From iMovie to Final Cut: Importing Clips

If you have reached the point where iMovie no longer meets your video editing needs, you may be considering Apple's high-end product: Final Cut Pro. If you decide to move to Final Cut Pro, you will find that there are a few differences between the two programs in the ways you perform certain tasks.

Even very basic tasks, such as importing video clips into the program, are performed differently in Final Cut Pro than in iMovie. Therefore, this simple step-by-step guide will show you how to import footage into a Final Cut Pro project and how it differs from the procedures used in iMovie.

What You'll Need

  • A computer with Final Cut Pro installed
  • Video footage to import into the program

Step 1: Manually Import Footage in Final Cut Pro

With iMovies '08 or '09, you were probably accustomed to using the import footage wizard that popped up whenever you connected your camcorder to your computer. However, with Final Cut Pro, the import process is not so straightforward. While there are many ways that you can import footage in Final Cut Pro, a connection Wizard is not one of them. So, the first thing you should be aware of is that you'll need to manually retrieve footage from your camera or from a file located on your computer.

Step 2: Browse to Import Video Footage

Besides the fact that you can't use a connection Wizard to import video into Final Cut Pro, the two programs are otherwise fairly similar in the way you can import footage directly into the respective program. For instance, you can use the file menu bar to import footage in Final Cut Pro much in the same way you did in iMovie. To manually browse for a piece of footage to import, simply choose File | Import'.

Step 3: Log and Capture Video Footage from Tape

With Final Cut Pro, you can also capture of footage directly from tape by using the log and capture feature. In order to import footage in this manner, go to 'File' and then select 'Log and Capture'. If your device is correctly connected to your computer, via USB or Mac firewire, the footage should automatically be displayed in the Log and Capture viewer. If it's not, you'll need to check the settings for your deck or device to make sure it is connected directly to your computer and that it is set up in Final Cut Pro.

Step 4: Capture Only the Portion of Video You Need to Use

One clear cut advantage Final Cut Pro has over iMovie is the ability to quickly capture only certain sections of a clip or piece of footage. With iMovie, you need to first import the entire clip and then set in and out points. However, with Final Cut Pro you can use the transition slider to move to and from to various points in the video or the shuttle control to move the footage forwards or backwards frame by frame. Once you find a section of footage that you want to digitize, you can simply use the "I" and "O" keys to create in and out points. This will move the portion of the footage into your project viewer to be edited later.

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