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Seeking advice on good media management practices

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Neil Orman
Seeking advice on good media management practices
on Nov 19, 2014 at 3:48:46 pm

I work on a 2010-era Mac Pro running 10.9.4, and I'm having problems with my system, which I think is due to the way I use and manage media in Final Cut Pro 7. Any advice would be much appreciated. In terms of the problem, I work as a video producer doing a lot of editing, and use an external hard-drive for video capture. But nevertheless I'm having problems with system performance. For example, every time I start up, the system takes a good 3-4 minutes before it stops making those thinking/processing noises. And sometimes Final Cut Pro won't render because it says 'out of memory,' particularly when I'm dealing with still images of at least 1 or 2 MB in size. I've been editing in FCP for a long time, but I'm pretty sure I have some bad habits. Here's some related context and questions I had about this:
-For a long time I've created a new project folder (v1, v2...v99) every time I worked on a project. Is that a bad practice? Will that lead to some kind of media files, from rendering and other things, filling up my system? Or does that even matter? Should I just work out of one project file and create new sequences instead?
-In general what's the best way to create projects and operate FCP7 so your system keeps purring and running lean? Do you go in periodically and delete render files and such? Is there a way to direct render files etc, too, to your external drive to avoid this kind of thing. Or does that matter?
-Also what leads your system, upon startup, to keep making those thinking/processing sounds for a long prolonged period? And could it be related to bad media management practices in FCP7, creating too many project version files, or even of these FCP-related issues?
-Sometimes when I get that 'out of memory' message, I'll go through and try to delete some FCP-related files from my system. But to be honest I'm not always sure what to delete and am generally too ignorant on good media management practices using FCP7.
Let me know if you need more info to offer any guesses here. And any advice, no matter how brief, or recommended resources, would be much appreciated. Like I said I've been editing in FCP for a long time, but I think I have some bad habits. And I'd love it if there was a good tutorial out there that addresses how to manage media in FCP to ensure good system performance.
Thanks a lot,
Neil


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Shane Ross
Re: Seeking advice on good media management practices
on Nov 19, 2014 at 4:03:16 pm

[Neil Orman] "sometimes Final Cut Pro won't render because it says 'out of memory,' particularly when I'm dealing with still images of at least 1 or 2 MB in size"

File size doesn't matter. PIXEL DIMENSIONS do. They need to be under 4000 pixels on any side. I make mine 3800 max. Any more and you get that issue, as FCP 7 doesn't do 4K.

[Neil Orman] "-For a long time I've created a new project folder (v1, v2...v99) every time I worked on a project. Is that a bad practice? "

It can be yes. Because now you'll have different folders for footage imported in your CAPTURE SCRATCH, and renders in your RENDERS folder, and lots of different autosaves. FCP manages renders by deleting renders no longer referenced by the project. If you duplicate projects and make changes in those, the renders stay, because they are still referenced by the old projects. So your render files can really pile up. I advice against duplicating the project...duplicate sequences.

[Neil Orman] "-In general what's the best way to create projects and operate FCP7 so your system keeps purring and running lean? Do you go in periodically and delete render files and such?"

Yes...I periodically use the RENDER MANAGER to delete renders. Which doesn't always work well when renders stretch to other project render folders. FCPs media management isn't top notch...it's pretty weak. Lots of things can mess it up.

[Neil Orman] "Is there a way to direct render files etc, too, to your external drive to avoid this kind of thing. Or does that matter?"

OMG YES! You are't doing that? Renders need to be directed to your MEDIA drive...always. You do this under SYSTEM SETTINGS. If renders are going to your system drive, that can really fill up that drive, and the more full the system drive is, the slower things can get. ALL media goes to the media drive.

[Neil Orman] "-Also what leads your system, upon startup, to keep making those thinking/processing sounds for a long prolonged period?"

