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Best practices for large projects?

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Travis Finstein
Best practices for large projects?
on Nov 24, 2011 at 12:08:28 am

I inherited a large Final Cut project. It's a pretty standard feature film but I'm having some slowness issues and I'm not sure if it has to do with how the project is set up or the hardware. Since I'm more of an Avid guy I'd like to know some of the best practices for a project like this so if I ever have to work in Final Cut again in the future I will know the best way to set things up.

The main issue is that it takes about 10-15 minutes to open the project.

The project contains everything, dailies and many edited sequences and reels of the 2 hour movie. The project file is 146MB.

Here's the setup:

Final Cut 7.0.3
MacPro 2x 2.6 GHz dual core (Old, I think from 2006), 8GB RAM
Shared storage on Terrablock over Fiber.
Editing ProRes 422 LT

The media is spread out over 7 Terrablock workspaces, in various folders, not organized in any way. Could the fact that the files are spread out everywhere be causing the slow openings? What about the speed of the Mac?

This was all set up before I got here and I'm not expecting to do anything to fix the situation for this project. I'm just looking for suggestions so I'll know what to do to avoid this in the future.

Thanks!



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Mark Raudonis
Re: Best practices for large projects?
on Nov 24, 2011 at 12:26:10 am

Travis,

146 Mb is NOT that big, so there's probably something else going on here.

Since you mentioned that you're coming from Avid, the biggest difference to note is that the "project" in FCP is irrelevant. You can have multiple projects open simultaneously. We will typically have "projects" that only contain a sequence and pass that around amongst the team.

In your case, I'd suggest you create a new project with ONLY your current sequence in it. This should open quite quickly, and speed your process along. You can also REMOVE all of the sequences from the old project and put them in a different project. This will lighten the load on the big project and speed up your opening time.

I think much of the slowness is due to your system. That's pretty old.

Good Luck.

Mark



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Steve Eisen
Re: Best practices for large projects?
on Nov 24, 2011 at 12:57:09 am

[Mark Raudonis] "146 Mb is NOT that big"

For project size it is very big.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Best practices for large projects?
on Nov 24, 2011 at 1:30:16 am

We're regularly pushing 150-200 Mb. 350+ is where we start seeing significant problems.

146... not that bad.


Mark



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Steve Eisen
Re: Best practices for large projects?
on Nov 24, 2011 at 2:44:41 am

Mark, I know your projects are large. You have your workflow down to a science.

Steve Eisen
Eisen Video Productions
Vice President
Chicago Final Cut Pro Users Group


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Nick Meyers
Re: Best practices for large projects?
on Nov 24, 2011 at 4:28:45 am

146MB does seem a bit large to me.
Mark and I must have different standards in that department,
and my thinking may well be based on older practices.

nevertheless, i think reducing your project file sizes will result in them opening faster,
and your workflow improving.

i work mainly in drama & long-form projects.
on narrative dramas i tend to split the work into parts, generally 4 parts.
that maybe tricky for you right now.

first thing i would do would be to strip out any redundant sequences.
i like to work with my rushes, plus ONE major sequence, (or set of sequences if i have all parts / spools in one project.)
for older versions, i duplicate and save the PROJECT FILE, not the SEQUENCE.

in your case you might create a new project that just stores any older versions that may be clogging up the edit project.
just copy and paste from the edit project into a new project.

i like to be able to match back to my rushes bins.
(Shift F wil take you directly from the TIMELINE or viewer to the browser clip)
to do that in FCP you need a functioning "Master / Affiliate relationship between the Browser clips and the Timeline clips.
in FCP you cant do this if your Rushes are in one project, and your Sequences in another.

it's a fragile relationship, and does seem too easy to break in FCP.
if its still working in your project you may want to keep it, so separating your rushes and sequences wont work for you.


if you feel you need to break your project into smaller chunks, first try this:
duplicate the projects in the finder,
open them up and delete what you don't need.
this used to not work, the project would mysteriously remain large,
but as of FPC7 it seems to work.

copy / pasting elements from the large project into a fresh project can also work,
BUT copy / pasting collections of bins and sequences at the same time can result in you losing the Master / Affiliate relationship.
again it's hard to predict if this will happen or not. you could try it and see if it works.



RENDERS
flushing out the renders can reduce project file size.
use the Tools Menu > Render Manager



all the best,
nick


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David Roth Weiss
Re: Best practices for large projects?
on Nov 24, 2011 at 6:13:12 am

I agree with Mark. Just open a new project, copy your current sequence(s) and edit away.

I would also fix permissions and perhaps run Disk Warrior on all drives, but no reason to jump through lots of hoops otherwise.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new Creative Cow Podcast: Bringing "The Whale" to the Big Screen:
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/Podcast-Series-2-MikeParfit...

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Sean Thomas
Re: Best practices for large projects?
on Nov 24, 2011 at 7:13:41 am

Are other projects slow? A while back, everyting in FCP got slow and I looked up fixes and there were several. The thing that fixed it was clearing out all of the old "auto save" and other misc. caches etc. from 100's of projects that were sitting in the DOCUMENTS/FCP/... folder.

Have you tried that?


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Travis Finstein
Re: Best practices for large projects?
on Nov 28, 2011 at 5:39:02 pm

Thanks everyone! This is a lot of great info. I'm going to start experimenting with some of this and see if making smaller projects helps.

Thanks for the explanation of the masterclips relationship... seems like a pain to have to worry about. In Avid there is no problem having all dailies and edited sequences in one project and it's fast and can always match back.

I'll check into clearing the autosaves and the caches and see how that helps out.

Thanks to everyone who chimed in.



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