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FCP X 10.1 Upgrade: Guide To Libraries, Part 1
Ben Balser on Fri, December 20th 0 comments
One of the major new features in Final Cut Pro X 10.1 are the new libraries. For media management this is a game changer. Ben Balser takes a deeper look in the first of this 2-part tutorial.

There is a new element in media management that is a game changer with 10.1, and that are Libraries. Those already using FCP X 10.0.9 or earlier should read our Upgrade Advisory in this article before upgrading. Also, since FCP X 10.1 requires you are running OS X 10.9 Mavericks, before upgrading the OS, verify all third -party software and hardware have had all necessary updates installed. Here in part 1 we will look at upgrading and just what a Library is. In Part 2 we will explore how Libraries effect our editing and media management.

Figure 1

A Library Defined

Libraries are containers grouping Events and Projects. There are no longer separate Event and Project libraries, they are all in one place now, the Libraries pane. Drives contain Libraries, Libraries contain Events, Events contain Projects and media, that simple. You may be familiar with Libraries from the latest iMovie update.

Figure 2

Libraries are Bundles, a type of container on your hard drive, similar to FCP Camera Archives. They can be Opened and Closed (seen or unseen) in the Libraries pane. You can control which, and how many Libraries you're working with during an editing session. This is done via the Open and Close commands in the File menu.

Figure 3


Before updating from a previous version of FCP X, please read this section completely. Be aware that several drastic changes will take place. And these Event/Project updates into Libraries happens on an individual hard drive basis.

- Projects and Events on a drive will be consolidated into a single Library.

- Existing Projects may be placed inside of a new Event called 'Updated Projects'. 

- If you had Projects inside of folders, keyword collections are created for those Project folder collections. 

- Media linked to an Event on a different drive will be copied to that drive, outside of the Library container, and into a folder called Final Cut External Media.

- Any Compound Clips or Multiclips on one drive, that are used by a Project on a different drive, will be copied to that drive, with their source content, so the new Library is self-contained on that one drive.

The good news is that media files are never moved to the Trash automatically or deleted. Final Cut politely asks if you want old Event and Project folders kept, or moved to the Trash. If you tell FCP to keep them, it makes a folder and copies the originals into it. If you allow it to move your Events and Projects to the Trash, the Trash is not emptied, so you still have one last chance at retrieval.

Figure 4

Recommended Library Updating Process

First, make a copy of the FCP X 10.9 application to a separate drive and disconnect it. Feel free to backup all of your work, too.

Once version 10.1 is installed from the App Store, during launch for the first time you may be presented with some options, if so select Cancel. Once launched go to the File menu, select Update Projects and Events, in the update window select Locate. Navigate to a drive with Event and Project folders on it, click Update. FCP X 10.1 will then go through an analysis and updating process. Be patient, stay calm, you are safe at this point.

Figure 5

Once it has finished, at that point in time, you will have a very CRITICAL choice to make, Save or Trash, Stop And Think!

Figure 6

This final update window will allow to you SAVE your current Event and Project folders (highly recommended). They will be moved into a new folder titled '[drive name] Old Final Cut Projects and Events'. Or you can move them to the TRASH (only for the brave). They will be moved into the OS X Trash, but the Trash will not be emptied.

Figure 7

A final word on upgrading to 10.1 libraries: based on my personal upgrading of three FCP X systems to 10.1, empty Projects may be completely deleted, though technically they shouldn't. So if you have any you want to save, drop a clip or two in them before updating to be safe.

Library Flexibility In Brief

  1. A Library is an isolated universe, it does not communicate with other Libraries or Camera Archives.
  2. You can have more than one Library on any appropriately formatted hard drive.
  3. Libraries can be located anywhere your heart desires on local drives.
  4. Libraries can exist on a SAN volume.
  5. Libraries can be opened and closed via the File menu.
  6. You can move & copy Events and Projects between Libraries via the File menu.
  7. Projects are stored inside of Events.
  8. All Events, Projects and Managed Media (media copied into an Event folder) are stored inside of their parent Library's container.

Furthermore, inside your Events, you can create a Smart Search with 'Type' set to 'Project' to create a Smart Collection that will isolate them. Then further sub-group Projects by adding specific text, keywords, and using Event folders to organize them.

Figure 8


Library Backups

In the Preferences window (Command-comma), in the General section, the first setting is 'Save library backups', check this box to enable the Library auto backup system. The next setting is 'Library backups location'. You can manually set a location anywhere on any drive to store your Library database backups. FCP will create a folder titled 'Final Cut Pro Backups'. Inside are folders for each Library, containing all of the backup copies it makes of that Library. The default location is in your Movies folder. Event and Project databases are included inside of their Library's backup. From the File menu, in the Open Library sub-menu, is an option to open from a Library's backups. These create new Libraries, so your current one stays intact. Very safe, very easy.

Figure 9


Libraries can be great tools for helping to manage media in FCP X 10.1 and later. They do present a paradigm you should wrap your head around and plan for before upgrading. They are easy to understand and give us much more immense power and flexibility in managing large amounts of media in our daily work.

How will you use Libraries and Events now? Will you make one Library for each production, and Event for each scene? Will you make a Library for each Client, and Event for each client Production? Simply have one Library on each hard drive and create Events as you've been doing? I've started a thread in the macProVideo FCP X forum to exchange ideas about the variety of ways we can utilize the new Library paradigm in FCP X. I hope you'll join us and chime in!

Yes, we have something new and exciting to think about now, and it will help us work more efficiently in the end.

Part 2 of this article is here.

Visit the Final Cut Pro X Video courses page here.

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