Final Cut Pro X version 10.1.4 is out today. In the above Final Cut Pro in Under 5 Minutes video, Steve Martin from Ripple Training explores one specific new feature: how to import and export MXF files.
Before getting into the workflow, it’s important to define what MXF is – mainly because many cameras from Sony, Panasonic and Canon record in this format. MXF is shorthand for Material eXchange Format – an industry standard file wrapper, similar to QuickTime, that stores video and audio content and it’s associated metadata.
Previous to version 10.1.4, you could import MXF files from supported cameras, however what you could not do, was import MXF files created from another editing application like Avid’s media composer or import MXF files that came from a media archive system like CatDV or MXFserver.
But perhaps most significantly, MXF files that have been copied from the native file hierarchy of the camera’s media card could not be imported without first converting them using a third-party conversion utility. And even then, valuable clip metadata would often be lost.
After installing the Final Cut Pro 10.1.4 update you’ll need to download and install the Pro Video Formats 2.0 update available on App store. You’ll then be able to import MXF files from any source while preserving the metadata.
Of particular interest for news producers, Final Cut Pro now supports Panasonic’s AVC-Ultra LongG format.
Once imported, you can view the metadata by selecting the clip, opening the Inspector and clicking the Info button. From the metadata views menu choose > Extended to reveal the frame rate, timecode, codec, audio configuration and other useful metadata.
To view specific MXF metadata, choose > Edit Metadata View then select the MXF metadata options you want displayed from the list.
If you work with MXF files frequently, it’s a good idea to save your metadata view as a custom set by clicking the Gear menu and choosing > Save Metadata View as > then giving your metadata view a descriptive name. You’ll need to re-select the clip in the Browser to refresh the Inspector and update the view.
If you plan on sending your MXF files and projects to a third-party application for finishing, broadcasting or archiving into a media database, the best option for preserving the metadata is XML.
With a clip or project selected, choose > Export XML from the File menu, then choose the custom metadata set you want included in your XML file from this pop-up.
Saving the best for last, Apple has now given us a complete MXF post-production pipeline as it’s now possible to export MXF files directly from Final Cut Pro X – even if your footage did not originate in MXF. Let’s look at how to set this up.
From the File menu choose > Share > Add Destination. Drag the Compressor Settings icon into the Destination pane. In the Custom folder you’ll see various MXF delivery options broken down into sub-folders.
Note that you do not need to have Compressor installed to access these MXF presets (or any other custom preset for that matter). You will need Compressor however, if you plan on modifying these presets.
Also worth mentioning is that many of these presets export files in the AVC-Intra codec – often required by many broadcasters.
What is especially cool about this is that you can edit a show, export it for example in the OP1a format, upload it to your Digital Asset Management system, then you, or someone else, can pull it down, import it into Final Cut Pro and use it as source footage for other projects – no file conversion is necessary.
So with this latest Final Cut Pro X update and the Pro Video Formats 2.0 update, you have all the tools you need to work with industry-standard MXF media.