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Re: Convert or compress mxf files for easier use in FCP

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Joe Marler
Re: Convert or compress mxf files for easier use in FCP
on Jan 7, 2017 at 2:00:58 pm

[Cherin Bower] ".. I am new to editing...I shot 4 TB of footage on a Sony PXW-z150 4K XDCAM camcorder mostly in 4k, and I am combining multiple clips in FCPx 10.3.1. The native mxf files are too large for import to FCP and I don't necessarily want to create proxy media for every clip. I prefer to "copy files to library" on import into FCP so I will end up creating large FCP libraries."

You are walking down a path of ever-increasing time and workflow complexity. With older, slower editing software lacking asset management tools, the standard procedure was evaluate the material before import and only import what you really want.

FCPX is so fast and has such good organization tools, it is often better to just import everything using "leave files in place". That does not require any additional space for transcoded media and import is lightning fast. Make sure all analysis options are turned off on import. Then inside the editor, use skimmer, rating, keywords, etc to evaluate and classify the content in a single pass. The library will remain quite small except for cache files, which can be located elsewhere if you want.

If you have 4k multicam content, that may require transcoding to proxy for smoothest editing performance. However in general camera-native H264 4k content can be skimmed and initial selects done within FCPX after importing with "leave files in place". Normally copying the content to a library, or creating proxy or optimized media is not needed.

I normally don't work with MXF but I imported some DCI 4k MXF content to FCPX 10.3.1 with "leave files in place", added it to a timeline and it worked fine. It was 10-bit 4:2:2, encoded at 240 mbps. Skimming and playhead movement in the timeline was pretty quick and responsive.

This is the procedure I use for other large documentary projects in the 5 terabyte range. My 2015 top-spec iMac 27 handles it well, although the media is on several Thunderbolt 2 drive arrays, one of them SSD RAID-0.

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