Red Raw Workflow Inside FCP-X

Working with Raw inside the different NLEs requires a certain approach that varies from application to application. For instance, in Premiere Pro, you can work directly with Raw files by taking advantage of the GPU-based debayering and CUDA cores acceleration while editing the native files in real-time.

However, the Red Raw workflow in FCP-X is slightly different, as it requires some additional steps before and after the import of the .r3d files as they typically require transcoding, creating proxies and managing the raw settings in advance before editing. After generating proxy files, you still have access to the original core settings such as Red Gamma, Colour Space, ISO, etc.. However, you don’t have the option to alter those settings as long as you use the generated proxies.

In general, editing the original full resolution .r3d files in real-time is not recommended unless you have a powerful Mac Pro workstation with at least a Red Rocket card attached.

The following video tutorial from Ripple Training summarises the process of working with Red Raw media inside FCP X.

Before you can work with Raw media in Final Cut X in the first place, you’ll need to download and install, the Red Apple Workflow Installer available as a free download from While in FCP X, select the Event and press Shift-Command-K to create a new keyword collection and then open the preferences by hitting Command-Comma. In this window, you will access the options that refer to the management of the files. You can copy all of them to a new location or you can leave them in the same place.

Furthermore, under Transcoding you have another two options. By choosing Create Optimised Media, FCP X will generate Apple ProRes 4444 files in order to preserve the optimum colour fidelity of the original 16-bit r3d. files for further flawless editing and grading. Choose Create proxy media for even faster and more efficient editing.

Transcoding or not, you will always have access to the Raw media files if you later decide to colour grade your project in DaVinci Resolve, for instance. However, if you choose to transcode, first you will have to delete the transcoded files in order to access and alter again the Raw metadata.

Steve from Ripple Media also recommends turning off any keyword tagging to prevent FCP-X  from creating a keyword collection from every clip that’s imported.

To import a camera Roll, drag it onto the keyword collection that matches your roll number. FCP will show you the files that can not be imported and will add only the .r3d files. You can then select a certain clip from the Event, press Command+4 to open the Inspector and go to the Info tab of the clip. Inside that window, you will find the Available Media Representations.

If you’ve already imported the original raw files without transcoding them, by pressing the Modify RED RAW Settings you still will have access to the control panel of the Raw settings where you can set your initial grade of your clip prior to editing by changing any of the available features Colour Space, Gamma, ISO etc.

You can then generate the proxy files by pressing the Generate Proxy button inside the Inspector. You can also transcode the Raw media by selecting File>Transcode Media. The background window will show the progress of the transcoding. Once the process is finished and the proxy or optimised files are rendered, you can continue with the edit.

RED Apple Workflow: Introducing the FCP X Plugin from RED Digital Cinema on Vimeo.

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