How to import MXF files into Adobe Premiere?

This post helps those who are having issues importing MXF clips into Adobe Premiere. It explains a workaround to transcode MXF videos to Premiere compatible files before editing.

Unable to import MXF files to Premiere CS6
“Hi all, I am having trouble importing MXF footage shot with the Canon C300 into Premiere CS6. I have copied the entire card, and also used XF Utility backup to transfer the footage to my HD. I have tried to import individual files, and import folder. But failed with ‘generic error’ or ‘unable to read xmp’. Has anyone else experienced this? Anyone have a solution? I would really appreciate any help. Thanks.”

In theory, Premiere should work with MXF footage, but if for whatever reason you are stuck with the reality that Premiere won’t import MXF files, the easy solution is to convert them first. Here’s how.

How to convert MXF files for use in Premiere?

Software requirement
HD Video Converter
convert mxf to dnxhd movfree trial pc version

Step 1: Start up HD Video Converter as an MXF Converter for Premiere.

Step 2: Click ‘Add File’ to import your source media to the program.

Step 3: Select output format
* If you are on a Windows PC, from the format bar, choose ‘Avid DNxHD 1080p (*.mov)’ as output under ‘Avid Media Composer’ column.

** If you are on a Mac computer, you can from the format bar, choose ‘Apple ProRes 422 (*.mov)’ as target under ‘Final Cut Pro’ catalogue.

Also, you can select ‘MOV (AVC) (*.mov)’ as output format under ‘Adobe Premiere/Sony Vegas’ option.

*** A point to note here is that the HD Video Converter software features an MPEG-2 format profile optimized for Adobe Premiere, but some people said that the MPEG-2 is a lossy codec that throws away information which is not the right codec for editing. For this reason, we would recommend converting MXF to DNxHD MOV for Premiere on Windows and transcoding MXF to ProRes MOV for Premiere on Mac.

Step 4: Custom video and audio settings (for advanced users)
Click ‘Settings’ button, the ‘Profile Settings’ panel pops up, on which you are able to modify video and audio settings like resolution, bit rate, frame rate, sample rate and audio channel.

Step 5: When ready, click ‘Convert’ to start transcoding MXF files to Premiere supported QuickTime MOV format. As soon as the conversion complete, click ‘Open’ button to locate the generated files and now you are able to open them in Premiere for further editing.

Also read
How can I import MXF footage into Avid Media Composer?
FCP 7 not recognizing my MXF file – convert MXF to ProRes
Convert P2 MXF to ProRes for FCP 6/7/X without losing sound
MXF and Vegas – How can I edit MXF video files in Sony Vegas?