The two things we are going to discuss before you even get your hands dirty in Final Cut Pro X. This post will discuss where you store your video files and the next post will discuss organization of those files.
Where am I going to store my video footage?
It really comes down to two places to store your video footage, either on your computer or on an external hard drive. There are benefits and drawbacks to both. The benefit to importing your video files onto your computer is that when you are on the go you will always have the footage with you. The drawback is your disk space on your hard drive can quickly be used up especially if you decide to shoot your footage in 4K(2160p which is double the resolution of 1080p). The inverse is true if you decide to put all your video footage on an external hard drive. You will not use any of your computers hard drive space with your video footage but now you better make sure you always carry your external hard with you if you plan on working in Final Cut Pro on the go.
You see the screen below when you click (Command I) for import or go to File > Import. In the white box you can choose to “Copy to library” which means the video footage will be copied onto your computer’s hard drive or “Leave files in place”. “IT” could be a memory card, USB, external hard drive. (Side note – in some cases “Copy to library” can also mean a library on another external hard drive).
There is no wrong answer, this is a matter of preference. What I like to do is “Copy to library” which means (generally) the video footage will be on my computer’s hard drive. Once I am finished with that specific project I will move over that library to an external hard drive so I have the best of both worlds. I can work on my project without having to carry an external hard drive and I can get my hard drive space back when I am finished with that project and move the library folder over to the external. Regarding external hard drives, I recommend getting a solid state drive (SSD). They are faster and much more durable than hard drives with moving parts and the external should have connections to USB-C, USB 3, or Thunderbolt. (To make things confusing Apple’s Thunderbolt 3 is USB-C). The reason I suggest USB-C, USB 3, or Thunderbolt is the increased speed of the data transfer.
What you never want to see when opening up you Final Cut Pro project
When you open up your Final Cut project and you see”Missing File” Final Cut can not locate that file. This could be the result of having your project files on an external drive and that external is not connected to your computer when you open Final Cut. Another scenario where you can see the dreaded “Missing File” is if you select “Leave file in place” when you are importing and then you moved that file to the trash.