Saturday, 11 June 2016

Final Cut Pro X with Lightroom. Yes you can

One valuable feature of Final Cut Pro X is the ability to import photographs directly from Apple’s own Aperture and Photos via the Photos Browser. When I moved to Adobe Lightroom, in anticipation of the demise of Aperture and faced with the pretty useless Photos, I missed that feature. I thought there was no way of getting photographs from Lightroom into Final Cut Pro X other than by exporting them and then importing them into FCPX directly or via Photos. I was wrong.

The Published Smart Folder created in Lightroom
I found a workaround that had been published on an internet forum in September 2015. In Lightroom it involves creating a Publish Service to any local drive. I first created a folder called LR for FCP (to remind me what it contains) in the Pictures folder. I then used Lightroom to create its own ‘Published Smart Folder’ within that folder. I set up the latter folder to contain anything Flagged in Lightroom. I only used ‘Flag’ as as example for automatically including photographs in the Smart Folder—all the other smart folder options (star rating, colour label, keywords) can be used.

The contents of the smart folder are held there until you right click and press ‘Publish Now’. The queued photographs are exported to Published Smart Folder.

The Published Smart Folder open in FCPX
That folder is now dragged into the Photos Browser of FCPX and there are the photographs ready to drag onto the Timeline.

Provided you have FCPX set up to ‘Copy to library storage location’, the photographs can be deleted from the Published Smart Folder and those in its smart folder in Lightroom can be unFlagged and removed (the original photos are left in place of course).

I think I now prefer this method to using Aperture or Photos since I do not need have to wade through all their folders and photographs In the Photos Browser in FCPX to find what I want.

This method also works with Motion and I found another advantage. Layered graphics in psd format (such as the ones I use for moving maps) can be saved directly from Photoshop to the Published Smart Folder. They can then be dragged to the Canvas in Motion with the option for them to appear as separate layers (in FCPX the layers can be separated in the Timeline).