Example File-Based Media Workflow

The process of transferring file-based media is similar to capturing tape-based footage using the Log and Capture window, although it is often much faster because you avoid the inconveniences of tape. After you record your media using a device such as a Panasonic P2, XDCAM, or AVCHD camcorder, you can connect the device to your computer and transfer the media into Final Cut Pro using the Log and Transfer window. Here is an example workflow to get you started using the Log and Transfer window to transfer your recorded media into a Final Cut Pro project.

  1. Stage 1: Backing Up Your File-Based Media

    After a shoot, your footage is basically recorded as files, often stored in a specific hierarchy of folders. As with any computer files, you should first back up the media onto a storage device for safekeeping. You then always have access to your original source media should you need to replace lost clips or conform your source media to a transcoded edit of the media files later.

  2. Stage 2: Choosing a Scratch Disk and Logging Bin

    The scratch disk you choose in this stage is where your digital video will be captured and edited, and where the project’s render files will be stored. The logging bin is where all the clips that are logged or captured are stored.

  3. Stage 3: Mounting Media Volumes on Your Computer

    Depending on your camcorder or storage device, you may need to connect the device directly to your computer using a FireWire or USB connection. See your camcorder documentation for instructions on transferring the files to your computer.

  4. Stage 4: Mounting Media Volumes in the Log and Transfer Window

    After choosing the scratch disk and logging bin, you can begin the log and transfer process by opening the Log and Transfer window.

  5. Stage 5: Choosing a Destination Codec

    If the format you are ingesting is not natively supported by Final Cut Pro, you need to choose a format to transcode your media to. For more information, see Professional Formats and Workflows, available in Final Cut Pro Help.

  6. Stage 6: Selecting Clips and Adding Logging Information

    After selecting the clips you want to transfer, you can add a variety of logging information, including reel, shot/take and angle information, and log notes.

  7. Stage 7: Transferring Media

    In this stage, you add the clips you selected to the Transfer Queue in the Log and Transfer window. Once the clips are in the Transfer Queue, Final Cut Pro processes the files, creating QuickTime media files located on your scratch disk, and creating the corresponding clips associated with those files in the logging bin.

    For more information about logging file-based media, see Logging File-Based Media. For step by step instructions for transferring files, see Transferring File-Based Media.

Understanding the Relationship Between Folders, Volumes, and Reels

There are some important differences between working with file-based media and working with footage stored on tape. Camcorders that record file-based media usually store media as files organized in folders. When you transfer your media to a media storage device for your computer to read, you transfer the entire folder holding the source media.

A typical file-based media folder may hold several types of files associated with each shot of footage, including the video, audio, and other files such as XML files. To transfer your media to your computer, you should transfer the entire folder that the file-based media is recorded in. Although the folder may look like any standard folder in your Finder, it’s recommended that you not change the contents of the folder in any way, because the access and playback of the files often require the exact filenames and hierarchy of folders that the camcorder originally created them with. So opening a folder of your source media and changing filenames or sub-folder names can have unexpected results, and may make files unusable.

After a shoot, it’s recommended that you immediately back up the folder of source media for safekeeping. Once you have a copy made, you can then copy the folder to your computer and ingest the media into a Final Cut Pro project.

At the point of backing up your source media folder, you can take a first critical step in logging your media. It’s recommended that you rename the source media folder with an easily identifiable reel name. Although there are no actual reels used with file-based media, assigning a reel name to each source media folder creates a basic organization for your source footage, clips, and media files that will make retrieving and accessing files more efficient later. For more information about choosing a useful reel-naming scheme, see Choosing Reel Names for Folders of File-based Media.

When you copy your source media folder to your computer, Final Cut Pro identifies this folder as a volume. You use the Log and Transfer window to open a volume of source media in order to transfer the media files into your project and create clips. The name of your source media folder appears in the Volume column in the Browser area of the Log and Transfer window. If you have applied a reel name to the source media folder, you can check the Volume column to see the reel location of your source media.

As you log clips, Final Cut Pro uses the volume name as the reel name logged with clips and media files. Therefore, if you have applied a reel name to your source media folder, your source folder name, the volume name, and logged reel name are all the same. For example, if you give a source media folder the reel name, 001 Camera 1, you can mount the 001 Camera 1 folder as a volume and as you log clips, the reel name associated with each clip and media file is 001 Camera 1. You then have a clear path for tracking source footage, clips, and media files logged with the same reel name.

Note: REDCODE media requires a slightly different procedure. For more information, see “Working with REDCODE Media” in Professional Formats and Workflows, available in Final Cut Pro Help.