6 Replies Latest reply: Jul 3, 2013 11:32 PM by Cartoonguy
Cartoonguy Level 1 (0 points)

I realise this has been discussed elsewhere, but I still am a little confused.  (Put that down to me!)


I am trying to figure out the most sensible way to import media from my SD card shot in AVCHD format.  So obviously, there is the Proxy and Optimized option.  I know what that does.  Proxy creates smaller files so that editing is more responsive given that FCPX does not have to deal with the big files.  Optimized makes even bigger files that work best with FCPX.  Fine, but that still leaves me confused in the real world.


I am using an Imac with a 2.8 GHz i7 processor and 16 GB ram.  So do I need to use Proxy?  Will I get better quality by using Optomized, or is my system just fine to handle the files without any converting?  Still, if I want to make smaller Proxy media, when I import and then delete the files off the SD card, am I left with only smaller, less quality files or does it also import high quality files which are dormant until I want to output to a finished film?  That is, does FCPX know to use the high quality all by itself or does it use the crummier Proxy files?


I would like to fully get how this works, but also, given my system, what is the suggested method for me?


Hope that makes sense.  Thanks!

iMac, OS X Mountain Lion
  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 (115,605 points)

    You don't need proxy files. The original media is imported into the Original Media folder. To use the original media for export you need to switch to original/optimized on the playback preferences. Do this before you export you or you will export low quality media.

  • Cartoonguy Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks Tom.  So don't bother with optimized either? 


    Shocked that using proxy can mean that the outputted file will be low quality.  Why doesn't FCPX just know that no one would want to output the crappy quality and do the correct thing as a matter of course?  Am I missing something?

  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 (115,605 points)

    Outputting proxy is useful if you need to show someone work in progress. It exports quickly and is relatively small for uploading.


    You probably don't need optimized.

  • Cartoonguy Level 1 (0 points)

    That makes sense.  Thanks for explaining.  Couple more questions, if you don't mind.   If I choose to import proxy only, then does that mean that I am ONLY importing lower quality and the original quality is lost forever once I wipe the source medium, like my SD card?


    Can you please give me a little more background on the point of optimized?  I trust that you are right that I don't need it, but just for the record, why would I need it?  Am I right in understanding that it makes bigger files than the original media which play nicer in FCPX, but only really if your system is older and requires that optimization?


    Thanks Tom.  Really appreciate your quick and helpful responses.

  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 (115,605 points)

    No. The original media is always imported in addition to any proxy or optimized selections.


    Some formats are not suitable for production like MPEG-4 need to be optimized. AVCHD is handled differently. When working with effects or color correction intensive projects it's better to optimize. If your computer is underpowered and does not handle GOP structure compression, it's better to optimize. Some formats are natively I-frame formats or are handled natively by the application, and they cannot be optimized.

  • Cartoonguy Level 1 (0 points)

    Great.  Now I have my head around this whole thing.  Thanks again!