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25 Jan 2021
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Library size 01 Aug 2022 14:52 #121663

  • parkerhqj
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I'm working on a documentary that is generating a lot of interviews, footage and edits. Right now, I am working from two libraries - both around 600GB. I edit between them and haven't had any issues with performance so far. At what point is a library too large and is there a smarter way to arrange this? thx!

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Library size 01 Aug 2022 17:46 #121667

  • DaveM
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No real need to have two libraries, unless one is storing things like reusable media, stock footage, sounds, etc. If you don't store media in the library, but "leave it in place", then your library files won't grow as large.

That said, it doesn't hurt to use multiple libraries. You might want to review these sections of the user manual:

Intro to media management in Final Cut Pro


Intro to managing libraries in Final Cut Pro


A good practice is to periodically make XML backups of entire libraries and any important individual projects.

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Last edit: by DaveM.

Library size 01 Aug 2022 20:35 #121669

  • joema
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I'm working on a documentary that is generating a lot of interviews, footage and edits. Right now, I am working from two libraries - both around 600GB. I edit between them and haven't had any issues with performance so far. At what point is a library too large and is there a smarter way to arrange this? thx!

It's often best to have all related material for a given production in a single library. You cannot do cross-library queries, and copying clips between libraries can cause data duplication. For big productions It's best to import all media using "leave files in place" so no media is copied within the library.

There is a vague "soft" limit to database size determined more by total number of clips, timeline size and number of timelines (aka projects), not by total file size in gigabytes. That limit might be roughly around 10,000 clips per library, but this likely varies with version of FCP, hardware, config, etc. Other people have gone well over 10,000 clips per library with no problems.

Each library contains a separate SQLite database for each event and project. Each project database contains SQL rows for each edit, each clip, audio config for each clip and each effect on each clip. A large complex timeline with many effects and thousands of edits might require a database with 200k rows. Each column in the main "Collection" table has several B-tree indexes, so each update (basically anytime you touch the timeline) requires traversing and updating several B-tree indexes. Also other tables that are referentially linked contain related metadata, so they must also be read and updated, plus their indexes.

For those reasons it's a good idea to have a "lean" library (containing only the edits or edits + cache) on an SSD, separate from media.

Each currently-open SQLite database (meaning each event, each project, duplicate and snapshot) takes resources so FCP tries to minimize having an excessive number open, but it also tries to have the right ones open and connected so you don't face a delay. This is only loosely related to which ones you have opened from a UI standpoint. However if you have many projects (say 50 or more) those can hinder performance.

I edited a documentary which included 8,500 4k H264 clips, 150 4k multicam interviews and 220 camera hours of material in a single library containing about eight events - mostly on a 2017 iMac 27 with dual 32TB OWC Thunderbay 4 mechanical RAID-0 arrays, and overall performance and data integrity was good. However that used proxies. I think today my M1 Ultra could probably do that without proxies.

The composition of each timeline and effects imposes unique loads which can be difficult to predict. This is especially the case if 3rd-party plugins are widely used. If possible it's best to create an approximate test project ahead of time with a representative set of codecs, effects, etc, then duplicate and append those to the project to increase the size and verify performance will be OK on the actual machine and configuration.

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Library size 01 Aug 2022 20:42 #121670

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Thanks so much for those replies - very thorough! I'll definitely work from one library for this project. I'll just move over the events that I need and leave it at that. If I need to get more from the old library down the road, then I'll do that.

thx!

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