FCP X 10.1.2: What’s New in Media Management? [u]

Posted on by Larry

[ Updated July, 2014, with additional details indicated below. ]

With the 10.1.2 update to Final Cut Pro X, Apple has further enhanced media management within the app. In this article, I’ll show you the latest features and compare them to the earlier version in 10.1.

In spite of its lowly version number, the 10.1.2 update actually packs in a lot of new features. While this article discusses media management, future articles will showcase other new goodies Apple added. Read this article for a bullet list of what’s new.

THE GOOD NEWS

The good news is that everything you’ve learned about Libraries, Events and Projects is still true. What Apple has done is extend how we save, access, and delete media stored in a Library and what we can do with that media once it is in Final Cut Pro X.

The biggest mistake many editors make in working with media in Final Cut Pro X 10.1 is opening the library bundle and moving or deleting files inside it. While this approach allows access to individual media files, moving files in the bundle didn’t update the FCP X library database which often caused all kinds of problems.

In the 10.1.2. update to Final Cut Pro X, we can now view and set storage locations for each library using the new Library Properties inspector. This gives us the option to store your files inside or outside the library, at the location you choose.

Specifically, we can set storage locations for three categories of files:

These changes mean that we don’t need to do anything different. Instead, they allow us to do more. Let’s take a look at the specifics.

LIBRARY PROPERTIES

In FCP X 10.1.2 we can view and set storage locations for media files, cache files, and library backup files using the Library Properties section of the Inspector. We can also gather all files referenced in a library and store them inside a library (“consolidate”). This makes it easy to put all our files in one place for archiving or to send to another editor.

UPDATE – July 19, 2014

Library Properties are designed to be “Set and Forget.” When you create a new Library, it will inherit the Library Properties of the existing, active library. However, you can change Library Properties at any time (Control+Cmd+J).

NOTE: When Library Properties are changed, existing files are NOT moved. The changed settings only affect new files.

Select a library in the Libraries list, then choose File > Library Properties (Shortcut: Control + Cmd + J) or simply open the Inspector with a library selected. This displays the brand-new Library Properties for the selected library.

Here we can see where media and cache files are stored. However, what I find REALLY useful is the Modify Settings button.

Click Modify Settings to specify where we want to store media, cache and backup files. What’s new is that we can vary the location of all of these files by library. No longer are we locked into system-wide settings.

The Media Files location is relevant when importing media. Now, when we select to Copy Files to Library, the files are stored in the location specified in Modify Settings. This is useful when we want to transcode media but need the transcoded media stored outside the library file so that they can be used by more than one editor.

NOTE: Here’s an article that describes how multiple editors can collaborate and share media.

In the past, we would transcode the media, then move it out of the Library bundle manually; this caused all kinds of problems by creating missing or unlinked media.

Cache files are files created by Final Cut, such as render and analysis files. Cache files are unique to each individual library, so they can’t be shared between editors who are editing at the same time. The ability to store cache files externally is very useful if you want to place them on a fast local flash storage for quick read/write access or on a separate drive so you can keep the cache files and media files together for handoff between editors.

UPDATE – July 19, 2014

While, generally, it is a good idea to store cache files inside a library, a benefit to storing cache files externally is to save time when multiple editors need to access the same media, or when a solo editor needs to reference media between two different libraries.

This is especially true for analysis files. Analysis can often take a long time. By storing cache files externally, each editor does not need to separately analyze the files. Instead, one editor can analyze once, then share that data between editors.

Library backups store copies of library databases, but NOT media, in the location you specify. Library databases include a list of all media and cache file names and locations, as well as event, keyword, and project data. In the past, library backup locations were set globally. Now, we can set library backup locations for each library. (The screen shot above is from the Library Properties panel, which allows us to set locations for library backups and generated media.)

I recommend storing library backups on a different drive from the location of the library. Generally, these backups are small and don’t require fast storage for playback. Most of the time, I store them on my boot drive; but you can store them anywhere you prefer.

UPDATE – July 19, 2014

Once you pick a location to store Library Backups, don’t move the files manually. Library backups store relative path names to all media and cache files. Moving a backup manually can break those links.

