Adnan Hemani

From Camera to Edit

Backing Up A Camera Card With FCP X

Editing comprises of several key steps.

  • Ingesting
  • Organising
  • Editing
  • Sound mixing / Design
  • Colour correction / Grading
  • Graphics / Titles
  • Delivery

Before any of that can happen the footage needs to be copied off the camera cards and on to hard drives prior to being ingested into the editing system.

The Advantage of Using FCP X to Creating Camera Archives

By using Final Cut Pro X to backup your camera footage to camera archives you are insuring you have a complete backup of your camera card and that the backup has been checked and verified and any metadata preserved. 

Also if any footage has become corrupted or accidentally deleted during the editing you can very easily reimport clips from the camera archive.

Creating Camera Archives

Creating a camera archive with Final Cut Pro is very straightforward. Launch Final Cut Pro X, the application will automatically reopen the libraries that were open when it was last shut down. In the unlikely case that no libraries are open you will need to create or open a library. Final Cut Pro will not allow the you to launch the import window, which is central to the process of creating camera archives, if no library is open. If you are just creating a camera archive and not bringing footage into a library than any open library will do.

There are several ways to launch the media import window. The quickest is to use the keyboard shortcut cmd-I, there is the import button at the top left of the Final Cut Pro interface or if you have an empty library or empty event selected then the browser window will be empty and show an import button as well. You can ctrl-click or right-click the mouse when the mouse cursor is in the library sidebar to bring up a contextual menu and select import media.

The Import Window

The import window is quite important and has a few setting that effect the editing workflow and setup of an edit. As we are just concerned with backing up footage from a card we can ignore these here.

The area that concern us here are the sidebar to the left. Here you will see three lists. The lists show attached cameras and camera cards, connected devices such as hard drives and favourite locations.

Connected camera cards appear in the top list. Select the camera card and the middle section of the import window will populate with the footage on the card. 

At the bottom of the sidebar you will see a Create Archive button. Click the button and Final Cut Pro will ask you where you want to save the camera archive.

In the save window the first thing I do is to create a folder for the project and in the project folder a folder with the shoot date (year-month-day) and shoot day. Decide on an archive name The archive name will become the reel name when it is imported into Final Cut Pro.

If you look at the bottom of the save window you will see a little checkbox titled Add Camera Archives to Favourites which add the camera archive to the favourites to the sidebar in the import window. Useful if the computer used to make the camera archives will be used for ingesting as the archives will appear in the import window sidebar.

Backup Drive

You now have a backup of you camera card but only one copy. This is not considered safe. I actually have two drives for my rushes. A second copy of the camera card can be made and saved on to the second drive using the above process or by using a dedicated backup program.

 I use a program called Sync Folders Pro that works in the background and automatically copies the contents of my rushes drive to a rushes backup drive. These rushes drives are separate to the edit drive. When I bring footage from the camera archives to the edit drive during the ingest process I will have created a third copy of the footage in the form of rewrapped files in my Final Cut Pro library.