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Capturing from tape into Final Cut Pro X

Learn how to capture from tape into Final Cut Pro X.


It’s easy to import media into Final Cut Pro X from tape.

Before we begin, take a quick look at the Event Library window.

There will always be at least one event in the Event Library.

If you have more than one event, take note on which one is selected.

This is important, because, whatever event is selected, it will become the event of where Final Cut Pro X will ingest your media.

To import from a tape-based format, you need to connect it via a firewire cable from your playback device to your computer.

Okay, if you have an empty event, you can click on the import button to begin capturing media.

If you already have media in your event, click on this filmstrip icon within the toolbar area.

Capturing from tape is a fairly simple process. 

At the bottom of the window, you have some basic controls for controlling your device. 

Press the play button to navigate to the place where you want to start capturing from. 

Then press the import button. 

Final Cut Pro will ask you where you want to store the media. 

You can store the media in an existing event or you can create a new event.

Now, these options down here are covered in another lesson.

But its important to note that when capturing from tape the media will automatically be optimized using the Pro Res 4:2:2 codec. 

Okay.  Press the import button to begin capturing. 

Then press the stop import button to stop the capture process. 

You will need to repeat this process for each section of the tape that you want to import. 

If you close the camera import window, you will see that your clip has been imported into the specified event. 

If you have the date and time set within your DV camera, Final Cut Pro X will automatically subdivide your clip based on breaks within the time of day. 

This means if you start and stop your camera between takes, you will end up with a separate clip each time you stopped and started your camera during the recording process. 

Now, if you need to capture an entire tape, you may find it easier to create a camera archive. 

A camera archive is a digital storage container. 

It’s a digital copy of your entire tape. 

It’s important to note, that when creating an archive, it’s not going to import the media into an event. 

You will choose the areas of the tape archive to import in the next step.  Trust me, it’s a good idea to have digital copies of all those old tapes laying around.

To create a tape archive, press the create archive button. 

Then give the archive a name and set its destination. 

Final Cut Pro will rewind the entire tape, and it will keep capturing until the tape runs out.

Archives are stored in a separate folder called Final Cut Camera Archives on whatever drive you’ve specified. 

All available archives will show up in a separate list called Camera Archives , within the Camera Import window.

Here’s the catch. 

Even though you’ve got a camera archive, you will still need to tell Final Cut Pro what sections of the archive to import into an Event. 

Click on the archive within the camera import window. 

Okay, here’s a secret about using Camera Archives. 

After an archive is created, it’s much easier to find the content that you need if you change the duration of the thumbnails represented by the filmstrip. 

So, in this example, I’ll change the duration to display a thumbnail for every ten seconds of content. 

You can then quickly skim through your entire archive to find the content for your event. 

Okay, this is important. 

Use the keyboard shortcut Control Y to activate a time code display window for the skimmer. 

Now you can see the time code values as you skim through your content. 

Then mark an In Point using the I Key and an Out Point using the O Key. 

Then press the Return Key to bring forward the options for creating the media for your event. 

Now, more than likely the sections that you mark within an archive will be going into your current event. 

Therefore, you can simply press the Return Key again to import the section of media. 

Notice there is an orange line at the bottom of the filmstrip of thumbnails. 

This indicates that section has been imported into an event. 

Then, when you close the camera import window, you’ll see the area that you’ve chosen to import. 

If you need to import additional media, just repeat the same steps again. 

Notice the camera archive will maintain the orange bars, indicating areas that have already been imported. 

Then when you close the camera import window, you will see the additional sections that you have added from the archive.

Okay, now you have the basics of importing media from tape.

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Using Keywords in Final Cut Pro X was the previous entry in this blog.

Final Cut Pro X Append Editing is the next entry in this blog.

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