Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Migrate projects from Final Cut Pro

Learn the simple XML workflow for exporting projects from Final Cut Pro and importing them into Premiere Pro. (Read, 20 min)

FromAnimotion

Adobe Premiere Pro CC makes it easy to work on projects that were started in another nonlinear editing system (NLE). One common workflow involves migrating projects from Apple Final Cut Pro.

XML: The key ingredient

XML is a commonly used file format for exchanging project information across applications that don’t ordinarily read one another’s native project formats — such as .prproj for Premiere Pro and .fcp for Final Cut Pro. Apple developed the Final Cut Pro XML Interchange Format to make details about projects transferrable to third-party applications that don’t recognize native Final Cut Pro projects. Because Premiere Pro understands that XML format, you can use it to transfer projects from Final Cut Pro without losing information.

Actually, there are two versions of the Apple NLE to contend with: Final Cut Pro 7 and Final Cut Pro X. Although Apple uses similar branding for both versions, they are actually very different products. In fact, they are so different that each one exports its own version of XML. Depending on which product you started your project in, you’ll have to follow a slightly different procedure. This article covers both scenarios.

Note: XML files exported from Final Cut Pro 7 have the extension .xml, whereas XML files exported from Final Cut Pro X have the extension .fcpxml.

Seamless importing

You can export entire projects, selected clips, or just selected sequences from Final Cut Pro as XML files. In Premiere Pro, bins and clips have the same hierarchies and names that they have in the Final Cut Pro source projects. Premiere Pro also retains sequence markers, sequence settings, track layout, locked tracks, and the sequence timecode start points of Final Cut Pro source projects. Premiere Pro imports text from the Final Cut Pro text generators into Premiere Pro titles.

The XML workflow only exchanges project data; your actual media is untouched and remains where it is. In fact, if you migrate from Final Cut Pro to Premiere Pro on the same system, all relinking happens automatically. And if you do change systems, relinking your media is straightforward.

Migrating across platforms

You can import XML files from Final Cut Pro (on a Mac, obviously) perfectly into Premiere Pro on a Windows system. For greatest compatibility across platforms, however, avoid using "special" non-alphanumeric characters — such as : / \ ¢ ™ $ ® € . , [ ] { } ( ) ! ? | ; " ' * < > — in folder names and filenames. Also avoid using spaces at the end of a filename or folder name.

Exporting from Final Cut Pro 7

Learn the XML translation process involved in migrating a project from Final Cut Pro 7 to Premiere Pro CC.

To export a Final Cut Pro 7 project to Premiere Pro, you will need access to Final Cut Pro 7. Strictly speaking, you don’t need access to the media at this stage since you can always relink the media later. Watch the accompanying video to see the process in action or follow the steps below:

  1. Open your project in Final Cut Pro 7.
  2. In the project panel, select the sequence you want to export. Deselect all sequences if you want to export the whole project.
  3. Choose File > Export > XML.
  4. In the Export XML dialog box, keep the format at Apple XML Interchange Format Version 5 and keep Save Project With Latest Clip Metadata (Recommended) selected (see Figure 1).
  5. If necessary, type a new name for the exported file and save it.

 

Figure 1. Settings for exporting XML from Final Cut Pro 7

Exporting from Final Cut Pro X

Learn the two-step XML conversion process involved in migrating a project from Final Cut Pro X to Premiere Pro CC.

To export a Final Cut Pro X project to Premiere Pro, you will need access to Final Cut Pro X. You will also need a utility to convert the Final Cut Pro X schema of XML into the Final Cut Pro 7 schema that Premiere Pro supports.

This article shows you how to use Xto7 for Final Cut Pro by Intelligent Assistance to perform the XML conversion. (Purchase it from the Apple App Store; read the Xto7 for Final Cut Pro documentation.)

Watch the accompanying video to see how Xto7 for Final Cut Pro is used or follow the steps below:

  1. Launch Final Cut Pro X.
  2. Select the project you want to export. Select a Library if you want to export a whole library.
  3. Choose File > Export XML.
  4. Save the exported file to a logical location. If needed, give it a new name.
  5. Launch the Xto7 for Final Cut Pro utility.
  6. Navigate to the .fcpxml file you created in Step 4 and click Open.
  7. In the Xto7 for Final Cut Pro dialog box, select Save XML (see Figure 2).
  8. Save the exported file to a logical location. If needed, give it a new name.
Figure 2. Settings for converting the Final Cut Pro X exported XML file to the schema that Premiere Pro supports

Importing into Premiere Pro

After you’ve exported the .xml file from Final Cut Pro 7 — or exported the .fcpxml file from Final Cut Pro X and then converted it to the Final Cut Pro 7 schema of XML using the Xto7 for Final Cut Pro utility — you are ready to import it into Premiere Pro.

Watch either of the previous videos to see the procedure or follow the steps below:

  1. Open a project in Premiere Pro or create a new one.
  2. Select the Project panel and choose File > Import.
  3. In the Import dialog box, locate the .xml file and click Import.
  4. Premiere Pro will probably show you a notice about the translation report (see Figure 3). You will want to refer to this report later (it’s added to the main bin). Click OK.
Figure 3. An alert for possible translation errors while importing into Premiere Pro

  1. Look for a new bin in the Project panel with the name of your XML project. In it you’ll find the items you exported from Final Cut Pro as well as the FCP Translation Results text file if there were any translations issues.
  2. Double-click the sequences and scrub through them to make sure everything is working as expected.
  3. To read the report, double-click the FCP Translation Results text file in the bin. The file will be opened in TextEdit (on Mac) or Notepad (on Windows). It lists how Premiere Pro dealt with any effects, titles, or transitions that did not translate from Final Cut Pro.

Lost in translation

Although the XML workflow is a big help in collaborative workflows, it does have limitations. These mainly involve effects, transitions, and plug-ins. Because not all effects are exported, the XML workflow described in this article works best in the early stages of a project. Don’t migrate your project when you’re all done with it in Final Cut Pro and expect it to play without some additional work on your part in Premiere Pro. A full list of what is supported can be found in Importing XML project files from Final Cut Pro.

Exporting from Premiere Pro

This XML workflow is not a one-way street. Premiere Pro supports XML exporting to third-party applications too:

  1. Open your project in Premiere Pro.
  2. In the Project panel, select the sequence you want to export. Deselect all if you want to export the whole project.
  3. Choose File > Export > Final Cut Pro XML.
  4. Save the XML file to a logical location.
  5. Premiere Pro will probably show you a notice about the translation report (see Figure 4), which contains a log of any errors or incompatible items encountered during the translation. You will want to refer to this report later (it’s saved next to the exported XML file). Click OK.

 

Figure 4. Alert for possible translation errors while exporting from Premiere Pro

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Joost van der Hoeven

Joost is an editor, animator, Apple Certified Pro, and Adobe Certified Instructor. He runs Animotion, a motion graphics design house focused on video presentations, broadcast packaging, TV commercials, and web design.


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