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Ever wanted to have a bit more flexibility when it comes to the storage location of your Final Cut Pro X proxies? This clever trick from Alex in Spain opens up many more possibilities with FCPX proxy workflows.

Alex Argoitia Castro from Spain very kindly took time off from cutting a documentary in Final Cut Pro X to tell us about a rather clever trick he has discovered when using proxies with FCPX. - 

 

When Final Cut Pro X was released, I had the oportunity to work on projects (at that time) with Final Cut Pro 7 and for myself (home videos, etc) with Final Cut Pro X.

At first I was happy of the change, later quite sad because X did not have multicam and other functions that I was using a lot. But over the five years of FCPX’s life, it has been incredible how Apple has added more and more features.

Metadata and organization of the footage in X is so powerful and gives you so many options…

But of course, there are some things that Apple still has to change or correct. And one is the proxy handling of Final Cut Pro X.

If someone is going to import footage, organize and edit on the same computer, there is no problem. FCPX can create proxy files and if needed, change from original to proxy files with just one click in the menu.

But if the project needs more people working with the footage or we have to move the library from one edit station to another… then, the thing starts getting harder and a lot more tricky.

I usually work with other friends or colleges for different projects and most of the time it is me who edits the footage. There is no problem and everything works nicely.

Sometimes, one college creates the library (usually during the recordings) and imports all the footage from different sources and cameras. If we are going to split the work of editing, we need to have the same library (organized), most of the time with proxies and have the ability to send the library through internet.

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So the problem with Final Cut Pro X is that it has (for the moment that I know), 2 ways of handling Proxy files:

Option #1 is to create them inside the Library.

Option #2 choose the media to be in another place.

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With the first option, you have the problem that the library starts growing and growing as soon as you create the proxy files. If we want the library to be light, the proxies have to be outside the library (cache also, but that is another story).

With the second option, the idea is good, we keep the proxies outside the library, somewhere we have already set in Final Cut. But the problem with this method is that Final Cut keeps track of the proxy files with the information of the “root” of the files.

What I mean with this is that, if we tell Final Cut to create the proxy files (Media Folder) for example on a hard drive that we have attached to our computer, that hard drive has a root name that our computer has given it (I understand like the Windows operating system that uses C for the boot drive).

So Final Cut creates the proxy files in that folder and stores the info that the files are on a disk named for example “A”.

Ok, lets say that this disk is an external drive and we want to take it with us and use it with another edit suit. When we connect this disk to another computer, another letter is assigned to the disk and of course, Final Cut is not able to find the Media Folder where the proxies are. Not only is the problem is the “letter” of the drive. Right now, we can not change in Final Cut the Media Folder once the proxies have been created. Well we can change in the menu, but it does not affect the proxies that are already created, so we still have the problem.

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After doing some tests, I came up with a very simple idea, so simple that I did not believe at first that it could work:

We only have to create the proxies inside the library. And once they are created, move them wherever we want from that library. For that, we have to go inside the library. Just right click in the Library and choose Open Content Package. We are going to see something like this structure inside.

The proxy files are stored/created inside the Event where the originals are (in my case the event is called Masters), inside the Transcoded Media. If we do not find Transcoded Media folder, that is because or we have not created any proxy or optimized media or because the originals are not inside that Event.

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Ok so, now we MOVE the proxy files wherever we want and once they placed there, we create Aliases of those proxy files inside the Proxy Media folder in the Library.

We need to choose all the proxy files, drag them while we press Alt+Command (to create Aliases) to the Proxy Media folder inside the library.

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Now (in my Library), I have a proxy folder that has Aliases and this folder weights only 200 MB for more than 200 video files. With the proxies inside the Library, it was about 40 Gigs.

This moment is the best to remind you another great FCPX article that showed us how to make proxy files that are lighter so that we could store and edit directly with the proxies in the cloud.

Keep in mind that we have to create Aliases inside the Library once we are sure we are not moving the proxies anywhere else. I have tried to see what could happen moving them afterwards and somehow the Finder is able to access the Aliases so they can find the “originals”. So maybe we are able to move them also after creating the Alias files, but I prefer not to do it just in case.

What we have end up with this workaround is that, now we are able to take just the library and send it or put it in the cloud. And anyone who has the original footage files in their hard drives including the proxy files, can take that library, re-link the original files, copy aliases of the proxy files inside the library (Transcoded Media folder) and that is it.

If the Transcoded Media folder is not created, we can create it

Now our team, is able to work with the same library in different workstations and different places. Of course, we have to have original footage and proxy files each one of us.

If we do not have proxy files, we always can create them.

We also can combine this workaround, with the one Sam Mestman and Mike Matzdorff had shown us of backing up libraries with an app called “Sync Folders Pro”.

I hope this way of moving proxy files can help more people and is going to be of use as it has been very helpful for us.

Good luck to everyone.

Alex.

 

 

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My name is Alex. I am a freelance editor, colorist and VFX technitian. I live in the Basque Country (north of Spain).

I have been working in Feature Films, Documentaries and TV programs with Premiere, Avid and when discovered Final Cut Pro 6 some years ago, I realized that I wanted to edit with it for the future projects. Alex's Vimeo Channel.

 

 

Alex