Thursday, January 19, 2012

Importing PDF files into Final Cut Pro

Today I was handed a 100+ page PDF to use in a FCP project. The problem is that FCP doesn't really like .PDF's all that much and if you drag a multi-page PDF into FCP you'll get a short clip that will essentially have each page as a frame. Not terribly useful unless that's what you'd like to see when you hit play.

Here are a few ways to get decent results without too much trouble using stuff you likely already have.

METHOD #01
(Save As... in Preview, better for high-quality requirements like text)

01. Open the PDF in Preview.
02. Hit Shift + Command + D to see the sidebar if it's not already open.
03. Hit Option + Command + 2 to see a long list of Thumbnails. Scroll down to the page you want to use in FCP.

Alternatively, if you know the page number of the page you want hit Option + Command + G to bring down the Go To Page text entry box, enter the page number and hit OK. The reason this may not be the best way is that some PDFs numbering schemes are off by a number or two, at least in the few that I've been given to use in FCP: ie.. Page 43 in the thumbnails is actually Page 42 as shown on the PDF.

04. Hit Command + Shift + S for Save As...
05. When the Save As sheet drops down select JPEG for the Format Pull-Down (you can also choose TIFF if you'd like to).
06. Set the Quality Slider to "Best"
07. For Resolution it will likely default to 150 pixels/inch. This should be okay for most situations, but you can bump it up higher if you'd like. I didn't notice too much of a difference between 150 and 300.
08. Tell it where you want to save the file and hit Save.
09. Import the file you just made into FCP.
10. Bring the .jpg or .tiff into the Timeline and Scale it if needed then render.

I've have acceptable results for corporate junk using this method. It's not the best quality but good enough for company work.

METHOD #02
(Dragging out a separate .PDF page)

01. Open the PDF in Preview.

02. Hit Shift + Command + D to see the sidebar if it's not already open.
03. Hit Option + Command + 2 to see a long list of Thumbnails. Scroll down to the page you want to use in FCP. 
04. Find the page you want and then drag the thumbnail in the sidebar to the Desktop or folder where you want it to go.

This will create a new PDF of just that single page.

05. Import the file you just made into FCP.
06. Bring the .pdf into the Timeline and Scale it if needed then render. 

The results won't be perfect but good enough for some projects.

METHOD #03
(Making each page a separate image file. Read the Warning about this!)

If you need each page in the PDF as a separate image file here's one quick and dirty way:

01. Open the PDF in Preview.
02. Hit Command + P for Print...
03. After the Print sheet drops down hit the PDF button at the bottom left.
04. Select either "Save PDF to Folder as JPEG" or Save PDF to Folder as TIFF"

WARNING!
Be aware though that when I do this there is no sheet asking where to save the files. For me, and maybe this is some kind of bizarre bug or me doing something wrong, it saved the individual pages as images files in my "-Tmp-" folder, which is inside an invisible folder (not meaning Lion's crazy invisible user folder madness).


2 comments:

Jean Field said...

I know you posted this quite awhile ago but you just saved me about a $1000.00. I have a client that wants me to include 101 Powerpoint slides next to his video and I thought I was going to have to tell him I could not do it.

Rose Maria said...
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