Manage optimized and proxy media files
Final Cut Pro can play back many media formats. For a complete list, see Supported media formats. Final Cut Pro also provides options for transcoding your media (converting it to a different format or changing its settings) to make it suitable for editing.
Create optimized media: This option transcodes video to the Apple ProRes 422 codec format, which provides better performance during editing, faster render times, and better color quality for compositing. If the original camera format can be edited with good performance, this option is dimmed.
Create proxy media: This option creates video and still-image proxy files. Video is transcoded to the Apple ProRes 422 Proxy codec format, which provides high-quality files useful for offline editing at the original frame size, frame rate, and aspect ratio. Final Cut Pro creates medium-quality (one-half resolution) proxy versions that increase editing performance. Video proxy files often take up considerably less storage space than optimized files, which can allow you to work on a portable computer instead of a desktop computer with significantly more memory and processing power. Still images are transcoded to either JPEG (if the original file doesn’t have alpha channel information) or PNG files (if the file has alpha channel information). Still-image proxy files facilitate faster processing and rendering when the original image is very large.
You can create optimized and proxy media during the import process or in the Browser, after the media has been imported. You can also create a proxy file for a clip using the Info inspector. After transcoding is complete, the optimized and proxy files are stored in your Final Cut Pro library or in an external location you define in the Library inspector. For more information, see Manage storage locations.
To control whether Final Cut Pro displays optimized, proxy, or original media in the Viewer, and whether video playback is optimized for quality or performance, choose the corresponding options from the Viewer Options pop-up menu in the upper-right corner of the Viewer. For more information, see Control playback quality and performance.
Important: If you use proxy media for playback, make sure to switch back to optimized/original media before sharing your project. This ensures the highest quality in the exported file. For more information, see Share projects, clips, and ranges.
Create optimized and proxy files during import
During import, Final Cut Pro either creates an alias file that points to the media file in its original location, or creates a copy of the original media file. After the files are imported, transcoding, optimization, and analysis are performed in the background.
Do one of the following:
To import a file from a compatible file-based recording or storage device, or from your computer: Connect your device to your computer, turn on the device, choose File > Import > Media (or press Command-I), and then navigate to and select the media you want to import.
To import a file from a tape-based camcorder: Connect your device to your computer, turn on the device and set it to VTR or VCR mode, and then choose File > Import > Media.
To import from an archive: Choose File > Import > Media, select a camera archive from the list on the left, click Open Archive, and then navigate to the files you want to import.
For more information, see Importing overview.
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 media 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.
In the Files section, 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 storage locations for each of your libraries using the Library Properties inspector. For more information, see Manage storage locations.
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.
Select one or both of the transcoding options.
Final Cut Pro will transcode the files in the background, after the import process is complete.
Click Import Selected or Import All (the Import button changes its name based on your clip selection).
The import may take a while, depending on the option you selected in step 3. You can see the status of all the background processes currently running in the Background Tasks window.
Create optimized and proxy files after import
Control-click one or more clips in the Browser and choose Transcode Media from the shortcut menu.
In the window that appears, select the “Create optimized media” checkbox, the “Create proxy media” checkbox, or both, and click OK.
Note: If the original camera format can be edited with good performance, the “Create optimized media” option is dimmed.
The transcoding process may take a while, depending on the options you select. You can see the status of all the background processes currently running in the Background Tasks window.
Note: MP3 audio files from projects created with versions of Final Cut Pro earlier than 10.0.4 can be manually transcoded to WAV audio files using this process.
Create optimized and proxy files when importing by dragging
When you drag media from the Finder into an event or the Timeline in Final Cut Pro, it is automatically organized, transcoded, and analyzed based on the import settings that you specify in Final Cut Pro preferences.
To specify import settings, choose Final Cut Pro > Preferences, click Import, and select the import settings you want to apply to your media.
For detailed information about import settings, see Import preferences.
To import one or more files, select a file (or Command-click multiple files) in the Finder and drag the selection to the Timeline or to an event in the Libraries list.
Generate a proxy file from the Info inspector
You can create a proxy file for a clip using the Info inspector. You can check to see whether a proxy file exists for a clip by viewing the clip’s information in the Info inspector. If the file you’re viewing in the Info inspector doesn’t have a proxy file, you see a red triangle.
Select a clip in the Browser.
To open the Info inspector, click the Inspector button in the toolbar (shown below), and click the Info button at the top of the pane that appears.
Scroll down to the File Information section of the Info inspector, and click the Generate Proxy button.
The proxy file is created, and a green circle appears next to the proxy item in the Available Media Representations section, indicating that the proxy file for the clip is available.
To control whether Final Cut Pro displays the proxy media in the Viewer, choose an option from the Viewer Options pop-up menu in the upper-right corner of the Viewer. For more information, see Control playback quality and performance.
Delete optimized or proxy files
You can delete optimized or proxy media files at any time, no matter where they are stored. Original media files are not deleted, so you can always regenerate optimized and proxy files from the original media.
Do one of the following:
To delete optimized or proxy files for one or more projects: In the Browser, select one or more projects.
To delete optimized or proxy files for a library: Select a library in the Libraries list.
Choose File > Delete Generated [item] Files.
In the window that appears, select any of the following:
Delete Optimized Media
Delete Proxy Media
The selected files are deleted from your storage device.
Note: The Delete Generated Library Files command is unique among media management commands in Final Cut Pro in that it affects external media as well as managed media (in the library).