Optimized/Proxy Media Explained – FCPX Tutorial

Optimized/Proxy Media Explained – FCPX Tutorial

Hey everybody I’ve decided to make a series of tutorial
videos for FCP X. Now, this is designed for beginners who decided to step up from using iMovie or
other similar free programs, to something with a little more power under
the hood. In this first lesson I’m going to go over how to properly import files into FCP. If you enjoy this video please hit the like
button below, and be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss
the rest of my videos. First I’d like to go over the structure of
FCP X and how it organizes your files. Your video you recorded on your camera, or the song you downloaded and want to use for your video is classified
as clips. Clips that have at least one or two things
in common are then grouped into events. For example, if you go away skiing for a weekend you can have all your footage from day one
in one event, and day two in a different one. Or all your GoPro footage in one, and all your DSLR footage in a different event. This will save time in finding your footage
if you have lots of clips. All your events are then grouped into a library
container. Personally, I like to have a different library for every video I make, this way I only see clips that I need for my video when I’m editing. It also makes it easier to archive my videos
when I’m done. So lets get started. I have some motorcycle footage that I’d like to edit into a video. I’ll open FCP X and create a new library. Click FILE, NEW, LIBRARY. I’ll name it Bike Trip. Now here in the library pane, you have 2 default
events. Smart collections, which we’ll talk about
later, and an event with today’s date. You can rename this event right now if you’d
like, or you can leave it. I’m going to rename it and call it Day One. To import footage I can go to FILE, then IMPORT, or, use a keyboard shortcut [COMMAND + I] or click on this IMPORT button. An IMPORT MEDIA window opens up. Now you navigate to your media you’d like
to import, weather its on a memory card, external hard
drive or on your desktop. I have the videos on my desktop, so I’ll navigate there and click on the first
on I want to import. The video pops up in the viewer where you
can review it. Notice how playback is choppy and some frames
are dropped? That’s because it’s a compressed file, and your computer has to decompress it and
play it at the same time. Unless you have a powerful computer, it’ll struggle with that, but that can be
fixed. Lets select one clip for now and go through the import options. At the top here you can select to add it to
an existing event, or create a new event in your library. This clip is from day two, so I’m going to
select create new event, choose which library I put it in and name
it day two. Under that you have the option to copy clip to library or leave it in place. If you select copy to library, FCP will create a duplicate of your video. If you chose to leave files in place, then FCP X will just create a shortcut to wherever you have the file stored. If your videos are on a memory card, or an external hard drive that can be unplugged, it’s best to select copy to library option. That way if you remove your memory card or unplug your hard drive, your files don’t go
missing. On the other had, if your videos are already
on your built in hard drive, you can choose to leave files in place to
save storage space. Next, you can choose to create optimized media and/or create proxy media. Remember the choppy playback and dropped frames
before? This is where you fix that. If you select create optimized media, FCP decompresses and converts your video file
to Apple’s own format, which is optimized, for editing. The pros of this are 1. You get to keep the same resolution and frame
rate and 2. You’ll be able to play and edit these files
on an older computer which might struggle with compressed files. The down sides to optimized media is it will take a considerable amount of time
to render the files, and they will take up a lot of space on your
hard drive. Optimized files can be up to 10 times larger than the original compressed file. Your other option is to create proxy media. Proxy media is also apple’s format which is
optimized for editing. But, instead of creating a large file, FCP
creates a small file with lower resolution and only plays back
every second frame. These proxy files are more than sufficient
for most editing, and once your edit is complete, you can switch back to original media with
full resolution and full frame rate for color grading and
final export. The file sizes are considerably smaller than
original media, so they won’t eat up much hard drive space. But, just like creating optimized media, these files can take time to render. Next, if you have all your media organized
in folders and applied tags to them, you can select these options to create smart collections
after import. Also, if you select find people, FCP will scan your videos for faces and add
them to smart collections. Under that we have the option to analyze videos
for balance color. If you select this box, FCP will analyze your
video to see if the color needs to be corrected. It won’t actually correct the clip, it will
just analyze it. Later on you will be able to automatically correct color if it’s analyzed. So if you have time to let it render, select
this box. That way, later on when color grading, you will not have to wait. But if you want to start editing right away, leave this box unchecked. You can easily analyze clips that need to
be corrected at any time. You can also analyze and correct audio, but I usually leave these unchecked and fix it when doing my audio pass, which I will discuss later on. Next I’m going to command click all the videos I want to import into my Day One event, select all my settings and click the IMPORT SELECTED button. The import media window closes and all my clips are in the event browser. The progress bar shows my videos are rendering. For more details, you can click on it and a progress window will pop up. I’ll close that for now. While waiting, I’ll go back to my import window and import clips into my Day Two event. Once my files are done rendering, you can see my playback is still choppy. That’s because I’m still viewing my original
compressed media. In the top corner of the viewer display, select view and check Proxy media. Now you are viewing the proxy files FCP created
earlier. If I play one, notice how the playback is
nice and smooth. You can also import audio files and pictures
the same way. From here you can start creating your video, but I like to first Organize all my clips, pick usable parts and get rig of all the footage
I don’t use. I’ll show you guys how to do that in my next
video. Hit that subscribe button below so you don’t
miss it. I’ll link it in the up top and in the description
once posted. Thanks for watching, and I hope you come back to watch the rest
of the videos.


