Step-by-step tutorial to edit your GoPro files in Final Cut Pro
The GoPro (now at version 4) is an affordable high performance wearable camera to record sporting and other activities.
It records in MPEG-4 and outputs its files as .MP4 files (the container). Files are compressed using the h.264 codec (as opposed to AAC or Xvid and DivX usually found in .AVI containers). So the files you are getting out of GoPro HD are suited to be delivered as is, which is usually not what you want. The GoPro HD being an “always-on” type of camera worn on your helmet, attached to your bike, surfboard or other, you usually end up with long sequences of footage you then need to edit down.
Since the MP4 codec is a final delivery codec it is not one you want to use for editing. Therefore you first need to convert it to a more editing-friendly format, such a Final Cut Pro’s ProRes.
First you need to download MPEG Streamclip, a powerful high-quality video converter, player and editor. If you are editing with Final Cut Pro (FCP), chances are you already installed this great free utility. If not, download it it from this site.
So, what does the workflow look like?
1) Create a folder with the original GoPro *.MP4 files on your hard drive.
2) Launch MPEG Streamclip
3) Select LIST / BATCH LIST in the menu toolbar. This opens a BATCH LIST window. Select all your .MP4 files in your folder, drag & drop them into this BATCH LIST window.
4) Another window automatically opens with a task to choose. Leave the default selection EXPORT TO QUICKTIME. Do not tick any of the other fields. Press OK.
5) The SELECT THE DESTINATION FOLDER window opens. Create a folder for your converted files and SELECT it.
6) The MOVIE EXPORTER windows opens. Select the options as follows:
- COMPRESSION: APPLE PRORES 422 (LT). Please note that you will only see the Apple ProRes Codecs if you have Final Cut Pro installed as they are being shipped as part of this editing suite.
- QUALITY: Increase to 100%
- FRAME SIZE: This will depend on what settings you used to film your original footage so you need to select the one that says UNSCALED. In my case this is 1280×720 (UNSCALED).
Set the FRAME RATE options as follows:
- FRAME BLENDING: OFF
- BETTER DOWNSCALING: OFF
- INTERLACED SCALING: ON
- DEINTERLACE VIDEO: OFF
- Finally, FIELD DOMINANCE is set to UPPER FIELD FIRST.
Leave the rest unchanged, then click TO BATCH. This will put all your files in the conversion queue.
Then click GO and your files will be converted into .MOV files ready to be imported into FCP.