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Old February 9th, 2009, 11:57 AM   #1
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Managing/Storing multiple projects in FCP

I'm working with multiple projects (HD and SD) ranging in size and was wondering if anyone had devised a workflow that allows them to easily jump between stored/old projects and current ones?

Right now the projects are scattered throughout the drives (I came into this situation, I didn't make it).

I have access to two internal 500gb harddrives and one 500gb external harddrive.

The "current" projects (capture scratch, everything) and OS's Applications are on one of the internal hard drives with about 20gigs left, I just wiped the other internal harddrive (500gigs left), and the external has about 30gigs left. The external is firewire 800.

Try to keep in mind I'm about to look through eight tapes to capture for stock footage.

How would you guys set up your workflow if you were in my situation?

I was hoping to have an area for stock and other Misc. projects, somewhere for the current ones, and somewhere for them to be moved for storage.

That leads me to another question. How do you transfer projects and their media? I've been digging through each project and pulling their folders one by one. Not a huge deal, but it'd be nice if there was an easier way.

Mac G5 OSX 10 with FCP 6.

Thanks in advance,
Dan
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Old February 9th, 2009, 09:30 PM   #2
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Media Manager... maybe.

Media manager might assist in copying and moving the projects and footage to one location. I've heard things about it messing up footage. I just manually move the project files to the main drive and the footage and render files to a secondary drive. You'll have to relink the footage manually, but usually if one clip is recognized the rest will automatically re-link (when you select the proper checkbox).

Otherwise, move ALL of the footage to the secondary internal (or the firewire HD if you need it to be mobile) take the render files as well, leave the project files somewhere safe, logical and easily accessible on your main hard drive. Also make sure your AutoSave Vault is set to back up your project files somewhere that works for you.

If you only have the drives you listed available, I would totally clean up the OS drive, software and project files only, maybe other simple docs you need access to (spreadsheets, emails, invoices, etc). I would partition the external HD with one partition big enough to back-up the main OS/HD and use the second partition for Stock or secondary Raw footage. I would then move footage to the second internal HD and make that your primary Scratch drive. Use a back-up program to clone your OS files (I partitioned my main drive but some people advise against this).

I keep Stock footage (Jumpbacks, artbeats, temporary work movies, etc) and my render files on a my second internal HD and my primary RAW footage on my third and fourth internal drives. A FW800 drive then backs up my OS partition and other high value footage. I use Carbon Copy Cloner (free and automated) to back things up to their respective places.

Don't partition your Scratch disks, just try to keep organized folders with different types of footage. Keeping your footage in one place, on one drive helps organization but also raises your chances of losing everything; but then it also makes it easier to back-up, since everything IS in one place.
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Old February 9th, 2009, 10:58 PM   #3
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I absolutely have! I currently start a project by creating a folder in the finder. I then create the project and save it into the folder I've created. I then change the scratch disk settings to access that folder. FCP will create a capture scratch, render files and that one other folder that FCP uses ;) in that folder. Then you log and capture your footage. All of the work done on that project now exists in that folder, it can be compressed, moved, copied, backed up and all of the attachments stay the same.

When opening old projects, I first change the scratch disk to target the folder I want to work on, then open the project. Everything works magically, even render files are saved.

I back up my projects by buying cheaper internal harddrives and connecting them via a weibetech data dock via Firewire 400. They then come off my computer and get stacked in my disk... makes it easy to do offsite backups for large projects as well.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:01 AM   #4
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I love the simplicity of having everything having to do with a project in a single folder.

I put everything into that one master folder: not only the FCP scratch-disk folders, but scripts, emails, invoices, stills & graphics, after effects projects, non-system fonts (don't forget fonts!), Motion, Color and Soundtrack projects and render files - everything.

For me, the time saver is that I typically work on a new project on a 2nd internal HD. Then, when it's time to permanently archive the project to (2) external Firewire 800 HD, I just drag one folder over, and boom. That project, and everything I need to revisit it later (perhaps even years later) is backed up.

The only gotcha about this is you have to keep resetting your scratch disk every time you work on another project. I wish there was some way for those settings to follow the project. That way, every time you opened the project, any new captures, render files, etc. would go to the folder you specified. This becomes even more complicated when you're using the other FCS apps, because you have to keep changing their "scratch disk" settings, as well (it's not called scratch disk in all apps, but each app has a rough equivalent).

