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TOPIC: Working with a single FCPX project passing between a MBA and a MP

Working with a single FCPX project passing between a MBA and a MP 12 Sep 2017 16:14 #90473

  • Badvegan
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HI all, I have a couple questions about how to share/move a file between two computers. Any help is appreciated!

I have a feature project that I want to edit while on the go. I have a long bus commute where I can work on it on my MacBook Air using proxies. However, when I get back home, I have a Mac Pro where the 4K source files live and I'll want to use that system for additional editing and output. It's not a sequential workflow -- I'll work on the MBA during the commute each day and then at night work on the Mac Pro, and then the MBA the next day and so on.

My current set up is that I have the whole project file and all the source files on a (non-portable) massive Thunderbolt drive connected to the Mac Pro. Because I had major corruption issues with reconnecting files in FCP7 (I literally had to completely reorganize all the files and rebuild the original rough cut in FCPX due to that), I'm scared shitless of any type of reconnecting scenario.

Regardless, I'm hoping for suggestions on how to do this.

My current thinking is that I get a portable Thunderbolt drive and put a copy of the library on that (it's about 500GB, which I assume is mostly the proxies). From then on out, I'd just use that as the master library. If I'm on the MBA on the bus, I'll just work with the proxies in that library on the portable TB drive. If I'm home on the MP (which is connected to the big TB drive with the source files), then I have the option of working with them.

My questions:
- Will it work for me to copy the project file to the portable TB drive and use that shuttling between the two systems back and forth, as I've described it?
- What are the downsides to this approach, if any?
- Is there a better way to do this?
- Will FCPX have any issues with having the source files so frequently offline (on a daily basis)? I'm terrified of more reconnection glitches.
- Any suggested tutorials or other how-to resources about this workflow? I've found a lot about working remotely or shared workflows, but none seem to match this approach.

Thanks! This is a great community.
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Working with a single FCPX project passing between a MBA and a MP 13 Sep 2017 13:57 #90494

  • joema
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Badvegan wrote:
....Will it work for me to copy the project file to the portable TB drive and use that shuttling between the two systems back and forth, as I've described it?...What are the downsides to this approach, if any?...Any suggested tutorials or other how-to resources about this workflow? I've found a lot about working remotely or shared workflows, but none seem to match this approach....

By "project file" do you mean the library? Or do you mean within FCPX copy the project to a separate transfer library then copy that library to the portable drive, then open it and copy the project from the transfer library to the main library on the laptop?

Copying the project using a transfer library works, but I haven't tested it for the case of proxies on the laptop. Procedure:

(1) Create separate transfer library on the desktop machine
(2) Copy only the project to that transfer library. That will also copy the referenced clips for that project
(3) Select transfer library in sidebar and in Inspector on right, click "consolidate"
(4) If you are using any custom motion templates, in Inspector set storage to "In Library" then consolidate those also
(5) Close transfer library and using Finder copy to portable drive
(6) On laptop with portable drive open the transfer library and rename the project (e.g, "ver 2") to avoid confusion
(7) On laptop copy the ver 2 project from transfer library to main library, and proceed to edit
8. Upon returning home, plug in the portable drive and open transfer library
(9) Copy the edited project back to main library. Only the project will be copied, not the clips which are already in the main library

This is only one method -- there are others. E.g, if you're using a "lean library" with all media, proxies and cache external you can just copy over the library file. Or on the laptop you could rename the project, export a project XML and send that back home, then load that XML.

The above handles only the project (ie edits). If you are adding keywords or marking favorites/rejects on the laptop (ie metadata) that must be transferred back via the library itself or by exporting an event XML. If you add any media in the field, that media must also be transported back to the desktop and likewise added.

Proxies are typically inside the library, but there's a separate procedure documented in Ripple Training's 10.3 Media Management class for how to use an external "proxy only" workflow. I strongly recommend you get this and watch it closely. It covers many sub-cases of a distributed workflow: www.rippletraining.com/products/final-cu...-final-cut-pro-10-3/

Whether using internal or external FCPX-generated proxies, they only include video, not audio or graphics, so if you have separate audio or graphics (e.g. photo stills) you'd have to copy those as well then relink them. The "proxy only" workflow works well but in that one case relink is not reliable so the portable drive must have the same volume name and folder path as the desktop machine where the proxies were generated.

Any workflow should be thoroughly tested before putting it into production. It's best to pessimistically assume "something will go wrong" and extensively test it, not think "he said it would work", then be unpleasantly surprised.
Last Edit: 13 Sep 2017 13:59 by joema.
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Working with a single FCPX project passing between a MBA and a MP 13 Sep 2017 15:37 #90499

  • Badvegan
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Thanks Joe. As you can tell, I'm definitely a newbie to the nomenclature of FCPX and pretty baffled by the project/library/file model of FCPX. Even though I've edited a whole project already in FCPX (the previous edit of the film), I still don't get it.

I'm from the olde world of files and apps. If I want to move a file to a new system/drive, I merely copy it there, perhaps versioning up in the filename. Then I start working on the v2 of the file on the new system/drive and v1 sleeps unchanged. If I want to go back to the original system/drive, I just copy that v2 back, perhaps versioning up again to v3 and then resume work in the original environment on that new version.

That's how I see the world.

Obviously, that's now how FCPX works. :angry:

The solution you propose is well outside my comfort zone and given the past problems with FCP7 (where I had to completely rebuild my entire edit and re-org all the footage in FCPX), it does not fit my risk profile.

So, sounds like my best option is:

Do a 100% offline (proxy only) full rough edit on my MBA+TB portable drive for creative exploration only and then have an editor (or me) rebuild it from scratch on my more robust MP system once that's done. To mitigate the pain of rebuilding it, I could hope/pray to transfer the edit via XML to the MP, once the creative/proxy edit is complete. But I won't hold my breath on that.
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