FCP X: Create Project Snapshots [Video]

Posted on by Larry

[This is an excerpt from our latest webinar: New Features in Final Cut Pro X v10.1, which you can download from our store. You can also access all our Final Cut Pro X training by becoming a subscriber.]

Another new feature in the 10.1 update to Final Cut Pro X is the ability to quickly create project snapshots — independent duplicates of an existing project. These are ideal for “freezing” an edit so you can experiment with other ideas, or save an approved edit “just in case.”

We have always been able to duplicate a project, but with limitations. Project snapshots remove these limitations and allows us to create as many snapshots as we want. Watch as Larry Jordan illustrates the process.

Create a Project Snapshot

TRT: 3:38 — MPEG-4 HD movie

NOTE: This video may not play inside FireFox, please use a different browser.

Visit our website to see Final Cut Pro Training & more!

Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to FCP X: Create Project Snapshots [Video]

  1. Lee Mier says:

    Thank you for this concise explanation of the difference between duplicates and snapshot duplicates.

    At 2:15, you state that the snapshot feature cannot be used as a way of locking a project. Is there a way to lock a project? When I’ve reached what I think is my final version of a project, I’d like to lock it so I don’t make any unintentional changes when I open it to review it or copy something out of it.

    I experimented some, and I did find that I can go into the package contents of an FCPX library in Finder and right click on “CurrentVersion.fcpevent,” select “Get Info,” and click the box beside “Locked” to lock the file. If you then go back into FCPX, the library and event will still be available, but the project whose file you just locked will not appear at all. Other projects that you haven’t locked will still appear, and there will be a yellow triangle with “!” on the relevant event. But maybe this will corrupt the FCPX library? It seems everyone warns against going into the package contents of an FCPX library in Finder.

    Also, one other question: When I duplicate a project normally or as a snapshot, it often takes minutes of the background task wheel spinning before the duplicate or snapshot duplicate is complete. At about 1:30 you mention that all duplicating or duplicating a project as a snapshot is doing is copying the project database, which is small. So why does it take so long in my projects? These projects I’m referring to have no compound or multicam clips and are only about 15 minutes long. They do, however, consist of several connected clips, one on top of another (that I switch back and forth between; a multicam clip would not work for what I’m doing). Duplicating can take five or more minutes.

    Thanks for any info!

    • Larry Jordan says:


      Good questions. In conversations with Apple, I’ve learned that there is currently no way to lock a project, project duplicate, or snapshot. And I would be VERY! cautious about locking the Event database. I don’t recommend it. It is my hope that Apple provides this feature in the future.

      As for the time spent duplicating a project, because Snapshots and Duplicates are, essentially, independent projects, what FCP needs to do is also duplicate all necessary render and analysis files. Otherwise, changes you make to the original project would also affect the duplicates.


  2. Lee Mier says:

    Hi Larry:

    Thank you so much for the information. I figured the locking I did inside the Library package contents was risky. I just did it inside a throw-away project that I created to try it in.

    And that explains why my duplicates are taking so long. So the more complicated the project, the longer I can expect duplicating and snapshotting to take.


  3. Heather says:

    Thanks so much! This was all (including the comments–I had a question about “locking” also) very informative. I’m learning final cut pro x while working on my first project and these videos have been very helpful.

  4. Dave Yost says:


    Love your help! Thanks.

    Do you know where I can find a list of FCPX keyboard shortcut changes over the years? I have a very useful iWork Numbers spreadsheet that I want to bring up to date. How about I give it to you to post on your site?



  5. Yair says:

    What is the purpose of a duplicate project if it’s always going to keep itself the same as its source? (Or did I misinterpret that?)

    • Larry says:


      You misinterpreted. A duplicate project is separate from a normal project EXCEPT for multicam and compound clips. A BETTER option is to create a Project Snapshot, this breaks all links with all elements.


  6. Blaine says:

    Hi Larry – been following your FCPX seasons to bring me up to speed as I’m trying to learn new skills. Love your content and teaching style.

    I’m having trouble understanding how to incorporate snapshots into my workflow, however. I’m new with FCPX so maybe it’s something obvious or I’m thinking too much like snapshots in Virtual Machines.

    When I take snap shot and experiment with another idea, do I keep working on the project and if I…

    don’t like it, delete it, go back to the snap shot, and rename as the main project?
    like it, delete the snapshot and continue with the main project

    or visa vera?


    • Larry Jordan says:


      Snapshots are simply duplicate projects. You can keep them, modify them or trash them. There is no relationship between a snapshot (once it’s created) and the source project it was created from.

      Consider them a form of backup. If you like the backup version better than the main version, trash the main version and use the backup going forward.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Larry Recommends:

FCPX Complete

NEW & Updated!

Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.

Access over 1,900 on-demand video editing courses. Become a member of our Video Training Library today!


Subscribe to Larry's FREE weekly newsletter and save 10%
on your first purchase.