The end of project files?

Take a look at this little section of the Final Cut Pro X user interface:

I think this post over in the Creative Cow forums correctly identifies this as a mechanism for switching between multiple open sequences. That should allay some people’s fears that the new UI doesn’t seem to allow for easily working between multiple sequences.

But there’s something else here. Look at the icon. It’s a document icon. Next to a sequence.

Now, have a look at the Event Library:

You might notice a few things:

  • It’s rooted at the storage device.
  • There’s no reference to any specific project. (Based on the icon, “Audi” is clearly a collection of footage, not a project.)
  • There are no sequences mixed in with the clips.
  • It’s called, well, “Event Library”.

In the current version of Final Cut Pro, the documents you work with are project files that represent collections of media and sequences. Looking at these screenshots it seems clear that this is not how FCP X works. In FCP X, rather:

  • Sequences are stand-alone documents.
  • All of your media lives in a single library broken up into collections called “events”.
  • Projects are probably gone altogether.

Properly implemented, this could be an extremely flexible and robust approach to managing footage. And it’s a big shift, that reenforces how seriously Apple has questioned the usual set of assumptions about how a non-linear editing app should work.

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2 Responses to The end of project files?

  1. marcus.sg says:

    Yup. Looks like a Database. I wonder what’s in store in FCPX regarding the capability for Shared Projects a la ‘Unity’ ? Right now there’s EditShare, where they do something funky with collections FCP project files http://tinyurl.com/bxs8dx

    This new Database way of doing things seems to put an end to that (for now). Bunim-Murray use XSAN. Will Apple supply their own sharing solution? We’ve been clamouring for a native integrated one forever.

  2. Chris Kenny says:

    It’s certainly a very intriguing prospect, but it’s worth remembering that this is Final Cut Pro X 1.0. As nice as shared databases would be, they’re not a critical feature out of the gate, and Apple is very good these days at understanding and focusing on critical features when choices have to be made (and they always do). There are probably many things that are anticipated by the FCP X architecture, but that won’t arrive until 2.0 or later. I wouldn’t be surprised if shared databases fell into that category.

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