More Questions Raised by the Final Cut Pro X FAQ


Apple just posted an FAQ document that addresses the top questions. This is a certainly step in the right direction (open communication always is). I respectively submit my commentary and additional questions to respect additional clarification.

Gary Adcock contributed to this article and added clarification.

Readers, please add to this list in the comments section.


Can I import projects from Final Cut Pro 7 into Final Cut Pro X?

“Final Cut Pro X includes an all-new project architecture structured around a trackless timeline and connected clips. In addition, Final Cut Pro X features new and redesigned audio effects, video effects, and color grading tools. Because of these changes, there is no way to “translate” or bring in old projects without changing or losing data. But if you’re already working with Final Cut Pro 7, you can continue to do so after installing Final Cut Pro X, and Final Cut Pro 7 will work with Mac OS X Lion. You can also import your media files from previous versions into Final Cut Pro X.”

  • If we are willing to lose some data, what could be imported?
  • Can we import the bin structure of a project to use existing organization?
  • You say that there is no way to translate or bring in old projects. Can we definitely take this that there will be no way now or ever?

Gary thinks that the question becomes how much can be brought in and how much of the previous structure is not translatable to the new app. Gary thinks that it should be possible to import the media files into a FCP X event. Folders and subfolders could carry over the existing naming conventions and folder nesting as Smart Collections and use the folder structure to achieve hierarchy via keywording.

Can I import my video directly into Final Cut Pro X as I could in Final Cut Pro 7?

“Yes. Final Cut Pro X allows you to import video from a wide range of devices, including many AVCHD-based cameras and DSLR cameras. You can find a list of supported cameras here: The list will grow as we continue to test and qualify new cameras.”

  • We also use decks to ingest media too, what about them?
  • Any plans for device control for decks and standard protocols?

Gary thinks that third-party tools will be required for acquisition and playback of tape-based media, and are not yet available. He feels that Log and Capture is gone. Options like serial control will be in the hands of the hardware manufacturers.

  • How about third party capture cards?
  • What about Firewire based capture devices like the AJA IO HD?

Gary says that there is billion dollar ecosystem built around Final Cut Pro. He feels confident that there will be devices and they will be able to do more that output a Mirrored Desktop signal. He is of the opinion that this is the number one priority at this time for Apple. However he wants that just like how most three year old capture cards do not work with FCPX, users should not expect older capture hardware will likely need to be replaced too.

"Some camera manufacturers will need to update their import plug-ins to work with the new 64-bit architecture of Final Cut Pro, and we are working with them to provide these updates as quickly as possible. Until then, you can use your camera manufacturer’s import software to convert video for Final Cut Pro X."

  • Which manufacturers are you working with?

"For example, Sony offers an XDCAM Transfer application that allows you to convert XDCAM video without transcoding so it can be imported into Final Cut Pro X. You can find more information here: If you are working with RED cameras, you can use the free RED software REDCINE-X, designed to transcode RED RAW video to ProRes for use in Final Cut Pro X:”

  • What if we don’t want to transcode to ProRes (defeats the purpose of Raw workflow for many)?
  • What about Arri Alexa?
  • How about camera raw formats for time-lapse?
  • Any plans to recognize the advanced metadata created by high end cameras? Many use FCP7 XML side car files, how do we access this data?

Gary points out that Raw is a viable workflow for many users, however, that long form or documentary projects have always done the Online / Offline process to keep the overall media size somewhat manageable.


Can I edit my tape-based workflow with Final Cut Pro X?

"Yes, in a limited manner. Final Cut Pro X is designed for modern file-based workflows and does not include all the tape capture and output features that were built into Final Cut Pro 7. Final Cut Pro X does support FireWire import for DV, DVCPRO, DVCPRO 50, DVCPRO HD, and HDV. In addition, companies like AJA and Blackmagic offer free deck control software that allows you to capture from tape and output to tape."

  • Are you saying that anything to do with tape, outside DV and HDV, is up to third-parties?
  • What about other decks (such as those from Panasonic) that can use FireWire to pass DVCPRO and DVCPRO HD data?
  • What APIs have you opened up? In other words what features are possible if third-parties choose to use them?

