Archiving Projects in Final Cut Pro 10.1.4

Final Cut Pro projects can eat up a lot of disk space. When  a project is complete, it sure is nice to package up the files and move them to another drive.

I spent a couple of hours this morning, investigating how to archive projects in Final Cut Pro 10.1.4 this morning. I found several resources that propertied to explain step by step how to go about doing this exact thing. However Apple must have changed the menu choices at some point, and the menu options and views have changed. So here is how I have figured how to combine the best of the previous methods with how the app works today. Maybe this will help you out.

Searches on Google will send you to this video and site, which have recently become obsolete: The correct way to archive a Final Cut Pro X Project

I also found a white paper PDF from Apple: Managing Media With Final Cut Pro Libraries

So here are the steps that I cam up with.

Make a Sparse Disk Image:

Start by opening Disk Utility (inside Applications > Utilities folder).

Create a new disk image.

Click on New Image (or choose File > New > New Blank Image ).
Enter a meaningful name in the Save As: field. Also enter that same name in the Name: field. (So that you don’t end up with the meaningless Disk Image name.)

From Size: pulldown choose Custom.
The the dialog that opens choose GB and enter a size likeGB.
The beauty of a sparse disk image is that it does not take up that amount of space, but can grow to that size if you need it to.
Press Ok to save this setting.

In the Image Format: choose sparse disk image.

If you are happy with the location (Where:) you can press Create.

Create a sparse diskimage


Disk Utility will create the sparse disk image and mount it on the Desktop.
You can now use the disk image in Final Cut Pro X.

Copying Final Cut Project files to the Sparse Disk Image

Open Final Cut Pro 10.1.4. (or higher)
From the File menu, choose New > New Library

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 10.07.43 PM


Final Cut Pro will create the new Library with a default event (with today’s date.) You can delete that once you copy over  at least one of the events you want to archive.

Preparing Projects to Archive.

Select the Event that you want to archive and choose Delete Generated Event Files. These are the files that FCP makes while you work on the projects.

delete generated files

Check Delete Render File and choose All. You can always recreate these if you work on the project later.

delete all

Next, with the Event selected, Control Click and choose Consolidate Event Files… from the contextual menu.

Consolidate Event Files


Make sure that Optimized Media  and Proxy Media are not selected. You don’t need to archive these working files with the project.

Consolidate settings


This step will copy all of the original source files into the project. If you are like me and you link files into your projects, you will want to consolidate and archive a copy of the originals with the event. Later you can remove the files, if a copy remains elsewhere on your disk (that’s up to you and not covered here.) After all the idea is to free up the space.

You can check that the files are copied into the project, by Control Clicking and choosing Reveal in Finder. In the window that opens you can Command click on the Original Folders and reveal the path.

path to Originals
path to Originals

As you can see in the image above, Final Cut Pro stores the Original Files inside an Event folder, inside a Project folder, inside your Home folder’s  Movies folder.

Once the files have been consolidated here, you are ready to copy this event to the sparse disk image we made above.

Drag the Event files to the Archive Library in FCP

Select the Event and Drag it onto the Library you made on the Archive sparse disk image. The cursor will change to green + to indicate that you are “copying” the Event.

drag to copy the event

You will see the status indicator change to indicate the progress of copying the files.

status indicator

You can also open Background Tasks (Cmd 9) from the Window menu to see the progress of the copying.

Background Tasks


When the Media Management task of copying over the files is complete, you can continue to copy over more events. You can see the amount of space available on the sparse disk image with the status bar in the Finder. (You can Show/Hide the status bar from the View menu in the Finder.)

Pro Tip: You can examine the contents of the Archive on the disk image by Cmd Clicking and choosing Show Package Contents. Remember look, don’t touch – you are peeling inside the Final Cut Pro X project itself.

Look! Don't touch.
Look! Don’t touch.

Cleaning up and Putting Away the Archive

When you are satisfied that the project has been copied to the sparse disk image you can close the Archive Library. You can do this by Control Click on the Archive and choose Close Library “name you chose”

Close the library


Then Quit Final Cut Pro, so that you can “eject” the sparse image. (The Finder will say the disk is in use if FCP is still open.)

Eject the disk image and then you can copy/move the sparse disk image file to another drive or server.

Removing the project from Final Cut Pro – with caution.

Note:  You accept responsibility if you remove the original project without backing up or previously archiving.

If you are absolutely sure that you have safely archived the project as mentioned above. You can remove the original project by Control Clicking on the Event and choosing Move To Trash.
This step will remove the event and delete all of the consolidated files.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.