Storage locations for any library can be changed at any time. Changing the location does NOT change the location of any existing media, cache or backup files. (To change the location of existing media, see the section on Consolidation further below.)

NOTE: Because media can now be imported and stored separately from the active library, this means that an editorial assistant can import and optimize media and store the resulting files outside their active library. This simplifies the process of editorial teams working on the same media.

RESTORING A LIBRARY BACKUP

To restore a library backup, choose File > Open Library > From Backup. This creates a new library inside Final Cut which you can use to compare the backup with your existing library and make any necessary adjustments.

CONSOLIDATE A LIBRARY

We can consolidate camera original, optimized or proxy media from different locations into a single library bundle by clicking the “Consolidate Media” button, and specifying the media we want to move.

Quoting from Apple’s Media Management white paper: The Consolidate command collects all of the media associated with a particular library, event, or project into a single storage location (which you set in using the Library Properties inspector). This location can be either internal (managed) or external to the library file. Consolidating is an easy way to collect all media for housekeeping or archiving.

The Consolidate button in the Library Properties inspector acts on the current library only, but the File > Consolidate [item] command can be used on a library or on one or more events and projects.

NOTE: You can also consolidate libraries using File > Consolidate Libraries.

MANAGED VS. EXTERNAL MEDIA

The concept of “managed” vs. “external” media remains the same as the earlier version of Final Cut. Managed media is media that is stored inside the library. External media is media that is stored outside the library, but referenced inside it using symlinks.

Managed media is best for new editors that are getting used to editing media, single editors working on smaller projects, or where media does not need to be shared between projects.

External media is best when you need to share or reuse media between editors or projects.

When importing media, if you select “Copy Files to Library,” you are selecting to store your media in the location specified in Library Properties. If that location is inside the library, then you are creating “managed media.”  If this location is outside the library, you are creating “external media.” “Leave files in place” always creates external media.

NOTE: “Leave Files in Place” will be grayed out when Final Cut Pro X can tell that the files are coming from a camera card or the volume created by cloning a camera card.  It’s not a good idea to leave those files in place, as the files reside within the camera manufacturer’s proprietary folder hierarchy (and metadata structure). Also, editing directly from the SD card does not yield good performance.

In which case, FCP X requires you to copy the files off the card or volume, which is why the option is grayed out.  Because FCP X handles that copying in the background, you can begin editing immediately, even though the copying is taking place.

GENERATED MEDIA

Generated media includes render files, optimized and proxy media files. Normally these are stored inside the library, though using Library Properties, we can now store these files anywhere.

New with this release is the ability to delete all generated files; in the past, we could only delete render files. Choose File > Delete Generated Media, then use the check boxes to specify which media you want to delete.

The big advantage to deleting these files using Final Cut is that the library database is updated with the file changes, so that media doesn’t go offline. Also, any generated files that Final Cut needs for your project that are accidentally deleted will be automatically re-created by Final Cut. This is particularly true for render files.

NOTE: In the event render files are not created before export, Final Cut will recreate them as part of the export process.

MERGE EVENTS

We can also merge multiple events contained in a single project using File > Consolidate Events. This allows us to quickly combine media from multiple locations into one. And, again, this dialog allows us to specify which files we want to merge. This also resolves problems with duplicate clips, in that only one copy will be retained and all links to the duplicated clip will be resolved to point to the single, new copy.

ARCHIVE A PROJECT

While project archiving is not new with this release, as long as we are talking about media management, I want to share the process with you here. You can only archive elements contained within a single library; for example, a project or a group of events. For example, selecting a project includes both the project data and all media used by that project. Selecting an event exports all media, whether it is used or not.

In the case of archiving a project, choose File > Copy [ Project ] > New Library. Give the new library a name and storage location, then click Save. This displays a second dialog box.

Then click OK. Render and analysis files are not copied when you create the new library. Final Cut will create new files if it needs them in the future.

EXPORT AN XML FILE OF AN ENTIRE LIBRARY

Also new with this version is the ability to export an XML file of an entire library. This is useful when transferring assets from Final Cut Pro X to an asset manager, such as Cantemo Portal.

