New CS4 and Final Cut Import

by David Helmly


November 21, 2008

New Final Cut Pro import for Windows users (macs too!)

The new 4.01 updater for Premiere Pro now allows you import FCP projects (also supports OMF & enhanced AAF export).  This is perfect for Adobe video workflows needing to work with FCP projects. One example would be a 3D Studio Max, Maya, or Maxon Cinema 4D (my favorite) user needing to work with FCP users and their video timelines. Instead of exporting a single movie, you can now export an FCP XML file and import directly into Premiere Pro CS4 (4.01) From there you can goto Encore CS4 for Bluray output or import the Premiere Pro CS4 sequence directly into After Effects CS4.


Click here to see it in action:


Here’s a quick workflow step by step guide:

  • Export your FCP project using FCP Export XML feature.  Note that PSDs & nested FCP sequences also import. Titles will import but you need to watch the font mapping and size. Make sure the same Apple codec is on the CS4 computer you are planning to use. Apple ProRes is now available for OSX & Windows. I highly recommend buying Quicktime Pro.


  • From Premiere Pro CS4 (Windows or OSX) goto File >Import and import the FCP.xml file. Next, you’ll be prompted to locate the project assets.  If you get an error telling you that the video file is unsupported, then you have a codec issue. Again, make sure you have the same codec on CS4 machine. On macs, the codecs are located here: Macintosh HD>Library>Quicktime>….component. Some codecs are installed by FCP and the license requires you have to FCP installed.


  • Once the import completes you’ll either see a folder in the Project panel or a message letting you know if there were any conversion issues. You can review this report and see what had issues converting. Some transitions or effects may not have mapped correctly and this will give you a complete list. If there are parts of the FCP timeline that would not covert (like Motion) , then they will be listed as off line but show up as place holders on the timeline to allow you to manually fix. Currently, there is no way to import Motion files.


  •  If you need to jump to After Effects, you have 2 options.


Option 1: After you import your FCP project, you can save your new Premiere Pro project and quit. Next, launch AE and File>Import > Premiere Pro sequence. This will give you access to the same clips & effects that were available to Premiere Pro. (in this workflow, Premiere is working as the importer for AE workflows)


Option 2: From Premiere Pro, Select All clips on the timeline (CMD/Control A) and right click on any clip and use select “ Create After Effects Composition” This uses Adobe DynamicLink to allow you to jump back and forth between Premiere & AE.


Also remember that with CS4 at anytime you can File>DynamicLink.Send to Encore. This will allow you to get  your FCP timeline into Encore to create blu-rays , DVDs, and a ninteractive Flash webpage. By using this method, you can go back and forth between Premiere and Encore to make changes without need to render each time. With CS4, you only need to render during the Build process (last step).