I've started to work a little differently lately. FCP will make a folder called "Final Cut Pro Documents" when you set the scratch disk somewhere - say, on the root level of a drive. Inside that folder are more folders called Autosave Vault, Capture Scratch, Render Files, Thumbnail Cache Files and Waveform Cache Files. Inside those will be a folder for each project you work on. Likewise for "Color Documents", "Soundtrack Pro Documents", etc. As long as you know where and how each app saves files, it should be easy enough to grab the folders for a particular project, and consolidate them all into a single folder before archiving.

I always try to build in the cost of 2 FW800 enclosures and hard drives to a project. That way, I can have an onsite and offsite backup. If I need to revisit an old project, I just pull the onsite drive off the shelf. If that drive tanks, the client has their own offsite FW800 drive I can retrieve. When the project's done, I delete it from my 2nd internal drive.

Dan, unfortunately you need more drives. There's not really a way around it, if you want to be safe. If you have a 500GB HD that's over 90%, you're full. Even internal drives can have performance problems when they get that full. The only time I would get close to completely filling up a drive is if it's only an archival drive.

If you're really on a strapped budget, I'd fill up the external with only archival projects, copy anything you'll need short-term onto the 2nd internal, then remove the drive from the external 800 enclosure and set it on a shelf. Buy a new HD that's compatible with your 800 enclosure, and install it. Hopefully, your external enclosure is easy to get into.

I really like the idea of the WiebeTech Ultra dock:

WiebeTech Micro Storage Solutions - UltraDock™ v4 - Hard Drive Docking Station, IDE Drive Dock, FireWire and USB Hard drive imaging

For $199, you get PATA and SATA on the drive side, and FW 400, 800, USB2 and ESATA on the computer side. Pretty slick. Cole, how do you label and store your HD on the shelf?
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:07 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Scott Anderson View Post
The only gotcha about this is you have to keep resetting your scratch disk every time you work on another project. I wish there was some way for those settings to follow the project.
What version of FCP are you using? I set my Scratch Disks and then FCP automatically makes folders on those disks with the name of my project. I numerically increment my saves, based on major revisions (ie. Project v.1.0, Project v.1.1 and FCP automatically creates the folders for me). This is in FCP 6.0.3
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:27 AM   #6
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If you keep your Scratch Disk settings the same from project to project, yes, FCP will keep organized folders for each project. That's how I'm working now.

But if I understand Cole correctly, you make a master folder for each project, then you change your scratch disk settings to be within that master folder. That way, all Capture files, Render files, and cache files are already in the master folder with your project.

Otherwise, when you do a backup of a project to another drive, you have to hunt down the capture and render files from within Final Cut Pro Documents. Not a huge deal, but I'd just like the option of deciding where those files go on a project-by-project basis.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 10:40 AM   #7
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Actually, if you set your Scratch Disk target to a drive INSTEAD of a folder, FCP automatically makes the folders on the drive for you and automatically changes to the correct folder when I close one project and open another. No user input required.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 11:28 AM   #8
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I understand that, Shaun. Let's say you have 10 projects you're currently working on. Each project is in it's own master folder. You've got Photoshop docs, emails, scripts, AE projects, along with all those other files that Final Cut Studio doesn't organize for you.

Now, let's say you want to backup that "Project #1", and all the files associated with it to an external drive. You'd need to go into the Final Cut Pro Documents>Capture Scratch>Project#1, and drag that folder to your master folder. Then, go to Final Cut Pro Documents>Render Files>Project#1, and drag it over.

See, the thing is that Final Cut Pro wants you to keep all files for all projects in a central location (Final Cut Pro Documents). If you work that way, that's fine. Final Cut even organizes it all neatly into sub-folders for you, based on the project name. That's fine - I get it.

But, if you want to be portable with your projects, there's a problem. Let's say you have Motion projects, Soundtrack Pro Projects, Color Projects, DVD Studio Pro Projects, as well as Final Cut Pro Projects. Each of those apps has preferences as to where they save cache and/or render files. You have to go hunting around for all the files in all those places in order to copy it all to an external drive and take it with you. Or give the entire project to a colleague to work on. Or, if you're a student, take your work home with you.

Now, Final Cut 6 was a huge improvement in this regard. With FCP5 or before, if you changed the path of any of those files, they showed up as offline you always had to do a manual relink upon opening the project. With FCP6, I've noticed that as long as the Capture Scratch and Render files are in the same folder (or a sub-folder) as the project, it will automatically relink to those files when you open the project. That's great.

