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Final Cut Pro X to Nuke workflow using a custom free script


***Updated File***

So you need to perform some compositing on your footage that FCPX won't handle. Now you can output your clips to Nuke with this free script and layer away.

Brings a slight tear to our eyes here on the FCP.co campus that we are not talking about Shake, Apple's very similar node based compositing program that it bought, sold to customers for seven years and then killed off.

Final Cut Pro 7 had a 'Send to Shake' function, that's gone in FCPX, so how do you get reference files of clips out of X and into the replacement third party compositing app of choice Nuke?

Thomas has contacted us to say he has updated the file as it the zip file was broken. It all works fine now.

Thomas Szabo came up against this problem and decided to write his own custom script.

"I'm missing the "export as quicktime reference" option in FCP X. Luckily Apple introduced the XML-export feature which gave me all data I needed to "reconstruct" a video-clip in a Read node. This (bash) shell script parses a fcpxml-file and generates nuke-files for every clip in the Final Cut Pro X sequence (project). Tested on Mac OS X 10.6.8."


Please visit the Nukepedia site, you will have to register to get access to the download.

Here are Thomas' specifications:


  • No files are copied. The Read Nodes point to the same files as in FCP X.
  • All in-/out-frames, sequence frame positions, clip durations stay intact
  • Handle frames can be added to extend the frame range.
  • Only video-files. No audio.
  • Different FPS and dimensions were recognized.
  • Cropping, Animations, Translations, Color Corrections, Effects and every other Final Cut related modification on a clip will be·discarded!
  • The generated Nuke-files are named after their FCP X name with a following "_v01"

Usage A: with Terminal:

1 Before first usage set the user permission: sudo chmod 755 /PATH/fcpxml_to_nuke.sh
2 Export your Final Cut Pro X sequence as XML
3 Drag the script to your Terminal first, then the XML and enter your desired frame handles ··number. Hit Enter.
4 Wait…done
5 You may optionally trash the "fcpxml to nuke.workflow" file

Usage B: with right-click (Automator Services):

1 Copy the "fcpxml to nuke" workflow file to /Users/username/Library/Services
2 export your Final Cut Pro X sequence as XML
3 right-click the XML-file and choose "fcpxml to nuke" from the contextual menu
4 wait….done
5 you may optionally trash the fcpxml_to_nuke.sh file

Update 1.1 changes:

1 Added an Automator-workflow file for easy right-click usage
2 Bugfix: when FCP-X Timeline starts with Timecode set to 00:00:00 the first clip was misplaced in time in Nuke.
3 Bugfix: the script failed when an empty space was found in the filename.
4 Notes: empty spaces in filenames will be replaced by a "_".

Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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