Importing from a File-Based Camera

Lesson Details

Subject: Editing

Title: Importing from a File-Based Camera


How to import your footage into FCP X from a tapeless camera.


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In this lesson, we’re going to look at how to import media into Final Cut Pro from a file-based, or tapeless camera. If you have a Tape Camera, please see our Importing Media from a Tape Camera lesson. To check to see if your camera is supported by Final Cut Pro, go the Help menu from within the Final Cut Pro application and choose “Supported Cameras.”

First, launch the Final Cut Pro application. Then choose an event where you want your imported files to go by clicking on it to select it. Next, turn your camera on and set it to PC Connect mode and connect it to your computer using the cable that came with your camera. This will likely be a USB cable.

Once Final Cut Pro sees that your camera is connected, the Import window should automatically open. If, for some reason, it doesn’t automatically open, simply click on the Import button to open the Media Import window.

The Media Import window has three main areas: A list of Cameras, Devices and locations along the left, A navigation window that lets you find and select the media that you want to import, and a preview window that lets you see and play your media before you import it.

Along the top left of this window you should see your camera listed. You’ll likely see a storage card icon and a camera icon that both have your camera’s name. The one with Camera icon should be the one you select.

When you’re camera is selected, you’ll see the individual clips that are on your camera appear in the main area of the camera import window. If you want to import all the clips from your camera, simply click on the Import All button in the bottom right corner. If you want to bring in only certain clips, you can click to highlight the ones that you’d like to import. Hold down the Command key to select multiple clips. Then click on the Import Selected button in the bottom right corner.

Once you’ve clicked on the Import All or Import Selected button, a window will open that gives you the option to add these clips to an already existing event, or to create a new event. If you want to add the clips to an existing event, choose that event from the Add to Existing Event pulldown menu. If you want to create a new event, click on the button next to where it says Create New Event, choose which Library you want it to be in and type in a name for your event.

You have the option to copy the files from your camera onto your computer by selecting “Copy To Library” or your can select the “Leave Files In Place” option. If you’re importing from a tapeless camera, you’ll want to be sure that “Copy To Library” is selected, or your media files that you import will disappear as soon as your camera is disconnected.

The “Leave Files In Place” is an option you might want to use if you’re importing files from an external hard drive that will stay connected to your computer while you work. Finally, you can select the relevant check boxes for transcoding, keywords or analyzing your media. If you decide not to check any of these, you can always analyze any of your clips later, if you’d like, from the Event Browser. When you’ve made all of your selections, click the Import button. By default, the Media Import window will close.

It’s important that you leave your camera connected, since Final Cut Pro still needs time to import and process each clip that you’ve selected to import. A nice feature is that you can begin to work with your clips while Final Cut Pro is working on the import process in the background.

To check the status of your import process, click on the Background Tasks button located at the center of the interface. As soon as all background importing is complete, and there are no more tasks in the Background Tasks window, it’s safe to disconnect your camera from your computer and turn your camera off.

© Michael Rosenblum & Lisa Lambden 2015