Select the library you want to export and choose File > Export XML. Since these files are going to asset management software, it is generally a good idea to include metadata. Check the asset management software for which metadata view to select; in this example, I’m selecting the General view.

SUMMARY

This latest version of Final Cut Pro X gives us a lot more flexibility in how we create, manage and delete our media files. What I especially like is the increased options we have when creating optimized media in terms of storage location. This greatly simplifies sharing media between projects and teams.

It is also worth mentioning that these new options also help multiple users share proxy files. Especially over slower networks, this can save a huge amount of time because each user doesn’t have to generate proxy files at their local workstation.

EXTRA CREDIT

Here’s a link to the new features in this version on Apple’s website: http://www.apple.com/final-cut-pro/whats-new/

Here’s a link to a detailed white paper on media management FCP X: http://images.apple.com/final-cut-pro/docs/Media_Management.pdf


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48 Responses to FCP X 10.1.2: What’s New in Media Management? [u]

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  1. Pingback: FCP X 10.1.2 — Что нового в управлении медиа материалами ? (перевод) | EDITOR'S STORIES

  2. Christopher Dunning says:

    Hi Larry,

    I upgraded to the new 10.1.2 version mid-project (a bad idea, I realize. It was a mistake) and I’m wondering if this is why I’m having the following problems:

    When I open a library from backup what I get is the projects with ONLY missing media (lots of red “Missing File” clips).

    Do I have to manually reconnect the media clips to the original library?

    My library backups are stored in the default location: “Final Cut Backups” folder on my iMac Boot HD, which is different from the external HD where I have the library stored.

    Thank you for any help!

    Christopher

    • LarryJ says:

      Christopher:

      Hmmm… The 10.1.2 update should not cause this problem. First, though, backups are backups, not spare copies of project files. Can you open the current library and have all media connected? The update process should not disconnect media.

      Second, try trashing FCP preferences and see if that fixes the problem. Read this:

      http://www.larryjordan.biz/improving-fcp-x-performance/

      Finally, if you need to use backups instead of the current library, you MAY need to relink media, but you should only need to do that once. Then, remember, in general, backups should only be used in emergency.

      Larry

      • Christopher Dunning says:

        Hi Larry,

        Sorry, I was writing my clarification while you were answering and I didn’t see your answer.

        To answer your questions:

        Yes, I have the current library open and it is fine. I’m just trying to backtrack to before I made all the audio changes this morning.

        I will try trashing FCP prefs. Thanks.

        And lastly, if I need to relink media, how do I do that? The library has all media imported as “copy to Library” by the way.

        Thanks again,
        Christopher

        • LarryJ says:

          Backups are still opened as Libraries. You relink media the same way:

          Select the off-line clips – or the entire event – and choose File > Relink Media.

          Larry

    • Christopher Dunning says:

      I re-read this and am concerned I wasn’t clear…

      1. I was working on a Project in FCPX 10.1.1
      2. I upgraded FCPX to 10.1.2 (without thinking about it).
      3. I opened the Library in FCPX 10.1.2 and it “updated” the Library.
      4. I worked on the Project within the updated Library for a couple of days.
      5. I decided today that I wanted to look back at the state of the Project from yesterday morning (levels of some audio clips I had been adjusting).
      6. File > Open Library > From Backup…
      7. I chose one from yesterday morning which was AFTER I updated the Library to 10.1.2 but BEFORE i made the audio changes.
      8. The opened backup library is FULL of “Missing File” clips. I have only found *one* clip that isn’t missing in a 45 minute film. Not sure what makes that clip different…

      Thank you for any ideas…

      Christopher

      • LarryJ says:

        Christopher:

        Ah… MUCH clearer, and much more puzzling.

        I don’t have any ideas why this would happen – and I can’t think of what the update would do to cause this. See if Apple Support has any ideas.

        Larry

  3. Really happy about this move, but it doesn’t quite behave the way you always might think (or like).

    For instance: I created a new Library at the office, and had a folder of my original media on my RAID. I then generated proxy media, and copied just that proxy media and the library file to an external HDD so I could work on my laptop/on the go/at home.

