How do I ingest/import MXF files to Final Cut Express?

Summary: Most people consider MXF format as a kind of pain to use on Mac, because they are not recognized by any of Apple’s editing software natively, like FCE, FCP and iMovie. In this post, we are going to talk about how to convert MXF files to Apple InterMediate Codec, so that FCE will work with them beautifully.
MXF to FCE 4
“Material Exchange Format”, abbreviated as MXF file extension, is a recording or container format for professional digital video and audio media defined by a set of SMPTE standards. MXF format is used with many high-definition video cameras, such as Panasonic P2 camera, Canon XF series cameras and Sony XDCAM cameras. Most people consider MXF format as a kind of pain to use on Mac, because they are not recognized by any of Apple’s editing software natively, like FCE, FCP and iMovie.

User Questions on working MXF video files in Final Cut Express
“Does anyone know the easiest way to convert MXF files, shot with a Panasonic AG- HVX200, into QuickTime files for editing in Final Cut Express 4? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks a lot.”

“Hi, there all, I’m here asking for help. I could not get FCE to open MXF footage taken with my Canon XF305. Do you or anyone have any idea why I’m having these issues? Is some kind of conversion step necessary, and if so what’s the best way to accomplish that? If anyone has any idea how I can get over this ‘unrecognizable format’ issue and get the MXF footage into FCE 4, I would greatly appreciate it. Many thanks in advance.”

Fortunately, there are third party MXF Converters that can convert MXF files to other video formats, such as QuickTime MOV for editing on Mac. You can follow the quick guide below to learn how to transcode MXF files to AIC .mov for editing in FCE with best quality in simple steps.

Software requirement
Video Converter for Mac
convert mxf to mov for mac
You are able to drag all your MXF files to this program and convert then all at once. You don’t have to stay there and do one at a time.

Workflow guide for MXF and FCE – how to rewrap MXF to AIC MOV for Final Cut Express?

Follow these steps:
Step 1: Open up Video Converter for Mac as an MXF to QuickTime MOV Converter for Mac. When its main interface comes up, click ‘Add File’ to load your source media.
edit mxf in fce 4

Step 2: From ‘Profile’ list, choose ‘Apple InterMediate Codec (AIC)(*.mov)’ as output format under ‘iMovie and Final Cut Express’ column.
convert mxf to aic mov for fce
Important: If you’ve loaded a number of video clips to do batch conversion, please do remember ticking off ‘Apply to All’ option before you start.

Step 3: Custom video and audio settings (optional)
If necessary, you can click ‘Settings’ button and go to ‘Profiles Settings’ panel to modify video and audio settings like video encoder, resolution, video bit rate, frame rate, aspect ratio, audio encoder, sample rate, audio bit rate, and audio channels. 3D settings are also available.

Step 4: Begin MXF/P2 MXF to MOV conversion
When ready, click ‘Convert’ to start MXF to QuickTime conversion. Once the conversion process is complete, you can click ‘Open Folder’ button to get the generated AIC MOV files for editing in Final Cut Express or iMovie with optimum performance.

If you don’t want to wait for the entire conversion process, you can tick off ‘Showdown computer when conversion completed’ and go away to do other things.

How to import converted MXF files to FCE for editing?

Start up Final Cut Express, follow File > Import > Files…

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