Edit DVD Files Directly in Final Cut Pro

Video TS

My friend Mike told me this was possible, but I didn’t believe it until I tried it myself.

We all know that FCP Studio 2 has that fancy Multi-Format timeline, allowing you to mix and match various codecs, frame sizes and frame rates. But did you realize that you can drag and drop a video TS folder directly into the timeline and actually play the video?

You can also drag and drop it into the browser window, and although you will get an error saying that the files were not recognized, you’ll end up with a folder with all of the .vob files. From there you can load them into the viewer and edit with them. Even the DVD menu items are available.

Here are a few screen shots.  Video TS 1,  Video TS 2

The down side? There’s no audio. So yes, this has limited use, but there are still plenty of times that this could be useful. What I really love about this is that you don’t need to convert the DVD to any other format to start editing. If all you need to do is grab a few quick b-roll shots from a DVD the client just handed you, you can do that. Obviously, you should copy the Video_TS folder to your own hard drive first though.

Near as I can tell, this is not a documented feature in Final Cut Pro. If you have found a way to get the audio to work as well, send me an email.

Updated Tuesday; March 4, 2008, 7:02 PM

As luck would have it, I actually had an edit today where I was given a DVD with time-lapse footage on it that I needed to use (no audio needed). I just copied the video TS folder over and loaded up the VOB file I needed. It edited fine, rendered fine, and I was able to do speed changes on it without issue. So this is useful indeed!

Updated Saturday; March 15, 2008, 10:46 PM

To help demonstrate this, I have posted a screencast of the tip. You can view it here.

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