fcp.co logo transparent
fcp clapperboard

A beginners guide to the new Final Cut Pro XML


With the recent update of Final Cut Pro X to 10.0.1, an XML import & export feature became available.This article might be a very good place to start from to get an understanding of this flexible tool.

Jonathan Eric Tyrell writes a dam fine article and he has put a lot of time into this post about the new XML for FCPX, it's called FCPXML.

Hopefully he won't mind us reproducing the first paragraphs of his article. Make sure you read the full text over on his blog as he gives step by step instructions on how to write FCPXML to automatically build a simple edit in FCPX.

"The ability to export and import XML (Extensible Markup Language) files is a key component of many existing workflows and something a lot of Final Cut Pro editors rely on today. In large part, the foundation of the Final Cut Studio ecosystem was built on the interchange of XML files between different applications. For those of us who were startled by the omission in June release of FCP X, the absence will perhaps become notable for how short-lived it was. It seems clear Apple would like us to view the 10.0.1 update to Final Cut Pro X as a signal of intent.

Before we consider the function(s) of XML in contemporary workflows, it may be useful to understand where the impetus to transfer projects originates and identify the issue XML attempts to address. As we all know, historically the film and television industries have relied on dedicated technologies for specific tasks. For years the fabled Edit Decision List (EDL) has been the tool used to recreate projects on different systems — to the grade the picture or mix the sound, for example. The EDL has been around for a long time and is regarded by many as antiquated, but it’s survived and is featured in a whole host of current applications you’ll be aware of, including ResolveScratch and Smoke. By design an EDL is intended to reduce a project to its core components — reel and timecode data. It’s intentionally minimal, restricted to the essential information necessary to describe and recreate the edited timeline. It may seem blunt, but by and large it works. Its longevity is rooted in its simplicity."

XML on the other hand is far more sophisticated in what it is able to describe. As a result we can use it to transfer all sorts of data. Indeed anyone who has experienced the Final Cut Pro 7 to Color 1.5 round-trip workflow will have marvelled at the depth and complexity of information that flows between the two applications. Alongside the Final Cut Studio workflows, third-party developers like Automatic Duck,Digital Heaven and Intelligent Assistance have created numerous products to augment our toolset by utilising XML in clever and powerful ways."

At the end of the article Eric says he has been learning the apps that support FCPXML such as Smoke, Resolve and CatDV. Hopefully he will write a follow up article with his experiences of exchanging material in between those and FCPX.

Written by
Top Blogger Thought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. 

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


Log in to comment