Autosave Vault Essentials Part 1
By Estelle MacDonald & Steve Martin

Aside from saving your projects on a regular basis using Command-S (you are saving aren’t you?) it is good to know that Final Cut Pro gives you a second line of defense in the event your your project file becomes corrupt or you accidentally trash it.

In a nutshell, the Autosave vault is a folder that Final Cut Pro uses to save backup copies of your opened projects at regular intervals.

The location, interval, and number of backups can be specified in User Preferences. All autosaved copies of a particular project are stored in their own project folder within the Autosave Vault folder. So where is this folder? By default, Final Cut Pro places this folder into this directory: Home/Documents/Final Cut Pro Documents/Autosave Vault.

The autosaved files are named by project, month-day-year and hour/minute. You can change the location of the Autosave Vault in the System Settings on the Scratch Disks tab. Generally it’s a good idea to store your Autosave Vault on a drive other than the drive containing your working project because if your drive goes down (and believe me they do) your backups will still happily exist on another drive for you to continue working.

Really Important Tip: Save Often. Final Cut Pro will only create backups based on the last time you manually saved your project. If, for example, you worked for 3 hours without saving and your Mac or FCP crashed, you would be shocked to discover that your last backup would be roughly three hours ago! Doh!

Resetting the Autosave folder location.

1. Select > Final Cut Pro > System Settings or Shift-Q.

2. Click Set next to AutoSave Vault on the Scratch Disks tab to reset the location of the Autosave folder.

3. Set a new destination for your Autosave folder and click Save.

Changing Your Autosave Preferences

1. Select > Final Cut Pro > User Preferences or Option-Q

2. The Autosave Vault is activated when a check appears in the box.

Save a copy every:

This field specifies the interval Final Cut pro will save a backup copy of your project. I generally set this value at 30 minutes. One thing to keep in mind; Final Cut Pro will interrupt your work when it autosaves so the shorter you make the interval, the more interruptions you will experience.

Keep at most:

This field specifies the maximum number of autosaved copies stored in your project’s vault folder.

Maximum of:

This field specifies the number of projects you want FCP to keep archived in the Autosave Vault. You can store up to a maximum of 100 projects.

Once a specified limit is reached (for either the number of copies or projects) the oldest autosaved file is placed in the Trash. In FCP protocol this is called First-In, First-Out. For example, I indicated that the Autosave Vault should keep a maximum of 25 projects. Once the vault reaches number 26, the first (the oldest) project folder and its contents will be placed into the Trash. The Autosave feature never deletes files it places into the Trash, that’s left entirely up to you in case you change your mind.

To restore a project from the Autosave Vault please see Autosave Vault Essentials Part 2