Media Management is Biggest Change in Final Cut Pro X 10.1

Media Management drives editors nuts. Since the beginning of computer-based video editing, trying to remember where your media is stored is a never-ending battle between “getting it done,” and “doing it right.”

Somewhere toward the end of a project, along about the third or fourth sleepless night, file management and organization give way to “Please, just let this end…”

In Final Cut Pro 7, all media was stored in a single scratch disk. This scratch disk included your media, plus render files and a host of other work files that Final Cut needed. The biggest complaint from editors was that we wanted to set scratch disks by project to give us more control over media storage.

NOTE: We could also “link” media, by reference, into a project except that if we moved or renamed the media or the folders containing it, everything broke.

So, in Final Cut Pro X, Apple switched to Events and Projects. Events held media and projects described how that media was assembled; the “edit.” Events could be stored anywhere and projects could use media from any event. The biggest complaint from editors was that we needed to quit Final Cut in order to change events or projects.

NOTE: We could still “link” media, by reference, into a project except that if we moved or renamed the media or the folders containing, everything broke.

So, with this release, Apple replaced Events and Projects with Libraries. Libraries hold everything. Events are now folders within libraries, and projects are now stored in events. Media is stored in the library, which acts like a single, big container file. This makes backups, clones, or simple moves from one hard disk to another a lot easier.

NOTE: Even with this system, we can still “link” media, by reference, into a project but if we move or rename the media or the folders containing, everything breaks. Some things never change.


With Final Cut, you now have the ability to copy media into any selected library, or simply point (“link”) to where that media is stored on your hard disk. If you are very organized, linking is faster. If you don’t want to worry about where your media is stored, copy the media into the Library and be done with it.

Media can be copied without optimizing, if you want to edit using the camera native video format.

Libraries make working with media MUCH easier. But they work best when you copy the media into the library. Linking media, as with past versions of Final Cut, requires that you not move, or rename, any of the media files or the folders that contain it.


Here’s the new Library pane in Final Cut Pro X 10.1.  (The Library pane is on the left, the Browser is on the right.) There are two open libraries: “Dr. Vint Cerf” and “Glass Blowing.” You can have as many libraries open as you want.

Inside the Dr. Cerf library are four events: Audio, B-roll, Interview, and Projects. Events act as folders within a library and can be named anything. There is no limit to the number of events stored inside a library. I store all my projects in a separate event, just to make them easier to find. You can store projects in any event. Media from any event can be used in any project.

NOTE: In earlier versions of Final Cut Pro X, there was an internal limit of around 2,000 clips per event. That limit was essentially removed in this update.

The library file is stored on your hard disk. Because most of my libraries are small, I store them on a RAID in a folder called “Final Cut Libraries.” You can store libraries anywhere and call them anything. Libraries do not need to be stored in folders. However, I always recommend storing all libraries and media files on a second drive (not the boot drive) for performance reasons.

The library file is actually a bundle, similar to the way Keynote stores its files.

If you right-click on the Library name in the Finder, and select Show Package Contents

Inside is a folder for each event, which stores the actual media, as well as projects and other Final Cut work files. My STRONG recommendation is to stay out of this folder and don’t move the elements inside it. However, I wanted to let you know how this storage system works in case you ever need to rescue a clip from a library or an event.

NOTE: When copying or moving libraries, ALWAYS!!! move the entire library folder. Never mess with the database files or other individual work files in this folder.


The new version of Final Cut requires updating all events and projects before they can be used. If you are someone that prefers to learn by watching a video, watch this eight-minute tutorial covering what you need to know to update existing events and projects.

Otherwise, read on.

When you first start Final Cut, this warning will appear. Click Update Later. This allows you to open the program and take a look around without altering any of your existing events or projects.

Here’s what you need to know about updating:

If you have media stored across multiple hard disks, do the update first, then use File > Consolidate Events/Projects to combine all the media into one location. Consolidation is NOT required, but if it helps you to stay organized then go ahead.

To automatically update, select Update All.

To manually update:

Next, click Update All. Only those events and projects you moved into the Events and Projects folders will be updated.

My hard disk is named “2nd Drive RAID.” The library that was created by the update is named “2nd Drive RAID’s projects and events.” You can rename this library to something more meaningful once the updating is complete.

When the update finishes, you have the option to save events and projects or trash them. My recommendation is to save them until you know that the update process was successful. At which point, they can be deleted.

NOTE: If you select “Move to Trash” and realize you made a mistake, all is not lost. Simply open the Trash and drag the folders back out.

Notice that a new folder was created on 2nd Drive RAID and named “2nd Drive RAID…Projects and Events.”

The events and projects folders and their contents are not changed in any way. The information they contain was simply copied and converted into Final Cut’s new Library media management system.


Apple has published a white paper that covers this process in more detail.

Also, the folks at Intelligent Assistance have released a free version of Event Manager X, along with a white paper, which can simplify the process of moving and updating older events and projects.

