So after spending the past few days wrestling with FCP X, I’m starting to feel as though I’ve got a bit more of an understanding of how its truly handling files. Coming from FCP7 the media management can really seem completely backwards, but if you change the way you think of how it handles projects in general, it will start to make a little bit of sense.
Disclaimer: This solution is only purely from my own understanding of the NLE so far and could be completely way off from what is actually occuring in the App. Please take the time to experiment on your own, and if you do find a better solution, please leave a comment.
“Dreaded Offline Media”
So after grappling with FCPX on a short first edit with the system this week, I decided halfway through that I really wanted to move the project off of my MacBook Pro and on to my main system. The main way I found to accomplish this was to right or control-click on the “Project” in the Project Manager panel and select Duplicate project. I choose the location as my external drive and then proceeded over to the main system that had the same media. Long story short, I came to the realization that there is no reconnect media function in FCPX, so the project would now not connect to anything. My first thought was to be annoyed, and just go back to FCP7 for the project (which I caved on concerning getting my files synced with off-camera audio, but I’ll get into that in a later post), but decided to stepback for a second and see if my thought process was completely wrong with the “Revolutionary NLE”.
After some proper studying of the file handling, I figured out that they way I’ve been thinking of the “Project File” was completely wrong. FCPX liked to use the paradigm as iMovie which as far as I gather wants to use whatever drive you tell it to as the primary source for the project and it’s media files. What this means is you have no control over your own file structure on the drive as far as the project is concerned. The project is arranged with at least two folders. One for Events and one for Projects. Your media however can exist where ever you choose.
Even though these two references are different, FCPX uses these two spaces at once during a project. So if you copy one without the other you get hosed, and BAM your media goes offline with no way to reconnect. At least thats how its seems. Here’s how to think of the way Final Cut Pro X handles a project using the FCP7 file structure as an analogy:
Events = Project Files
Project Files = Sequences
Keyword Collections = Bins
So thinking of FCPX in this way its easy to see how you could definitely get lost on where your files actually are. I’m also an advocate of doing all my Project organization outside of the NLE using folders and subfolders. FCPX does take away my choosing where to save the main project files on the drive, but it does not limit me as far how the media is handled. The one main pill I can see that I have to swallow is now I will not be able to save a project into my own folder structure, I have to let FCPX handle that by using only the two projects and events folders in the main root of the drive.On a side note, if you take a little bit of time before starting your project to arrange your files in folders and subfolders as you would your bins it will be a much easier process to bring them into FCPX and have a good project structure. One really awesome thing FCPX does during import is let you choose to have it arrange the files in keyword collections that reflect the folders that those files exist in on the drive. So as far as your “bins” go, just arrange in the folders to begin with and you’ll save yourself a lot of headache.
So now on to transferring a project to another system. FCPX uses the main root of each drive as its source for projects (minus the main drive which it saves in the movies folder). So keeping that in mind, you’ll need to save both the Events and projects into folders onto the drive your going to. The easiest way to do this is to use FCPX. If you right or control-click on the project inside the project library you want to transfer in FCPX, you’ll see an option called “Duplicate Project”.
Choose this and you’ll see this dialog box:
This dialog box gives a couple options. When you’re first transfering a project make sure that you select the second option that has FCPX copy both the Project and the Refernced Event FIles. Otherwise FCPX on your other system won’t know which Event your project belongs to. Also uncheck “Include Render Files”, I did this the first time and it took foever for the the file to duplicate because it was pulling the 30+GB of render files it had already made. FCPX on the other system will just do this again for you in the background and you can keep editing while you do it.
So once thats complete bring, if you didn’t save the files directly to the new drive you want to use and just duplicated on the same drive, copy the folders inside the Events and Projects folders that belong to that project, inside other drives FCPX Events and projects folders repectively. Now fire up FCPX on the new system and navigate to the Project Library panel and select the drive that has the transferred project. If you don’t see a project, or if the project says in the info panel that its missing an event file, make sure that you copied the whole folders in each of the respective FCP folders on the new drive.
Double click the project to make it live. Now don’t panic, odds are you probably still the mig media offline thumbnail, but thats supposed to happen, because you still haven’t told FCPX where the media exists on this new drive or seperate drive. What you’ll want to do now is go over to the “Events Library” panel and right click on the Event associated with the project. From there you’ll see a selection that says import files. Click that.
You’ll see the usual import dialog box pop up. Navigate to your drive and folder that has all your media and import the entire root. You should now see all your media back online. Basically what your first seeing in FCPX when you transfer a project without media is an Event with a Project and Keyword Collections that refer to media that it hasn’t imported yet. Your Event is basically one big bin that holds all the media the whole time and your keyword collections only refer back to that media. Once you’ll pull the media files back into the event, FCPX automatically reconnects everything and your good to go.
So I hope this helps if you’ve been pulling your hair out trying to transfer projects back and forth in FCPX. Again please note that this was just the way I had figured out how to make it work for my purposes. This still could be a completely wrong process of transfer a project, which it still basically is, but so far it works for what I need. Please comment if you have any other tips or find a much easier and faster way then I just have to transfer projects. I’ll post more about FCPX and how I’ve been able to figure out little by little along the way as well in the coming days.