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Best practices for using Final Cut pro X with Xsan


One of the big stumbling blocks for the acceptance of Final Cut Pro X with professional editors has been its use on shared storage. Apple have published a white paper of Xsan Best Practices, it makes interesting reading.

It has been a real problem, we have had numerous conversations with FCPX editors, facility houses and programme producers about its use (or non use) on shared storage. It has been perceived as an ideal tool for 'standalone edits' so this publication should go some distance into demystifying what you can and can't do with FCPX in a collaborative environment.

Final Cut Pro X: Xsan Best Practices White Paper.

We mustn't forget that Xsan now comes bundled into Lion, previously you had to stump up the better part of $1,000 per seat to use Apple's rebadged SAN software. You'll still need some heavy iron in the shape of RAIDS and (as suggested on the billing page) fibre channel connectivity, however the goal for us would be shared storage via Thunderbolt.

The document takes two different setups, sharing a singe project and event across multiple users (but not at the same time) and the other of two workstations using the same media.

Forget about the FCP7 way of working on a SAN by just opening up another editors' project and making a copy, this won't work as you are now dealing with a constantly updating database. For the first scenario it's all about opening and closing SAN locations, you can't have two editors with the same SAN location open.

The second scenario looks like it is dodging the problem by opening the SAN location, importing media, saving the event to another drive and then quitting the location. We can see this working for say two users, but when you have 10+ suites trying to access a growing folder of information, it isn't going to work.

If Apple say that the Event files are databases, then we would hope that they have a much more advanced and flexible system in the wings. A master file that would contain all the data, keywords, thumbnails etc is surely the only way to proceed from here, especially as the code from Final Cut Server might be in there.

We would really appreciate anybody chipping in here with their experiences of FCPX and Xsan so far. Would a YouTube tutorial be too much to ask? On a similar note, we hope to to have more information about transferring FCP7 shared storage over to Final Cut Pro X soon. - It will be an interesting journey, watch this space!

Written by
Top Blogger Thought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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