I just completed all-new training on Final Cut Pro X 10.1. To see the first 15 movies – which will give you a Quick Start into the application – visit my YouTube channel.

To download your own copy of my Final Cut Pro X training, please visit our store.


Updating isn’t difficult, but you need to understand how the process works. To be safe, if you have the hard disk space, I recommend creating a backup of all events and projects before updating… just in case.

Then, update one event and one project and watch what happens. This is what I did as I was learning the system. Once you understand how this works, updating is simple. And, as I mentioned above, media is moved but not altered by this process.

The key is to decide how you want events and projects organized before you start the update process. And remember that you are not updating specific events or projects, but all the events or projects stored in the Final Cut Events and Final Cut Projects folders on a single hard disk.

The good news is that once the updating is complete, you never have to do it again. And libraries are a LOT easier to work with than the old Events and Projects!

7 Responses to Media Management is Biggest Change in Final Cut Pro X 10.1

  1. Chris Du'Mont says:

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for taking the time to write your article. It all seems so simple but yet hasn’t been for me.

    Initially I was going to do the update manually, job by job creating libraries for each but in the essence of time, I thought I’ll just do it in one sweep and sort it out later. So Final Cut created the new library for my main drive, asked me whether I wanted to delete the old folders as it does and I (stupidly) said yes, then it crashed! The new library will not open and just crashes Final Cut X upon trying to open it and suddenly I feel a little stupid for not backing everything up on my raid before doing it. I am trying an experiment now of copying one project and event out of the library, remaking the fcp folders and trying to trick it to update them again, hopefully resolving the issue. I know this is a long shot as the db has probably already been update. Any ideas? Fortunately they are all completed projects but still, I need them for showreels etc.

    Any help would be much appreciated. Can’t seem to see where I would get in touch with the fcp team directly?


    • Larry says:


      The first thing to do is contact Apple support. They knew that updating would cause questions and they should be able to answer questions. If the first person you speak with seems uninformed, ask for Tier 2 support.

      Your older events and projects SHOULD still be safe – because updating only copies them, it doesn’t change them. So you should be able to get them back without too much trouble. As to what caused the crash, that part I can’t answer.


  2. Chris Du'Mont says:


    Thanks for your reply. I believe I have now somewhat resolved it by going into the contents package of the library it created and troubleshooting removing the db file, allowing fcpx to build a new one. Then removing that and putting the old one back. Whatever I did over 4 hours of trying things has managed to get everything back to some form of working order. Now to organise it all.

    Although this has been a little troublesome, I can immediately see the advantages of this new system. Already created libraries for each client and it’s great how you can store them anywhere and fcpx remembers when you close them each time you open it so it remains quick.

    My advice as Larry has quite rightly said before doing the upgrade is back it all up. You can easily just delete what fcpx 10.1 creates if a situation like mine occurs and go again.

  3. Zalman says:


    This is great.
    I’m wondering if you know of a way to backup these new libraries using an incremental approach.
    Till now I was using Carbon Copy Cloner and choosing which folders to ignore, i.e. Render files… It seems like this workflow is not possible anymore and you’d have to backup the entire ‘library’ every time.
    This kind of eliminates the ease of daily server/cloud backups of say only the old ‘CurrentVersion.fcpproject’ files.


    • Larry says:


      Also, Carbon Copy cloner is smart enough to recognize the contents of the Library bundle and back up incrementally, based upon the contents of the bundle.

      I would continue using that system.


  4. Zalman says:

    OK, I got it.

    FCPX does an auto-backup every 15 minutes.
    That backup is only ‘project files’ not assets or render files.
    So backing this up to the cloud is my solution (for now).

  5. […] Кстати, обновление самой программы FCPX до 10.1 для владельцев предыдущих версий совершенно бесплатно, что говорит, скорее всего, о том, что Apple рассматривает FCPX 10.1 все же не как принципиально новую версию своего видеоредактора, а как очень крупный апдейт предыдущих версий (напомним, что ранее новые функции появлялись в версиях 10.0.1, 10.0.3 и 10.0.6). Так что, наверное, и пересертификации для пользователей и тренеров по FCPX не будет. Но уже проанонсировано обновление в начале 2014 года официального учебного курса по FCPX и сертификационного экзамена. Так что вскоре ждем новую книгу Дайаны Вейнанд, бессменного автора учебных курсов по FCP.   В интернете уже появилось несколько обширных обзоров нововведений в FCPX 10.1 на английском языке:   Final Cut Pro X 10.1 — A First Look by Steve Martin & Mark Spencer Final Cut Pro X 10.1 — by Philip Hodgetts Final Cut Pro X 10.1 update: New features, commentary and resources — by Alex Gollner Apple Releases Final Cut Pro X 10.1 — by Larry Jordan Media Management is Biggest Change in Final Cut Pro X 10.1 — by Larry Jordan […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Larry Recommends:

FCPX 10.5 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.