Why Doesn’t FCP X Support Image Sequences for Time Lapse (among other reasons)

by anarchyjim on May 10, 2014 · 2 comments

in Final Cut Pro,Time Lapse

In the process of putting together a number of tutorials on time lapse (particularly stabilizing it), I discovered that FCP X does not import image sequences. If you import 1500 images that have a name with sequential numbers, it imports them as 1500 images. This is a pretty huge fail on the part of FCP. Since it is a video application, I would expect it to do what every other video application does and recognize the image sequence as VIDEO.  Even PHOTOSHOP is smart enough to let you import a series of images as an image sequence and treat it as a video file. (and, no, you should not be using the caveman like video tools in Photoshop for much of anything, but I’m just sayin’ it imports it correctly)

There are ways to get around this. Mainly use some other app or Quicktime to turn the image sequence into a video file.  I recommend shooting RAW when shooting time lapse,  so this means you have to pull the RAW sequence into one of the Adobe apps anyways (Lightroom, After Effects, Premiere) for color correction.  It would be much nicer if FCP just handled it correctly without having to jump through the Adobe apps. Once you’re in the Adobe system, you might as well stay there, IMO.

No, I’m not a FCP X hater. I just like my apps to work the way they should… just as I tore into Premiere and praised FCP for their .f4v (Flash video) support in this blog post.

Time Lapse image sequence in Final Cut Pro failing to load as a single video file


What’s wrong with this picture?

Jim Tierney
Digital Anarchy
Revolutionary Tools for Photo & Video

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Butch Hirsch 05.22.14 at 11:38 am

Hay Jim,
Great blog about FCP rendering and Timelapes sequenceing!
However some just taught me a way to get your photos into FCP for a time lapse and then set it up.
If you email me at the above I will discuss with you. I just finished one 900 images.
Have a great day!

2 anarchyjim 05.22.14 at 3:56 pm

There are ways to do it, but it’s something that FCP should just support. It’s silly that they don’t. But feel free to post your technique!


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