Back up Final Cut Pro 10.1 or later

Find out more about backing up your Final Cut Pro 10.1 or later application and libraries, and about archiving projects.

Before you update Final Cut Pro on your Mac, you should back up your current copy of the Final Cut Pro application and your existing libraries. This allows you to move your files to another Mac and to continue working on these projects in the earlier version of Final Cut Pro, if necessary. You should also periodically back up Final Cut Pro files as a safety measure.

Back up the Final Cut Pro application

To back up your current copy of the Final Cut Pro application:

  1. Create a new folder in the Applications folder. Name the folder with the name and version of the application (for example, "Final Cut Pro 10.6.6"). To check the version of Final Cut Pro you have, open the application and choose About Final Cut Pro from the Final Cut Pro menu.

  2. Select the Final Cut Pro application in the Applications folder. Choose File > Compress "Final Cut Pro". It will take a few minutes to compress.

  3. Move the resulting "Final Cut" file into the folder you created in step 1.

  4. Move the folder containing the .zip file to a back-up drive.

Back up libraries

To back up your Final Cut Pro libraries, you can use a system-wide backup solution like Time Machine, or you can simply copy the library to a dedicated backup drive. This is a good solution if you’re storing the original media assets in a library along with the associated events and projects (managed media). You can use the Consolidate Files command to collect external media as managed media inside the same library for easy transport or archiving.

To protect your media, you should back up to a storage device or partition different from the one where you store the media files used with Final Cut Pro.

Archive projects

You can archive a project as a short-term solution to free up storage space, or you can archive for long-term storage and retrieve it when it needs updating or repurposing.

  1. Select the items in the library you want to archive, such as one or more events or a final project. The media included in the archive depends on your selection:

    • Select an event to archive all media in the event, whether or not it's used in a project.

    • Select a project to archive the project and the media needed for that project. This results in a smaller archive.

  2. Choose File > Copy [item] to Library > New Library. Type a name for the new library, navigate to a location for the new library, and click Save.

  3. In the window that appears, do one of the following:

    • If you want the smallest possible archive, make sure the Optimised Media and Proxy Media checkboxes aren't enabled.

    • If you want to include optimised or proxy media (and copying time and storage space aren't issues), select the Optimised Media checkbox, the Proxy Media checkbox or both.

  4. Click OK. The new library (with storage settings inherited from the original library) appears in the Libraries list.

  5. If you want to adjust the storage locations for the new archive library, select it and choose File > Library Properties (or press Control-Command-J) to open the Library Properties Inspector. Make any changes you would like.

  6. Click Consolidate or choose File > Consolidate Library Files and then click OK.

    • Consolidating managed media within the library provides you with one library file that has everything you need later.

    • Consolidating to an external location results in two items to move: the library and the Media folder. However, you can more easily share this media later with multiple editors (on a storage area network for example).

Render files are not copied across libraries. You can regenerate them when you reopen your library.

Archive additional files

There are a few other items you should archive in addition to the library. These are elements of your project that you'll need if you set up a new system to edit an archived library.

  • Motion templates: Any custom motion templates created in ~/Movies/Motion Templates/

  • Fonts: Any custom fonts that aren’t included with the system

  • Plug-ins: Any third-party plug-ins used within the project, such as FxPlug effects, Audio Units plug-ins or camera manufacturer plug-ins that enable playback of specific camera formats such as RED, Sony XAVC or Canon XF

You may also want to archive a master media file of the final project together with a Final Cut Pro XML export of the final project. This XML file has text you can read that describes the edited sequence in the Timeline with all of the edit timing, asset references, effects, metadata and other information available. This is a much richer archiving choice than an EDL and makes for a more accurate and complete re-creation of the project at a later date. For more information about exporting an XML file, see Use XML to transfer projects in Final Cut Pro for Mac.

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