With the recent release of Logic Pro X (LPX), Final Cut X (FCPX) users now have a very powerful audio application for their sound work. That is because LPX now reads and writes FCPXML. There are now three basic ways to interact between LPX and FCPX. In this article, I’ll touch on these to help get folks started in taking full advantage of this.
There is still the old fashioned method of exporting audio files to then open in each app back and forth. With FCPX, we can assign Roles to our audio clips in the Timeline, and then export as a Master File. If you want the video reference in LPX, set Format to Video and Audio, and Video Codec to ProRes (Proxy). Now for the audio, set Roles As to Roles As Separate Files. This creates what are called Media Stems, each is its own clip, each is the exact length of the Timeline. Then export these into their own folder somewhere.
In LPX, you’ll go to the File menu, to Import, then select Import Audio File (Shift-command-I) and open each file. To open the video file for your reference, go to the File menu, to Movie, select Open Movie.
When you’re done in LPX, you have choices. If you go to the File menu, to Export, and select All Tracks As Audio Files, you’ll get the equivalent of your Media Stems originally created with FCPX’s Roles. Simply import those manually into your FCPX Event, and edit away. Or from the File menu to go Bounce, Project or Selection, and export an AIFF file to import and use in FCPX.
In FCXP, create a new Destination from an Export File template. Set the When Done menu to Publish To Media Browser. When you export using this preset, in the Settings configure Roles As to Multitrack Quicktime Movie. Configure the Roles as you wish. In an empty LPX project, open the Media Browser (F), go to Media, to Movies, to the Final Cut Pro section. Drag that FCPX project onto the track list to add it. Each Role will be a single track.
When you’re done in LPX, you simply go to the File menu, to Share, and select To Media Browser. From there you can title your export, select a format (AIFF is advised), and click OK. Back in FCPX go to the Audio media browser, to the Logic section, in the Projects folder, to your project name as you saved it back in LPX. The drawback of this technique is you end up filling your Media Browser up with files you may not need later. But great for media you may use often on many projects.
The really great news for us FCPX users is that LPX now reads and writes FCPXML files. When you’re ready to do some serious, heavy editing of your audio clips, go to the File menu, to Export XML. Name it, save it to a location, then go into LPX. Open a new, Empty Project. Then from the File menu go to Import, then select Final Cut Pro XML. Select the FCPXML file you created. LPX may ask you to confirm video frame rates and audio sample rates, then do any conversions necessary, and create overviews. Once it is done, you’ll have your video preview in the upper left corner of your screen, and all of your audio clips laid out in the track section.
When you are finished with your work in LPX, go to the File menu, to Export, select Project to Final Cut Pro/XML. You’ll then have two choices in the sport window after you name the export, and select a location. You can chose to include the video with the export or not. You can also chose to export it as an FCPX Compound Clip, or just leave it as an FCPXML file. If you chose to create a Compound Clip, LPX will create a new Event with the name you gave the export, and place the audio (and optional video) as a Compound Clip in to that Event. Which you can then open in to its own Timeline, or drop into another Timeline.
If you export it only as an FCPXML file, it is just that, an FCPXML file that you can later import manually into FCPX. In FCPX, in the File menu, go to Import, select XML.
With the release of Logic Pro X, we now have more ways of working not only with music and other audio, but with our film, broadcast, and video work, also. I’m very excited about the possibilities these open up, and about what future expansion on these features will be over time. It was definitely worth the wait!
Ben Balser studied educational psychology at Loyola University and with a 20 year IT career behind him, he now produces, consults, and teaches media production full time. As an Apple Certified Master Trainer, he runs the Louisiana Cajun Cutters FCP users group, teaches Final Cut and Motion courses regularly at Louisiana State University and across the country. He has consulted for broadcast, educational, government, and private production facilities, as well as for local film projects.