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Guide to Organizing Final Cut Pro Media

written by: Shane Burley•edited by: Michael Dougherty•updated: 12/28/2010

Here are some useful tips for keeping the media in your Final Cut Pro organized.

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    Media Managment

    final-cut-clapboard The non-linear video editing model was developed out of the older linear editing system, where physical forms were used and cut together manually. When the digital video editing software was created it transformed this process into something that was based on media management, where all the digital video files were stored digitally and it was up to you to position and alter representations of them inside of the editing software. This is much more about the positioning and organization of your project rather than the physical alteration of film stock or video tapes, and because of this the order of your projects became key. Apple's Final Cut Pro non-linear video editing software is quickly becoming an industry standard because of its power and usability, but the need for organization in your project is just as important as ever. Here is a guide for organizing your Final Cut Pro media so that your project will not have errors and you will be able to access all the appropriate files when working.

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    Capture Scratch

    When you caputre footage, which is where you either transfer your footage into your project from a digital storage medium or capture it from a physical recording platform like film stock or DV tapes, it is saved in a folder called the Capture Scratch. When your Final Cut Pro project brings up the media that has been captured it is referencing the source media in the Capture Scratch. It is important to actually set the Capture Scratch location every time you are working on a new project or the same project in a new location, otherwise it could save the captured footage onto an odd location or a storage drive that you will not be using for your project. This will disconnect the media and you may even lose it entirely, making this one of the primary focal points for organizing your Final Cut Pro media.

    To do this in Final Cut Pro you will want to go to the System Settings option and then go to the tab for Scratch Discs. Here you will be able to set the the scratch disc for Video Capture, Audio Capture, Video Render, and Audio Render. You will want to set the location to the folder that you are using for your project on the drive that you are using for it

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    Importing Files

    You will have the ability to also import video, audio, and photo files that already exist in the digital form. This is done just through a simple import and does not require a capture process, and they will not end up in your Capture Scratch. This Final Cut Pro media still needs to remain organized and in its primary location because Final Cut Pro has to know where to find it, in the exact same way that it looks for the captured footage in the Capture Scratch. To organize this Final Cut Pro media effectlvely it should be in a properly labeled folder before the import process where it is going to stay, otherwise you will have to reconnect the media.

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    Organizing Final Cut Pro media inside your project is just as important so that you will be able to find the media you want when you are editing easily. To do this, Final Cut Pro offers Bins to put your media into. These Bins act as folders, and you can label them according to the media that you have in there. Once you capture or import the media into your project then will just appear blankly in your Browser, and you will then want to label them correctly and then put them into bins where you will find them later. These Bins can be labeled according to file type, date, quality, or really anything that actually helps your specific Final Cut Pro project.