    However when I booted up the library FCP threw up errors that the media was missing. True, my original media wasn’t there, but the proxy media was so why couldn’t it connect to that?

    So I’ve now had to go back to a slightly janky work around: create the library as “externally managed”. Once all my media is in, switch to manage the media within the library, create proxies, and now my library file, while large, can be moved onto an external drive and I can edit on the go with just the proxies. Once I get back to the office I can copy over project files and have full res just fine.

    It’s a bit of a pain, since I need to have both libraries around to copy between them. What would be nice is to be able to just pass that library file back and forth, even emailing it, and it be able to see the proxy folder and get going.

    • LarryJ says:

      Adam:

      I “suspect” that the reason you got the off-line message was that your Viewer switch was set to Original/Optimized, not Proxy.

      As long as you use FCP X to create a transfer library containing just proxy files and the library database, setting the Proxy switch in the second computer should do exactly what you want.

      Things get weird when you only copy portions of a library using the Finder, rather than FCP X.

      larry

  4. Hi Larry,
    I am at a loss with the new update. Before I could really manage data outside the library and keep files where I want them and know where they are. When i import them i could point to the directory where I want certain files to go. this way i know for new projects where to pickup and link files from…

    Now i have to set it in the inspector… That is the same function but limited and very cumbersome..

    I frequently work on a number of projects based on the same videoclips. I collect the content on one or two days and then i make more than 10 – 15 separate clips from the material. All based on the same clips but with different subjects. I use several motion generators, and i can nog use the same in one library so I have to make a separate library for every production.

    I am now at a loss because I followed the book 10.1 in setting up a nice system with parallel events and directories, so th physical clips match wight the event and the directory (p.e. a directory for the interview clips, usually multi cam, 2 or 3 takes… and a dir for B-roll, compound clips I need for the motion drop zones etc etc.).

    So now what do I have to do; set up a central library with all de files in a media container (directory) and base my satellite libraries on that? get everything in all the libraries (managed)… This way i am sure much of the video clips are multi-copied, generating a lot of extra complicating data.

    Am I doing something wrong?? So How would you recommend setting up a general stock data library and sharing this with 10 – 15 projects in separate libraries without multiplying the files….

    greetings from Holland, Stefan

    • LarryJ says:

      Stefan:

      Hmmm… The new version didn’t change the operation of libraries all that much.

      When media is stored OUTSIDE a library, FCP simply creates pointers in the library that point to your media. It doesn’t move the media. This is the same behavior as FCP X 10.1.

      The default settings in Library Properties are exactly the same as FCP X 10.1, except that now you can change them from the defaults, which you couldn’t do before.

      As long as you are storing media separate from the library, you can use whatever organization you want – exactly as you outlined in your note. When you import them into a library FCP X does NOT copy the media, it simply creates a special kind of alias, called a “symlink,” that points to the media but does not duplicate it.

      Basically, the 10.1.2 update gave us more control, but hasn’t changed the media management we learned with the 10.1 release.

      Larry

      • Hello Larry,

        Let me clarify my workflow and the changes I experience:
        1. I shoot on site and when I come home I archive the cards using FCPX. I store them on a separate HDD.
        2. I can then import the clips from the archive. This way I can choose where i want to have what clip to go to (dir).
        3. I could do that on the fly: choosing the directory where to copy the archived clip and in what event.
        4. I could even import a part of a clip (I lost a bet on that one !!) to a specific directory and event (did you know you could do that ??)
        NOTE: I could change the directory and event when importing, thus separating and structuring my basic clips into A and B roll (usually: interviews and b-roll clips)
        5. I can continue to use the archive as my main gold-mine. I also set up a basic library where all the clips of all the cards are imported into events named card a card b card c etc. This way I have my Island library where i can link to (more convenient to reuse parts of the clips.
        6. in the satellite libraries (for individual productions based on all the clips) I can then import and only link to the files in the overview library. Because I know where the clips are organized (directories A, B etc) and i can still recognize them with time of shooting, length, size and everything.

