Final Cut Pro X 10.1 Working With Libraries

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FinalCutProX.net Video tutorial

Hey what’s up everybody. My name is Jasper Thayer, Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro and developer of FinalCutProX.net In this lesson I’m gonna be talking about media libraries in Final Cut Pro version 10.1

Final Cut Pro X has an organizational and workflow method called Libraries. A Library is a top-level container for managing your media and projects. When launching Final Cut Pro for the first time, a single active Library named “Untitled” appears in the Libraries pane of the user interface.

Let’s say you’re making some vacation videos. Perhaps you visit Disneyland, Universal Studios, Hollywood, and Santa Monica Pier while you’re on vacation. You might want to create a Library named “LA vacation” and then separate your media into events for each place you visited while you were on your trip. That way it will be easier for you to find the video of the Hollywood sign later on because it would be in the Hollywood event.

I’m gonna be creating a Hollywood Sizzle Reel. I want to separate my clips into events based on locations in the LA area. So first off I will rename the Untitled Library to “LA Locations” so that later on when I’m looking for clips in the LA area I know that I’ll be able to find them in the “LA Locations” library.

Libraries are identified by a 4-star icon. If you click the disclosure triangle next to the Library, you’ll see an Event.
An Event is like a folder for storing all the media you’ve imported into your Library.

By default, Events have a date stamp as the working name because Final Cut Pro assumes that you’ll be importing your media on a specific day. Let’s name this Event, “Hollywood” because we’ll be importing clips of the Hollywood area in here later on.

Let’s create a few more Events. Right click on the Library and choose New Event or press Option-N. A window will appear asking you to name your new Event. Name this one, “Beverly Hills”

Whenever you create a new Event, Final Cut must assign it to a Library – in this case, the only Library currently available. If you had more than one Library created, you could choose a different Library from the Library menu. Also, Final Cut will create an empty Project and place it into your newly created Event if you leave this checkbox checked.

If you select the Event, you’ll reveal a Project.

If you don’t see a project you can create a project by right clicking an event and choosing New Project. Click on the project name to rename it. We’ll name this project “Hollywood Sizzle Reel” and then press Return.

Let’s create one more, this time only using the Keyboard.

Press Option-N. Name the Event “Malibu Beach” and press Return. At this point you could continue creating and naming Events, but at some point you would begin importing media into them. You’ll learn how to import media the next several lessons.

A Project is the movie you create with the media stored in the Event. So in terms of hierarchy, Libraries contain Events and Events contain Projects. Final Cut Pro in order to run, must have at least one Active Library, however you can have as many Libraries as you like and they can be stored on any connected hard drive.

Although we have created three events in the library we will only be creating one project so we’ll click in the library and make sure that only one project exists. We’ll delete the other projects for now since we’ll only be creating one project at this time.

Sometimes FCP gets a little fickle though and you have to use some workarounds to get around the glitches. For instance, if you create a new library by going to the File menu and choosing New Library then there’s no way to delete it after it’s been created!!!

To delete a Library from Final Cut Pro you need to close FCP, navigate to the location of the .fcpbundle file, by default it is located in your Movies folder, and move this file to the trash. Empty your trash and re-launch Final Cut Pro to see the library is now deleted.

You can have several libraries in FCP and open or close each library as you wish. This helps to keep the media you’re currently working on readily available and organized without cluttering up your interface with unneeded media from other libraries. It’s also beneficial if you need to hide sensitive media that are on some libraries. Like if you wanted to hide your “Casting Couch” library from your wife.

First let’s create a new library and name is “Casting Couch” this is a library of all my casting auditions. Now if we want to hide this library we can select it and choose “Close Library” from the File menu or right click the library and choose “Close Library”

If we wanted to open the library up later on we can go to the file menu and choose Open Library Other and then choose the Casting Couch library from the pop-up window.

To delete the “Casting Couch” library right-click the library in FCP and choose “reveal in Finder”. Then close FCP, and with the Finder window still open, locate the Casting Couch.fcpbundle file and move it to the trash. Empty the trash and re-launch FCP.

Apple refers to Libraries as “bundles” or “packages”. The Library is “bundled up” because Apple thinks you shouldn’t be going into the Library – which is generally a good idea as altering its contents may prevent you from opening your Projects in the future. What I mean by “bundled up” is that you can Right-click on the library fcp.bundle file in the Finder and choose show package contents. The first thing you’ll notice is that Events are really folders in the Library bundle.

