Long-term archiving projects for Final Cut Pro X

400I wrote this email to Larry Jordan, author of the famous + awesome training website for video editors.  I was wondering how the new Library structure in FCPX 10.1 would hobble the economical archivist in me.  Since I end up doing some explaining and pontificating, and his answer is very useful, I figure I should share it here.

It’s a big relief to know I can keep archiving projects in a way close to what I’ve been doing all along: minimizing the amount I need to backup, to the safest medium, with surest results and minimal work.

Libraries are noob-proof, but they are not power-user-proof.  That’s good.

Hey Larry,

I love your website and I’ve found it helpful as I finally switch over to FCPX.

One thing I will miss from FCP7 and my 2 years on Premiere is the ease of permanent archives.

On those systems, I could archive each 16 gb camera card to Blu-Ray and just keep my project file on hand.  Then, in the future, I could re-import everything from the camera card archive into the project.  The software would re-render, re-meta etc.  Just like the old days of re-importing from tape.

But now, how do I backup to a safe storage medium?  Hard drives aren’t archivally sound, but since the Library folder contains not only the original media, but the optimized media as well as the renders… it’s too big for a Blu Ray.

I have a strange feeling that unless the whole shebang is left intact, there’ll be big problems re-opening the projects in future.

In the past, especially for shooting live arts events, I could hand over a DVD screener and a Blu-Ray camera master to the client for their shelf.  Now they are left with a choice to:

1. buy a hard drive for each event, which would be, ahem, more than the cost of a DV tape used to be.

2. store all their archives in one HDD basket + hand me the HDD every time I shoot, so I can dump the new footage there?  No thanks, I don’t want your lifetime archive in my hands.

What do you recommend?

Here’s what he wrote back, with permission to post it here:


When a project is done, complete, exported and paid for….

Inside FCP, select the project and choose File > Delete project render files.

Then, quit FCP. Open the Library (right-click and Show Package contents). Delete the transcoded media files.

If FCP can’t find optimized or proxy files, it uses the camera native — PROVIDED the camera native files are stored inside the library.

If you need to reoptimize do so once the restored project is open in FCP.

[…] you can post this and here’s an article with more details:

    Backup and Restore


That’s excellent and what I was starting to vaguely guess at.


I could break the original files up into a few BD-R’s and later re-assemble into a backup of the Library’s file structure before re-opening.


The key point here is that deleting renders and transcoded media won’t break anything.  That’s a relief and one of the biggest “phew!” moments around Libraries, for me anyway.

Keep in mind that the Original Media folder in FCPX doesn’t distinguish which camera card the files came from, and isn’t in the camera format.  It seems to re-wrap them as .mov files named for the date / time of day.  So just back them up to as many BluRay’s as necessary, or redundant hard drives, or whatever.

Long-term archiving projects for Final Cut Pro X

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