How to Import and Organize Your Footage
Export Organize Footage Fcpx Cover.jpg

Let's get to the basics. This first installment of the FCPX Essentials describes the ways you can import and export footage in Final Cut Pro.

In our FCPX Essentials series, we're going to look at some of the basic and most important features of FCPX. Whether you are a brand new editor or a seasoned veterinarian transitioning to the program, these videos will give you a basic understanding of the program. We'll look at the unique design and layout. We will learn how to import, edit, cut and deploy a project in FCPX.

This is not necessarily a master class. Additionally, it is an entry-level approach to explore and lay the foundations for your professional journey within the program as a filmmaker and editor.

Why Final Cut?

Final Cut is one of the best professional editing programs out there. If you're using a Mac, this is probably the fastest, most efficient, and nonlinear editing software you can get. Many people edit it simply because of its intuitiveness, organizational skills, and speed.

Personally, I learned how to edit in Final Cut Pro 7. Because of this, the program always had a sense of nostalgia for me. After switching to Premiere for a few years, I was back in the program.

FCPX got off to a tumultuous start in 2011, but the NLE has bounced back and has become a respected editorial powerhouse. Check out the full-length documentary, Off the Tracks, about Apple's transition from Final Cut Pro 7 to Final Cut Pro X.

What do i need to get started?

FCPX is Apple exclusive software, so you will need a Mac. Fortunately, and because of this, Apple was able to tweak the effectiveness and speed of the program to deliver the best program possible. The program is offered on the App Store for $ 300, but an educational discount is offered.

We start learning by understanding the interface and terminology used in FCPX. We first learn how to open one Library, Create a event, Import footage, then edit within a Project. First, we'll look at the various terms in FCPX and how they relate to Premiere.


Every project within FCPX starts with a library. For a Premiere user, think of libraries as the same thing as projects. Every unique project in the real world starts with a library, or essentially your master collection of footage. Libraries are where you get your files and start working. It is the base or location for your footage.


The next level in the FCPX organizational hierarchy is events. Events most closely resemble folders in FCPX. They serve as a means of organizing and categorizing your footage. For example, if you need a dedicated b-roll folder made up of a specific person, start by using Events to organize and sort the footage in an everyday area.

Ultimately, Events helps an editor to quickly understand a larger project through organization.


In the Premiere world, projects are essentially just sequences. You can categorize your projects the way that suits you best. For example, you might only want one project for your entire video. Or you might want separate projects for each individual event folder where you edit all of your selections together.

Now that we understand how libraries (a.k.a. projects in Premiere language) are organized in FCPX, we can import our footage.

How to import

We can import our footage in a number of ways. We can choose either File> ImportPress the icon for importing footage or just press Command + I.. This will open our import window. The import window offers a variety of options to choose from. For today we will Leave the files in place since we already have them on an external drive.

On ImportYou can also choose whether to create proxies for your imported files. With FCPX 10.4.9 the creation of proxies for your project has been significantly improved. For our purpose today, we're going to make H.264 fifty percent. When you're done, press Import.

You will quickly be returned to your editing screen. However, at the top left you can see the icons for your background tasks. This is where all of your proxies will be rendered in the background while you continue working and editing your project.

This concludes our first tour of FCPX. We learned about the organizational structure of FCPX, the libraries, events and projects, and how to import footage. In our next lesson, we'll learn the basics of cutting your own footage in Final Cut.

Cover picture via Joanne Laskey.


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