How to use Pro Video Formats and MXF with Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor

Learn about using MXF via Pro Video Formats and Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor.

What is Pro Video Formats?

Pro Video Formats enables import, edit, and export of MXF (Material eXchange Format) files using Final Cut Pro X, Motion, and Compressor.

What are MXF files and why are they important?

MXF is an industry standard file format for video and audio. Similar to QuickTime files, MXF files contain information about the media inside. This information, also called metadata, can include frame rate, frame size, creation date, and custom data created by a camera operator, assistant, or archivist.

MXF files come from a wide range of sources. They can be created by cameras like Sony (OP1a) and Panasonic (OP-Atom), editing systems like Avid Media Composer, or other video recording devices.

With Pro Video Formats installed, Final Cut Pro can read MXF metadata and preserve it during editing. You can also include MXF metadata when exporting a video file in the OP1a format. In addition, Compressor can take an existing video or audio file and transform it into an MXF file for digital delivery.

Installing Pro Video Formats

Pro Video Formats will appear as a software update in the Mac App Store if you downloaded your version of Final Cut Pro, Motion, or Compressor. When you download the update it will automatically install the following items:

  • MXF Reader for importing
  • AES3 Audio Codec
  • MXF Export including AVC-Intra
  • Compressor settings for exporting MXF files 

After installing, you can create more custom Share settings for MXF export using Compressor.

How do I import MXF files?

After installing Pro Video Formats, you can import most MXF files into Final Cut Pro through the standard Import window. This makes it seamless to edit with MXF files from a variety of sources.

How do I export MXF files?

To share an MXF file from Final Cut Pro, follow these steps.

  1. In Final Cut Pro, choose File > Share > Add Destination.
  2. Select Compressor Settings, open the Custom folder, then open the MXF folder.
  3. You'll see multiple MXF settings. Pick the one that matches the frame rate you need to deliver. Inside that folder are more choices for codec and frame size. Again, pick the setting that is appropriate for your delivery needs. 
  4. Your choice will be added to your list of default settings in the Share menu. Continue with standard Share steps to save the shared MXF file.

    If you’re sharing from Compressor 4.1 or later, the MXF presets will appear in the Settings pane under the Custom header. Click the disclosure triangle to see the various frame sizes and codec options available.

How do I export MXF files with custom MXF metadata?

Exporting an XML file from Final Cut Pro is the best way to exchange metadata from your clips and projects with third-party applications for finishing, broadcasting, or archiving into a media database. In order to export custom MXF metadata in an XML file, you'll need to first create a custom metadata view.

Sharing clips

  1. Select a clip in the Browser.
  2. Open the Inspector and choose Info.
  3. Select the Metadata Views menu at the bottom of the Inspector window and choose Edit Metadata View.
  4. Check all the fields that you'd like to add to the custom MXF metadata view, including the MXF metadata fields. Click OK.
  5. Choose Save Metadata View and give it a descriptive name.

This custom metadata view will be added to the Metadata View menu in the Inspector and will be available when exporting XML files.

To export an XML file with the custom MXF metadata, select the item you're exporting in the Browser and choose File > Export XML. Select your custom MXF metadata view from the Metadata View drop-down menu.

How do I use Pro Video Formats with a version of Compressor prior to Compressor 4.1?

To use Pro Video Formats with an earlier version of Compressor, install the updater using these instructions. You'll then need to create a Compressor setting in the Settings tab. Click the "Create a New Setting" pop-up menu and choose the MXF output format. For more information on creating a setting, see Compressor 3.5.x: Creating a Setting from Scratch or Compressor 4.0.x: Creating a Setting from Scratch.

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