FCP X 10.1: Manage Projects

[IMPORTANT NOTE: With the release of the 10.1 update to Final Cut Pro X, I released all new training that covers both new and old features. I encourage you to buy this, or become a subscriber, because it will help you learn the new software quickly. Click here to learn more.]

With the release of Final Cut Pro X 10.1, I’ve been flooded with questions on media management. This article takes a closer look at managing events and projects. This is the second of five articles. The others are:

NOTE: Here is a very important article on updating media, events, and projects from earlier versions of Final Cut Pro X. Please read this before you update.

Apple has also provided additional resources in two white papers:

And here is a video webinar that illustrates these, and more, media management techniques for Final Cut Pro X.


A library is a container that holds media, events, and projects. Final Cut requires a minimum of one library to be open at all times. (Here’s an article that explains how to manage libraries.)

Events are folders that are contained inside libraries. A library must contain at least one event. There is no limit to the number of events that can be contained in one library. The easiest way to to think of an event is that it is a folder, or bin, that stores stuff.

Projects are the instructions on how to edit our clips; they are now analogous to sequences in Final Cut Pro 7.

Media can be moved or copied between projects, events, or libraries.


All projects MUST be stored in an event, inside a Library. (The old Project Library window is gone.) What I like to do is create a new Event, called “Projects,” in which I store all my projects. That way, I can easily isolate projects from media.

To create a new event, select the library in which the event is to be stored and do one of the following:

In this case, I created a new event, called Projects. (Remember, projects are stored in events, which are stored in libraries.)

NOTE: Projects can be stored in any event, in any library. My use of a Projects event is simply personal preference.

To create a new project, select the event in which you want the project stored and do one of the following:

Project settings are just like earlier versions of Final Cut. I took all the default settings, but changed the starting timecode of the project to 01:00:00:00 — mostly from long-standing habit.

NOTE: Final Cut remembers project settings made in this window so that the same settings are the defaults the next time you create a new project.

The new project appears in the Browser with its own icon, indicating the project name, creation date and current duration. This information, along with its icon, updates as you edit.

To modify Project Properties, select the project in the Libraries list, then choose Window > Project Properties, or type Command+J, then click the Modify Settings button in the Inspector.

Changing project properties is the same as earlier versions of Final Cut Pro X.

To move between projects, you could double-click the project you want in the Browser, provided it is showing, but a faster way is to click and hold the Timeline History button (what I call the “Go Back” button). This lists all opened projects and allows you to quickly switch from one project to the next.

NOTE: Clicking this button takes you back to the previously opened project. Click and hold this button to display all previously opened projects.


To move a project between libraries, select the project and choose File > Move Project, then select the library where you want the project to move.

To move a project into another event within the same library, simply drag it where you want it to go.


Copy a project between libraries by selecting the project and choosing File > Copy Project to Library.

NOTE: We use this same technique to copy or move events. Select the event, then choose the appropriate option from the File menu.

Duplicate a project by right-clicking the project in the Browser and selecting Duplicate Project. However, if you are using multicam or compound clips, duplicating is not a good idea, because the multicam or compound clips remain linked back to the original project. For example, changing the multicam clip in one project changes it everywhere.

A much better idea is new with this version – Duplicate a Project Snapshot (type: Shift+Cmd+D). This duplicates the project, time stamps it, and creates independent multicam and compound clips. This essentially “freezes” your edit into a copy using a single keystroke.

NOTE: Snapshots are really useful, but they are not locked. If you open a snapshot and make a change, that change is recorded into the snapshot. There is no way to lock a snapshot.

There is no limit to the number of project duplicates, or snapshots, that you can create.


Render files are now created in both the event and project. And, unlike earlier versions of Final Cut, render files are not necessarily deleted when clips are trimmed. (This avoids wasting time re-rendering clips that were already rendered.)

To delete project render files, select the project in the Browser with the render files you want to delete and choose File > Delete Project Render Files. Click the OK button to delete render files.

NOTE: In the event you delete the wrong render files, the worst that will happen is that FCP will re-render whatever it needs that was deleted by mistake.


In the Browser, select the project you want to delete, then do one of the following:

NOTE: We can’t delete events and projects at the same time.


You can play a project that is not open, by right-clicking it in the Browser and selecting “Play.”

While you can’t close a project that is in the Timeline, you can create a new project with nothing in it. Then, double-click that project to open it into the Timeline, thus displaying an empty Timeline.


Here are three articles I’ve written that can help you understand media better in Final Cut Pro X:

Apple has also provided additional resources in two white papers:

Bookmark the permalink.

53 Responses to FCP X 10.1: Manage Projects

← Older Comments Newer Comments →
  1. David says:

    Hi there,

    I am new to FCPX. I would like to backup my projects. Could I do so by simply uploading my latest Final Cut Pro Backups file, i.e. 20140616_1001_PDT to my iCloud folder? I have ALL my original media stored on a hard drive off site.



    • Larry Jordan says:


      No. The Library Backups file simply is a backup of the library database, NOT any of your media.

      You should backup the entire Library file if you are storing media in the Library. Otherwise, backup the Library file and the location that holds all your media.


      • David says:

        Thanks Larry!

        I am confused a bit. What is the difference between the file in my Movies/Final Cut Pro Backups/ folder and the file that is in my Libraries folder? They both are listed as ( Kind: Final Cut Pro Library ). The one in the Libraries folder is quite a bit larger in file size.

