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How to create a camera archive in Final Cut Pro X

Ashley Kennedy

Turn your tape footage into a file-based media backup by creating a camera archive in Final Cut Pro X!

One very useful feature in Final Cut Pro X is the ability to create a camera archive, which allows you to easily turn your tape-based media into a file-based media backup.  While this might not mean that you’ll throw away the hundreds of backup tapes that line your shelves (or shoeboxes) quite yet, it does offer a very attractive alternative to backing up your media and creating hard drives full of digital archival material in case you need to restore a project.

To create a camera archive in Final Cut Pro X:

  1. From the File menu, select Import From Camera, or press Command + i.  You can also click on the camera icon on the left-side of the middle toolbar.
  2. When the camera import window opens, make sure your camera or deck is displayed in the list on the left side.

    Note: if you instead want to archive camera file-based media (like from your camera’s SD card, P2 card, hard drive, etc.), you certainly can.  And, because your camera media is often stored within an intricate folder hierarchy, creating a camera archive of the master folder is often a great way to back the media up without having to worry about the folder hierarchy.
  3. Choose the desired camera, deck or folder, and select the Create Archive button.
    (For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll create a camera archive from a tape in a deck.)
  4. A window will appear that asks you to name the camera archive, as well as dictate its storage location.
  5. Press OK.
    Final Cut Pro X will rewind the tape and begin ingesting.  When the import is finished, Final Cut Pro X will eventually stop importing once it reaches a long break in timecode.  Or, you can manually stop the process by clicking the Stop Import button.

The archive is stored inside a folder called Final Cut Camera Archives on your destination drive.

To use your camera archive:

  1. In Final Cut Pro X, open the Camera Import window.  Your archive is displayed in the list on the left side under the label Camera Archives.
  2. Click on the camera archive, and you’ll see all of the clips you ingested within the main part of the window.  (A new clip was created every time the camera was paused or stopped.  This means you can actually choose which of these clips you want to import into Final Cut Pro X.)
  3. Select the clip(s) you want to import, and press the Import Selected or Import All button.
  4. The import dialog box appears.  Choose the appropriate options, and then press Import.

    After the media is ingested, it is immediately available within the Event Library.

So, as you can see, creating a camera archive is a terrific way to back up your media and eliminate the need to batch capture.  But let’s face it: hard drives do fail.  So, you should probably still keep your tape backups in that cool, dry location for those “just in case” moments— 5, 10, or 15 years down the road.