We have some very clever people on our Forum, one of them is Quentin Stafford-Fraser who has done some expert digging on how FCPX looks for external media. Did you know you can move media to another folder and FCPX will track it? No, neither did we...
Quentin has put the homework in when it comes to Final Cut Pro X's handling of external media files. We thought that if you moved a file from where the symlink thought it was, there would be trouble in the form of the red missing media indicator. Not so, we will let Quentin explain:
While working on my FCPXchange utility, I did some experiments to see how well Final Cut Pro kept track of files if you moved them around under its feet. I was quite impressed with the results:
Now, exploring a bit further, later, I realised that it can’t be using Spotlight, at least not exclusively, to track the file, because it could still find it even when I put it in a folder explicitly excluded from Spotlight indexing.
And then I realised that all my changes had been moves not copies. If I did anything which involved copying the media and then deleting the original, FCP could no longer track it, whereas, if it were using Spotlight metadata, presumably it could track that in the copy too.
Now, I don’t know much about the deeper workings of HFS+, but I’m guessing that it’s effectively tracking ‘inodes’ here, which means that the same bit of content can be found, whatever name it may have in folders. This, however, will only work with the original copy on the same disk. If you start shifting files around between disks or servers, you’ll thwart it!
Interesting eh? We don't recommend that you use this as an excuse to move external files around whenever you please, but it is a handy trick that might help with organising files and media management.
Many thanks to Quentin for the share, don't forget to keep an eye out for his FCPXchange app!