Import from file-based cameras

File-based camcorders and cameras can record video, audio, and still images. These kinds of devices, which record to flash-based storage media, hard disk drives (HDD), and so on, usually connect to your computer via a Thunderbolt or USB cable. Some devices have removable memory cards that you can insert into your computer instead.

If your file-based device provides a clip-spanning feature, you can import all of the media as one spanned clip.

To check whether your camera is compatible with Final Cut Pro, go to the following support page: Final Cut Pro X Supported Cameras.

Import from a file-based camcorder, camera, or device

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Connect your camcorder, camera, or device to your computer, using the cable that came with the device, and turn it on.

      If you’re using a camcorder, set it to PC Connect mode. (The name of this transfer mode may be different on your device.) Your camcorder may automatically go into “connect” mode if you turn it on in playback mode while it’s connected to your computer. For more information, see the documentation that came with your camcorder.

      Note: Connecting a DVD camcorder to your Mac can cause the DVD Player application to open. If that happens, simply close DVD Player.

    • Remove the memory card from your camcorder or device and insert it into the card slot on your Mac (if it has one) or into an external card reader.

      For more information about memory cards, see About memory cards and cables.

    Note: Some cameras require that you download and install an additional software plug-in. For more information, see the documentation that came with your camera.

  2. To open the Media Import window, do one of the following:

    • Choose File > Import > Media (or press Command-I).

    • Click the Import Media button on the left end of the toolbar.

      Import Media button in toolbar
  3. If necessary, select your camcorder, camera, or device from the Cameras section on the left.

    The Media Import window displays the media on your device. You can play back your media using the playback controls or skim it by moving the pointer forward or backward over a filmstrip.

    Media Import window displaying media on connected device

    Note: By default, the Media Import window is set to show only video clips, but you can display only photos or both video clips and photos using the pop-up menu in the middle-right area of the window.

  4. Do any of the following:

    • To change which device to import from: Click the device in the Cameras section.

    • To change the way the clips appear: Click the Clip Appearance button in the bottom-right corner of the Media Import window.

    • To switch between filmstrip view and list view: Click the List View and Filmstrip View buttons at the bottom of the Media Import window. (Connected file-based cameras and camera archives only.)

      Note: When you select a clip in list view, a filmstrip for the selected clip appears at the top of the Browser. The filmstrip is fully interactive, allowing access to start and end points, markers, and keywords.

    • To sort clips in list view by data such as duration, creation date, rating, keyword, file type, and so on: Click the column headings at the top of list view. For more information about list view, see Import from a hard disk.

    • To add folders of frequently used media to the Favorites section: Drag them from list view.

      To remove a folder from the Favorites section, Control-click the folder and choose Remove from Sidebar in the shortcut menu.

    • To automatically close the Media Import window when the import begins: Select the “Close window after starting import” checkbox.

    • To add a folder to the list view by dragging: Drag the folder from the Finder to the list view and browse its contents in list view.

  5. Use the settings on the right side of the Media Import window to choose how you want to organize the imported media in your library:

    • To add the imported clips to an existing event: Select “Add to existing event,” and choose the event from the pop-up menu.

    • To create a new event: Select “Create new event in,” use the pop-up menu to choose the library in which you want to create the event, and then type a name (for example, “Chris and Kim Wedding”) in the text field.

    To learn more about events, see Organizing libraries overview.

    Note: You can set storage locations for each of your libraries using the Library Properties inspector. For more information, see Manage storage locations.

  6. If you want to create optimized or proxy media, analyze the video, or analyze the audio, select the relevant checkboxes in the Transcoding, Keywords, Video, and Audio sections.

    If you don’t set Final Cut Pro to analyze your media during the import process, you can analyze it later (if necessary) in the Browser.

    Note: Some import options are available only when you import files from a storage device. For more information, see Organize files while importing and Import from a hard disk.

  7. Do one of the following:

    • To import all clips: Click Import All.

    • To import only some of the clips: Select each clip you want to import by Command-clicking it, and click Import Selected (the Import button changes its name).

      Tip: To select several clips located together, drag a selection rectangle around the clips.

    • To import portions of clips: Drag inside the filmstrip to select the range that you want, and click Import Selected. You can also select multiple ranges in each clip. For more information, see Select a range.

      Tip: You can also select a clip, press the Space bar to play the clip, and press either I to set a start point or O to set an end point.

    By default, the Media Import window closes when you click Import. You can begin working with your clips in the Browser. Final Cut Pro imports your media in the background.

    If you selected any options in the previous step, Final Cut Pro transcodes and optimizes the files after the import process is complete. You can view the progress of the import and other background tasks in the Background Tasks window.

  8. When background tasks are completed, disconnect the camcorder, camera, or device.

You can create an archive from your file-based or tape-based camera or device. For more information, see Create and manage camera archives.

Reimport a clip

Two situations warrant reimporting a clip:

  • If the clip was not completely imported: If you cancel or quit Final Cut Pro before an import is finished, a Camera icon appears on the bottom-left corner of the clip. This icon indicates that Final Cut Pro is using the media on the camera for playback (instead of using the QuickTime file that was created during import).

    Camera icon on partially imported clip

    To play a clip with a Camera icon, Final Cut Pro locates the media on either a connected camera or in a connected, available camera archive. (See Access media on an archive or disk image for more information.) If Final Cut Pro can’t locate the media in one of those locations, the clip will go offline and display the Missing Camera alert icon.

  • If the clip’s source media file is not available: If a clip’s source media file is moved or deleted, or the volume it is located on is disconnected from the computer, a Missing File icon is displayed on the clip. To restore the clip, you can reimport it.

See Alert icons for more information about alert icons.

When you reimport a clip, Final Cut Pro automatically connects to the necessary camera or camera archive. There is no need to manually mount a camera archive before reimporting.

  1. Do one of the following:

    • Connect the camera that contains the clip to your computer, and turn it on. This will bring the clip online, but the clip will still display the Camera icon in the lower-left corner.

    • Insert the memory card that contains the clip in your computer or connected card reader.

      See About memory cards and cables for more information.

    • Make sure the camera archive that contains the clip is located in one of the Final Cut Pro camera archives.

      See Create and manage camera archives for more information.

  2. In Final Cut Pro, do one of the following:

    • To reimport one clip: Select the clip in the Browser.

    • To reimport all clips in an event: Select the event in the Libraries list.

  3. Choose File > Import > Reimport from Camera/Archive.

The clip or clips are reimported.