        Based on my original question, if I backup the Final Cut Pro Backups file, i.e. 20140616_1001_PDT to my iCloud folder, would this file contain the project/timeline? If so, all my original media is backed up off site, so in case of a serious problem where I lose everything could I not grab that backups file, open it in FCPX then relink all the files from the original media?

        I’m just trying to think of a way to save on disc space.

        Sorry if I’m being confusing, just trying to figure out an easy workflow for daily back up.

        Thanks for your help and patience!


  2. Eurofolk says:

    Hi Larry,

    I’m struggling to retrieve a film for editing from my back up disk.

    I have the final film saved as .mov, from a couple of years ago (created in FCP 10.1 on my Mac) and find I want to edit it. In the meantime I removed the corresponding event / project from my Mac, so am retrieving from my back up disk using time machine.

    The files were retrieved from Movies / Final Cut Pro Events and FCE Projects folders respectively.

    I have created a new library into which I have copied the media (specific event folder) used in the film to a new library that sits under my Hard Drive/Movies//newlibraryname (but can’t see a folder within that corresponding to the imported media) and have copied the project folder to my Hard Drive/Movies/MacIntosh HD Old Final Cut Pro Projects and Events/newnameproject folder

    However, what do I do now to get the timeline to show the project as edited by me, which I guess is in the project file.

    I have the feeling there must be an easier way to do this.

    Any advice welcome.

  3. Eurofolk says:

    Hi Larry, Unfortunately I can’t get that solution to work. Whether trying to upgrade projects from external Hard Drive (time machine back up), or from the restored copies, I only have the projects grated out so cannot select them under “location”.

    I downloaded Events Manager X 10.4 in the hope that might help, but cannot get that to open under Mavericks. I get a message saying “Event Manager X does not manage Events and Projects in Final Cut Pro 10.1’s Libraries.

    Use Final Cut Pro’s File > Open Library and File > Close Library commands to control which Libraries are visible.”

    I click through and then both the message window, an update window and the programme close.

    Frustrating. Any suggestions?

  4. Bill Rabkin says:

    When I update FCPX 10.0 events and projects to FCPX 10.1 libraries, sometimes a project is stored within the associated event and sometimes it is stored in an event named “Updated Projects” that FCPX creates in the new library.

    What causes FCPX to store projects in the “Updated Projects” event, rather than in the event whose media is used in the project?


    • LarryJ says:


      I can’t thank of any scenario where FCP X would store the updated project in the event folder. So what you report seems unusual to me.

      In FCP X 10.0 event and projects are separate elements. They will become combined into the new library, but not moved into the Event folder.


  5. Jeremy Star says:

    Hi Larry,

    I am wondering if there is a way to ONLY backup a project file to another library on another drive, not all the clips associated with it.

    When I drag a project to another library (or use File>Copy to Library), it asks me if I want to copy proxy and optimised media but it seems to assume that it want it to copy all the original media across.

    Takes lots of space and time when all I want is a backup of the actual project file!

    Thanks for your help,


  6. Lastminute.com hotels dublin…

    Final Cut Pro Training | FCP X 10.1: Manage Projects | Final Cut Pro Training & Classes…

  7. Irvin says:

    The clips in my project are black now…. Any idea of how to fix this?

    • LarryJ says:


      You’ve probably made them invisible, by accident.

      Select all the clips that are black and type “V” (without the quotes) that should turn them on.

      If, on the other hand, you mean the blue clips are actually black, then you may have deleted them and replaced them with a gap, which is a very dark gray clip. If that’s the case, the only way to get them back is either Undo, or opening a library backup (File > Open > Library Backup).


  8. Irvin says:

    My project clips are black now…. I know I messed up a little by moving and renaming some of the footage. I reimported all of the original footage into a new event but it won’t relink the files into the project. I was able to relink the audio and all of my edits are in place but the media is all black. Any suggestions?

  9. Charley Cross says:

    Larry, this is really helpful stuff. Thanks!

    I have a follow-up question on snapshots. I have a major project that my client has wanted delivered a few time in sort of successive iterations. So I’ve made snapshots to preserve the project as it stood at the time of each deliverable. Very handy! Now most recently we decided to do some experiments with some further changes. So I made a snapshot before experimenting. We decided we did not like the experiment, and do not intend to take that forward. I know I can go back and do further edits on the latest snapshot, but what about the main project? It now has the experimental edits that we don’t want. I’d just as soon delete it. But it seems weird to have only snapshots and no main project. Is that okay? Am I looking at this wrong? Thanks for any insight!

  10. Joe says:

    Hi Larry,

    In an effort to free up hard drive space, my son moved his “The Movie 1.fcpbundle” file from his Desktop/Border City Empire folder to his external hard drive through the FINDER window and NOT through FCP. Now he can’t seem to get the project loaded when he opens FCP. Any suggestions ? Thanks.

    • Larry says:


      If he moved the entire library file from one location to another using the Finder, he hasn’t damaged anything. Just double-click it from the Finder to open it in FCP.

      However, if he OPENED the bundle and dragged individual files across, he broke it and it may not be possible to put things back.


← Older Comments Newer Comments →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Larry Recommends:

FCPX Complete

NEW & Updated!

Edit smarter with Larry’s latest training, all available in our store.

Access over 1,900 on-demand video editing courses. Become a member of our Video Training Library today!


Subscribe to Larry's FREE weekly newsletter and save 10%
on your first purchase.