Since the 12″ MacBook is significantly limited when it comes to attaching external peripherals, I generally do all of my editing work in Final Cut Pro X with events stored directly on device. Being that I shoot 99% of our videos in 4K, you can probably imagine how quickly my MacBook’s storage is exhausted.

Needless to say, I’ve become accustomed to archiving events on a bi-weekly basis to save on space. In this hands-on tutorial, I’ll share my easy-to-use workflow for archiving Final Cut Pro X events and media to an external drive.

The first thing you’ll want to do is attach a drive that can be used for archiving events. Depending on the quality of your original media, it’s possible that events can get very large, so you’ll want a drive that can accommodate a large amount of data. If you’re a MacBook owner, you may want to consider a USB-C drive like the G-Technology 1TB USB-C drive that we just reviewed. Of course, there are other drives that you might consider using, and I’ll list some of them at the conclusion of this post.

Step 1: Connect your external drive to your computer.

Step 2: Open Final Cut Pro X.

Step 3: Select the events that you wish to archive.

Video tutorial

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Step 4: In the menu bar, select File → Move Event(s) to Library → New Library.

Step 5: Provide your archived library with a name and click Save.

You’ll notice the new archived library listed in the browser window. The events selected in step 3 will begin the migration process to the new archived library on the external drive. Keep in mind that this process could be very lengthy, as the time it takes will depend on how many events were selected, and how large the media is inside each event. Much will also depend on the speed of the external drive.

Step 6: In the menu bar, select Window → Background Tasks to watch the progress of the event migration under the Media Management heading.

Step 7: Once the archive has been completed, close Final Cut Pro X to relinquished the used storage space on your internal drive.

By following this archival routine on a bi-weekly basis, I’m able to use my 12″ MacBook to edit video while rarely encountering any space-related issues.

Which external drive?

Since I’m a MacBook user, I tend to look for bus-powered drives that can be used without an external power supply. Obviously, USB-C drives are desirable for MacBook owners, but it also means that you’ll need a dongle when connecting to a traditional USB port. The same is true when using traditional USB-A connectors with the USB-C only MacBook. With this in mind, I’ve included two recommended drives that utilize legacy USB-A and two newer drives that use USB-C. All of the drives below are bus-powered for quick and easy connectivity.

Keep in mind that we just reviewed G-Technology’s 1TB USB-C-flavored external drive as well. Watch our hands-on video here:

We’ll be back next week with another Final Cut Pro X tip. In the meantime, be sure to catch up on the other FCP X tips that you may have missed:

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