How to Make H.264/MPEG-4 MP4 Files Work in Final Cut Pro

Summary: The article would show how to convert H.264/MPEG-4 MP4 files to FCP for editing smoothly without rendering on Mac, just follow it! 

Question: Does anyone know of a plugin for Final Cut Pro or a stand alone editing application (Mac based) for mp4 - h.264 files? It seems that the standard and most recommended method for working with mp4 HD camera footage (Flip or other consumer HD-camera files) in Final Cut is converting the lossy format to Apple Pro-Res 422 or DVCProHD or other lossless codecs for stable performance and editing. 


In many instances video editors are given mp4's with the idea that they are convenient for quick turn-around post-production but in fact the conversion and render times tend to make the workflow much more labor intensive than standard HD or HDV production. It seems that Flip and consumer based HD mp4 style workflows are meant to be titled and edited with the applications that are included with the cameras. These tools do not offer the flexibility and ease of a professional editing application.

Answer: MP4 files are compressed using H.264/MPEG-4 codec which is a final delivery codec not use for editing. Therefore you may have problems when importing MP4 footage into Final Cut Pro. For smoothly editing MP4 files in Final Cut Pro, you first need to convert MP4 to a more editing-friendly format, such a Final Cut Pro's ProRes.

To do the MP4 to Prores Conversion, as well as to keep your video quality, you need a professional HD Video Converter for Mac to be your helper. If you want to find an easy-to use and professional tools, here recommend you Pavtube iMedia Converter for Mac. The one used here can meet your demands with its simple interface but rich functions. With it, you can effortlessly transcode H.264/MPEG-4 MP4 files to ProRes 422 encoded MOV for Final Cut Pro.


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Meanwhile, the Mac Video Conversion tool can create files compatible with various non-linear editing systems like Avid, FCE, iMovie, and Adobe Premiere (Pro) etc. Just download it and follow the guide and go on your movie director experience.

Guide: Transcoding H.264/MPEG-4 MP4 to ProRes 422 codec for Final Cut Pro

Step 1: Add mp4 footage from MP4 file folder to Prores converter for FCP. You can directly drag and drop video files to this software.

Step 2: Choose Final Cut Pro editing codec.

Select to rewrap your mts files to "Apple Prores 422(*.mov)" or "Apple Prores 422(HQ)(*.mov)" to work fine with FCP 7/X.

Learn more Apple ProRes, please refer to Types of Apple ProRes Codecs

Tips: You can click on Settings to adjust audio and video parameters including video size, video frame rate, bitrate, sample rate, audio channel.

Step 3: Hit "Convert" button to carry out the conversion process. When the conversion ends, you can run the Final Cut Pro and click File --> Import --> Files to import the resulted MOV files and edit them in FCP easily, you can follow this import video to fcp guide.

From the steps above, this software will solve you MP4 files conversion and editing problems, and then you can import and use your H.264/MPEG-4 MP4 files in FCP on Mac without any problems.

Further Reading:

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