Final Cut Pro/Express Compatibility?
October 25, 2005 12:28 AM   Subscribe

How compatible are Final Cut Pro and Final Cut Express?

A friend of mine has asked me to clean up some sound on a project edited in Final Cut Express, but I'm using FCP5. Will I be able to read her project file, and, when I'm done, will she still be able to read it in Express?
posted by brundlefly to Computers & Internet (3 answers total)
Best answer: IIRC, you should be able to open a Final Cut Express project in Final Cut Pro, but the process will convert the file into the FCP format, making it unreadable in Express.

I think your best bet would be to open a copy of her project, edit only the sections that need sound cleanup, then export those sections as fully rendered clips to be reabsorbed into your friend's original timeline. She'll lose some editing capability (depending on how complicated her project is), but it may still be worth it for her.

Alternatively, if sound sync won't be an issue (you don't mention any specifics about what needs cleaning up) you could export the downmixed audio track (or just the fixed bits) when you're done and give her that. I guess it'll depend on how her timeline is set up, how nested things are, etc.

Side note: you are planning to edit a copy and not the original, right? As in, a fully separate copy of the project file along with fully separate copies of all the source media? If not, consider a full backup before attempting this sort of thing. Losing data and/or breaking compatibility in situations like this sucks, even with replaceable logged captures.
posted by drumcorpse at 1:58 AM on October 25, 2005

One thing you can try that should work (assuming your friend is using the latest version of FCE) is to import her native FCE project file into FCP, do your audio mix, then when youre done, export your sequence back out as an XML file.

I believe the newest version of FCE can import XML files (using Apple's XML Interchange format), so your friend should be able to import your XML file with all the audio levels (rubberbanding) intact.

I use this technique to save backwards compatible project files out of FCP5, and open them up in FCP 4.5. Works great for audio. Just be careful not to use any non-standard plugins or whatnot, as they will not survive the XML translation.
posted by melorama at 4:06 AM on October 25, 2005

Similar enough that the XML process will work.

Same media, same storage locations.

Your best bet is to copy the project + media to a drive.
Dup the project (always have a backup).
Open in FCP5. Work. If you use any audio filters, it'd best be to make a mixdown and export to 2 stereo tracks and mirror them up in FCE. warning you must be at picture lock (no further picture changes) for this method to work.
posted by filmgeek at 5:43 AM on October 25, 2005

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