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Upgrading a file from one version to another has always been a crucial aspect of any application update—until Final Cut Pro X came on the scene, that is. This latest version was so different that there was no way to import your old Final Cut Pro 7 projects into it. The fact that migrating from iMovie was well integrated merely rubbed salt into this wound.
If you decided to move to Apple’s latest and greatest, you had to wave goodbye to possibly a decade of projects, sequences, and edits. We don’t know of any editor who was comfortable with that prospect.
Drag an XML file onto the application’s icon, and it will start the translation process.
But this dilemma didn’t last long, and when Apple released the third update to its new editing program, it also revealed its support for XML 1.1. This file format was just what independent developer Assisted Editing needed to create 7toX for Final Cut Pro, a method for bringing projects created in Final Cut Pro 7 into the bright future that Apple has envisioned for all video editors.
The process isn’t seamless, but it’s relatively straightforward. You start your journey by launching a project you’d like to transfer over in Final Cut Pro 7. From there, you can either export the project’s entire content (including bins, sequences, and media) or just select the few items you’d like to carry over. You can then save that as an XML file. Repeat the procedure for any other project you’d like to migrate, and then quit FCP7.
7toX is a very minimal piece of software: you can drag one of the XML files onto its icon or choose it by going to File > Open. Annoyingly, you cannot select more than one at a time. What 7toX does is convert the XML file FCP7 created into one that FCPX can read. It’s crucial during the conversion process that all the media used in that project is accessible from your Mac; otherwise, you’ll end up with blank placeholder clips in Final Cut Pro X.
Once the conversion is complete, you’re given the option of importing the project straight into FCPX or saving the resulting file. Saving the file lets you add your project to a different Mac, but don’t forget to move the necessary media to that Mac first.
Once the translation is completed, you can either send the results straight to FCPX or save the file.
Your imported work won’t appear in the Project Library at the bottom of FCPX. Instead, it’ll be stored in the Event Library, which will also include your sequences, converted into compound clips. You’ll have to spend a little time transforming those back into project sequences, but at least your old work will be here, in Final Cut Pro X…for the most part. To see the full list of what will and won’t be imported, check out this highly detailed page from the developer’s website: bit.ly/w0K1sW.
The XML conversion isn’t flawless though: some highly complex projects won’t make it through the first stage; a handful won’t be able to be converted by 7toX; you’ll also lose some filters; and of course third-party effects won’t even show up. Oddly, Motion files will be replaced with gap clips. And if you did a lot of compositing work, you may find some of your clips’ positions on the screen have altered. But your edits will all be there, even highly complex (or disorganized) ones will appear exactly as they looked in FCP7.
There will undoubtedly be some work involved in bringing most projects back to their original working order, so this solution is definitely not for projects you’re currently working on. Bear in mind that this is also a 1.0 product, so some glitches will appear that will get fixed over time. But at least you can now migrate from FCP7, which in itself is a huge deal: this makes switching to FCPX a feasible prospect for a lot of concerned editors.
The bottom line. It’s not a perfect utility but it still provides FCP7 editors with that crucial route to upgrading to X.
Mac OS 10.6 or later, Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3
Incredibly easy to use. Fast translation process. Flawless edit transfers.
Not all filters are transferred. Some cleanup work is necessary. Project data must be Mac-Linked.