Tip #262: Libraries: Combine or Split

… for Apple Final Cut Pro X

Tip #262: Libraries: Combine or Split

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Performance is better when libraries are smaller.

Library icons from Apple Final Cut Pro X.
Put the media you need to access in one library. Use multiple libraries for distinctly different projects.

Topic $TipTopic

Figuring out the best way to manage media in Final Cut is always a challenge because there are so many options. As a recent example, Ron wrote:

I have a challenge with Library’s in FCP X. I have a client that we shoot 4 videos a month. They are only about 5 minutes each. We do this every month and I have one Library (for the year) that has all the months in it along with the usual assets.

This Library is now 450 GB and my question is: would it be more effect if I had a Library for each month rather than a yearly Library.

The short answer is: “Yes.”

If you are not sharing media from one library to the next, putting one month in a library simplifies file management and improves performance. (Keep in mind that libraries need to be open to be accessed.)

There’s nothing wrong with what you are doing, it simply becomes harder to manage the media.


Here’s the general rule: Put the media you need to access into a single library.

Keep in mind that the bigger the library, the more RAM you’ll need.

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5 replies
  1. Patrick DonEgan
    Patrick DonEgan says:

    I shoot a Board of Directors meeting every month – about 2 hours so sometimes 30 GB of video and 3 GB of audio or so. I usually keep about 6 months per library, as I have bumpers and title cards that I “reuse” each month.

    • Larry Jordan
      Larry Jordan says:


      Keep in mind that the duration of your media isn’t really that important, from the point of view of the library. More important is the number of clips, the frame size, the frame rate and bit depth.

      And, your workflow seems fine to me.


  2. Bill Rabkin
    Bill Rabkin says:

    A significant portion of your 450 GB library may be render files from projects created in months that you’ve already completed, so you no longer need these render files. You can delete the unwanted render files in FCPX by selecting File > Delete Generated Library Files…

    Another way to delete them is by using Final Cut Library Manager from Arctic Whiteness (www.arcticwhiteness.com). In this excellent utility you can see how much space is occupied within a library by Optimized, Proxy, and Render files. You can select any of these individually and FCLM shows the total amount of space that will be reclaimed. You can then move the selected files to Trash, or delete them immediately which frees up the occupied disk space.

    Final Cut Library Manager has many other capabilities, too. I’ve used it for years, and I highly recommend it.


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