The lack of project compatibility between the legacy version of Final Cut Pro and the completely rewritten FCP X was the source of great angst for professionals back in the summer of 2011.  With FCP X 10.0.3 and Intelligent Media’s 7toX utility that roadblock has been cleared, with a few caveats.

7toX is a “go-between” app that takes an XML file from FCP 7 and converts the project information into a language that X understands.  It applies to clips, bins, and sequences, so you can select individual elements or the whole project.  It couldn’t be much simpler to operate- let’s take a look.

Here’s a project I’m finishing up in FCP 7- it’s a series of promos for an upcoming show called “Finding Your Roots.”

For the test I chose one sequence, but the same workflow applies if you are converting entire projects.  Using the standard XML export function, I created a file that contains all the metadata for the edited timeline.

Right clicking the file gives you a contextual menu, so I selected “Open With 7toX for Final Cut Pro.”

7toX’s interface is to the point.  A progress bar appears during the conversion, and then you’re given the option to go straight to FCP X or save a new standalone XML file.

If all goes well, you end up in FCP X right where you left off.

I mentioned earlier that there are a few caveats.  According to the documentation, a legacy project’s media must all be online in order to be promoted into FCP X.  Older project files where the media has been deleted are out of luck, but since FCP X has no way to batch re-capture from source tapes anyway it doesn’t strike me as a big deal.

Additionally, it should come as no surprise that some effects and filters get lost in translation, and speed affected clips may slip by a frame or two.  One really nice touch is that the project generated by 7toX places markers in the timeline telling you exactly what didn’t make it across, so you can find an equivalent replacement in X.

Overall, I’m very impressed by the promise of this app, and the $9.99 price tag on the Mac App Store makes it a no-brainer purchase for anyone interested in this type of functionality.

3 thoughts on “Converting FCP 7 projects to FCP X: a hands on with Intelligent Media’s 7toX

  1. Bill,
    What do you do if your project is riddled with embedded Motion 4 files? I’m guessing you have to export a self contained file to import into X or you’re SOL. Agree?

    1. SOL indeed. Motion files show up in X as black generator placeholders- before the XML export you have to render out the Motion 4 clips as QuickTime files, cut them into your FCP 7 sequences, run the translation, open all the Motion 4 files in Motion 5, save them back out, and manually cut them into the X sequences.

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