I’ve been researching quite a bit on how to share / collaborate projects between multiple editors using Final Cut Pro X (now currently using version 10.3). We are a video production company based outside of Salt Lake City, Utah but work with other producers, and occasionally editors, nationwide. There are times where I have needed to share a project with other editors who use Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere (I’ll post later how to share between FCPX and Premiere Pro CC). I’m going to share what I’ve found worked the best for me in both cases.
I’ll start with FCPX. There are 2 options I’ve found in sharing projects with other editors. One option is leaving all original files in their original place (what I personally try and do). Another is importing and even consolidating all footage within your FCPX project library. I’ll explain both options and benefits in both. Keep in mind you’ll need to somehow get your footage to the other editors whether it’s shipping a hard drive or loading your footage onto a cloud drive such as Dropbox.
First option I’d like to explain is my own preference, which is keeping files in their original place and I’ll explain why I like this option. First, I set my preferences (Final Cut Pro > Preferences > Import) to, “Leave files in place”.
Whenever I import footage, graphics, etc., I create a master folder on a storage drive, for that particular client and project, where I store all footage, images, or additional assets I’ll use in my project. I’ll usually organize my folder according to “Client” > Year > Project > Footage. I also precompose all my footage into Apple ProRes 422 prior to editing (if I hadn’t already filmed in ProRes). I’ll use a program such as PavTubeVideoConverter to do this. This is an extra step I personally take (where you may feel differently and you may wish to optimize your footage in Final Cut Pro or during import using command+i. This allows me to work with ProRes footage while leaving the files in place in my master folder within my external HDD. This also keeps the Library file size down which is my goal for easy sharing. Another step I’ll take prior to sharing a project with someone is consolidating all Motion content within the Library. This is an awesome update that came to version 10.3. If you have any motion animations, transitions, etc., this will include all of those within your Library so other editors won’t get that missing content error. To do this, you simply right-click your Library > Consolidate Motion Content.
For the next step, click to select the project you wish to share with another editor. Select File > Copy Project to Library > New Library. On the next step, do not check the boxes to “Copy items to the library”. Leave these boxes unchecked.
This will be the Library and Project you’ll be sending and sharing with another editor. You should now have a folder on your external drive that includes all of the footage as well as a new Library which contains a copy of your project and motion content. You’ll now want to send your footage as well as the new Library to your other editor (whether it’s shipping a separate hard drive or uploading to a cloud drive). To make things easier for the other editor, I’ll copy the same folder hierarchy I created in my HDD (which contains the folder with the footage) to a separate HDD I plan on shipping to them, along with the new Library I created which contains the copied project. To make things easier, I’ll take a further step in naming the HDD I’ll ship with the same name as my drive which contains my original footage. This way, the editor won’t have to go through the process of relinking the footage.
Now I’ll explain why I go through this process of storing the footage on a separate drive rather than consolidating all the footage within the Library. After your editor receives the drive, opens and makes their own edits, they now have a smaller file sized Library that you can email back and forth! Rather than making further edits and having to deal with a Library that’s can typically be a high GB size, it should be a smaller MB file size or even smaller. They can throw it in a zip folder and email it to you, you can then pull it into Final Cut (since both of you have the original footage), make additional edits, then email, or quickly drop the newly edited Library on a cloud drive.
Now for option 2 with sharing FCPX projects. This option is easy if you don’t want to deal with organizing your footage outside of FCPX and if you don’t care your Library will be large in file size. This also eliminates having to precompose your footage to ProRes prior to editing. First thing you’ll want to do is opposite of what I explained earlier. You’ll want to change your preferences to “Copy to library storage location”. To do this, you select Final Cut Pro > Preferences > Import:
After I’m done and ready to share my project, I’ll now make sure all footage is consolidated within the Library as well as all Motion content. Again, right-click on your library: Library > Consolidate Library Media then check both, “Optimized media” & “Proxy media”.
Do the same thing to consolidate your Motion content. Afterwards, you can now copy your project to a new Library to share or copy your original Library to an external drive to ship. The benefit of consolidating all your footage within your Library is your other editor won’t need to worry about relinking footage, making sure your drive is named the same, etc. Final Cut will open your project along with your footage without any issues. The downside is your Library will be large in file size so you won’t be able to email back and forth as easily if you want to open their edits and make additional edits.
There may also be times where you need to share a project with someone using Adobe Premiere. I’ll create another post later on how to share projects between FCPX and Premiere Pro CC.