems Importing EDL Files

If you’re having a problem importing an EDL file, check the format of the text file. Final Cut Pro does not support importing RTF text files. If you have an RTF file you need to import, open it in a text editing application such as TextEdit, and save it as a plain text document.

Settings and Options in the EDL Import Dialog

This section describes the options in the EDL Import dialog.

  • Select Preset: This determines the settings of the newly created sequence and the clips within that sequence. Usually, you should choose a sequence preset that corresponds to the format of your source tapes that you plan to recapture from.
  • Import For: Choose an option from the pop-up menu.
    • Recapture: Choose this option if you’re importing an EDL from a tape-to-tape linear editing system or a non-QuickTime standard nonlinear editing system. This makes the recaptured clip names unique and adds handles before and after the clips during capture. You can change the handle size.
    • Reconnect: Choose this option if you already have the media files on disk and simply want to link the sequence to them. This is useful if you’ve imported an EDL and also transferred QuickTime media files to your editing system. This option keeps clip names in the same order to make relinking easier. You cannot create handles if you are reconnecting media, since no new media is being created.
    • Custom: Choose this option to specify handle size and unique clip names.
  • Handle Size: Specify the number of additional frames you want to capture on either side of each clip. You should always add handles when recapturing media from an imported EDL because it gives you more flexibility for trimming edit points, adding dissolves, and so on.

    Note: You cannot set handles when you choose Reconnect because the media files are already on your disk and are not being captured.

  • Make File Names Unique: Select this option if you are recapturing clips so no two media files have the same name. Deselect this option if you are reconnecting to media files that are already on disk.

How Clips from an EDL Are Named

Clips imported from an EDL are named in one of two ways. If the EDL was exported from a nonlinear system, the name is exported like this:


where CLIP NAME HERE is the name of your clip. Final Cut Pro can recognize clip names exported from the following nonlinear editing systems: Final Cut Pro, Media 100, and Avid.

Important: Avid EDLs that use 24 audio tracks are not supported.

In all other cases, Final Cut Pro uses the reel name as the clip name. Dissolves and wipes are mapped to the appropriate transitions following the basic SMPTE set. Key edits are imported as well.

Final Cut Pro places markers in the imported sequence where errors occur.

Master Clips Created from EDLs

When an EDL is imported, a new bin is created in the Browser named Master Clips for [Sequence Name]. This bin contains master clips corresponding to each piece of media used by the sequence created from the EDL. Therefore, all the clips in the sequence are affiliate clips, not independent clips. For more information about master, affiliate, and independent clips, see Working with Master and Affiliate Clips.

Recapturing Clips from an Imported EDL

Unless you already have the corresponding media files on your hard disk, the offline clips in the new sequence must be recaptured. To do this, you select the sequence or the master clips and then batch capture. For more information, see Capturing Video from Tape.

Note: You need all the original source tapes associated with the EDL before starting the capture process.

Figure. Timeline window showing offline clips and red render bar.