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Transferring projects from Final Cut Pro 7 to Final Cut Pro X

Since Apple have opened up Final Cut Pro X with their new FCPXML interchange format, we are pleased to announce full integration between CatDV Pro and FCP X.

Using CatDV as a translation tool, you can now transfer clips and sequences from your old Final Cut Pro 7 projects over to FCP X:

First, open up your project in Final Cut Pro 7 (Final Cut Pro 6 is also supported). Select all the clips and sequences in your browser and use the File > Export > XML command, then choose a file name to export to.

Next, you'll open this .xml file in CatDV Pro, either by using File > Import As > Final Cut XML File or by dragging the file into a CatDV window. (As a shortcut, you can combine both these steps into one using CatDV's "magic door" into FCP. Go to the "Final Cut Projects" node in CatDV's tree navigator, then right click on the project you want to import and choose "Add to catalog".)

Once you import the Final Cut Pro 7 XML file into CatDV you will see the clips and sequences from your Final Cut project. If you're working with anything other than very simple sequences you may want to check CatDV's "Extra tracks & sequences (from audio tracks etc.)" option in the "Final Cut & Sequences" section of Preferences first, otherwise only V1/A1 are transferred over.

Double click on the sequence you are interested in to bring it up in CatDV's sequence editor and check that it was imported correctly. You can also use the sequence editor to make adjustments or create your own rough cut sequence from within CatDV if required:

Finally, to send data from CatDV to Final Cut Pro X, select the clip(s) you want to export and choose File > Export As > Final Cut Pro X XML File. You can either export a single sequence (which will result in a new project in FCP X) or a list of master clips (which will result in a new event) but note that an FCPXML file can only contain one or the other, not both. If you export a sequence, however, then all the clips that it depends on will be automatically transferred at the same time too.

Using the Export command and choosing a name for the .fcpxml file gives you more control over the process (for example, if FCP X is running on another machine, or if you want to process further FCP 7 projects). Alternatively, if FCP X is already running on that machine, you can use the Send To Final Cut Pro X command to save the .fcpxml file in a temporary directory and automatically open it in FCP X.

If FCP X is not already running, quit Final Cut Pro 7 and launch Final Cut Pro X. (Although you can have both versions of Final Cut installed on the same machine, you can't have both running at the same time.) Choose File > Import > XML from the FCP X menu and open the .fcpxml file you just exported.

If you exported a sequence from CatDV this will create a new project in FCP X, together with a new event with the same name containing the master clips used in that sequence. Alternatively, if you exported individual clips from CatDV this will create a new event in FCP X containing just those clips, together with their metadata.

You can then open the new project or event and continue working with it in Final Cut Pro X:

Your original media files, as used in FCP 7 and CatDV, can reside anywhere on your file system. Depending on your "Copy files to Final Cut Events folder" Import setting in FCP X Preferences the files will either be used where they are or copies will be made.

Currently, because of differences in how FCP 7 and FCP X describe clips and handle timelines, there are some limitations as to what data you can transfer over to Final Cut Pro X:

  • A basic "cuts only" sequence is moved across. Titles, transitions and other special effects or filters, including detailed handling of certain multi-channel audio files, are not fully supported and may need to be reapplied. Timing is preserved however.
  • Most regular clips that come from a single .mov or .mp4 movie file, as well as subclips, simple stills and audio clips, are copied across. Complex clips such as multiclips, sequences within sequences, P2 mxf files, or image sequences are not fully supported in most cases.
  • Clip name, media path, timecode, log notes, and markers are copied across, but other metadata (such as reel number, description, label, angle, marker category, and CatDV user-defined fields) is not supported in the .fcpxml file format at this time.

Despite these minor restrictions, using Final Cut Pro X's new XML capabilities you can now easily migrate projects over without having to recreate them from scratch. Clips in other tracks are even automatically linked to the relevant clip in the main track, so you get full benefit of Final Cut Pro X's magnetic timeline in any subsequent editing.

You can also transfer data the other way, by exporting XML from FCP X and importing that into CatDV.

Using CatDV and FCP X together lets you support the same sort of advanced multiuser workflows you were used to before, such as cross-platform logging and rough cut sequence editing, proxy editing, automated workflows, and more.

Further, if you have an existing Final Cut Server database, then CatDV's new FCS Migration Tool provides an easy way to import your existing assets together with their metadata into CatDV and from there to Final Cut Pro X, providing similar advanced capabilities to those you were used to using Final Cut Server.

To use the new FCPXML interchange capability you should be using CatDV Pro 9.0.2 or later and Final Cut Pro X 10.0.1 or later.