ARRI’s ALEXA camera offers several recording options, including recording directly to SxS cards in Apple ProRes format. This is called the Shoot to Edit option, and it makes for a very simple workflow. ProRes has proven to be a high quality and robust video format that is widely used in the industry today. The ALEXA has an uncompressed video output, but I believe many productions will choose to record in ProRes directly in the camera. Here is a 3 step guide for how to import ALEXA footage into Final Cut Pro.
1. Insert your SxS card into your MacBook Pro’s ExpressCard34 slot. If you have a computer without an ExpressCard reader, then use the Sony SBAC-US10 SxS Memory Card Reader. The card will show up in your finder as ARRI UDF. UDF stands for Universal Disk Format, which is an open file system.
2. Copy your footage onto a hard disk (preferably a redundant array). The files are named with Camera Name, Reel, Scene and Take numbers. Make sure to copy all clips AND the index.xml file. I recommend making a separate folder for each card copied.
3. Import the index.xml file into Final Cut Pro. Use the File -> Import -> XML function to do this.
Final Cut will pop up a dialog asking for some information. Set your destination to whatever your project name is (my project is called “Alexa”) and click OK.
Now all of your clips should appear in the bin. Notice they are under a folder named after the Camera Name and Reel info.
Repeat Step 3 for each card and you should have all of your footage imported in no time. Now you can start editing!