What I want is for each of the pro apps to be smart enough to know that I set the preferences for that project to go into a certain location I choose. Next time I open that project, I still want to use that same location. Or, if that location is unavailable or changed, where do I now want those files to go? All the apps are flexible enough to let you choose your own custom location for those files, but not smart enough to remember your choice on a project-by-project basis. It only remembers those preferences on an application basis, so if you want to keep files from different projects in different locations, you have to keep changing that app preferences with every project.

Is that clear as mud? That's why I've decided to stop fighting with the apps. I'll just let them save everything to their default locations (well, not completely default, as I don't want everything in my Documents folder - I've set the default for all the pro apps to be the root of my 2nd internal drive. The apps then organize into sub-folders.), and go hunting every time I make a backup to another drive. It's just that I end up with a checklist of 10 different locations to drag files from whenever I want to do an external backup.
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Old February 10th, 2009, 03:37 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the replies. Seems like there's no (extremely) simple way to move projects around.

I'll more than likely start setting the scratch disks to a new individual project folder for every project with everything in it - graphics, audio, and what'not. It'd make storing and retrieving projects fairly easy.

I used to have all the projects using a default scratch disk that created a new Project Folder inside the Final Cut Pro Documents folder everytime a project was created, and when it came time to move that project I made a template of folders that matched the folders in the scratch disks (Capture Scratch, Audio Render Files, Waveform Cache Files, etc., etc.,), put my files in the template folders and dragged everything to an external drive for storage. When it came to access any of those projects, I'd drag the files out of their template folders (template Capture Scratch, etc.) and drop it into the default capture scratch. Once everything was back in place, I could, usually, reopen the project with minor problems.

Resetting the scratch disks will be much simpler.

Anyone know of a quick way to set the Waveform Cache, Thumbnail Cache, and Autosave Vault, to your Capture Scratch Disks location?
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Old February 11th, 2009, 12:49 PM   #10
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The Waveform Cache and Thumbnail Cache are not integral to retrieving your projects. The Waveform is just the picture displayed when you turn waveforms on in the timeline, and the Thumbnail are the thumbnail pictures in large icon view in the browser and Name plus Thumbnail on the timeline. They will rebuild when you open up a project, anyway.

Autosave Vault should be stored on a separate drive from your project and/or media, anyway. All of these are small files, do it doesn't hurt to keep them all on your system drive.

I would just keep them all in the same place for all projects, rather than trying to switch them when you switch scratch disks.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 02:27 PM   #11
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Autosave Vault should be stored on a separate drive from your project and/or media, anyway. All of these are small files, do it doesn't hurt to keep them all on your system drive.
Just remember to delete them occasionally, ESPECIALLY if you have FCP set to autosave every 10 minutes like I do. I just deleted my autosave vault from obsolete versions of the project I'm working on and regained 11GB of hard drive space. Yes, ELEVEN GIGS. Just the AutoSave Vault.
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Old February 11th, 2009, 04:54 PM   #12
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Scott,

Thanks. May only seem like a few small steps in the overall process, but regardless, it saves time and headache.
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Old February 15th, 2009, 12:02 PM   #13
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Glad to read that I'm not the only one that re-points their Scratch disc to a new folder every time I start a new project (or open an old one that needs additional editing).

I like that EVERYTHING associated with my project is in one folder.

BTW, I use Dantz Retrospect Backup to archive all my projects once our RAID get's too full. We archive to portable firewire hard discs and stick them on the shelf. What I like about Retrospect Backup is that when I need to find something in a hurry the software let's me find it quickly and easily. You can search for an individual file and the software will tell you where it's located, ask you to mount the appropriate drive and then automatically restore it. Or I can look through a list of projects that have been stored in the past, select one and restore it. Fast and easy. Storing everything in one folder makes this all possible.
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Old February 15th, 2009, 11:59 PM   #14
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media manager will easily copy a project and all associated files in one location, plus you have the option to delete unused media. after i'm finished a project, i archive it to another drive (or two), making sure i have enough 'B-roll' to work with, just in case.
unfortunately, you need to check the project over, as some clip attributes get messed up, and some clips go AWOL, but for the most part, it works. i usually move the render files over too, but it may be better to not, and just re-render everything fresh (though it may take a lot of time, project depending...)
though not perfect, i think MM is less tedious and maybe more reliable than trusting that i will find all the associated files manually...
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