Simple media management in Final Cut Pro X?

HD in HD video must stand for Hard Disk as the events fills the drives faster than ever. During five months of shooting in HD-format, I have succeeded to store more than 150 Gbyte of data in the events library. Then, there are need for extra space for the final results awaiting to be uploaded or burned to DVD or Blu-Ray discs. 

In the "old" days of DV-tape, the cassettes was your archive, but with SDHC memory cards you have to find another strategy, unless you use them as a one-time medium.

First, as mentioned i the previous blogpost, I use an external disk to capture all footage from the memory cards into Final Cut Pro X. Once imported, there is one rule that you shouldn't break.


All projects in Final Cut Pro X uses references to the event files, and if you move them outside of the program, it will be hard to find them again. Been there, done that! (It's easier to fix with the newer versions than the initial release, but never less). 

 Instead, move or copy all files between folders and disks within Final Cut.

Second, when at home and with time to sit a the stationary computer, I connect the portable hard disk (Scratch) to the IMac. This computer have a large external Firewire 800 disk (Studio) that is the main archive for all footage. Then, I start Final Cut, and use the program to copy all new events from the portable drive (Scratch) to the external drive (Studio). So now, I have everything in two places, and can format my memory cards.

Then I copy the projects, one by one, from the portable drive to the external drive, Here I use the option duplicate project only, cause I have already copied over all events.  

All events are grouped by year and month and there is the possibility to use keywords to find the right scene. This is standard Final Cut functionality and my recommendation is to use it. 

However, projects are stored in a long list and this makes it more cumbersome to manage without some manual interference. My take on this is to create a folder for each "client" on the portable drive. E.g. group of persons "Caféfotograferna" these projects are targeted towards or a purpose as "Digital Video Secrets" exercises.

Then I manually create the same folder structure in the project folder within Final Cut on the external drive that is attached to the stationary computer.

By this, I have a reasonable good structure for all events and projects files in Final Cut.

Both computers, (Macbook Pro and iMac), including external drives are backed up using Time Machine, so there are a number of copies. 

When the portable drive gets full, I can erase the events and projects from the Scratch drive, and use it to import even more footage.


The is a number of but's with this strategy. 

First of all, having copies of events and projects in two places, makes YOU responsible for keeping the two separate disks in sync. You have to prepare before you sit down with the laptop, if you have done some editing on the stationary computer.  

Second. You need huge disks for Time Machine backup, especially if you don't exclude all temporary files during a project. E.g. Master files for an hour and a half of video eats up 100 Gbyte disk before Compressor gets it's job done.

Third, what about off-line backup? What happens in case of a fire or a break in and somebody steals your all your drives? With an ADSL broadband connection with a 1Mbit/s limit on upload is cloud backup not an alternative.

On the positive side, running a one man show of handling both video, sound, editing and other post processing myself, I don't have any problem with sharing parts of the project.

Life ain't simple…..