A very full hard drive. Not having enough RAM. Lots of plugins....LOADS of media. the larger the project file, the more media that needs to be accessed, the longer the load time. I had a project with 500 hours of media...105MB project file....hundreds of clips. It took about 5 min to load. It's tracking a lot.

[Neil Orman] "And could it be related to bad media management practices in FCP7, creating too many project version files, or even of these FCP-related issues?"

Yes.

[Neil Orman] "-Sometimes when I get that 'out of memory' message, I'll go through and try to delete some FCP-related files from my system. But to be honest I'm not always sure what to delete and am generally too ignorant on good media management practices using FCP7."

OUT OF MEMORY pertains to RAM, not hard drive space. And mainly is due to either stills that are too big pixel wise, or processor intensive plugins, like those that add or take away grain, or smooth out wrinkles.

I have a whole DVD that goes into the best practices for organizing yourself in FCP. BUT, it's been out of print for 4-5 years now. Not even sure I have extras anymore. But yes, a horribly organized project can lead to all sorts of issues. It is because I took over a few projects that were complete messes that I made that DVD to begin with. Unfortunately not many people follow the path of assistant editor to editor...and it's when you are an assistant that you learn how to organized things and streamline things. People that jump right into editing tend to not have any organizational ideas or habits. But not a lot of jobs require assistants, so it's just people jumping into editing. Another reason I made the DVD, to instruct editors how to organize better.

Shane
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Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Neil Orman
Re: Seeking advice on good media management practices
on Nov 19, 2014 at 4:40:04 pm

Wow Shane this post is incredibly helpful, VERY much appreciated!!! I feel sheepish but this will eliminate a lot of my 'worst practices' list, as I unfortunately fall in that category of shady editors you mentioned :) Thanks again. Thanks also to Mark, who echoed some things and recommended your 'FCP7 Best Practices rules thread.' So that's obviously different than the DVD you mentioned right? I'll try doing a search on Creative Cow for this, but just let me know if you have advice on getting the FCP7 Best Practices rules thread or the DVD. I'd be happy to purchase that. I just had one quick follow-up right now on correcting my bad practice related to directing render files, before I get to the rest of my bad practices. So in terms of how I correct the render files issue, I understand that I go to System Settings. Once I'm there though, do I go under 'External Editors' and then set each of those categories - Still Image Files, Video Files, Audio Files - to my external drive? Is that where you direct your Render Files within System Settings, or is it somewhere else?


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Shane Ross
Re: Seeking advice on good media management practices
on Nov 19, 2014 at 4:59:11 pm

[Neil Orman] "Thanks also to Mark, who echoed some things and recommended your 'FCP7 Best Practices rules thread.' So that's obviously different than the DVD you mentioned right?"

Yes...it's basically all of my STOCK ANSWERS to common questions.

https://library.creativecow.net/articles/ross_shane/fcp_faq.php

https://library.creativecow.net/articles/ross_shane/fcp_faq2.php

https://library.creativecow.net/articles/ross_shane/fcp_faq3.php

[Neil Orman] "I understand that I go to System Settings. Once I'm there though, do I go under 'External Editors' and then set each of those categories - Still Image Files, Video Files, Audio Files - to my external drive? Is that where you direct your Render Files within System Settings, or is it somewhere else?"

No...it's the first tab...



As for the DVD...I'll have to see if I have a spare somewhere. Although you really should try to move on from FCP 7 to a more current NLE. FCP 7 was killed 3.5 years ago, getting long in the tooth. Still, I'll scour for the disc...

Shane
Little Frog Post
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Mark Suszko
Re: Seeking advice on good media management practices
on Nov 19, 2014 at 4:04:52 pm

You need to get a copy of Shane Ross's FCP7 Best Practices rules thread. It answers almost everything you asked.


Remember that FCP7 has a limit to the size of stills it can handle: got to keep it less than 2000 pixels on a side, and the dimensions should end in zeroes, not other numbers.

Making new project files I think eats up more space than new sequences do.


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