Starting Off On The Right File, Part II

Last time I talked about some of the issues that crop up because camera recording formats have increased in complexity. Gone are the days when it was just a simple process to import a .mov file.

Okay, maybe those days aren’t completely gone. But with more and more camera manufacturers using folder-based structures to capture media, can we agree that those simple days are less common?

I promised an example or two to show how to bring footage into your project. Today, I’ll deal with Apple Final Cut Pro X and how it works with one specific camera – RED. Next time, I’ll talk about Premiere Pro.

When you use Final Cut Pro X, the import process is normally pretty straightforward. Apple has put a lot of work into the front end of importing footage. By this I mean they don’t just open a “Finder” window and have you select some files. Instead, they give you a lot of options so you can control how your footage is imported. But if you try to point to RED footage, the import fails.

A simple fix is to install the RED Apple Workflow Installer:

Once installed, the import process works as you would expect. And when you start to work with RED footage in FCX, you’ll see why maybe it’s a good thing you’re not just importing a .mov.

Within that RED folder structure is an RMD file. It has the same file name as the footage R3D file, but uses a different extension. The RMD contains instructions on how to process the file. This is actually a text-based XML file that you can read in a text editor to see what is going on.

If you have dealt with RAW still files, you might have seen “sidecar” XMP files that ride along with the original RAW files. The XMP files contain those same processing instructions and are created once you start editing a RAW file and want to save those edits. It’s how non-destructive image editing works when you want to move between applications — giving you access to the footage and the ability to modify the RED RAW settings.

After importing the file, go to the Info tab on the clip and click the Modify RED RAW Settings button. The RED RAW controls appear so you can adjust color space or color temperature and then save those settings for the entire clip.

Adobe Premiere Pro offers similar access to the RMD files, but it is trickier with its import process. If you don’t do it right you can end up with a mess. I’ll talk about how to do it right, next time.