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Managing my FCPX Sound-effects library

It´s been a while since my last tutorial. FCPX is in 10.0.8 already now and much is written about it. I saw a few posts around about how people manage certain assets. This tutorial here explains how I manage my soundeffects in FCPX on several machines.

FCPX comes with several cool features for selecting sound. 

You can connect directly to your iTunes library and you can connect directly to the Apple Loops that come with Garage Band and also the Final Cut Pro Soundeffects. All these options are within the effectsbrowser of FCPX. 

The problem I have with these options - apart from copyright issues -come up once I switch machines. Will my iTunes library work, will the files be in the correct Apple Loops directory and will they be up to date? How do I manage the library on 3 machines?

I am a messy person, so I guess the files will not be up to date and be spread around my Desktop machine, Macbooks and client-machines. That is why I did not go this obvious and built-in route. 

If you like the iTunes and playlist idea and have someone managing it and have no private media in iTunes, check this workflow presented by Magic Feather Inc

I went another direction.

I have tons of Soundeffects bought from 3rd parties. And then a few. 

My plan was to create one event that just handles these soundfiles. 

I created a SparseDisk-Image called “FCPX_SoundEffects” (if you want to know the advantages of sparsediskimages and how to make one, google it or click the link above as John Davidson from Magic Feather explains it well.


 I mounted the diskimage FCPX_SoundFX and simply copied the soundfiles in there; sorted in folders by me or by vendors. 

Ok, now comes the part where I go a different way than many others: I open FCPX and create an event _in_ this Image. I call it also "FCPX_SoundFX".



Since the Event is within this image I will be able to carry it with me wherever I go and to whatever machine I go. It has about 15 GB of FX-wavs and -aiffs. I always have a mobile FW800 drive with me that contains Motion-Templates and stuff I need regularily and now these effects also.


During Import I unclick “copy media to event”, hence only reference to the files within the Diskimage. But I do click on “Import Folders as Keyword Collections”. This way my folder structure stays. 


I have favourited the ones I really like and can therefore search for them easily. You can also add notes to find the special ones fast (I have 400 Swishes and wooshes....)

Ok, now you ask if I carry all these effects into every filmproject that I do. No, of course not. What if I only need 5 of them in a film? 

To make sure these 5 effects and only these 5 are in the particular event all you need to do is drag the particular sound onto the event you want them to be in.


In the screenshot I drag “Flame pass” and “Glass crashing FX” into my "Testfilm" event on another drive. FCPX will create references of the effects already with the according keywords (!) in the second event.

In this case, FCPX created the keyword “Wooshes” in the Testfilm event.

!!!BUT!!! The files are only referenced! FCPX did not move or copy the files into the event!!!


This means, if I open the "Testfilm" event without my FCPX_SoundFX diskimage, I will miss the media. So giving the event to a client could be a problem. Ever heard of red "missing media"-icons?!

Therefore you need to select the new event (in my case “Testfilm”) and in the File-menu select “Organize Event Files”! 

This will copy the media from the "FCPX_SoundFX" diskimage into the event you are working on.


You see now the files are not showing the little arrow, they are actually copied into the event. 

I usually always copy all my media into my events, because that way I have a) a backup of my media within the event (which gets backed up also) and b) know I can open the event anywhere. So these extra wav-files don´t hurt my harddrive-space.


If you have events with lots of referenced footage from different drives this approach might not be your best way. But it is for me on most occasions.


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