Final Cut Library Manager: review

Working with Final Cut Pro X 10.1.x is a joy. There is one thing, however, that I don’t like that much: its built-in asset management system that was built on what used to be Final Cut Server. This DAM module enables you to manage your projects and events. With Final Cut Pro X 10.1, the system was reviewed and Libraries that hold everything together were introduced. But managing Libraries inside an editor with many windows and viewers is not efficient. Arctic Whiteness seems to have the solution: Final Cut Library Manager 2.

What if you could manage libraries, events and projects outside of but seamlessly integrated with Final Cut Pro X? Arctic Whiteness’ Final Cut Library Manager 2 is a brilliantly designed app that allows you to view online and offline libraries, drill down into events and projects, add and read comments and notes, create new libraries, view libraries in different perspectives, search for anything in a library, and reclaim drive space.

Final Cut Library Manager

When you start Final Cut Library Manager for the first time, you should hook up every disk containing libraries to your Mac and let the application index it. As soon as this process — which is quite fast — has finished, you can disconnect the drive even with Final Cut Library Manager still open. The app has a gorgeous interface and comes with a lot of unobtrusive features. For example, when you disconnect a drive, the library icons remain intact but greyed out and next to the disk icon you’ll see a disconnect icon.
Other “at-a-glance” view support includes icons that show whether an event has linked clips or copied ones, and a library size bar with colours on the bar representing Render, Proxy, Optimised, Optical Flow Data and Shared Media cleanup properties.

You can search all your libraries for key terms and note contents or camera names and it will list all occurrences. The Search feature is robust, fast and accurate and results will not just show you the library, but also projects and/or events that contain the search term.

Once found, you can open Final Cut Pro X with only the library you wanted to load, even if you have many of them on your system. Just opening Final Cut Pro X with a focus on the selected library is possible as well, of course.

You can add new libraries with Final Cut Library Manager as well. What you can’t do is remove them. The developers of Final Cut Library Manager have made sure not to risk your clips and movies’ integrity. Whatever you do in Final Cut Library Manager, it will never affect your original clips or timelines. Yes, you can delete the Render files to free up disk space, but at all times you can re-render. Similarly you can easily re-import clips and create proxies, Flow data, etc.

Final Cut Library Manager

While you can’t remove the libraries themselves from within Final Cut Library Manager, you can instantly see if a library has been removed in the Finder when it existed before. The icon will grey out and show a question mark. The library icons with a question mark can be removed from the app’s list, because they no longer exist anyway.

Cleaning your libraries frees up space and that could be a major reason why you’d want to buy Final Cut Library Manager, but for me there’s another reason as well. The app also shows me all the libraries installed on any particular disk. More importantly, when you select multiple libraries, you can turn on cleaning for one of the five cleanup properties with one click.

Finally, if you change something in Final Cut Pro X and have Final Cut Library Manager open simultaneously, the changes update in real-time, showing what it “costs” in terms of disk space.

Final Cut Library Manager works with all directly connected disks, but also with network drives, has keyboard shortcuts, and knows real Final Cut Pro X libraries from the “fake” ones as generated by Da Vinci Resolve. It’s a must-have utility for the serious Final Cut Pro X editor.

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