Sunday, March 28, 2010

Managing files in Final Cut Pro

Final Cut has a System Setting for the location of the Scratch Disk (above, accessed from File>System Setting). When you set this, Final Cut creates a series of folders (as needed) in which it stores it's work files, as well as any captured files...i.e. anything imported through Log & Transfer or Log & Capture.

When I first started using Final Cut, I set the Scratch Disk to a folder in my Documents folder, and left it at that. Note: You want to create a new folder and set that as the Scratch location; don't do as I did once and just choose Documents; you'll end up with all the folders it creates scattered through all your other documents and folders in that location.

Having one Scratch location means you know where everything is; it also means that some of your media files aren't in the same location as your project and other media, making archiving and backup more difficult. You can solve that by using a dummy project to import media, and then dragging the captured files out of the Capture Scratch folder into the assets folder for the project you're working on.

That was how I used to do it. Now I have adopted a different strategy: for every project I create a folder that stores assets and the Final Cut Pro document. And I create a folder inside that folder called Final Cut, which I set as the Scratch Disk location.

The advantage of this is that it keeps everything in one place. The disadvantage is that you have to remember to switch Scratch Disk location every time you switch projects.

This may give you second thoughts if you work on several projects at once. In that situation it is probably too easy to mess up by switching projects as you work and forgetting to change the Scratch Disk location. If you tend to work on one project after another, then setting the Scratch Disk as you go works well enough.

I can't help thinking it would be useful if Final Cut let you define the scratch location for a project, and switched for you as you changed projects.

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