FCP X: Manage Events and Projects

While I covered this in my Final Cut Pro X training, I realized I haven’t written about how to manage media for Final Cut Pro X.

FCP X is powered by databases: one for Events and one for Projects. As such, it takes a different approach to managing media than any prior version of Final Cut Pro.

Events are collections of media. Projects are the instructions on how that media is to be edited.

Events and Projects can be stored on any attached hard disk. By default, both are stored on your boot disk. However, I recommend against this because the boot disk (the hard drive that holds your Applications folder) is too busy with other work to play media smoothly.

Events are stored in folders inside the Final Cut Events folder. You can have one of these folders on each hard drive attached to your system.

Projects are also stored in folders inside the Final Cut Projects folder. You can have one of these folders on each hard drive attached to your system.

Both these master folders are highlighted in green in the screen shot above.

This screenshot shows two Events stored inside the Final Cut Events folder: Dr. Vint Cerf and Pond 5 images. Each Event is a folder. The Event folder, depending upon how you set your import preferences, will hold a copy of your source media, optimized media, proxy files, analysis results, and, if you are running FCP X 10.0.3 or later, backup files.

Aside from the amount of available storage on your hard disk, there is no limit to the number of Events you can store in the Final Cut Events folder, nor is there a limit on the number of clips stored in each Event.

Here’s a similar example of a Project.  In the Final Cut Projects folder are two projects: 01 Picture in Picture and 06 Timeline Index (fcp1). Both projects are stored in folders. (There is no significance to the numbers in the project name – I use them personally to stay organized.) Each Project folder contains the edit instructions for the project (stored in the CurrentVersion.fcpproject file), along with render files, and other project related files. And, as with Events, if you are running version 10.0.3 or later, backup files.

Aside from the amount of available storage on your hard disk, there is no limit to the number of Projects you can store in the Final Cut Projects folder.

NOTE: FCP X 10.0.3 automatically creates backups of your current Event and Project every 15 minutes. (However, if nothing changed over the last 15 minutes it doesn’t create a new backup file.) In the event that your Project becomes corrupted, FCP X automatically reverts to the backup file the next time you start up Final Cut. So, the worst that happens in the case of a corrupted Project or Event is that you lose 15 minutes of work.

Final Cut is designed to have all your Events and all your Projects online at the same time. However, that can make for a very cluttered Event Library and Project Library. Plus, I don’t necessarily want my clients seeing work that I’m doing for other clients.

The problem is that FCP X does not allow you to hide Events or Projects. However, there’s a very simple workaround.

On each disk that has an Event folder, I create another folder called Final Cut Events Not in Use. On each disk that has a Project folder, I also created a second folder called Final Cut Projects Not in Use. There is no magic in these folder names, they are just easy for me to remember and sort next to their related folder.

Here, for instance, you can see that I have two Events that are active and displayed inside Final Cut, because the are inside the Final Cut Events folder. I also have several Events that are inactive and not displayed in Final Cut, because they are not in the Final Cut Events folder.

To make an Event inactive, I first quit FCP X, then drag the Event folder from the Final Cut Events folder into the Final Cut Events Not in Use folder. When I restart FCP X, only the contents of the Final Cut Events folder are displayed. My inactive Events are not displayed.

To make an inactive Event active, I drag it from the Final Cut Events Not in Use folder into Final Cut Events folder and restart FCP X.

NOTE: FCP X only looks at the contents of the Events or Projects folders during startup, which is why I need to restart the application whenever I move folders around.

Here’s an example of organizing Projects. In this example, I have three active projects, with several inactive projects. When you are done with an Event or a Project or, at least, you don’t want it displayed in the Library, quit FCP X, drag the Projects folder into the Final Cut Projects Not in Use folder and restart FCP X.

Just as with Events, drag an inactive Project folder from Final Cut Projects Not in Use into Final Cut Projects, restart FCP X, and that Project is online and ready to edit.

NOTE: Always drag entire Event or Project folders, never drag the contents of a folder. Because everything in a folder is referenced in the database, moving individual elements breaks the database.


It could be argued that FCP X should provide this functionality in the program. But it doesn’t. On the other hand, dragging folders is not difficult. But it can become cumbersome.

There is a great utility, called Event Manager X, from Intelligent Assistance, that simplifies this entire process. I find this utility so useful that I can’t edit in FCP X without it. I highly recommend it.

Here’s a review that explains this utility in more detail.


Here are the ten key points you need to remember:

  1. FCP X only displays Events that are in the Final Cut Events folder.
  2. FCP X only displays Projects that are in the Final Cut Projects folder.
  3. Every hard drive on your system can have either a Final Cut Events folder, a Final Cut Projects folder, or both stored on it.
  4. When creating a new Event, first select the drive where you want the Event stored in the Event Library, then create the Event.
  5. When creating a new Project, first select the drive where you want the Project stored in the Project Library, then create the Project.
  6. To make an active Event inactive, drag the ENTIRE Event folder out of the Final Cut Events folder.
  7. To make an inactive Event active, drag the ENTIRE Event folder into the Final Cut Events folders.
  8. To make an active Project inactive, drag the ENTIRE Project folder out of the Final Cut Projects folder.
  9. To make an inactive Project active, drag the ENTIRE Project folder into the the Final Cut Projects folder.
  10. Always drag entire folders, NEVER drag individual files within the folder.

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62 Responses to FCP X: Manage Events and Projects

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  1. Peter DC says:

    Hi Larry. I have a problem along the lines of some of the above. I just bought a 1TB external drive to use for all things video. I copied the Final Cut Events folder onto the new drive (just dragged it onto the new disk from its previous location (on another external) and deleted the original). Weirdly, FCPX only sees this new drive as something to import from – that’s the only place it sees it (the import window)…. EXCEPT when FCPX is starting up… During that process the external drive shows up in the Event Library, complete with everything in it, then disappears from the list when the start-up procedure is done. What’s going on there?

