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Activity Forums Apple Final Cut Pro X FCPX timecode overwrite

  • FCPX timecode overwrite

    Posted by Luke Ogden on January 26, 2024 at 9:16 pm

    I’ve come across a quirk of FCP today and it’s causing me a bunch of headaches with a round trip to davinci. Hopefully someone can shed some light, or at the very least my case can inform some other users.

    The project is a 40min documentary; predominantly shot on a Sony A7sii (in the .mp4 wrapper). In the initial assembly, when the Library was populated with footage, the editor at the time did a drag and drop import from finder (with the preferences set to ‘leave files in place’) and here is where we have a HUGE gotcha.

    By Importing .mp4 Sony media in this way FCPX resets the source media timecode on all clips to 00:00:00. Not a major problem until now, when I’m trying to open the project in Davinci Resolve. Without unique timecode and with lots of the clips having the same file name (the a7s resets the clip name to C0001 each time the card is formatted) Davinci hasn’t got a clue what to relink when I import the XML.

    Theoretically I can go through the FCPX project, clip by clip and ‘replace’ each clip by importing it a second time using the dedicated import window (which retains the original timecode but insists I ‘Copy media into library’), and then manually overwriting the newly imported instance of the same clip in the project: Before I resign my self to this laborious task is there anyway to remedy it? Automate it?

    Any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated

    Joe Marler replied 4 months ago 4 Members · 5 Replies
  • 5 Replies
  • Jeremy Garchow

    January 26, 2024 at 10:13 pm

    Do it the other way around. You have to import the clips in to DaVinci in the media pool, then set the tc of each clip to 0, and then import your XML to Resolve.

  • Luke Ogden

    January 27, 2024 at 10:34 am

    Thanks for the suggestion Jeremy, I’m happy to give it a go, but I have to say it goes against my every instinct. Davinci, Catalyst Browse etc. Can all see/display the sources original timecode, I’d love it if there was a was to retain that through editorial. The multiple instances of non-unique file names also gives me cause for concern.

  • Jeremy Garchow

    January 27, 2024 at 2:59 pm

    I totally get it. I wish fcpx would read the tc too. It would make life easier. In later builds of the Sony camera firmware, you can at least set the option to name clips to camera reel and date format which helps to keep clip names unique, which helps keeping track of the clips.

    The method you suggest of reimporting all media and replacing all media in fcpx can work. It’s going to take a long time. I would suggest creating a new library, importing the media there, and work with your final timeline there. It will cause less confusion with older versions of timelines and media

    Importing clips in to Davinci will also not be easy or quick. But the tc will match between fcpx and Davinci, which makes tracking changes easier.

  • Doug Metz

    February 2, 2024 at 6:04 pm

    This situation is exactly why I purchased EditReady long ago. First, re-wrap card media, then import in-place. This extra step will retain metadata / TC for everything downstream.

    I realize that doesn’t help in this situation, and it would be much more helpful if FCP could simply read the non-standard TC ref, but I don’t see that happening.

  • Joe Marler

    February 16, 2024 at 1:16 pm

    If done before import, the utility QtChange can rewrite the MP4 timecode so FCP can read it. It is super-fast and does not re-encode or even rewrap: https://www.videotoolshed.com/handcrafted-timecode-tools/qtchange/

    The redundant C000…mp4 filenames are another problem. It is vastly better to batch rename those with a globally unique name before importing. A simple method is just append each filename with an underscore and a 4-digit incrementing “uniquefier”, such as _0001. Of course you must keep track of the highest number used, and use +1 before the next import. That can be done with Finder’s rename feature using the “format” option. There are also other more sophisticated third-party file-renaming tools such as “A Better Finder Rename”: https://www.publicspace.net/ABetterFinderRename/index.html

    It is vital the end-to-end workflow be validated before you commit to a major project. You can’t just assume everything will work. E.g, even if the ingest timecode and non-unique filenames were handled, there is the issue of whether subsequent clip exports in various codecs from various tools will maintain the clip timecode. I had a situation last year where proxy generation on an AWS cloud server would not maintain clip timecode that FCP could read.

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