Backing Up and Restoring Projects

Final Cut Pro has several methods for backing up, reverting to, and restoring projects. If you have made changes you don’t want to keep, or if your project file becomes corrupt in some way, you can use these features to quickly get back to an earlier version of your project.

Using the Revert Project Command

Sometimes you may make a series of trial changes to a project. 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 state of a project.

To revert to the previously saved state 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.

Using the Autosave Feature

Autosave routinely saves copies of your project while you work. If something goes wrong with the current version of your project, you can restore an autosaved version to quickly pick up where you left off.

By default, autosave files are stored in the following location:/Users/username/Documents/Final Cut Pro Documents/Autosave Vault/.

To turn on autosave
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > User Preferences, then click the General tab.

  2. Select the Autosave Vault checkbox.

  3. Enter the following options:

    • Save a copy every: The frequency (in minutes) that you want to autosave projects.
    • Keep at most: The number of copies of a project autosaved before Final Cut Pro deletes the oldest one.
    • Maximum of: The number of open project files simultaneously autosaved. For example, if this field is set to 25, and you have 26 project files open simultaneously, only the first 25 projects are autosaved.
  4. Click OK.

To change the location of the Autosave Vault folder
  1. Choose Final Cut Pro > System Settings, then click the Scratch Disks tab.

  2. Click Set next to the Autosave Vault option.

  3. Navigate to a folder to store autosaved files, then click Choose.

  4. Click OK to accept the changes to System Settings.

    A folder called Autosave Vault is created at the selected location. All autosaved copies for a given project are stored in their own project folder within the Autosave Vault folder.

    Figure. Finder window showing the Autosave Vault folder.

If you have more than one hard disk, you can routinely save your normal project file on one disk and specify an Autosave Vault folder on the other disk. This way, if you have trouble with one hard disk, you will still have project files on the other.

Warning: The Autosave Vault folder is not locked. If you inadvertently delete this folder from the Finder, Final Cut Pro automatically re-creates it. However, any autosave files in the deleted folder cannot be re-created.

Once autosave is selected, new autosaved versions of your project are created according to the time specified in the “Save a copy every N minutes” field. If no changes have been made to your project since the last autosave file was created, Final Cut Pro doesn’t autosave the project again until you make further changes. For example, if you have five projects open and make changes to only two of them, Final Cut Pro only creates autosave files for the two projects you changed.

Autosave files use the following naming scheme:

ProjectName_MM-DD-YY_HHMM

where ProjectName is the first 17 characters of your project.

Using a First-In, First-Out Strategy

Final Cut Pro uses a “first-in, first-out” strategy for keeping autosave files. When Final Cut Pro reaches the limit for the number of copies created or projects saved, the oldest autosave file is placed in the Trash (unless the oldest project is currently open) and a new autosave file is created. If you’re working on several projects and you know that one is about to be deleted (you’ve reached the number specified in the “Maximum of N projects” field), you may want to make a backup copy of the earliest autosaved project folder and its contents for future use.

The autosave feature will never delete projects or folders automatically. Instead, files that exceed the maximum numbers of copies and projects you set in the Autosave Vault options (in the General tab of the User Preferences window) are placed in the Trash, but the Trash is not emptied. That is left for you to do, in case you later change your mind about what files you want to keep.

Restoring Autosaved Projects

If you’re working on your project and decide you want to go back to an earlier autosaved version, you can use the Restore Project command. Restore Project 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 example: Your client saw the newest cut of a project and didn’t like it. If you know that the client liked a version created on the morning of July 31, 2005, you can use the Restore Project command to open the autosave file that was created closest to that time. This way you can restore the project to a version that you know your client liked.

To restore a previously autosaved project
  1. Click a project’s tab in the Browser or Timeline to make it active.

  2. Choose File > Restore Project.

  3. In the dialog that appears, choose the autosave file you want to use, then click Restore.

    The number of items in the pop-up menu for a project depends on the settings in the Autosave Vault options in the General tab of the User Preferences window and corresponds to the current number of autosave versions of the project in the Autosave Vault folder.

    Figure. Restore Project dialog showing a list of autosave files in the From pop-up menu.
  4. When a message appears asking if you want to restore the file, click OK.

    The current project in the Browser is replaced with the autosaved version of the project you selected. Your project continues to be named by its original name and new autosave files are added to the existing vault. Make sure you save the project by choosing File > Save or by pressing Command-S.

You can also open an autosaved project and then work with it as a new project, different from the original.

To restore a previously autosaved project as a new project
  1. Click a project’s tab in the Browser or Timeline to make it active.

  2. Choose File > Open.

  3. In the dialog that appears, select the autosave file you want to use, then click Choose.

    The autosave file opens as a new project with the project name and the date that the autosave file was created.

The new restored project will save files to a new autosave vault. Make sure you save the project by choosing File > Save or by pressing Command-S.

Opening a Project File If Your Computer Is Unexpectedly Shut Down

If your computer is abruptly shut down, you can open the most recently autosaved project file after you restart your computer.

In this situation, you have several options:

  • Open the project file and restore the latest autosaved version.

  • Open the latest autosaved version of the project directly from the Finder. In this case, Final Cut Pro treats the opened autosaved project as a completely separate project, leaving your original project file unchanged. If you choose this approach, you should move or copy the autosaved project file to the location where you normally store your project files and rename it without the additional time and date suffixes added by the autosave process.