28 thoughts on “Optimized/Proxy Media Explained – FCPX Tutorial”

  • Just purchased FCPX and am trying to wrap my head around it. thanks for the videos. quick question … my view appears different than your view. Guess you could call it the FCPX tool bar … on your screen in the middle to the right you have an icon for a camera, music, title, etc. …. I do not have those? Is that something you have to build? If so, how? Thanks again

  • Lots of good info in here (and other videos of this series); definitely eases the pain of moving from FCP 6.0.6 to FCPX 10.3. 🙂 Thanks!!!

  • I do have one question: How do you treat media from multiple cameras with different resolution and frame rate? I shoot with a Canon M3 with 1080p @ 30fps, and GoPro with 2K @ 30 fps and Phantom4 in 4K @ 24fps.

  • Dimitris Koutsikos says:

    1. If i want to work with files i have on my ext. HDD and keep them there? I mean all files created by FCPX during editing, to be stored on ext HDD.

    2. What about gps data?
    explain, if i open files with Quik, i can see gps data on my video. In fcp?
    Thanks in advance!!

  • gregory berman says:

    Are you using Final Cut 10.3 or higher? I noticed in the first screen you that used the import button is in a different location than the 10.3.4 version. I just started watching your tutorial but from what I have seen so far, you really do a great job explaining. I'm hoping this is 10.3, and if so then I will continue watching the rest of your tutorial. Keep up the great work!

  • video footage not showing in the project window, but when dragged into the project timeline it is there…. how to get it to show in the project window for when I want to pull a clip?

  • How do you create proxy for videos in the Photos library in FCPX? When I try to import, the Photos application is greyed out.

  • I just cant get enough bro! Your content, instructions, guides and just everything else along those lines are straightforward and simple to comprehend while in reality, they are very complex 🙂 Thank you ! Thank you and many many more:)

  • hi there, thank you for the very clear instructions. Question, if you just drag and drop video files into the browser, instead of importing ie your video lesson, what kind of resolution are the clips? Obviously not optimized or proxy, but is there anything wrong with adding the clips to an event that way? Thanks!

  • Have just started with fop x and am finding your videos very useful thanks. But I do not understand. On import I left un checked both create proxy media and optimised media and checked leave in place. FCP x then created a library file .fcpbundle of 275.89GB is this correct? The footage I have imported was from a 2 ½ week trip and was approx 400GB of clips. Note I was shooing in 4K on a new Gopro black 7. Thank you again G

  • Just downloaded FCP Trial (new to all of this) and came across your other videos and then this Series. I like your Step-By-Step and thorough approach. Have already been through this Series once to gain a sense of all of this and now beginning again in earnest to really learn it – really appreciate your efforts and I am sure I will refer back often. Perhaps you touch base on this later, I do not remember, but not certain whether some of the differences I am seeing relative to my screen layout and yours are simply reflective of the later version I have just downloaded (10.4.3) or whether there might be a few set up items I need to do to reflect yours – if the later you might want to create a supplemental video to show these for this Beginners Series, but regardless I am really finding this useful. Thanks again.

  • Just found your channel today. Very nice videos, you have a talent to explain and demonstrate things. I already learned a lot from a few of your videos and there are a lot more to view. Thanks!

  • Thank you my friend! Just posting my first videos now and needed help importing and organizing my FCPX content.


    Thank you for this video!!! I have a question. You said that the original files are compressed and that optimized option decompresses and converts the original files to a Mac format that will have the footage run more smoothly. You also said that they would be bigger files than the original files correct?

    I have a question about that: if you want to export the absolute highest quality image, should you use the original files? Or should you use the optimized transcode?

    Also, if you want to export in the highest possible quality after you’re done editing proxy in pro res 422, should you switch to view—> better quality and view —> optimized/original and reset the project render codec to 10 bit uncompressed or the pro res 4444 XQ in order to export the highest quality possible? When I export I don’t care about how long it takes of how big the file will be 😛 I just want the highest quality possible when exporting.

    And when editing I don’t care about the quality 😅 I just want the highest speed so that the computer doesn’t get stuck at every click or drag.

    I hope you will have time to answer my questions ☺️

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