Import from a hard disk

You can import media—video, audio, still images, and graphics files—from your computer’s hard disk, a connected external storage device, a memory card inserted in your computer’s card slot or a card reader, or a network attached volume. You can import media using the Media Import window or by dragging files from the Finder.

When you drag media from the Finder into Final Cut Pro, the media is imported using the import settings in Final Cut Pro preferences. If you don’t want to use the Media Import window to manage your import, and if you want to always use the same file storage, transcoding, keyword, and analysis settings, importing by dragging files into Final Cut Pro is a good option. For more information, see Import preferences.

Note: Some file-based devices allow you to copy the recorded media (with its original directory structure) to a folder on your computer’s hard disk via the Finder. To import media copied in this way, see Access media on an archive or disk image.

Import media from a hard disk using the Media Import window

  1. If the media you want to import is on an external storage device or memory card, connect the device to your computer and turn it on.

  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. In the Devices section on the left side of the Media Import window, select your computer’s hard disk or the connected external storage device or memory card from which you want to import media.

  4. Use the list view at the bottom of the window to navigate to a file or folder and select it. (When you import from a hard disk, filmstrips are visible for individual selected clips only.)

    Tip: Command-click to select multiple files or folders to import.

    Media Import window displaying media in selected folder
  5. Do any of the following:

    • To preview the selected clip: Play it using the playback controls or skim it by moving the pointer forward or backward over the filmstrip.

    • To change which hard disk to import from: Select the hard disk in the Devices section or select the location in the Favorites section.

    • To sort clips in list view by data such as duration, creation date, rating, keyword, and so on: Click the column headings at the top of list view.

    • To add folders of frequently used media to the Favorites section: Drag a folder from the list on the right to the Favorites section on the left.

      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.

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

    To learn more about events, see Organizing libraries overview.

  7. Choose a storage location for the media files:

    • To copy the files to the current library: Select “Copy to library” to duplicate the files and place the copies in the current library storage location. You can set the storage location for a library using the Library Properties inspector. For more information, see Manage storage locations.

      Note: The name of this option changes to “Copy to library storage location: location name“ when the current library is set to an external storage location.

    • To link to the files at their current location: Select “Leave files in place.”

      Note: If you select this option, Final Cut Pro creates symbolic links (also known as symlinks), which are special files that point to the media files. If you later copy or move clips between events, Final Cut Pro copies or moves the symbolic links only (not the source media files). To replace the symbolic links with the actual source media files, select the events and choose File > Consolidate Event Files. For more information about files and clips, see Media files and clips.

  8. If you want to organize your media, 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.

  9. When you’re ready to import, click Import Selected or Import All. (The Import button changes its name based on your clip selection.)

    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 starts to transcode and optimize 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.

    If you imported media from an external device and you chose to have Final Cut Pro copy the media files to the library file (rather than just link to them in their original location), you can disconnect the device when the background tasks are completed.

Import media by dragging from the Finder

Do one of the following:

  • Select a file, Command-click to select multiple files, or select a folder of files, and drag the file or files from the Finder to the event.

    The clip or clips appear in the event.

  • Select a file, Command-click to select multiple files, or select a folder of files and drag the file or files from the Finder to a Keyword Collection.

    The clip or clips appear in the event, and the keyword is automatically added to the clip or clips.

    Important: If you selected “From Finder tags” and “From folders” in the Keywords section of Final Cut Pro Import preferences, a Keyword Collection is created for each folder name and each tag, and the corresponding files are assigned that keyword.

  • Select a file or Command-click to select multiple files, and drag the file or files to a project in the Timeline.

    The clip or clips appear in the Timeline, and in the corresponding event.

The file or files are imported using your default import settings.