Template Libraries, W3+H

For those who do event videography (weddings and such) and those of us doing episodic broadcast series, Template Libraries can save time, solidify workflow, and make life easier in general. This blog post will look at what these are, who could benefit from them, how to create them, and when you would use them.

Updated with additional warning from Arctic Whitness!


What is a Template Library?
To start let’s look at the “what” of our subject; a Template Library is a normal FCPX Library with Events, Collections, Folder, etc all created before hand. For example, if you do weddings, you will have specific Events and Collections you use over and over. Because the wedding is going to have bride and groom preparations, a ceremony, a reception, specific traditional dances, cake cutting, toasts, for each and every wedding production you edit. So why recreate each of these Events and Collections for each new wedding you edit? A single Template Library can handle all of this for you in the blink of an eye. Even if you save yourself 20 minutes of Library prep time each new production, over a dozen productions you’ve saved 4 hours of time. And the faster you finish, the more you get paid per hour!

Who would use a Template Library and When?
Next let’s look at who would use these and when; wedding and even videographers who use the same media organization paradigms over and over as mentioned previously, editors like me who do TV shows, video bloggers and YouTubers creating a video series, corporate training video series like I used to do back in the day. You’d have a master copy of the Template Library, then duplicate it, rename it and start working for each production.

How is a Template Library created and utilized?
Now for the meat and potatoes of our subject! Inside of FCPX create a new Library by going to File > New > Library, and be sure to store it in a centralized location you can get to easily. Name it “Template Library” or “Wedding Package 1 Template” or “Widget Polishing Training Series Template” or whatever will make sense to you over time.

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Standardizing Media Management
Then think, long and hard, and reflect over the productions you’ve done in the past that were in the category of production you’re creating the template for. Write down the Events, Smart Collections, Keyword Collections, Folders that you’ve used repeatedly. Then create them. You don’t have to have media in the Library to make collections. Which brings up a thought…

Stock Media
What if there are stock media assets you use in all of these productions? Well, there’s two ways to approach this. First, as my previous blog post covers, you can create a
Stock Media Library. Then, you can choose to open it along with your Template Library at the same time to access your stock media.

Or, if the two Libraries live on the same drive, simply make an Event in your Template Library named “Stock Media”. Open your Stock Media Library and copy the assets you’d use regularly from the Stock Media Library to the Stock Media Event. FCPX will use links between the two, meaning that you’re not duplicating media on your hard drive. Then use Collections to organize the assets inside that Stock Media Event as needed.

Warning About External Cache Setting
When creating your Template Library, do NOT configure it’s storage settings to use an external cache! By default the cache is “managed” (stored inside the Library itself) but can be manually set to “external” (stored in a folder separate from the Library). Thanks to Vincent at Arctic Whitness for bringing this to my attention, this causes issues with Library Templates. The copies of the original template will all start using the same External Cache location, overwriting each other’s renders, analysis, thumbnail and similar files, which could end up being a disaster! See more about Arctic Whitness later in this blog post.

This setting is found by selecting the Library in the Library Browser (Cmd-1), going to the Inspector (Cmd-4), and clicking the “Modify” button for the Storage Locations parameter. This opens the storage location window as seen here. For the Cache parameter, select “Choose” to locate an external folder to specify for your cache, or in our case, leave it set to “In Library” if this is a Template Library.

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Working Smarter, Not Harder
Once this “Template Library” is finished, quit out of Final Cut Pro X. In the Finder, go to the Template Library, right-click it, and from the pop-up menu choose the command Compress “Template Library”. Since this template is empty it won’t take long to compress into a .zip file, and once done, delete the original, only keep the .zip copy.

The purpose of using a .zip file is so that each time you need to use a copy of your Template Library, you simply double-click the .zip file, and an uncompressed copy is made, ready to be re-named, moved and used. It’s faster and easier than duplicating the Template Library and renaming it and such. Must less confusing, also.

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If you made an Event named Stock Media and copied assets into that, the compression may take longer. If you put long/large assets in that Event, compressing the template into a .zip file may be much too time consuming. In which case, just don’t .zip it. When you’re ready to use it, select it in the Finder, use Command-D to duplicate it, re-name it, move it to its permanent location, and start working.

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There’s a third option to storing and using your original master copy of the Template Library which I absolutely love…

There’s An App For That!
Arctic Whitness sells an app called Final Cut Library Manager 3 which handles the duplication and use of Template Libraries (see images below). The full license gives access to all of the bells and whistles including the Template Library function. It is only about $30 USD and well worth the price (highly recommended by myself if you deal with many Libraries at once). This includes tools to review the health of your Libraries and manage them all in one place. Fantastic app! Plus it makes using a Library Template super easy and fast! So if Template Libraries are going to be a regular part of your workflow, get Final Cut Library Manger 3 NOW! They did not compensate me for this plug, I paid full price for my copy a long time ago.

Note: Vincent at Arctic Whitness has informed me they are trying to develop a workaround to the External Cache issue in their next release of FCLM.

And that’s that! Hope you got something out of this, and
drop me a line if you have any questions!

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