Import from tape-based cameras

You can import media from a tape-based camcorder or tape-based device. To determine which clips you want to import (rather than importing all of them), you can view them using Final Cut Pro before you import them.

Final Cut Pro supports tape-based import of the following formats: DV (including DVCAM, DVCPRO, and DVCPRO50), DVCPRO HD, and HDV.

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

Import media from a tape-based camcorder or device

  1. Connect the camcorder to your computer using the cable that came with it, and configure your device for remote control over FireWire, if necessary.

    If your computer does not have a FireWire port but does have a Thunderbolt port, you can connect the FireWire cable using an Apple Thunderbolt to FireWire Adapter or an Apple ThunderBolt Display (which also has a FireWire port).

    Note: For best results when importing from a tape-based camcorder, it is recommended that you import the video using the same camcorder that you used to record it.

  2. Turn on the camcorder and set it to VTR or VCR mode. (This mode may have a different name on your camera. For more information, see the documentation that came with your camcorder.)

  3. In Final Cut Pro, 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

    The Media Import window appears.

  4. If you have multiple devices connected to your computer, choose the device you want to import from in the list of cameras on the left.

    The Media Import window displays the image from the current position of the tape.

    Media Import window displaying tape timecode position
  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 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. Use the playback controls (or use the J, K, and L keys) to set your tape to the point where you want to begin importing, and click Import.

    Final Cut Pro begins importing immediately from the current location on the tape. It will continue to import (and save the resulting media file to the event you specified) until one of the following occurs:

    • It reaches the end of the tape.

    • The hard disk you are importing to is full.

    • You stop the import session by clicking Stop Import or Close (to close the Media Import window) or by pressing Escape.

    The video plays as it’s being imported. It takes as long to import the video as it takes to watch it at normal speed.

  8. When the section of video you want to import has been imported, click Stop Import (or press Escape).

    If you selected any options in step 8, Final Cut Pro transcodes and optimizes the files after the import process is complete. You can view the progress of the background tasks in the Background Tasks window.

  9. Use the import controls to set your video to a point where you want to begin importing again, and repeat steps 5 through 8.

  10. When you’re done importing, click Close to close the Media Import window.

You can also create an archive from your tape-based device, recording everything on the tape from beginning to end and saving the captured clips as an archive. For more information, see Create and manage camera archives.