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Why does FCP keep saving files to my hard drive?

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Ignacio Holiday
Why does FCP keep saving files to my hard drive?
on Apr 20, 2013 at 6:03:49 pm

I keep having this problem and I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong, maybe it's something really simple. I always set up my projects and events to live in my external hard drive. For some reason FCP has still been copying my event folders onto my hard drive at username/movies...But the Final Cut Events folder on my external drive also has some of these same folders in it.

First of all, I want to set it to never save anything to my hard drive. Secondly, how can I tell which of the event folders (on my hard drive vs. my external drive) has the most recent file settings for my project I'm working on? I don't want to just drag everything from my hard drive into the event folder on my external drive, because it will tell me that some of these files are the same and ask if I want to overwrite them.

I hope this makes sense. I'm really frustrated with this file management system and wish they just saved into one file like every other program...


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Bill Davis
Re: Why does FCP keep saving files to my hard drive?
on Apr 20, 2013 at 7:42:02 pm

Frustration like what you're experiencing is often a sign that you're trying to understand how X works but limiting your NLE structural thinking to concepts that were born and developed in an older NLE world.

Let me give you one small example.

The truth is that for most NLE systems, assets like clips and sounds need to live in ONE place. They get confused if they look to that place and the assets aren't there. (Clips offline)

To an very real extent, X isn't like that.

Think of it as a system where theres a "location cop" always on duty that is constantly scanning the area for an identifiable "asset bucket" (a user created a source of digital assets like clips, sounds, pictures, etc.) The form it wants these asset buckets to take is a virtual disk drive - any structured data repository that can be made to LOOK like a drive. The moment one of these comes into view (typically by the user mounting it) the software recognizes, it gleefully grabs it and loads up the data.

The new thinking is that it doesn't have to be a particular drive, card, disk or other physical thing - it just has to have a file on it that has the correct form and the exact asset ID that the software recognizes. This is why clones of cards and drives work so well in X.

It also means that if you're not using a form of modern digital bucket to store your assets in, you're going to be limited in how you can deploy assets, since the finder locations on a particular drive aren't really very important anymore. (And in this context "unimportant" means that they are easy to screw up since the software isn't really looking for a particular finder location anymore, but a Digital ID on ANY mounted volume instead). The whole storage game has changed, because the way we create files has changed. We used to have tapes that were difficult to duplicate. Now we have disk images that are trivial to clone multiple times in order to protect our original data safety.

But the critical thing is that the software is always scanning the universe looking for mounted buckets of usable data.

So if you present it with a bucket on your home drive, and another bucket on an external drive, and another bucket on a mounted CF Card, the program could care less. If there are multiple copies of the same thing with exactly the same IDs ait will just igrnore them since it already has a place to find that asset. If the IDs represent new or different assets, the software will just load the new stuff up no matter where it physically resides.

So long as the database can connect to a bucket - and load the assets it's looking for, it's happy.

It's in this context that you're trying to sort out why X is keeping things in place X when you feel you need it to it to keep them in place Y.

If you start to understand this whole new game, then it becomes obvious that needing clips in particular places is NOT the same game it used to be. Yes, locations of some items are important (like Event and Project Assets) so the database knows where to find them. But the locations of other assets like your clips themselves - is very much LESS important than it was in the past. It's only important that the program CAN find them - not WHERE it finds them.

Which means you have to start to figure out how to store and organize your buckets, NOT your clips in a Capture Scratch like the old "flat file" world of FCP-Legacy for example. That really doesn't matter anymore.

I know this is confusing and I've probabaly done a poor job of explaining it, but this is an area where X really is "different" than other systems. It's NOT built on the old Mac finder so much. But on a different system, and learning how it actually works is pretty important to using it efficiently.

Also, what you see as "saving files to my hard drive" might not be that at all. Typically if you'e disks are in use, X is writing format transcodings (ProRes and/or Proxys) or file composite rendering info to your Event or Project Folders in the background. X won't "copy clips" unless you specifically tell it to do that with the Move or Duplicate command - and if it's doing this - it's because you've told it to in your operations.

Hope this helps.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Ignacio Holiday
Re: Why does FCP keep saving files to my hard drive?
on Apr 20, 2013 at 8:24:06 pm

I get what you're saying. But I just want everything to be on my external drive so it doesn't bog down my system. For some reason it's not saving projects on my hard just the events (or at least their format transcodings). But if I look in FC event browser it doesn't show that I have any events on my hard drive, yet files are still getting copied. I just want to consolidate everything.


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Claude Lyneis
Re: Why does FCP keep saving files to my hard drive?
on Apr 20, 2013 at 10:43:30 pm

You can set it up so it will save both events and projects to an external hard drive. In my case it saves both to the same external drive, I then back that up as needed. I think you need to set up the preferences correctly so it will store the projects where you want them.


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T. Payton
Re: Why does FCP keep saving files to my hard drive?
on Apr 20, 2013 at 11:54:59 pm

Make sure your event browser settings are "Group Events by Disk":



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T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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Ignacio Holiday
Re: Why does FCP keep saving files to my hard drive?
on Apr 21, 2013 at 12:05:41 am

Yep, that's checked. What should my import settings look like?


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T. Payton
Re: Why does FCP keep saving files to my hard drive?
on Apr 21, 2013 at 2:50:57 pm

Have you done any FCP X training? I would strongly recommend it as I don't know if we can walk you through all the steps here on the forums.

I would recommend Ripple Training, Larry Jordan, or Lynda.com. The Apple Pro Training series from PeachPit is also excellent.

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T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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T. Payton
Re: Why does FCP keep saving files to my hard drive?
on Apr 21, 2013 at 11:46:42 pm

BTW. If you really need some help in a hurry please feel free to contact me directly. My email is my creative cow user name without the space or the period at my company name in my signature .net.

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T. Payton
OneCreative, Albuquerque


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