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Why can't I select range when importing into FCPX?

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Lang Elliott
Why can't I select range when importing into FCPX?
on Apr 2, 2014 at 6:24:34 pm

I need to import lots of Canon DSLR footage that resides in various folders as .mov files (these are all .h264 files that were copied from various flash cards into folders).

While FCPX has no trouble importing complete clips via the import window, it will not allow me to select ranges. This is undesirable because there are many, many long clips where I only want to import brief ranges. Transcoding entire clips to ProRes would therefore result in a huge waste of drive space.

Can someone explain why I am unable to select ranges upon import, and whether I not I can fix the problem?

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Andy Neil
Re: Why can't I select range when importing into FCPX?
on Apr 2, 2014 at 6:39:18 pm

Are the DSLR files saved with the complete camera directory structure? I believe you can only import ranges of clips that FCPX recognizes as camera files, not just random .mov files.

Also, H264 plays natively on FCPX so transcoding is unnecessary. Or at least you could put it off until you finish editing where you could consolidate your project files and only transcode the clips you used.


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chelsea reidy
Re: Why can't I select range when importing into FCPX?
on Feb 18, 2015 at 8:59:50 pm


I've copied DSLR files onto an external drive (which converts files into .MOV files). I want to be able to import selected ranges when working in FCP, but this seems like it can't happen with files as .MOV

Any ideas or thoughts for how to proceed so that i can Import Selected ranges when working in FCP and using the files that exist on my hard drive as .MVI (already deleted from memory card)?

Thank you.

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Bill Davis
Re: Why can't I select range when importing into FCPX?
on Feb 19, 2015 at 10:33:41 pm

Two things:

I think it might be difficult to do range import selection on codecs that don't' adhere to two primary requirements.

First, it HAS to be a file without temporal compression - no i-frames or p-frames because if ALL the frames don't exist as discrete units, the database can't register where the clips start and end with frame accuracy. There are systems that require transcoding of EVERYTHING imported to address this. But X doesn't do that. It tries to let you transcode JUST what you choose to.

As to the second question, the database in X is the primary storage and organization environment that drives the rest of the entire X system. With Apple's own internal ProRes and similar footage, the structure of the source clips is well understood, So for these, it's likely easier to let the user batch capture with stable, well structured in and out points. But what about the hundreds of other formats that Apple does NOT hold an intellectual property interest in? It seems to me that in advance of Import - the software has no clue about the nature or boundaries of whatever source the clips are coming from. It might be footage with timecode, or none, discrete frames or interpolated frames, it might be 24fps or 60fps, yet X doesn't have any clue in advance. Yet somehow we'd like it to understand that and keep track of the parameters of precisely which frames you want to capture? I suspect the reason we can't just capture ranges of EVERYTHING - even source footage where frames don't actually EXIST yet - might be something along these lines.

But I might be wrong.

All I can say is that in my experience, the things that Apple doesn't allow, usually aren't allowed for viable technical or legal reasons. I doubt very much that anyone on the software development team is just lazy or unconcerned or doesn't know what people want. But that's not the same as being able to deliver it as rapidly as we might like.

For what it's worth.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.

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Robert Selfe
Selecting range when importing into FCPX?
on Jan 8, 2016 at 10:09:11 pm

I could not import a range into FCPX due to moving the original clips onto a separate hard disk which made them a .mov file. I could import the entire clip but not a portion of the clip. What I discovered was if you copied the camera card onto your hard drive ( in my case the Canon EOS_DIGITAL ) you would then have a folder structure EOS_DIGITAL/DCIM/MISC. Delete the MISC folder first; then inside the DCIM folder there are 2 folders 100CANON and EOSMISC. Inside the 100CANON folder are your original clips, both still and movie. Create a NEW FOLDER on your hard drive and move your still shots ( photos ) into your new folder, rename it however you wish. Create another NEW FOLDER on your hard drive and move your .MOV files into that, again rename it however you wish. DO NOT change/rename the location of the EOSMISC folder ( this has a .CTG file inside which I assume is a DB file )
OK, you now have a a new camera card folder; EOS_CANON/DCIM/100CANON/EOSMISC. Keep this as your MASTER. Make a new copy of this folder. You can rename the EOS_CANON to whatever ( I use NEW CARD ) next rename the 100CANON also as you wish ( I use footage ) DO NOT CHANGE the DCIM folder.
You can now move any .MOV files into the footage folder and you will be able to import selected portions of each clip ( range selection ) in the import window of FCPX.
So far I have been able to apply this from both Canon & Sony footage as well as iPhone and old Hi8 files as long as they are in the .MOV file format. This was done using a Canon Card and I have also used a Sony Card, although this is done with a different file structure. This also works with MP4 using Sony XACVS file format. I only discovered this yesterday so I haven't really tested if there is any degradation in the clips but from just viewing they seem to be no loss. Hope this helps other with the same problem . Robert

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Adam Sebire
Re: Selecting range when importing into FCPX?
on Jul 30, 2017 at 6:20:55 pm

I was inspired by your solution thank you Robert Selfe.

Using an Atomos Ninja Inferno with my GH5 I was frustrated to have to import enormous 10-bit 4K30P ProRes files from the Ninja hard disk when I just needed a tiny fragment of each. So I copied the Panasonic’s SD card (the one it recorded as a backup) across to the Ninja drive but then in the DCIM/109_PANA folder I deleted Panasonic .mov files and replaced them with the Atomos ones.

Lo and behold FCPX 10.3.3 now sees it as a card rather than a drive.

Even though the names were different it worked and I was able to import just sections of these enormous 10-bit 4K ProRes files (and create proxies to work with).

Appalling media management I know (data wranglers look away!) and I may yet come unstuck, but I thought I’d mention it as a workaround for anyone truly tearing their hair out.

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Mark Stevenson
Re: Why can't I select range when importing into FCPX?
on Jul 12, 2016 at 7:08:16 pm

I know this is an ancient thread, but dealing with a 125 gig original file from which I needed 15 seconds, the simplest solution I could come up with was to import while leaving in place, create a new project, set in/out in the section I needed, drag that into the project then export that as a master file. Then I imported that into the library. Saved me 2 hours copying it to a local drive.


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