        One a typical day I shoot about 200+ clips where only a few are A (interviews) in this case about 10 (times 2 for the multi cam) the rest is B-roll but linked to 10 different products…

        But now: I have to change the directory where the files go to in the settings – NOT on the fly anymore when importing. So I I want to import a clip from the archive and have to change the directory where I want it to go, I have to quit the import change the dir and start the import again… This forces me to use One media container and put it all in there…

        I also have the impression that I can not import a part of a clip from an archive anymore, but not sure on that one…

        Basically I just followed all the recommendation from Apple using their 10.1 manual… and now they have changed it. If they just would have let the function there to change the media container directory when importing it would be OK….

        Just have a look at an example output here (one production of 10 interviews made on the same day:
        http://youtu.be/u-Bz1kS86HA (overview)
        http://youtu.be/OPMcHdSJrGU (interview 1 of 10)

        But maybe there is a better way now to work with card archives and import etc…
        Stefan

        • Hi Larry,
          One other thing is: I want to edit on two laptops simultaneously, using the same repository… This is another challenge.

          I managed to connect the laptops using wifi – and store the clips on an apple airport 3 TB but I also managed to get a thunderbolt bridge up and running between the two laptops (20 Gbit /sec connection !!). This way I can READ very fast the files on the shared thunderbolt disk connected to laptop nr A from laptop B. (I can read but not write). I store the library i am working on laptop B on on a different hdd connected to laptop B and the cache and backups go local on the SSD.

          Eventually the cache is where all the hard work is stored. Reading the clips is secondary, isn’t it?

          This seems to work OK, but I have to be extremely careful in mid projects. When archiving I can consolidate, but in the middle of things I have to keep things hooked up. FCPX seems to handle the links OK though…

          Any ideas on that way of working using a fast thunderbolt bridge network on two computers and sharing a (large) media container on a different drive.

          Organizing the clips to locations that I can ‘remember’ is helpful (so project x on date y and with a standardized basic clips structure ( interviews, products, people, general, images, external, leftovers…). So i can find my way on the central storage (and explain that to people working with me.

          So the question is: how to copy the clips to go to where you want them, and to make efficient use of linking to them (and not copying) using fast bridged connections (to avoid the slow wifi network…).
          Stefan

          PS networked projects using the raw media stored in the cloud accessed over fast (fiber) connections, would be another challenge of working together with people … Gbit connections already offer a lot of possibilities. Any thoughts on that?
          stefan

  5. Ed Kulis says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for the great site and all the tips.

    I was looking for a way to record computer audio directly into FCPX.
    I want to use the native Text to Speech to create narrations.
    Right now I could use Quick Time or Screenflow. Screenflow BTW has a Text To Speech built in but you need to render the file then open it in Quicktime and Render the audio. At least that’s what’s working so far.

    So, for direct in FCPX any tips on plugins for Text to Speech or a way to record computer audio?

    • LarryJ says:

      Ed:

      It doesn’t work that way. FCP X’s voice-over recorder is designed to work with a microphone – either built-into the computer or connected externally.

      Your workflow of using Screenflow to capture the Text to Speech and convert it into an audio file for FCP X to work with is probably the best.

      Larry

  6. luis sanchez says:

    I understand how to do Proxy Media and Optimized media .. but

    I do not understand how I can work whit Optimized Media or Media Proxy in my timeline, as in previous versions chance preferences and ok, ……..how it is in 10.1.2????

    sorry my english

  7. Lara says:

    Hi Larry!

    Some of the clips in my Project Library have now turned red and either say “Missing Camera” or “Modified File”. What is happening to them and how can I fix it? I have moved them to the trash and reimported and they were fine. But as soon as i try to sync them with external audio, it happens all over again. I have also tried to relink the event files and nothing comes up in the “missing files” tab, only the “all” one.

    What am I doing wrong?? I am already into my edit and I now feel like I have to start ALL OVER AGAIN. Ugh. Help.

    Thanks! Lara
    #theonlygirlinhere

    • LarryJ says:

      Lara:

      The Missing Camera icon appears when the import was incomplete. For example:

      * Removing a camera or card before the media was transferred.
      * You linked to media on a camera or card, rather the copying it, and the camera or card is no longer attached to the computer.
      * The background task of importing was not complete before quitting FCP.
      * The hard disk containing the camera archive is not displayed on the desktop.

