Importing Media into Final Cut Pro X 10.1.3 and Above

Note: this tutorial assumes you have already offloaded your footage from the memory card onto your external hard drive.

First, open Final Cut Pro X by clicking on the icon in the Dock:fcp x icon

Part 1: Creating a Library – Final Cut Pro X projects must have a Library before you import media. The “Library” is the collection of all of your assets for a project. In Final Cut Pro X navigate to File > New > Library:

In the new window that opens, save this new Library onto your external hard drive. It is very important that you take this step, otherwise the media will import onto the wrong hard drive potentially be lost forever:
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Back in the main Final Cut Pro X interface, you should see your new Library listed in the top-right section of the screen:

Part 2: Importing your media – Navigate to File > Import > Media:
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In the new window which opens, click on your hard drive on the left-most column, and then browse to the location of the memory card contents which you would like to import. You will know you have reached a memory card which you see a list of video files as this screen shot shows:

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You can click on individual clips to review them into the upper window. Otherwise, if you want to import all of the clips, click on “Import All”. If you only want to import a few of the clips, you can hold Command on the keyboard, which will allow you to select individual clips to import.

Once you click import, a new window will pop up. Choose to create a new event, and then select the Library you made earlier, and give the Event a name. It is very important the you select the Library you made earlier, otherwise the media will go to the wrong hard drive and most likely be erased. The event name should describe the project you are working on. For example: “Film 170B project 1.”

For the check boxes, please use these recommend settings and click Import:

Important: if you are using a Digital SLR camera (Canon t5i, t6i, 5d, etc), it is highly recommended that you also check the “optimize media” box in this process. This will take longer to import the footage, but will transcode the footage to a much more editing friendly format and boost performance during the editing process.

The import window will automatically close and will have returned to the main Final Cut Pro X interface. You will see thumbnails of your clips begin to appear, but before you start to edit, navigate to Window > Background Tasks:
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The Background Tasks window will now be open:
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It is very important that you let all the processes in this background tasks window finish prior to editing or quitting Final Cut Pro X. You will know they are finished when they all read as “Idle” on the far right-hand side. This can take up to an hour depending on how much footage you are importing, so be sure to budget your time accordingly.

Next navigate to File > New Project, and make sure you select the Library you created earlier. This will give you a timeline to edit on, and ensure that all of your projects, media and assets, all exist in the same Library, on your external hard drive:
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