Get MPEG-2 footage into FCPX

So.. you got that important video from somebody. He gave you the files and asked politely “just do it NOW!”. Video is stored nicely in some MPEG-2 based transport stream files (typical thing with some Canon, SONY, whatever… cameras). You try to import those files into your latest and greatest version of Final Cut Pro and it seems… that you just simply can’t! FCPX doesn’t want to let your footage in urgent need for edit into its powerful editing domain. No matter how you try to adapt, demux, convert to mpeg, headed mpeg, ts, vid, rec, m2v, dit (damned it!), yni (you name it) the file is not accepted by your shiny iMovieX.. erm, sorry… Final Cut Pro X.

Sure, you can follow smart people’s advice and convert all the footage to another format, like Apple’s ProRes for example, at some sizeable cost of time and storage space. But what if both of those are at premium in your situation? Or you don’t have any software that could do that outside of FCPX? Or you don’t have enough knowledge or administrative privileges to install FFmpeg? Or you have the (fantastic tool, BTW) MPEG Streamclip from Squared 5 but you don’t have (and can no longer buy) the QuickTimeMPEG2.component required by MPEG Streamclip in order to be able to handle MPEG-2 data. Or..

So what now?

OK, a little background first: “traditional” UNIX (or Amiga) way of recognising what the file contains, is… to check what the file contains (sic!). Strange? Yeah, I think so too. But that’s what people had been doing with their data for a long time. Before the dark times, before the Empire… But with MS-DOS popularity and everything that followed from Microsoft® Corp, computers no longer check what the content of the file is in order to know what the content of the file is. What they do in order to know what the content of the file is, is they check the name of the file! Then they take whatever the guy in a severe katzenjammer state incidentally typed into the filename field as the ultimate pronouncement about what kind of data the file contains. As illogical as it sounds – file’s name (metadata) is one thing and file’s content (actual data) is a very different thing – this is what the brightest minds from Redmond endowed the world with. And you know what? The world accepted it! Impossible to imagine but true. Even the rebel GNU/Linux systems more and more bow to this brain-dead approach. Apple is not an exception either. Quite the contrary. It wholeheartedly embraced this utter stupidity long time ago.

Now, what all of this has to do with Final Cut Pro not being able to import your MPEG based footage? Well – as found out by one smart and persistent dude – all you have to do to get your MPEG-2 transport streams into FCPX is to… yes, rename the files you want to import (or should I say more politically correct: “unshare”?)!

So… go ahead change the names of the files in such way that they end with a sequence of a dot, a letter “M”, a letter “O” and a letter “D” and you should be an all happy video editor in no time. Just don’t say that out loud to anyone! Somebody at Apple may hear it and decide that files, which have their names ending with “.MOD” sequence of characters must be banned from Final Cut Pro domain too…

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