Sneaky Workaround for Importing Partial Files into Final Cut Pro

First, it’s important to understand that when you import a file into Final Cut Pro, you need to make a choice in the Media Import window:

The reason I mention this is that many editors are concerned that if they import a very large file from which they want only a very short section, they are wasting storage space. The easiest way to avoid this is to always select “Leave files in place.”

However, sometimes we shoot very long sessions knowing that we only need to use a very short section. Here, it would be nice to extract just the section we want, then trash the much larger file.

There are two ways to do this, both of which require copying the source media.


Compressor can be used to create extracts of just about anything. It’s a great tool. However, if you don’t own Compressor, Jon’s workaround is a great Plan B. Jon writes:

“For long clips. I have been able to create a ‘fake’ camera card folder. Here’s how.”

NOTE: When folders are constructed this way, they emulate a typical camera card. FCP won’t display the DCIM or 100media folders, rather, it just shows the clips in the master folder (lower red arrow).


This is a very cool technique – emulating a camera card to allow FCP to create excerpts. All excerpts created this way use ProRes 422 as the codec. If you need a different codec, create the excerpt before importing it into Final Cut.

Thanks, Jon, for sharing this tip.

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2 Responses to Sneaky Workaround for Importing Partial Files into Final Cut Pro

  1. Richard Davis says:

    Very helpful, thank you! I have wanted this “feature” forever!

    • Larry says:


      The only down-side to this – just as with copying media into the the library – is that you are making a copy of your source file. In the old analog days, copying was always a step-down in image quality. Today, with digital formats, while there may be image loss, most of the time, the two images will look identical.

      This is NOT to say you should copy media, simply that you should examine the copy to be sure it looks OK afterward.


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