Does Final Cut Pro X support multicam editing?

"Not yet, but it will. Multicam editing is an important and popular feature, and we will provide great multicam support in the next major release. Until then, Final Cut Pro X offers some basic support with automatic clip synchronization, which allows you to sync multiple video and audio clips using audio waveforms, creating a Compound Clip that can be used for simple multicam workflows."

  • By next major release, do you mean version 2?
  • Historically there has been approximately two years between major versions, can you comment on a timeline more specifically?
  • By simple multicam workflows , do you mean two angles?

Does Final Cut Pro X support external monitors?

"Yes. If you have a second computer monitor connected to your Mac, Final Cut Pro X gives you options to display the interface across multiple monitors. For example, you can place a single window — such as the Viewer or the Event Browser — on the second monitor, while leaving the other windows on your primary monitor. Like previous versions, Final Cut Pro X relies on third-party devices to support external video monitoring. We’ve been working with third-party developers in our beta program to create drivers for Final Cut Pro X, and AJA has already posted beta drivers for its popular Kona card:"

  • Will we be able to mirror that second window to two places?
  • What color space is that second monitor going to function in?
  • How can we view a true video signal on that external monitor?
  • Any plans to support a second computer monitor and an external video monitor at the same time?
  • Will devices like the AJA IO Express and IO HD as well as Matrox MXO line work for laptop users and those with limited card slots?

Can I save different versions of my project?

"Yes. Final Cut Pro X automatically saves your project during the editing process, so you never lose your work. If you want to save a version of your project, with or without duplicate media, select it in the Project Library and choose File > Duplicate Project."

  • Will I be able to choose a Restore command to go back to a specific point in time?
  • Can I set a control for how often FCPX saves? Currently it appears that the app is literally saving every keystroke and movement.
  • Can I view separate states of an autosave so I can choose to compare two versions of a project based upon their time stamp?

Are keyboard shortcuts in Final Cut Pro X different from those in Final Cut Pro 7?

"Many keyboard shortcuts for navigation, start/end marking, and tools are the same in Final Cut Pro X and Final Cut Pro 7. Some keyboard shortcuts have changed to support new features. Final Cut Pro X offers powerful keyboard customization, and you can view and modify keyboard shortcuts at any time by choosing Final Cut Pro > Commands > Customize."

  • Is there a way to save my settings to move to another machine?
  • How can a user backup their settings?

Can I use my third-party plug-ins in Final Cut Pro X?

"You’ll be able to use them as soon as they are updated. Because Final Cut Pro X has a modern 64-bit architecture, third-party plug-ins must be 64-bit too. Final Cut Pro X already supports 64-bit Audio Units plug-ins. For motion graphics, third-party developers can build effects, titles, transitions, and generators as templates in Motion 5 for use directly in Final Cut Pro X. Developers can also build 64-bit FxPlug 2 plug-ins for Motion 5, and integrate those plug-ins into templates that can be used in Final Cut Pro X. These templates, together with any associated FxPlug 2 plug-ins, will work in Final Cut Pro X even if Motion is not installed on the computer."

  • In the future, will you release the plugin specifications before the day of software release to give developers adequate time to develop? It is very inconvenient to keep having your tools break because of secrecy.
  • Is there a way to create a bundle installer as well as to protect the work if you develop effects or templates using Motion?
  • Will Apple offer a market place (or open the App store) to help distribute these effects?

Media Management

Can I specify a scratch disk location?

"Yes. When you import media, you can specify the Event and the drive where you’d like to put it. You can also specify where you’d like to put your project. In Final Cut Pro X, a project and its rendered media always travel together in the same folder, so it’s easy to move projects between different hard drives and computers."

  • Many prefer to keep projects on one drive and renders and media on another drive, is this workflow possible?

Currently the only choice seems to be to keep the render files and project files together, which can place a performance hit on your system drive. The alternative is to place your project files on the media drive which makes project recovery difficult after drive failure.

Can I share projects with other editors?

