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Good media management in Final Cut Pro is not difficult to maintain, but it is not really a function of Final Cut Pro. There will certainly be some people who will have issue with what i am about to write.

Having an organized project folder in the Finder is 50X more important than having everything in the File Browser. I'm actually going to repeat that; Having an organized project folder in the Finder is 50X more important than having everything in the File Browser.

Think of the File Browser and the Finder as one in the same. For those of you who use Motion you know that the Motion Filer Browser is a mirror of the Finder. Final Cut Pro has developed a bad reputation for media management as compared to Avid, but the reality is that it is not that Final Cut Pro doesn't manage media poorly, it really doesn't "manage" it at all.

Whenever you import a file into Final Cut Pro, it knows where it came from, and maintains the link. What happens all too often is that files get reorganized in the Finder after they have been imported into Final Cut, the link is broken, and in many cases the name in the Browser does not match the name in the Finder. Hello NIGHTMARE.

This takes us back to the issue at hand; editors who do not properly prepare a Project Folder before ever launching Final Cut. If you create a template of what your A typical Project Folder will look like, and always start with that, your life will become much easier.

The example to the left is what a list view in the Finder looks like of a decent Project Folder before any files have been added. By creating this Project Folder structure once and saving it with empty folders you will be able to start from it each time you start a project.

By preparing an organized Project Folder, you will keep yourself disciplined not to put files where they don't belong. Whenever you need something for a Final Cut Project You can go straight to the Finder.

Each project may have some different sub folders, but starting with a template will help you maintain good Media Management. Once you have populated the subfolders of your Project Folder, it is time to import it into Final Cut Pro. Any empty folders will not import, all others will come in as folders and subfolders. Personally I only bring in my Audio and Video into the Finder, because everything else is changing throughout the project. For example the Live Type projects folder may have one or two titles that you are going to reuse from a previous project, or have already created for this project, but too often you will create a new title in Live Type, save it to your Live Type projects folder, and then bring it right into your sequence. There are plenty of what I would call old school editors, that will tell you that you have to import it into the File Browser before taking it into the sequence. My simple response is WHY? I know exactly where it is.

 

On the topic of bringing in a Live Type project into Final Cut Pro, some people don't realize how easy this can be. Once you save a project in Live Type (or any of the Final Cut Studio apps except Final Cut Pro) an icon appears in the interface. In Live Type there are two, one in the Canvas, and one in the Timeline. These icons can be drug right into Final Cut Pro.

 

Live_type_icon.gif

 

 

 

Another reason to kept Audio and Video in the File Browser is that they have in and out points that the File Browser will maintain a record of, and all other files are either still images, or have a fixed duration Finder should always be left open to your Project Folder in the background. A good two monitor configuration will encourage you to use the Finder appropriately. Once in the Finder There are some great previewing capabilities that are not available in Final Cut. By pressing the spacebar the Finder will give you a Quick Look at any Movie, Image, or a listen to any type of Audio file. It will auto play each file, and by going up or down arrow, you will be able to move thru a folder previewing along the way. By pressing the spacebar again you will close the Quick Look, and be on the file you need to drag to the timeline.

One decision you will have to make is where to keep your Project Folder. One philosophy is to use the Folder that the Log and Capture creates as the Project Folder, but this presents a chicken and the egg paradox. This Folder will not assume the name of the Project File until the Project File has been saved, and you can't save the Project File into that folder because it doesn't exist yet. One good work flow is to copy the Project Folder template you create, save your Project File to that folder, and then transfer the contents of that Project Folder into the folder that Capturing creates. Any captured video (thru either Log & Capture or Log & Transfer) or voice overs from the Voice Over tool will be placed into the base level of your Project Folder, and it will be your responsibility to sort them into the individual sub folders of the Video folder in your Project Folder.

Once video has been captured, especially if it is the first thing you do within a project, and you are going to rename & sort clips into sub folders, just delete everything out of the File Browser and go spend some quality time in the Finder. If you are bringing in HDV clips for example, just bring in the whole tape, & you will have up to 100 clips with the same name and a number. This is when you can dump the junk, rename, and sort the rest. If you are working in DV you should still bring in the whole tape and use the DV Start/Stop Detect feature in Final Cut Pro to break up the clip into segments, vs beating up your deck or camera by Batch Capturing. Not to mention it takes longer. So with DV you will leave the long clips right in the Video Folder of the Project Folder. The P2/HDD work flow using the Log and Transfer will bring all of the clips in named, and you will need only to sort them.

Once you have the Video and Audio folders all stocked up to produce your project, drag them into the File Browser. You can certainly drag the entire Project Folder into the File Browser, but try the method I have been advocating, and try to depend on the Finder as an extension of the File Browser.

 

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Ken Burns Effect Photo Montage in Final Cut Pro was the previous entry in this blog.

Using the Extend tool to improve workflow is the next entry in this blog.

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