      Apple has continued to improve linking and relinking, with the latest version of FCP X – 10.1.2 – allowing us to rename files without breaking links.

      Still, make sure to never import media from the camera card – always copy the card to your hard disk first. Also, in general, don’t move externally managed files once you’ve imported them.

      Larry

  8. TK Masilo says:

    Hi Larry,

    I am having an issue with 10.1.2.
    Previously on on 10,0,9 I had the camera import plugin that allows me import footage from a SxS Pro Card. I tried installing the same plugin on 10.1.2 yet it won’t import the footage.

    Please advise

  9. alex says:

    Hi Larry,

    I’m prepping a library for a davinci colorist. I’ve made a new library with only the desired project present. I then consolidated media into an external folder.

    My question is there a way to only copy “used media” like in final cut 7? Ideally I would be able to only copy the media used in my project with 5-second handles on either side.

    Best,
    Alex

    • LarryJ says:

      Alex:

      At this time, we can create libraries that only contain the clips referenced in a project, but not just the portions of the clips that are in the Timeline.

      Larry

      • alex says:

        Gotcha.

        So to double-check. The workflow for classic style media management is:

        1. Copy to Library (copy to external location)
        2. In new library, consolidate media to desired external location.

        Is there not a one-click solution to media management?

        • LarryJ says:

          Alex:

          You only need Step 1. Consolidation is only done when you have media stored on multiple hard disks and want to move it all into a single location on one hard disk.

          Larry

          • alex says:

            Hmm. When I did “copy to new library”, none of the media copied alongside the new library file.

            Perhaps I’m missing something?

  10. Detlev Scholz says:

    What I do not get completely: the process of archiving. You write – if one wants the smallest possible amount of data,
    peace the optimized- and proxy media fields unchecked.

    If I get that right, the whole project with the whole media will be copied. This would be different from the media manager
    in FCP7 where the program just copies the clips in the timeline (nowadays “project”) with a little meat before and after.

    Instead if I have large source clips in my eventbowser to which the clips in the project refer I get all those source clips
    completely copied in my archive, right?

    • LarryJ says:

      Detlev:

      Your first sentence is a bit confusing, so let me restate:

      If you Uncheck Optimize and Proxy, only camera native media will be transferred. However, unlike FCP 7, FCP X does not create new media by copying portions of the camera native files. This could, potentially, reduce image quality. Instead, it copies the entire camera native clip untouched to the location you specify.

      This means that if you are using large clips, you’ll use more storage space than FCP 7. The benefit, though, is that camera native masters are not altered in any way by potential copying and/or transcoding.

      While I would like the option of copying portions of a clip, I can understand why Apple chose not to allow it.

      Larry

      • Detlev Scholz says:

        Thank you for your answer. At least now I know that this is not possible. Even though it seems a bit strange to me – one could decide which quality the program exports and I could not see a loss of quality by copying portions of the clips in FCP 7 either.

        Having not the option to export “portions” as FCP7 does means for the workflow you should know quite well what to import. Or – which parts of the clips you import. That again – also in connection with the large roll of metadata in FCPX –
        seems for me a part of a problem of FCPX in general. That completely clean and straight system blocks free minds.

        You have to “know” before. One has to keep order. I find, there are just straight lines, no left and right and no room to improvise.

        Everything is fixed as the program-window itself.

        Yet now there might be a change of paradigma as I read an article of Alex Gollner where he showed a kind of patent-submission from Apple that you can play around with the clips in the event browser. Maybe in the future FCPX will be less LOCKED, one can play around more and the possibility of a more creative editing would come back into FCPX.

        I heard, maybe completely wrong, that FCPX had been built by iMovie-programmers. That would explain a lot.

        But since some very useful functions from Final Cut Pro 7 came back – I think with the exception of my subject here, the portion-media management – almost the complete media handling from FCP7 came back. So, very cautious, I am
        looking forward into the future of that program.

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