Final Cut Pro Batch List Specification

As far as I can tell, there is no “formal” (nor informal, for that matter) specification for a Final Cut Pro Batch List anywhere, despite being in regular use (this is unfortunately the case for several file types in regular use in post-production). FCP’s manual provides a few hints, but nothing completely definitive.

So here goes:

  1. The first line of the batch file must contain the headings of the relevant fields, separated by tabs. These must be named precisely (see below for possible field headings).
  2. The fields “Name”, “Media Start”, “Media End” and “Reel” are required.
  3. The information for clips must be provided on one line per clip.
  4. Folders in a project are defined on a line by starting with an asterisk (*), a space, and the folder name (e.g. “* AAA_cut_aways”). All clips listed after that label will be placed are in that folder. Strangely though, FCP seems to ignore these labels when importing a batch list.
  5. The file must be plain text.

As of Final Cut Pro 6.0.3, any of the following field headings can be used:

  • Name
  • Duration
  • In
  • Out
  • Media Start
  • Media End
  • Tracks – must be in the form “1V,2A” (for 1 video track and 2 audio tracks in this case)
  • Good – “Yes”/”No”
  • Log Note
  • Label
  • Label 2
  • Audio
  • Frame Size – must be in the form “pixel_width x pixel_height” (e.g. “1920 x 1080″)
  • Vid Rate – must be in the form “25 fps”
  • Compressor
  • Data Rate – must be in the form “2048/sec”
  • Aud Rate – must be in the form “96.0 KHz”
  • Aud Format
  • Alpha
  • Reverse Alpha – “Yes”/”No”
  • Composite
  • Pixel Aspect
  • Anamorphic – “Yes”/”No”
  • Field Dominance – “Upper (Odd)” or “Lower (Even)”
  • Description
  • Scene
  • Shot/Take
  • Angle
  • Reel
  • Master Comment 1
  • Master Comment 2
  • Comment 1
  • Comment 2
  • Master Clip – “Yes”/”No”
  • Offline – “Yes”/”No”
  • Last Modified – Must be in the form “Tue, Mar 4, 2008, 17:19″
  • Film Safe – “Yes”/”No”

Other things to note:

  • Although many people are under the impression that right-clicking on a sequence and choosing Export->Batch List will produce a list that only contains clips used in the selected sequence, this is actually not the case. Exported batch lists will always contain all clips in the project. UPDATE (25/August/09): See the comment by Josh below…
  • Exporting a batch list from FCP will only export field data for columns that are visible in the project. So if you have the “Master Comment 1″ column hidden, that data won’t get exported.
  • The frame rate gets determined by the project that the list is imported into, and is not specified in the list directly.

UPDATE (07/April/09): It was brought to my attention that there is an issue with manually creating text files for Batch Lists. It seems that yet another requirement of the Batch List is that every line must be terminated by ASCII character 13 (rather than ASCII character 10). Not doing so will produce the error that one or more headings are invalid.

I have created an AppleScript that will convert files that are producing this error.

Batch List Text Conversion AppleScript

Posted: May 9th, 2008
Categories: Articles
Tags: ,
Comment from Agustin Goya - 5/14/2008 at 7:56 pm

So a batch list in FCP is the equivalent of an ALE file in avid?
Is there any way to track frame number in FCP.
great site!

Comment from Jack - 5/15/2008 at 9:11 am

Yes, it is the equivalent of an ALE file, although the ALE file spec is well documented, e.g.

What do you mean by “track frame number”?

Comment from Agustin Goya - 5/17/2008 at 1:05 pm

By frame number i mean absolute frame mumber like the DPX ot VFX columns in Avid.
I´m not sure that FCP has something like decompose where this type of metadata would become useful.

Comment from Agustin S - 11/21/2008 at 8:56 pm

and a batch list in FCP is the equivalent of a CSV file in Premiere…
inst it?

Comment from Roddy - 12/22/2008 at 2:07 pm

Great info – thanks very much.

Do you have a short sample file you could post here as well? – that would be very useful…

Comment from Jack - 12/23/2008 at 12:57 am
Comment from Jack - 4/7/2009 at 8:20 pm

Updated the above with regards to text encoding issue, and added an AppleScript to provide a workaround

Comment from Josh - 8/25/2009 at 11:20 am

Nice work, thanks.

“Exported batch lists will always contain all clips in the project.”

You can actually export Batch Lists for specific Bins by double clicking the Bin to open it in it’s own tab. Seems a Batch List will include everything in the currently selected tab in the Browser. Quite handy. Also if you edit the Headings in the Master Comment 1, 2 or Comment A, B, C, D columns, those will revert to their original FCP headings when you open the Batch List up in Excel for example.

Comment from Jack - 8/25/2009 at 1:03 pm

Thanks for the info. I also don’t know whether this all still applies to the new FCP 7, but I suspect this is an area that doesn’t get much of Apple’s attention.

Comment from Aine - 5/19/2010 at 2:23 pm

That script just saved my week! Thank you you’re a star!!

Comment from Justin - 1/21/2011 at 4:09 am

Your script saved me, I’ve spent hours trying to figure out why it wouldn’t read my batch lists.

Thank you so much!!

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