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.


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Re Unarchiving a Time Capsule archive

This is a follow up to an archived thread about “unarchiving” a backup of the data from a Time Capsule.

I have just started working with my second TC dual band and I have several Macs including a MacBook Air – which takes 17 hours to do the initial back up. The Time capsule is NOT a server. When you try to mount the drives on your Mac and copy files from one TC drive to the other the files are actually brought to your Mac via your network and then written back. (I have also not figured out how to connect two TCs together – you can connect them between one WAN to the other’s Ethernet port but cannot access the drives. Also server software knows you are copying to drives connected to the server so it handles the data directly between the drives.)

So I finally discovered the “Archive” function on the AirPort – which will archive an entire TC drive to a drive on the TC’s USB port. It’s reasonably fast. Next I moved and connected the USB drive the new TC but again we are back to copying to the Mac and back again. For example it said it would take 35 hours to copy 150 GB of data from the USB drive hanging off the back of the TC.

Reading the response to the thread above – which was not helpful to the poster – it dawned on me. Connect the USB drive to a spare Mac and copy the files back to the new TC – which would take half the time. Currently I am copying my 80GB backup of the Air to the new TC and it says it will take 6 hours. (The backups on the TC are sparse disk images so they are actually hundreds of little files in a package so will take much less than that but the Finder cannot really estimate the time.)

What we need is an ability to “restore” and archive with Airport Utility.


Crash Plan proofing Time Machine

Q. We would like to use Time Capsule for back up but we may also need to store the backup off site. We have about 100 GBs of data we don’t want to lose. Can we also back up the Time Capsule and keep it off site?

A. Discussions around backup and archiving can be confusing and people often say “backup” when they mean to say “archive”. Backing up data is done to prevent loss of information currently stored on your computer. We “backup” our computer’s data to in case of disasters such as fire, flood, theft and mechanical failures. We are most concerned with backing up the information that we need for “day to day” operations.

Archiving on the other hand is meant for storing information “offline” for a long term – even permanently and stored on inexpensive media that is designed to last. A DVD is better than a hard drive or tape over the long haul because the information is burned on with a laser or permanently stamped on with commercial DVDs. All new Mac systems have dual layer DVD drives capable of writing 8GBs of data to DVDR – for long time storage and archiving. Hard Drives and magnetic tape are susceptible to magnetic corruption. DVDs can be corrupted by light and heat. Environmental conditions must be considered when considering how “archive media” is stored. I recommend that you make two copies of anything you seriously value and store one copy offsite.

The “Time Machine” runs once every hour on your Mac using a service or daemon called “/System/Library/CoreServices/backupd”. Daemons are background services that run processes independently of the users. The “Time Machine” software can use a second hard drive, removable drive or a Network Area Storage called “Time Capsule” as the destination. Apple’s “Time Capsule” runs a specialized service and is the only network device that “Time Machine” will back up to on a network. The Mac has to be “awake” in order for the backupd to run properly – and Time Machine comes with and only runs on Mac OS X 10.5 (aka Leopard).

Crash Plan Pro is also software that is installed on the Mac itself – and like the Time Machine software – runs in the background and backs up over the local network or encrypted over the Internet to a remote location. CrashPlan Pro client software is installed and runs as a daemon on the Macs. There is a software interface where you can select which files and folders are to be backed up. You can also set up the schedule which governs when items gets backed up. It can backup to another machine on the network, which must be running the CrashPlan Server software.

Companies such as IronGate in Ottawa and iT Guy Technologies offer third option of running CrashPlan Pro – that of setting the destination of the CrashPlan Pro back up to a remote “CrashPlan Pro Hosted Service”. Then you can rest assured that the data won’t lost in the case of theft, fire or flood. You also save the expense of setting up and managing a data center.

CrashPlan clients can also run on MacOS X 10.4 (tiger), Windows XP and Vista, linux and Sun clients. Apple introduced Time Machine because the majority of users never back up their data. So by making Time Machine as simple as “set it and forget it” the hope is that average consumers will not lose their data through inaction. Companies with mission critical data often spend thousands in hardware, software and labour to back up their systems – the budget is based on the time and cost required to recover from loss. Back up of live data is expensive and usually has a cutoff timeframe because of the expense.

Information should be taken “offline” and archived if it is not required for day to day operations – because of the relative expense of “online” and “nearline” storage. Time Capsule and CrashPlan are “nearline” solutions. Time Machine is by its nature an active process so it cannot really be backed up. Rather you could install Crash Plan Pro and backup in parallel. Then you would have two sources to recover from and eliminate another point of failure.

Recover your mail stored on Yahoo’s folders

Q. My Internet Service Provider (ISP) uses Yahoo mail as the online mail and I have been storing my messages in folders that I made online. When I connect my Mail application to get my email, I cannot get the folders or the messages. Is there a way to import the messages from Yahoo?

A. When you log onto the Internet to check your email you are most likely using an IMAP account – which stores the messages on a server. When you connect your local Mail client to fetch your email you ISP often requires you to use POP3, which moves the messages from your Inbox on the server to your Mac. The problem is that POP3 knows nothing about the other folders you have created using the IMAP so your messages cannot be retrieved.
You can export your messages from Yahoo and then store them on your Mac. Yahoo will archive them into a zip file – it will contain “eml” files. Unfortunately you cannot import eml files into Mail but Apple’s built in Spotlight will index the messages. It makes it possible to search the contents and when you double click a chosen message it will open in Mail – then you can reply or forward the message.
Here are the steps to download your messages:
1. Log into and go to “Mail”.
2. Click on the “Options” link on the right side.
3. Click “Archive Messages” on the right.
4. Under “Step 1 of 2: Build Archive” choose a folder from the pull down menu.
5. Press the “Continue” button.
6. Press “Download Archive”.