"Yes. You have several options for sharing projects. You can hand over just the project file, and the recipient can reconnect the project to his or her own copies of the Event. Or you can send the complete project and Event as a package to another editor. Final Cut Pro X includes options for duplicating, moving, and consolidating projects and associated media to streamline sharing between editors."

  • Will we gain the ability to trim unused media using handles? This allows a project to be consolidated to a smaller package.

Can I store media in locations other than my system drive?

"Yes. Turning off the “Copy files to Final Cut Events folder” option leaves the imported files where they are currently located. You can also move the project and associated media at any point during the editing process by dragging the project to another mounted hard drive within the Project Library."

  • Can we gain some easy setup options that make this simpler? I find that I need to take 11 steps in order to prevent transcoding. I must uncheck options for both import and automatic rendering?
  • When will we see support for many popular networked drives formats that are not HFS+? Many are also reporting issues with gigabit ethernet, please address?

Can I hide Events that I am not working on?

"Yes. You can hide Events in Final Cut Pro X by moving them out of the Final Cut Events folder. In the Finder, navigate to the /Users/username/Movies folder and create a new folder. Then move the Events you are not using out of the Final Cut Events folder and into your new folder. The moved Events will no longer appear in Final Cut Pro X. If your Events are located on an external drive, you can move the Events to a new folder on that drive, or you can simply unmount the drive."

  • Are you open to other options?
  • How about the traditional concept of a project file?
  • What about the approach of Apple Aperture which uses multiple libraries that can be easily switched between on import?


Can Final Cut Pro X export XML?

"Not yet, but we know how important XML export is to our developers and our users, and we expect to add this functionality to Final Cut Pro X. We will release a set of APIs in the next few weeks so that third-party developers can access the next-generation XML in Final Cut Pro X."

  • Are you saying that it will be the same type of XML that is supported currently by numerous manufacturers industry-wide? Or is this a new version?
  • In order for export to be useable, XML exports would have to be able to conform to the industry standards for inter-device communications
  • Will this ability cost us extra money like the OMF export option or will it be built-in?

Does Final Cut Pro X support OMF, AAF, and EDLs?

"Not yet. When the APIs for XML export are available, third-party developers will be able to create tools to support OMF, AAF, EDL, and other exchange formats. We have already worked with Automatic Duck to allow you to export OMF and AAF from Final Cut Pro X using Automatic Duck Pro Export FCP 5.0. More information is available on the Automatic Duck website:"

  • You say when the API’s are available... is that dependent on Apple or another company to make these available?
  • Are these features waiting on the hardware API set as defined for Lion?
  • What is the priority of these features? Is it this version or the “next major release”?

Can I send my project to a sound editing application such as Pro Tools?

"Yes; you can export your project in OMF or AAF format using Automatic Duck Pro Export FCP 5.0. More information is available on the Automatic Duck website:"

  • Any plans for native support?

Does Final Cut Pro X allow you to assign audio tracks for export?

"Not yet. An update this summer will allow you to use metadata tags to categorize your audio clips by type and export them directly from Final Cut Pro X."

  • Will this be a bundled feature or one that requires a third-party plugin?
  • Can we actually view and organize tracks in the timeline?
  • What about clips that are reused in different ways?
  • Will this still require a plug-in like the one made by Automatic Duck to fully function?

Can I customize my export settings?

"Yes. Compressor 4, available from the Mac App Store for $49.99, allows you to create a wide variety of custom export settings that you can use in Final Cut Pro X. The most popular export options and formats, including ProRes and H.264, are already built into Final Cut Pro X."

  • What about using the media manager to go to other codecs from companies like Cineform and Avid?
  • What about choice on import for more than two codecs?

PurchaseCan I purchase a volume license?

"Final Cut Pro X, Motion 5, and Compressor 4 Commercial and Education Volume Licensing will be available soon via the Apple Online Store for quantities of 20 or more. After purchasing, customers will receive redemption codes they can use to download the applications from the Mac App Store."

  • What about 5 users licenses? 10 user?
  • How does a company purchase more than one license without using multiple credit cards or iTunes accounts?
  • How many machines can a single copy be installed on?
  • How many users can use it at once?

All in all, a good start in the right direction. Please add your questions below. Hopefully the official Apple document will keep growing.