How to Automate FCPX Project Backups and Save Time

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I recently had a scare when one of our G-RAIDs at the office became corrupt and needed repair. In this post, I’ll show you how to automate a backup of your FCPX project folders to help protect against hard drive failure.

Because of their high performance, we use the G-RAID drives at each of our FCPX workstations and typically store our important files on them for easy access. For longer-term “near-chive” storage, we copy our media to one of our NAS devices. But I recently had a scare when one of our G-RAIDs at the office became corrupt and needed repair.

That morning I sat down to edit a project in FCPX and immediately stopped when Mac OS X gave me an error message explaining my main G-RAID needed repair. Finder wouldn’t let me add files to the G-RAID. Thankfully, I was able to copy all of my files to other drives until I could repair the disk.

Well obviously that got me to thinking about the horrors of losing my important data and so I decided to create a quick and easy way to ensure both my FCPX Projects and Events are backed up in case of a harddrive failure. What’s nice is this solution is FREE and very simple to create. By the way: I’m using this to back up my FCPX Projects, but you can set it up to back up any set of files (including your FCPX Events).

What You’ll Need to Back Up FCPX Projects

1 – First, you’ll need Mac OS X Lion or Mountain Lion (10.7 or 10.8) with a copy of Automator. If you’re not familiar with Automator, it’s a utility that comes with every Mac as part of the pre-installed software that helps you create workflows to speed up or automate tasks.

2 – Secondly, you’ll need a hard drive large enough to contain all of your data. I’m just using a space 750GB drive and USB/FireWire enclosure.

How to Get Started

  • To begin the process, you’ll want to connect your spare hard drive to your Mac and launch Automator.
  • When you launch Automator, go ahead and select “Application” as the type of document you want to create.

 

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  • Then, in the search bar on the left, search for the action “get specified finder items” and select the action that appears in the list…
  • To begin building your workflow, simply drag that action to the empty area of the window
  • Now that you have your first action in the workflow, you should see this:

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  • Click the “Add” button and select your “Final Cut Projects” folder… I always work from one of my external drives, so my Final Cut Projects Folder is stored on my G-RAID drive. If you use Event Manager X to manage which projects in FCPX, you can repeat this step for your “Final Cut Projects – Hidden” folder. After you’ve added your “Final Cut Projects” folder(s), you should have something like this:

 

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Now it’s important to mention at this point that this workflow will copy all of the contents of these folders. You’ll get an exact copy of the folder when you use this method. In my case, I don’t need versions of these files… I just need an up-to-date copy incase one of my editing drives fail.

We’ll proceed.

  • Now, in the Automator search field, type “Copy Finder Items” and select the first item and drag it below the first action in your list.
  • On the destination drive (i.e., the Backup Drive), go ahead and create a folder and call it something like “FCPX Project Backup”
  • In the drop down menu in the “Copy Finder Items” action, navigate to the “FCPX Project Backup” folder you just created.
  • At this point, I want to mention that you can tell Automator to overwrite the existing files, or leave it unchecked so you can have multiple versions. I only want an exact duplicate, so I select the “overwrite existing files” option. This also saves space as it replaces the existing content.
  • Now that you’ve created your workflow, let’s get to the fun part: automation.

In the first step, we chose the “Application” workflow type for a reason. In the next steps, we’ll use Mac OS X to automate the process by launching the new application.

  • If you haven’t already, go ahead and save your project and name it “Backup FCPX Projects”. It doesn’t matter where you decide to save it as long as it doesn’t move. The Documents folder seems like a nice place to me
  • Now, launch Mac OS X’s Calendar application (aka, “iCal”)
  • Create a new Local Calendar group and call it “FCPX” or “Utilities” or something specific to this task.
  • Create a new event and call it “Backup FCPX Projects” – Take my advice: make sure the event is on a local calendar that’s not synced over iCloud, Exchange or on your iPhone or iPad!
  • Make the event all-day, set it to repeat every day, show as “free”, set it to your “Utilities” or “FCPX” calendar group
  • On the “alert” field, set it to “Open File” and select the workflow application you created when you saved your workflow
  • Set it to “Same Day” and give it a time when you’re not typically working in FCPX… I set my to 11pm
  • Click “Done”

 

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That’s all it takes to automate the process, but I recommend launching the workflow app you created manually the first time to make sure the folder will copy. When you launch it, a gear icon will appear in the menu bar indicating the automation process is working. Don’t interrupt it.

If you decide to stop the automation after it’s successfully copied, simply delete the future events in your Calendar.

So there you have it! A free how to article on automating a backup of your Final Cut Projects folders. There are a lot of great backup solutions out there, but if you’re looking for a simple, automated and free solution, this should help you!

Happy Editing.

 

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