    • Larry Jordan says:

      At a guess, you’ve turn on Permissions for the hard disk, and set them to read only. To fix this, quit Final Cut. Select the drive in the Finder and go to File > Get Info. At the very bottom of the window, check “Ignore Permissions on this Volume.”

      Close the Get Info window.

      That should solve the problem.

      Just in case, go to Utilities > Disk Utility and make sure the Drive is formatted as HFS+ Extended (Journaled) and not FAT 32.


  2. Peter DC says:

    Thanks, Larry. But… (as ever) the disk is already set as you suggested read and write (ignore permissions) and I formatted it as HFS extended journaled. Hmmm…

  3. Peter DC says:

    Okay, I just found this on the Apple Forums. I’ll give it a go.

    After some tinkering I don’t know what gives, but I’ve discovered a workaround.

    During my troubleshooting I went to the last project I was working on and removed its CurrentVersion.fcpevent file.

    I opened FCPX and it automagically generated a new event file. The external hard drive did not disappear this time! I tried closing and reopening FCPX and it worked fine the next few tries. However, the project whose event file I removed showed Media Offline cards. I closed FCPX.

    I dragged the original CurrentVersion.fcpevent file into the project folder and replaced the newly automagically generated one.

    FCPX loaded the event file, the external hard drive events and everything else. After opening the event’s connected projects the previews re-rendered and all the media was reconnected. Everything’s fine now.


  4. Peter DC says:

    It seems FCPX was assuming my external drive was a camera’s SD card. What? Yes indeed.
    Why? Because I’d added a folder (of old bits and bobs) at the root level of the drive and named it “video”. If you do that your drive is “seen” as a camera.
    Changed the folder name to “vid” and everything’s fine.

  5. Jerome says:

    Hi there.

    What I want to do is import cinema-RAW files on a Mac Pro, create Prores422HQ in DaVinci Resolve and import them in FCPX. There I’ll create proxy media and here come my questions:
    -Is it possible to move or copy the proxy-media (not the HQ media) to another drive in the same computer?
    -Is it possible to copy the event including proxy-media but without the HQ media to my MBP, so I can work on either computer on the project, updating up and forth the project?
    In the end, when the offline is finished, the project will be imported in DaVinci Resolve again, media replaced by RAW, colourcorrected and exported as prores422HQ once again to FCPX for the final steps before rendering the end result. The last steps will be taken on the powerful MacPro but I love to be able and work on my projects just anywhere.

    Thanks in advance for thinking along!

  6. Joost says:

    Hi everyone,
    I’m about to start a big project with a lot of footage shot on the 5D. Can I tell FCP X to NOT put the optimized media on my HD? I’d like it on my external drive, but when importing the footage I can’t choose where to put the optimized media. I can optimize the footage myself before importing it of course (using mpeg streamclip for example), but I’m sure there’s way…


    • Larry Jordan says:


      Optimized media is stored in your Event folder. So, when you create a new Event, FIRST select the hard drive you want to store the media on. The Event and all its media will then be stored on that hard drive.

      Remember, USB and flash drives won’t be fast enough to support video editing.


  7. kevin says:

    My events in FCP X shift back to another date meaning moth and year. When I try to create a new event folder for the month and year such as now the Event in Oct. 20121 jumped back to April 2011 . Even if I create another event folder in the month and year it should be – and copy past events to that folder it jumps back to another month and year . Can you shed some light on this?

  8. steph says:

    Consolidating Media from an external drive (2) to working project drive (1).

    I would like to use a portion of media from an external drive. So I do not have to fire the drive up every time I work on this project. I can not copy all the media from the drive because it is to big. I would like to copy media from my time line and make a new event. Say B-roll and copy this footage (not move it) to the working drive from the external drive.
    Can I copy (make event or smart collection) of footage from the time line into a new event?
    then can I copy this media to a new drive or the working drive?

    Example if you were using media from 4 different external drives and did not want them plugged in and only wanted portions of the media of the drive.
    Thank you Larry for all your education material it is very helpful

    • Larry Jordan says:



      You have the option to right-click on a project in the Project Library and select “Duplicate Project.” This allows you to duplicate the project only, duplicate the project and all related media, or duplicate the project and only the clips used in the Project.

      Select this third option to create a new event, copy the media you are using into it, and create a new Project.


      • Caspar says:

        Hi Larry,

        I have the same wish copying a project with used clips only to another drive for storage that works as independent project.

        So I executed the command “copy project + used clips only” + render files and transferring a duplictae onto a second drive. When I wanted to check if the duplicated project would work independently all files were missing (I unplugged the first disk where the original project+events are stored).

        It appears that FCPX creates alias files of your media referencing to the original event on the first disk. So it still needs the original event files!!??

        My question: is there any way to really duplicate a project + used clips only that works INDEPENDENTLY of any other files?
        (the reason I want this is that I don’t need to store the entire original event with transcoded media being 3 times bigger than the original media that comes from my DSLR)

        Thanx a stack! and keep up the fantastic work!


  9. […] backup. FCPX le riconosce e apre il progetto senza problemi anche da questo disco. vedi anche qui : Larry Jordan – FCP X: Manage Events and Projects | Final Cut Pro Training | The Best Training in Fin… ciao Replica con citazione + Replica alla discussione « […]

  10. studio says:

    Hi Larry in FCP X I cannot find in the top taskbar the “SHARE” so I cannot drop down and export a project. what do you suggest?

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