As I was researching my new Final Cut Pro X book, I discovered this interesting technique that I wanted to share with you.
Many times, editors need to share projects. While Final Cut Pro X does not allow more than one editor to be working in the same project at the same time, there is a way to share the same project between editors. Event References make this possible.
An Event reference is the ability to take a Project and point it to media in a different Event. What you are doing is changing the media that is connected to a Project by changing the Event reference.
A Final Cut Pro X project doesn’t contain media, it just “points” to media, which is stored in your Final Cut Events folder. This media can be stored locally, or on an XSAN server – though not, however, on a standard-issue OS X Server. We can take advantage of this fact when it comes to sharing projects between editors.
For example, let’s say two editors, in two different cities, want to both work on the same project, though not at the same time. To start, the first editor makes a complete copy of both the Project folder (stored in the Final Cut Projects folder) and the Event folder (stored in the Final Cut Events folder).
The first editor sends the second editor both folders, and the second editor starts editing. During this time, the first editor can not be working in the Project. The original Event folder, containing the media, and the Project remain with the first editor, while a copy of the Event folder and Project folder are now also with the second editor. (For those that worry, there is no reduction in image quality when you copy digital image files.)
The second editor can make changes to both the Project and the Event, such as, say, editing clips, adding keywords, changing clip names in the Event Browser, and flagging clips as Favorites using ratings. However, the second editor can not change the media itself, nor add new media.
Then, the second editor sends just the Project folder back to the first editor. (Important note, he needs to send the entire Project folder, not just a single Project file contained inside it.)
If the first editor opens the Project sent by the second editor, all the clips would be offline, because the Project is still linked to the Event folder on the second editor’s system in another city. Instead, the first editor copies the Project folder to her local system in the Final Cut Projects folder. Opening Final Cut Pro X, she selects the Project in the Project Library, without opening it in the Timeline.
With the Project selected, the editor chooses File > Project Properties (or presses Command+J).
Click the wrench icon (just above the Inspector button) to display the Project Properties window.
Click the Modify Event Reference button, which opens the Modify Event Reference window.
Navigate to the Event folder stored locally on her system and select it. The first editor’s Project now connects to this local media, rather than the media on the second editor’s system.
By changing Event References, both editors can send this Project back and forth for additional work. Keep in mind that once the Project is sent to one editor, the other editor can not work on the Project as there is no way to reconcile the differences between two versions of the same Project.
Both the first and second editor have their copy of the Event folder and media stored locally. Changing Event References allows repointing a Project from one Event folder to another.
This is a very intriguing use of the media management in FCP X because it easily allows changing the Event that is referenced by a Project. It isn’t the same as relinking individual clips, but allows an editor to repoint to all the media in an entire project.
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