10 Replies Latest reply: Jan 21, 2014 6:09 PM by Anthony Syne
JDLee Level 1 (5 points)

I've read a lot in these forums about importing .mp4 footage into FCPX.  It seems that it used to be the case (and maybe still is?) that FCPX either wouldn't import .mp4 files, or wouldn't do a good or reliable job if it did.


I've been shooting some footage with a GoPro Hero 3 Black.  FCPX seems to import it just fine.  But I'm not sure if that's the best way to do it?  Should I be using another program (like GoPro's Cineform software) to first convert the Hero 3 .mp4 files to .mov files?  Or should I just let FCPX do it?


Also, I noticed something that seems odd when I'm importing these .mp4 files:  If I import them directly from the SD card that the GoPro stores them on, I can select in and out points in the .mp4 clips I'm importing.  But if I first copy the .mp4 files from the SD card to one of my hard drives, I cannot select in and out points when importing (I have to import the entire clip).  Why is this? 


(I should mention, in case it is relevant, that the clips I cannot select in and out points for [the ones that I first copied to my hard drive] are 1080p 60 fps, and the ones that I can select in and out points for [the ones I'm importing directly from the card] are 720p 120 fps.)

iMac (27-inch Mid 2010), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8.3), Two internal drives (one SSB)
  • Tom Wolsky Level 10 (115,500 points)

    When you import from a camera or camera archive or something FCP recognizes as a camera source you can import selectively. When you do a file import from a hard drive you have to import the whole file. The format doesn't matter.


    Probably the best way to import is to simply import into FCP with the import dialog set to optimize the media.

  • dastoelk Level 3 (665 points)

    This is easy. I do it all the time. FCPX ingests GoPro footage just fine. Optimize, and you're good to go.


    BTW: A common hiccup occurs when dealing with over-cranked footage. (60fps or 120fps.) Be sure to "conform speed" to actuate the slo-mo. 'Tis also important to designate your project / timeline at 24fps or 30fps to realize the speed difference.


    I've gotten burned in the past. I'll drag my over-cranked GoPro footage to the timeline. As it is the "first" clip layed into the timeline, the project assumes THAT speed as a default. (As per my preferences.) Thus, when I "conform speed," nothing seems to happen. That's because my project is displaying at the higher rate. A 60fps timeline showing footage shot at 60fps looks "normal speed."


    FYI. (And disregard if you know all this.)


    Screen Shot 2013-09-05 at 4.33.03 PM.jpgScreen Shot 2013-09-05 at 4.34.58 PM.jpg

  • JDLee Level 1 (5 points)

    Thank you for that, Tom.  I don't know why that would be, but it's good to know.


    dastoelk--When I try to set my timeline for 29.97 fps, and then drop a GoPro 1080 60 fps clip in, FCPX automatically overrides my timeline settings and makes the clip still 59.94 fps.  How do I make FCPX keep the timeline 29.97 fps so that the clips play back in slow motion like I want them?  Am I having this problem because I'm optimizing the GoPro's .mp4 files when I import them?

  • dastoelk Level 3 (665 points)

    The optimizaton would have nothing to do with this issue.


    I've had this problem before--FCPX wanting to climb up to 60fps, regardless of my setting 29.97 as a default. (Happening, as you noted, when you introduce the 60fps footage.)


    I've had to "trick" (for lack of a better term) FCPX into accepting 29.97fps as my overall project frame rate, when adding conformed, over-cranked footage.


    I open a new project. Set it to 29.97. I also drag a "scratch" clip that I know to be 29.97. This ensures the project is set to 29.97.


    Then... I lay the 60fps footage onto the timeline + conform. Things then work out.


    Admittedly, others might have a better way of getting 60fps to be accepted. (They can try to repeat my process.)


    Do not worry about opening a new project. You can simply cut/paste EVERYTHING from your existing project into the new project. No fuss-no muss.

  • JDLee Level 1 (5 points)

    Okay, I think I figured this out.  When I create the project, I have to tell it to use Custom Settings and make it 29.97 fps.  Then, once I drop the 60 fps (actually 59.94 fps) clip in, I have to select it and select "Conform Speed" in the retiming menu.  Doing that brings up the orange bar above the clip that says "Slow (50%)."  I can get that same orange bar showing 50% by dropping the clip in at 59.94 fps and using slow motion at 50%, but I take it that is a much inferior way to do it, right?  Doing it the first way produces much better results, is that correct?



  • dastoelk Level 3 (665 points)

    Yessir. Using the over-cranked footage from the camera is MUCH better.


    In your case, you are simply employing the "usual" slo-mo feature, which interpolates frames.


    When you over-crank in the camera, it is ACTUALLY grabbing MORE frames per second. No interpolation.

  • JDLee Level 1 (5 points)



    I just posted another post about how I think I've figured it out, but I didn't see your latest post before I posted that.  Could you read my last post and tell me if it sounds like it is doing the same thing you're saying?



  • dastoelk Level 3 (665 points)

    Yes. My post was responding to your previous. (We're talking over each other )


    Again, taking it down to 50% is NOT the same as conforming the ORIGINAL overcranked footage--which SHOULD appear in your timeline "slo-mo'd" automatically.


    Just make sure your overall project STILL reads at 29.97 (Watch that it doesn't climb up to 60fps.)

  • dastoelk Level 3 (665 points)



    Just so I don't confuse you, I ran a test:


    I applied a 60fps GoPro clip to a 23.98 timeline. Conformed the footage.


    And, when I "reveal time editor," it DOES indeed show a 40% slo-mo! So... THIS IS THE WAY TO GO! (Just make sure your project still reads at 29.97. (Or in MY case, 23.98)


    fps in project.jpg

    fps in timeline.jpg

  • Anthony Syne Level 1 (0 points)

    How would it work if my project was 29.97 I started a new project at 23.98 imported my 60fps GoPro footage in conformed it, copied and pasted it back into my 29.97 timeline.. I was reading where you mentioned you can copy and paste footage..

    Why would I do this, I assume you would get better slow motions at a lower project frame rate.. I have conformed the 60fps footage in my 29.97 timeline and stretched the conformed footage out to 20% which works fine to without the need to use optical flow, which I don't like because it gives off a frame blending jellow effect..