Sharing FCPX or iMovie Libraries Between Computers
Do you use Final Cut Pro X or iMovie to create videos and need to share the projects/events/libraries with multiple systems without exporting the individual projects to XML and then importing them? Grab yourself an external HDD or two and continue reading!
Final Cut Pro X and iMovie are great easy to use video editors thanks to the way the Libraries/Events and Projects are. Being able to drag and drop all your video footage, images and music etc all into the event browser and then copying them all to multiple projects easily is fantastic. It’s something that I cannot get away from FCPX because of the fact that alternatives do not have the events and require multiple instances open (if even supported) to open multiple projects. The alternatives have one thing more convenient though (even Final Cut Pro 7). Projects are saved external wherever you put them and can be opened on any other computer with the editor installed, the same as using any other type of editor such as Photoshop or Word.
Final Cut Pro X and iMovie however save projects in event folders within the library file by default stored in the “/
To find and copy the event folders you must go to the library file, right click and select “show package contents”.
All of the folders you now see are events that contain your projects. Simply copy them onto a external HDD and then into the library on which ever other computer you’re copying them to. Before you open FCPX/iMovie, if these that I’ve highlighted in this screenshot are there, delete them.
This will not stop the library from functioning, it will just make FCPX/iMovie see what you have copied over. If you do not, they will not appear in the editor in the library.
It is as simple as that. It’s different than the way other editors work and doesn’t seem to be a well known trick. However it is a lot simpler than exporting/importing XML. To make copying a lot faster, change your import settings to leave files in place instead of copy to library storage location. This will reduce the event folder sizes. Make sure that the files are stored on an external HDD or networked drive that will show up the same on each computer, otherwise you’ll need to relink the files.
If you are only copying to export them on another computer, it may be worth deleting the “Render Files” folder from the event folders. This will cut the amount of data you’re copying down from 10s of GBs of data to less than 100MBs or so. This doesn’t really impact export times from what I am aware, but it sure saves you from unnecessary while the files copy when you’re wanting to turn your computer off there and then.
I use Final Cut Pro X for editing my videos on my computer with an AMD GPU for best rendering and editing performance. Then I export them in H.264 on my Mac Mini using the Intel QuickSync technology on the integrated graphics. Not only does this mean I do not need to keep my computer turned on as things export, by using QuickSync to export in H.264, I also cut the export times from what would be over an hour or a few hours depending on the project, down to considerable less such as 15 minutes. Here’s a video where I compare exporting a 20 minute gaming video using both systems.
Other than just using this trick for sharing between computers, use it for if your library fails to open, just create a new library and transfer the event folders over so you can get straight back to editing. Also this is very useful for creating a template/backup library for events. I have a template library specifically for keeping as backup so I can always get my intro/outro etc back in case I accidentally delete it from my main library.
I hope this helps you with speeding up your workflow. Happy editing!
Date Published: 17th October 2017
Posted in: macOS, Tutorials, Video-Editing,
Jase Wolf"The weakest are from deeply within
the strongest of all natures"