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Chapter 4. Preparing Your Clips > Using the Autosave Vault

Using the Autosave Vault

Final Cut Pro's Autosave Vault feature automatically saves all open projects as you work, at a time interval that you select. Final Cut Pro 3 has improved the previous Autosave feature, which maintained only a single Autosave backup per project, by adding a vault, which stores multiple, dated backup copies of your project. This archive can come in handy. For example, maybe you're at the point in a project where you are trying new approaches to refine your cut, and you want to discard your last experiment. Or maybe you and your collaborator just don't agree, and she's completely recut your program while you were away for the weekend.

Each autosaved version is a backup copy that includes all changes you've made (up to the last autosave time) in the project file that you're currently working on (that project file is modified only when you invoke the Save or Save All command). If you haven't made any changes in an open project file since the last backup copy was autosaved, FCP won't archive another backup in the Autosave vault until you do.

You Need Backup

  • The Autosave Vault should not be used as a substitute for your own systematic archiving of your project files. The Autosave Vault folder is not locked, and the oldest backups are purged regularly.

  • Be consistent about where you store your project files. Make sure that all files relating to a project are stored in the same place.

  • Back up project files on your FCP system and again on a removable disk or in another safe location to avoid losing files in case of a power outage or another technical problem. Project files contain all your time and hard work. Without the editing information in the project files, your media files have no sequencing information. Protect it. Okay. End of lecture.

Setting Autosave vault location and preferences

You can set Autosave preferences on the General tab of the Preferences window. See “General Preferences Settings” in Chapter 2 for details on your settings options.

The backup copies of your project files are archived in a folder (Figure 4.18) located inside your Final Cut Pro document folder. If you want to store your archive of backups elsewhere, you can specify another location on the Scratch Disks tab of the Preferences window (Figure 4.19).

Figure 4.18. In the Autosave vault, dated backup copies of your project files are archived in a folder.

Figure 4.19. Set the Autosave vault location on the Scratch Disks tab of the Preferences window.

When the number of backup copies in the Autosave Vault reaches the limit you set in the preferences, FCP will delete the oldest Autosave file (or project folder) to make room for the newest Autosave file, unless the oldest project archived in the vault is currently open. FCP will override the maximum projects limit you set if the number of open projects exceeds your specified limit when a scheduled Autosave occurs.

Using Autosave to recover from a crash

If your computer powers off or crashes while you're working in Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Pro will open the last saved version of your project file when you re-launch. FCP 3 no longer prompts you to open a “more recent version” of your project file from the Autosave Vault when you return to the program. So the choice is yours—continue to work in your original file, or use the Restore Project command to open your most recent autosaved backup copy. Here's the new drill:

  • After you've restarted you should go to the folder where you archived your current original project file (that's the file you just crashed out of) and rename that file so it won't be overwritten and you can return to it, if need be.

  • Launch FCP, then use the Restore Project command to go to the Autosave Vault, and open the most recent Autosave backup version of your project file in FCP.

  • After you've checked out the integrity of the file in FCP, save the autosaved project file with your original project name.


  • Remember, FCP automatically generates new project folders every time you change your project name so, if you continue to use the autosaved version of your project file without reverting the project name, FCP will create new folders for captured items, rendered items, and autosave files using the project file's autosaved name. Not very “auto,” is it?

New Browser Features in 2/3:

New Browser columns include:

  • The Media Start and Media End columns, which display the starting and ending timecode number of a clip's source media.

  • The Last Modified column, which shows a time/date stamp for clips and sequences, putting an end to guessing which version of a sequence you worked on last.

You can use a new Find feature to display unused clips in the Browser. This feature is useful for streamlining your project or for hunting down an unused cutaway.

Serious users of FCP requested that Browser bins retain the column layout of the parent project tab, thus saving all of us the labor of selecting columns and arranging their order each time we add a new bin to a project. FCP 3 offers that feature, plus the ability to save custom Browser column layouts that you can transport from system to system. With over 40 Browser columns to wrestle, custom Browser layouts are certainly welcome. For more information, see “To save a custom Browser layout” later in this chapter.

Now you can keep your Browser columns narrow and still see a full-length entry in every column. Pause your cursor over a column entry, and a ToolTip appears, displaying the complete contents of the column.

For fans of the scrubbable thumbnail and custom poster frame; a new, Large Icon view has been added to the Small and Medium Icon display options.

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