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How to Collaborate on Video Projects in Final Cut Pro X

As we grow and develop as filmmakers and editors, the importance of teamwork and collaboration becomes an important part of your day-to-day working life. In this article, you'll learn how to use Final Cut Pro with your team.

When working with teammates in Final Cut Pro X you have several good options:

  • Local sharing with a dedicated library for your immediate team, for example a small crew with editor, audio engineer, colourist, animator, etc.
  • Remote sharing, with the help with of third-party applications, for small and large teams with offsite members
  • Feedback and review systems for clients and stakeholders who aren't directly involved in the hands-on post-production

We get into each in more detail below. The great thing with all of these options is that getting set up is generally pretty easy to do.

OK, let's get into the options.

How to Set Up a Local Shared Project in Final Cut Pro

This is the most basic setup, and the one that most people will start with.

Configure Media Settings for Sharing

The first thing you’ll do is create a library on your shared storage that everyone has access to. Setting up a new library is quick and easy, when in FCPX use the pathway File > New > Library, shown in the screen shot below.

Create a new library in FCPX

When you do this you’ll need to change your media settings so that your media files and cache files are available to anyone who is connected. 

While setting up your media storage, under Motion Content set your Motion Templates to In Library. When you do this you’re asking the program to reference the storage device rather than your personal computer so that any transitions, title, or effects you’ve created will be available to everyone.

Plug-Ins and Motion Content

You’ll want to make sure that your team has the exact same set of plug-ins, so if you are using third party plug-ins you’ll need to buy enough licenses for the entire team. The same thing goes for those who are designing in-house using Apple Motion; you’ll to set your motion content to In Library to give everyone access.

Look-Up Tables

With LUTs, you’ll need to make them available on your shared storage where everyone can access them, and everyone on the team will need to import them the same way. I’d recommend you do this the same way every time in order to avoid confusion.

Music and Sound Effects

If your project is audio-heavy it isn’t a bad idea to set up your iTunes library on the shared storage, too. After that’s complete, all of the audio will show up in FCPX's music browser.

Managing All the Libraries

As usual, things start to get tricky as you add more people to the job.

When using shared storage, Final Cut locks libraries that are in use to avoid two people working on same library at the same time, which would lead to one person loosing all the work they’ve done.

If you aren’t sure about how your project will come together it is a good idea for everyone to have their own library containing copies of their project files, and to then merge the work and the libraries together when the time comes. Another way to work together is to set up libraries for each reel or act. The most import thing is to have enough libraries so that the workload can be shared with everyone on the team in a safe and reliable way, without losing track of your media and workflow.

Keyflow Pro Server

KeyFlow Pro is a powerful and affordable file management system that can be scaled to your teams size. It has great collaborative features that allow you to search, sort, and annotate with ease! What's even better is that KeyFlow Pro and Frame.io (more on this below) work perfectly together allowing you to preview files directly. Even the metadata such as markers and keywords are uploaded as comments, allowing a seamless experience to between the two platforms.

Third-Party Collaboration Tools for FCPX

As you can see, sharing video projects can get complicated. Another wrinkle is that your edit uses and creates large video files, and their data-rich nature makes them less than ideal for real-time sharing and collaboration.

Build Your Own Remote Sharing System

Just as working with local shared storage, working remotely will also require everyone on the team to have access to the same files, plug-ins, audio, LUTs and so on. If you have a small team and work regularly with the same people, consider creating your own sharing system:

  • Sparkleshare is a free, cross-platform, open source, self-hosted, secure, file sharing program. It's great for sharing project files like text, office documents, XML files, LUTs, and images.
  • Subsonic let's your team stream audio and video from your computer (on a very affordable $1/month plan), meaning they won't need to download every big media file, just the ones they need.
  • Off the shelf media servers like Lumaforge’s Jellyfish servers can be a cost-effective alternative to hosted storage, or make your own server with FreeNAS.
  • A relatively new technique is to use a text-based editor like Builder or Descript to create initial edits from your transcripts, then export to FCPX for fine-tuning later in the editing process (again, thereby only transferring what you really need to transfer).
  • Use ARC-X to manage backups and archiving.

Postlab

Instead of creating your libraries on shared storage you create them on Postlab, and then you’ll be able to work with anyone. One of my favourite features is that Postlab handles the locking of libraries that are in use as well as letting everyone know who and when people are working on each library. With “read only” mode you’ll be able to open up a library in use without disturbing the workflow of the person working away, letting you pull whatever media you may need from that source. Super handy!

Frame.io

Frame.io is an amazing cloud-based collaboration platform that keeps you and your team on the same page. It's fast, and has great features, such as allowing you to view media frame-by-frame, side-by-side video comparison, and a strong commenting feature with the ability to draw directly on the clip in question, making communication as clear as it can be.

Wipster

Wipster is a highly integrated collaboration and review software that allows quick and easy threaded commenting of shared media amongst your team. The highlight feature of Wipster is it's partnerships with Adobe, Slack, Dropbox and Wistia, giving you amazing options for working on collaborative projects.

Happy Teamworking

I hope you found this tutorial helpful, Make sure to check out more from Tuts+ and Envato Elements to help with all of your photo and video related needs.

Envato Elements is a powerful resource that can help you save time while improving the quality of your final projects. A monthly or annual subscription gains you access to a large library of tools, like courses here on Tuts+, and a giant catalogue of video templates, stock video, and music. All these help keep your workflow moving efficiently and the quality of your work top-notch.

Check out these offerings for all your FCPX needs:












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