Final Cut Pro: Log and Transfer

Moving into the digital age was meant to be easy - especially for film editing. But advancing just a handful of codecs into a sea of multiple formats, and compressions gets a little up in your face - and that's even before you start editing!

Why after a while of these codecs being widely used by the many DSLR and video camera companies am I just bringing it up?

Well it came to my attention from some people I know who were editing on Final Cut Pro, were just copying footage from their memory cards, or internal hard drives and importing them directly into the programme to edit.

Their methods seemed are wrong - and in my opinion are wrong - but when I told them they didn't even know there was another way to use their digital footage.

That's when I handed them some AVCHD files - a jointly developed file type by both Sony and Panasonic.

The container of footage isn't wrapped in a Quicktime .mov file type, but rather in a .mts and .cpi extension that makes your computer (macOS or Windows) want to cry.

But the best part of this file type is that it is in fact a digital codec.

This is my stressing point, that even though your DSLR or video camera may wrap your files into a Quicktime Movie file, or MPEG-2 file type, and your computer can play them without transcoding doesn't mean that they still don't need to be.

And for this, I thank Sony and Panasonic for creating the AVCHD file system because it actually forces you to do the right thing.

How to edit digital footage

The main reason for this post - how to actually make your files from your DSLR or video camera work effortlessly and efficiently with Final Cut Pro (among other editing software).

  1. Copy you files into your external hard drive (where you will edit from). If your camera came with software to copy files, use it as in certain file structures some file types are hidden and won't copy otherwise
  2. Open Final Cut Pro, making sure your sequence is setup to match ProRes 442 (or your custom preferred compression method) which the Log and Transfer window will encode your footage into
  3. Go to File > Log and Transfer
  4. In the new window that pops up, select the Add Folder and navigate to the folder you copied to your hard drive in step 1. Open the folder, and Final Cut Pro will list all the video files in the folder
  5. At this point, the window works similar to the Log and Capture window. Select the clip, change the name, reel info, scene number, take number, angle, and whether it is a good shot or not
  6. When you have completed that for each individual clip, you can add them to the Render Queue

You can also add to the Render Queue after each clip, rather than batching at the end. This can save time, if you don't want to wait at the end.


As always in my walkthroughs, I provide a simple PDF document you can print out to have handy with you.

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