Post Production

I Can’t Even Open My FCP Project File” (Or Other Flaky Activities)

1. Look in the Autosave Vault. Before panicking, simply try going back a few versions. Do a search for Autosave in the Finder. Look in the folders for a backup of your project file. Work your way backward through the recently saved copies.

2. Create a new user account. Create a new user account for testing purposes. This is a great way to see if the problem is a corrupt preferences file. Most Final Cut Pro preferences files are stored in the user’s settings. Open the System Preferences panel under the blue Apple. Click Accounts. Click on New User. Create one call test, and give it admin privileges. You can assign it a password or not. Only use this account for troubleshooting (you may want to keep it for the future).

Now, log out, and log in as the new user. Try opening Final Cut Pro. It should open with no active project files. If it opens, you’ve narrowed the problem down to bad user preferences (see next tip) or a bad project file.

3. Test the project file. Next, open the project file that was causing the problems. (If it was stored in the other user folder, you won’t have access to it. Log in as the original user, make a copy of the file, and move it to a shared location such as the media folder or the top level of your hard drive-not the desktop-that’s owned by the user.)

If it opens, you’ve confirmed it was the preferences. If it crashes, it could be bad media or renders, or something has become corrupt in the application or the OS.

4. Delete the render files.
Delete all the render files. Don’t worry-you can rerender a lot faster than you can rebuild the project. To find render files, look on your media drives for the Render Files and Audio Render Files folders. Terminate them with extreme prejudice. Yes, it’s Apocalypse Now for your render files.

Try reopening the project. Success? If not, try hiding the media files from the project. Disconnect the media drive, or drop the media into another folder. If the project opens with the media offline, you’ve got a bad media file. (An alternative is to open the project file on another machine-same rules apply.)

5. Recapture the media. If you determine you have a bad file, you can either load/relink media back into the project in small groups or batch recapture the media from the original tapes. If you’re still getting tanked, send the project to a friend to see if it’ll open on their machine. This is the best way to determine if you’re having a hardware, application, or operating system issue.

6. Still broken? At this point, you may need to call your reseller or a consultant.

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Like this tip? It comes from the book
Final Cut Studio On the Spot from Focal Press.


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