Let’s click on the contents of the Hollywood Event to see the folders that the event contains. There’s A folder for the project, a folder named Original Media, a Folder named Render Files and a Folder named Shared Items. I imported some clips into this event while you weren’t looking so you could see some of the files that populate in the package contents for the library bundle. Every Event folder contains these same set of folders.

The Original Media folder stores the media you’ve specifically imported from your camera or hard drive. The Render files folder stores files that are necessary for Final Cut Pro pro to play back effects at the highest quality. The shared folder manages copy and move operations between Events so no duplicate files are created.

The item labeled “CurrentVersioin.fcpevent” is the most important file in the bundle as this file is your Event’s database. The database tracks all the changes you make in the Event – including clips you favorite, keyword collections you create, selections you make, and so on… Because the database tracks every change, there is no need to ever save your work. The same rules apply to the project database file as well.

The best thing about a Library bundle is that it is self- contained. You could hand off your work to another editor by simply copying the Library to another drive or a put in on a shared network for other editors to access.

In this tutorial we’ll be creating a promotional video that highlights locations in the Hollywood area. We’ve already renamed the original Library to “LA Locations” and created the events we’ll be working on. This Library and events are located on our boot drive by default though.

If we wanted we could go to the File menu and create a new Library and choose where we’d like to store our library.

Let’s re-create the LA Locations library, events, and project, but this time we’ll choose to save the Library on an external Solid State Drive.
We’ll go to the file menu and choose New/ Library

From the pop-up menu we’ll name the Library “LA Locations.fcpbundle” and we’ll choose to save the library on the external SSD that I named “FCPX Media”

Then we’ll click “save”

Now we’ll choose the new “LA Locations” library in FCP and double-click the first event that was created and name it “Hollywood” just like before. Then we’ll press Option-n to create a new Event. We’ll name this new event “Beverly Hills” just like before. Finally we’ll press Option-N once more and name the the third event “Malibu Beach”.

Now we have created two libraries, one is located in the Movies folder and the new library we created is located on the external “FCPX” Media” SSD.

To delete the LA Locations library that’s located in our Movies folder we’ll close FCP and go to the Movies folder from the Finder. We’ll locate the LA Locations.fcpbundle file and move it to the trash. We’ll empty the trash and re-launch FCP.

Now we’re just about ready to start importing files into our event to start working on our project!

It’s a good practice to store your Library on a dedicated and fast media drive and not your boot drive. Solid state drives are becoming more and more commonplace and they’re much faster than mechanical drive mechanisms. Keep in mind that wherever you choose to have your Library manage its media, your Library could potentially grow to a very large size when you continue adding media to your events. For now I’m going to choose the FCPX Media drive to store my Library. If you don’t have an external media drive, you can still follow along by choosing the Movies folder to store your Library.

Let’s talk about backing up our library really quick. There is the rare possibility that your database may become corrupted. It’s always a good idea to backup your library. The backup databases are stored in a folder called “backups” inside the Library, however, you can choose a custom location to store your backups.

Press Command-Comma to call up the Preferences window, then click the General button.

As indicated by the checkmark, backups are created automatically. Like I said, the Library backups are stored in the backups folder with the Library by default. To change the location, select “choose” from the menu, then pick a drive or folder to save them to.

To open a Library from a Backup go to the file menu and choose Open Library from Backup. A window will appear with a list of saved backups.

Just choose the date and time you wish to backup from. The text tells you that a new copy of the Library will be created and attempt to restore it’s original media. The current version of the Library will not be affected. Final Cut Pro backs up it’s Library databases every 15 minutes. So in a worst case scenario, the most you would ever lose is 15 minutes of work. There is no option for changing the backup interval.

One last thing. You can control which Library or Libraries you wish to load whenever you launch Final Cut Pro.

Hold down the option-key while clicking the Final Cut Pro app icon in the dock. An open Library window appears. You can select a single Library to open, or you can select multiple Libraries by command-clicking.

If for some reason you did not want any Libraries to load and wanted to start fresh, click the New button then name and save the Library to your hard drive. Final Cut Pro will open with only the Library you created. To open other Libraries, choose Open Library from the File menu.

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About The Author
Jasper Thayer is the developer of FinalCutProX.net
and the Final Cut Pro X Quiz

He has over 15 Apple Pro Certifications for video editing and special effects including Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro X and Apple Certified Trainer for Motion 5.