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Final Cut Pro Power Tip: Keeping Files Under Control with Render Manager

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Render files eat disk space surprisingly quickly. But with your Final Cut Pro files and folders set up according to Larry Jordan's advice, you can use the Render Manager to recover that lost space in a trice. (Maybe even half a trice!)
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In my Final Cut classes, I’ve discovered that many students are unfamiliar with a very simple tool that can help keep render files under control: the Render Manager.

Unlike its big brother, the Media Manager, the Render Manager is easy to use and works great...provided that you set your Final Cut Pro preferences—and computer files—properly.

I have very specific suggestions on how to best set up your computer for Final Cut Pro. I’ve written an article about this and posted it to my web site. In summary, the key is to create a folder at the top level of your media drive and name it Final Cut Pro Documents. Then point your scratch disks to that folder and never change them. Final Cut Pro does a great job of organizing your files for both capturing and rendering, so that they stay organized and are easy to find. The article on my site explains this capability in more detail.

Assuming that you follow my setup advice, using the Render Manager is straightforward. (Your files and filenames will be different, of course, but the process is the same.)

  1. Select Tools > Render Manager (see Figure 1).
    Figure 1

    Figure 1 The Render Manager allows you to delete render files easily when they’re no longer needed.

  2. The Render Manager window has two folders in it—one for the current project and one for all other projects (see Figure 2). If you don’t have any render files in your current project, only one folder will appear, Additional Render Files.
    Figure 2

    Figure 2 The Render Manager dialog box allows you to delete render files from current or past projects and sequences.

  3. Twirl down the arrow next to the currently open project. Notice that all sequences that have render files are listed. Twirl down the Sequence file and notice that render files are separated into audio render files and video render files, as shown in Figure 3.
    Figure 3

    Figure 3 Render files are grouped by project, sequence, and then type—video or audio files.

  4. Twirl down the Additional Projects arrow and notice all the projects that have render files associated with them (see Figure 4). Many of these projects may no longer be active, but the render files still exist, taking up valuable hard disk space.
    Figure 4

    Figure 4 The Size column makes it easy to see how much space each project’s render files take.

  5. To delete a render file, click in the Remove column (see Figure 5). Each line that has a checkmark will have all its render files deleted.
    Figure 5

    Figure 5 To remove all the render files for a project, click in the Remove column.

  6. You can delete files by type (audio or video), by sequence, or by project. In the example in Figure 5, I’m deleting all the render files associated with the Chapter 2 Lesson. I simply clicked once in the Remove column for the Project, and all subsidiary folders and files were checked as well.
  7. When you select render files to delete, the total amount of recovered space is illustrated in the lower-left corner (see Figure 6). In this example, I’m deleting 10.9MB of files.
    Figure 6

    Figure 6 The lower-left corner of the Render Manager dialog box displays how much space will be recovered when the selected files are deleted.

You cannot delete individual render files. What I’ve found easiest is to delete all render files for a project, once that project is complete.

The first time I discovered the Render Manager I must have recovered well over 25GB of space taken up by files for projects that were long gone. And having more hard disk space to work with is always a good thing.

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