Working with Projects

Before you can even capture media, import clips into your project, and edit the clips into one or more sequences, you need a project in which to do all of this.

Note: Creating, opening, and closing projects is described in Understanding Projects, Clips, and Sequences.

Working with Multiple Projects in the Browser

You can have multiple projects open in Final Cut Pro at the same time. Each project opens in a separate tab in the Browser.

Choosing Whether the Last Previously Opened Project Opens on Launch

By default, Final Cut Pro opens the last previously open project file (or files) when opened. You can select whether Final Cut Pro opens with the last open project or an empty project.

To start with a default, empty project instead of the last previously open project file
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > User Preferences, then click the General tab.

  2. Deselect the “Open last project on application launch” checkbox.

For more information, see Choosing Settings and Preferences.

Viewing and Changing the Properties of a Project

Each project has a set of properties, including global timecode display options, custom Master Comment column names, and marker color label/visibility settings. You can change these properties at any time.

To view or change the properties of a project
  1. Click the project’s tab in the Browser, then choose Edit > Project Properties.

  2. Choose or enter your options, then click OK.

    Figure. Project Properties dialog showing properties options.
    • Time Display: Choose a global time display option for all clips in your project. Options include timecode, feet + frames, and frames.

      For details, see Working with Timecode.

    • Reset Time Display checkbox: This is a global checkbox that updates the time display option for all clips in your project. If this option is selected, all clips in your project are updated to the timecode display option you chose in the Time Display pop-up menu. This overrides custom time display options in individual clips in your project.
    • Default Film Standard pop-up menu: If you are editing film using Final Cut Pro, you can choose the format of your film here. For more information, see the documentation that came with Cinema Tools.
    • Time Mode pop-up menu: Choose whether all clips in the active project are displayed in source time or clip time.
    • View Native Speed: This is a global checkbox that changes the time display of all clips in your project.
    • Comment Column Headings: This allows you to customize the four Master Comment property names in the active project. For example, you can change “Master Comment 1” to “Director’s Notes.”

      Note: You can change the name of a Master Comment column, but when you export this data (or reimport it into Final Cut Pro), the column will always retain its original name; for example, “Master Comment 1.”

    • Marker Visibility: Use the checkboxes to enable or disable the visibility of markers of a particular color. Use the text fields to confirm or modify the text label for a particular marker color/category.

      For more information about marker visibility and labels, see Marker Color Labels

To choose new project properties each time you create a new project
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > User Preferences (or press Option-Q).

  2. Select the “Prompt for settings on New Project” option.

Backing Up and Restoring Projects

Regularly backing up your project file is an important part of the editing process. If your media files are lost, they can easily be recaptured, but losing a project file could mean re-creating hundreds of edit decisions made over weeks or months.

You should back up your projects on a regular schedule, regardless of what phase of the project you are in. You can back up hourly, daily, or even weekly, depending on the scope and pace of your project. It’s also a good idea to back up at important project milestones, such as a completed rough edit or just before sending your project out for the final sound mix.

What Is Contained in a Project File

Project files contain the following items and information:

  • Clips, including notes, comments, labels, log notes, and other descriptive clip properties

  • Bins

  • Sequences

  • Effects and keyframe parameters applied to clips

Note: A project file does not contain media files, including any QuickTime, audio, or graphics files.

Returning to Saved Projects

Two commands in the File menu can be used to open previously saved files—Revert Project and Restore Project.

  • Revert Project: This command lets you return to a previous version of a project that you saved, not one that Final Cut Pro autosaved. For more information, see Using the Revert Project Command.
  • Restore Project: This command lets you choose from all of the available autosaved versions of the currently selected project, based on the time and date they were created. For more information about the autosave feature, see Backing Up and Restoring Projects.

Using the Revert Project Command

Sometimes you may make a series of changes to a project on a trial basis. What if you don’t like those changes and want to start over with your project the way it was the last time you saved it? You can use the Revert Project command to immediately return to the previously saved version of a project.

To revert to the previously saved version of a project
  1. Click a project’s tab in the Browser or Timeline to make it active.

  2. Choose File > Revert Project.

  3. In the dialog that appears, click OK.

    Figure. Dialog showing a revert message warning that you will lose all changes made to a project since it was last saved.

Automatically Saving Projects with Autosave

While you’re working, you may find it necessary to go back to an earlier version of a project you edited: perhaps you tried an alternate cut that didn’t work, or maybe you’re experiencing problems with your computer. The autosave feature in Final Cut Pro gives you the option to step back to previous stages of your project, which can save you valuable time (not to mention unnecessary headaches).

The autosave feature periodically saves a copy of each open project in a folder called the Autosave Vault. Your original project file is not touched until you use the Save command. You can change the location of the Autosave Vault in the Scratch Disks tab of the System Settings window. The Restore Project command allows you to choose from all of the available autosaved versions of the currently active project, based on the time and date they were created.

For detailed information about using the autosave feature, see Backing Up and Restoring Projects.