FCP X: Manage Events and Projects

While I covered this in my Final Cut Pro X training, I realized I haven’t written about how to manage media for Final Cut Pro X.

FCP X is powered by databases: one for Events and one for Projects. As such, it takes a different approach to managing media than any prior version of Final Cut Pro.

Events are collections of media. Projects are the instructions on how that media is to be edited.

Events and Projects can be stored on any attached hard disk. By default, both are stored on your boot disk. However, I recommend against this because the boot disk (the hard drive that holds your Applications folder) is too busy with other work to play media smoothly.

Events are stored in folders inside the Final Cut Events folder. You can have one of these folders on each hard drive attached to your system.

Projects are also stored in folders inside the Final Cut Projects folder. You can have one of these folders on each hard drive attached to your system.

Both these master folders are highlighted in green in the screen shot above.

This screenshot shows two Events stored inside the Final Cut Events folder: Dr. Vint Cerf and Pond 5 images. Each Event is a folder. The Event folder, depending upon how you set your import preferences, will hold a copy of your source media, optimized media, proxy files, analysis results, and, if you are running FCP X 10.0.3 or later, backup files.

Aside from the amount of available storage on your hard disk, there is no limit to the number of Events you can store in the Final Cut Events folder, nor is there a limit on the number of clips stored in each Event.

Here’s a similar example of a Project.  In the Final Cut Projects folder are two projects: 01 Picture in Picture and 06 Timeline Index (fcp1). Both projects are stored in folders. (There is no significance to the numbers in the project name – I use them personally to stay organized.) Each Project folder contains the edit instructions for the project (stored in the CurrentVersion.fcpproject file), along with render files, and other project related files. And, as with Events, if you are running version 10.0.3 or later, backup files.

Aside from the amount of available storage on your hard disk, there is no limit to the number of Projects you can store in the Final Cut Projects folder.

NOTE: FCP X 10.0.3 automatically creates backups of your current Event and Project every 15 minutes. (However, if nothing changed over the last 15 minutes it doesn’t create a new backup file.) In the event that your Project becomes corrupted, FCP X automatically reverts to the backup file the next time you start up Final Cut. So, the worst that happens in the case of a corrupted Project or Event is that you lose 15 minutes of work.

Final Cut is designed to have all your Events and all your Projects online at the same time. However, that can make for a very cluttered Event Library and Project Library. Plus, I don’t necessarily want my clients seeing work that I’m doing for other clients.

The problem is that FCP X does not allow you to hide Events or Projects. However, there’s a very simple workaround.

On each disk that has an Event folder, I create another folder called Final Cut Events Not in Use. On each disk that has a Project folder, I also created a second folder called Final Cut Projects Not in Use. There is no magic in these folder names, they are just easy for me to remember and sort next to their related folder.

Here, for instance, you can see that I have two Events that are active and displayed inside Final Cut, because the are inside the Final Cut Events folder. I also have several Events that are inactive and not displayed in Final Cut, because they are not in the Final Cut Events folder.

To make an Event inactive, I first quit FCP X, then drag the Event folder from the Final Cut Events folder into the Final Cut Events Not in Use folder. When I restart FCP X, only the contents of the Final Cut Events folder are displayed. My inactive Events are not displayed.

To make an inactive Event active, I drag it from the Final Cut Events Not in Use folder into Final Cut Events folder and restart FCP X.

NOTE: FCP X only looks at the contents of the Events or Projects folders during startup, which is why I need to restart the application whenever I move folders around.

Here’s an example of organizing Projects. In this example, I have three active projects, with several inactive projects. When you are done with an Event or a Project or, at least, you don’t want it displayed in the Library, quit FCP X, drag the Projects folder into the Final Cut Projects Not in Use folder and restart FCP X.

Just as with Events, drag an inactive Project folder from Final Cut Projects Not in Use into Final Cut Projects, restart FCP X, and that Project is online and ready to edit.

NOTE: Always drag entire Event or Project folders, never drag the contents of a folder. Because everything in a folder is referenced in the database, moving individual elements breaks the database.

THE SECRET WEAPON

It could be argued that FCP X should provide this functionality in the program. But it doesn’t. On the other hand, dragging folders is not difficult. But it can become cumbersome.

There is a great utility, called Event Manager X, from Intelligent Assistance, that simplifies this entire process. I find this utility so useful that I can’t edit in FCP X without it. I highly recommend it.

Here’s a review that explains this utility in more detail.

SUMMARY

Here are the ten key points you need to remember:

  1. FCP X only displays Events that are in the Final Cut Events folder.
  2. FCP X only displays Projects that are in the Final Cut Projects folder.
  3. Every hard drive on your system can have either a Final Cut Events folder, a Final Cut Projects folder, or both stored on it.
  4. When creating a new Event, first select the drive where you want the Event stored in the Event Library, then create the Event.
  5. When creating a new Project, first select the drive where you want the Project stored in the Project Library, then create the Project.
  6. To make an active Event inactive, drag the ENTIRE Event folder out of the Final Cut Events folder.
  7. To make an inactive Event active, drag the ENTIRE Event folder into the Final Cut Events folders.
  8. To make an active Project inactive, drag the ENTIRE Project folder out of the Final Cut Projects folder.
  9. To make an inactive Project active, drag the ENTIRE Project folder into the the Final Cut Projects folder.
  10. Always drag entire folders, NEVER drag individual files within the folder.

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62 Responses to FCP X: Manage Events and Projects

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  1. In FCPX why does the media manager not let you media manage what is in the timeline instead when I select duplicate project & used clips only Media Manager copies the entire original clips from the event even though we are only media managing part of the clips in the timeline to a new project on a new drive. Is there a way of only media managing what is in the timeline of a project? FCP 7 did an amazing job at this.

  2. Mark A. Cowan says:

    What does the menu command File > Organize Project Files… do? I’ve scoured the Help files and the Internet to find this. How is it different from the Consolidate Project Media… command?

  3. paul says:

    Great article. Creating the “…not in use” folders saves a lot of time loading FCP!

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