FCPX import photos unbelievably slow

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by tillsbury, Jul 29, 2013.

  1. macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    I'm creating timelapse videos with FCPX, and the complete pain in the **** is importing the photos themselves. The "Import Media" dialogue box is strange, and attempts to find all photographs (and media) in all subdirectories, which takes it forever. My photos are in a directory that I know, but when I go to Pictures/Photos/whatever the import dialogue box insists on searching for and analysing all the photos in the Pictures directory, which is tens of thousands. Why would it do this? Can I stop it doing this?

    At the moment if I try to import a few photos from a directory which is a child of a very large tree it takes forever (say several minutes) to list the files, select them, and then import them. This is all on SSD, goodness knows how long it would take with a hard drive. Not too doggy slow computer, rMBP 2.6 with 16Gb RAM and nothing else running.

    Is there any other way of doing this, or making it act like a sensible file selection dialogue?
  2. macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    Basically, FCP X is doing what it's doing because you haven't told it not to do that.

    You should definitely read the manual or consult FCP X help on importing.

    A few things to note:

    FCP X only works natively with certain still image formats. As such, FCP X might be transcoding your files. This is often a good thing, sometimes not, depending on what you're trying to do.

    You don't need to use the import dialog, just select the files you want and drop them into the timeline. As example, on my 2012 Mac Mini, 200 DNG images can be imported and ready for playback in less than a minute.

    In preferences, you can specify what FCP X does when it imports. The default setting will copy and analyze, both of which might be unnecessary for you.

    There are probably other preference settings which need to be adjusted depending on what you're trying to do.
  3. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    Whereabouts in the manual does it describe how to remove the terrible dark grey "Import Media" box?

    When you say "You don't need to use the import dialog, just select the files and drop them into the timeline" where do I select the files? FCPX won't let me drag and drop files from a Finder window into either the event viewer or the timeline.

    The preferences section of FCPX has hardly any options as far as I can see. The Import tab shows options for copying or not, transcoding and creating proxy media, but not for using an alternative method of selecting files to import.

    The multitude of "how to"s on the internet are very basic and don't show what options are really available, nor do they show what to do when you have more than a dozen files or so. For example, this page here:
    suggests clicking the "import files" button (although for me this says "import media"), and brings up a finder-like window in which to select files. Mine doesn't look like that at all -- it's dark grey and attempts to load every potential image on the entire drive, along with its metadata, before letting me select anything.
  4. fa8362, Jul 29, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013

    macrumors 65816

    Jul 7, 2008
    I drag and drop all the time with DNG. What format are you trying to import? Maybe Final Cut X doesn't support your files.

    Update: I just dragged and dropped DNG, PEF, NEF, RW2, and CRW raw files (Pentax, Pentax, Nikon, Panasonic, and Canon) into the timeline. FCP X wouldn't accept my Kodak (DCR) or Sigma (X3F) raw files.

    So either you're doing something wrong or FCP X doesn't support the format you're trying to drag and drop.
  5. macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    Trying to force FCPX to act as a Finder (level) is brutal.
    Same goes for Bridge and other apps.
    Use the basic Import option and not the Photo Browser.
  6. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    What is the "basic import option and not the photo browser"? How do I switch that off.

    All the help files and web pages suggest that the only way to import files is to create a new event, click on Import (cmd-I), and select the files you want. How else can I do this simpler with a Finder-like interface instead of the "Import media" interface? I can't see any preferences settings for this choice.

    I have tried dragging the files (which are JPGs) to the event or to the timeline, nothing doing. There's a grey circle with a line through it wherever I try to go on the timeline. Where do you drag the files to?

    FCPX accepts the files, they're just JPGs -- I did say that the process works, it just takes several minutes even on the integral SSD to display which files are available to select, whereas bringing them up in a Finder window is instant. What's it trying to do and how do I stop it? Pinnacle Studio was a lot faster than this twenty years ago.
  7. macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    My apologies, you are using the basic Import option and not the Photo Browser.
    I would do a re-install of FCPX if you cant get it to work right for you.
    Ive imported Canon TIFFs, giant ass PSDs, CinemDNGs (from a BMCC) and of course R3Ds (not single frames) and never had slow import issues on any of the FCPX workstations I have. Were talking iMacs, MBP and Mac Pro.s here.
    Something must be up with your system.
    But if its the same set of JPEGs maybe upload a few (zip) on Dropbox and sent it here so we can take a crack at it.

    Also ever try shutting off all Import options and testing?
  8. thread starter macrumors 65816

    Dec 24, 2007
    I have tried all the combinations of import options (although to be fair it's obvious what they do, and mostly they simply increase the time taken to do the import itself).

    I don't really care if it takes a minute or two to import a big stack of photos, whether it's copying them across or converting them on the way.

    The point I was making was that if you have a selection of photos at the bottom of a tree containing lots and lots of photos (my Pictures folder, for example, has say 30,000 images spread all throughout the folders within it, although no more than a couple of hundred in each folder), the Import dialogue box attempts to show ALL the photos available for import as a default, rather than acting like a normal Finder window and showing only the files and subfolders within each folder as you get to it. It is also attempting to find metadata within each file, so the import dialogue takes forever (several minutes) to show you the files and let you select them.

    I wondered whether FCPX had a hidden preferences box or option that would prevent this from happening, and let you select the files you want in the same way that every other program on the planet does.
  9. mBox, Jul 31, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2013

    macrumors 68020

    Jun 26, 2002
    I repeat, try shutting off all the options in prefs first then attempt to import from that folder?
    Curious to see whats going on.
    I have a Photo Catalog at work that resides on the XServe with about 48TB of GTECH RAIDs on FIBRE.
    Im sure it has over 500,000 photos ranging from RAW, TIFF, JPEG and vector.
    Ill do a test on that folder with FCPX to see if I can replicate your issues.
  10. macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2005
    you may want to think about resizing all your images in advance if you haven't.

    istopmotion is a relay nice simple and fast app thats worth a look at too http://www.boinx.com/istopmotion/mac/

    or even if you have Photoshop you can make timelapse in Photoshop with surprisingly good options.

    or good old QT7 pro (you have to pay) can make your videos from jpeg

    or one of the free apps like;

    also this site is worth a look http://timelapse.org/

    and AE can do the job too

    hope that helps

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