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Setting Scratch Disk Preferences

A scratch disk is a folder on a hard disk where Final Cut Pro stores your captured media source files and render files. The default scratch disk location is the same hard disk where your Final Cut Pro application is installed. You can specify multiple scratch disk locations, either to improve performance by capturing audio and video on separate drives (not recommended for DV) or to provide the necessary storage capacity for your project media.

You should assign your scratch disks to your fastest disk drives. For best performance, avoid using the system hard disk as a scratch disk.

When a disk or folder is added to the scratch disk list, Final Cut Pro automatically creates a folder on that disk called Final Cut Pro Documents. That folder contains subfolders (one for each type of media file your project will generate) named Capture Scratch, Audio Capture Scratch, Render Files, Audio Render Files, Thumbnail Cache Files, and Waveform Cache Files ( Figure 3.41 ). If you are capturing DV, your captured media files will be stored in a folder bearing your project's name inside the Capture Scratch folder.


Figure 3.41 The Final Cut Pro Documents folder contains a subfolder for each type of media file that your project will generate.

To specify Scratch Disk preferences

  1. Choose Final Cut Pro HD > System Settings. The Scratch Disks tab appears as the front tab of the System Settings window ( Figure 3.42 ).

    Figure 3.42 The Scratch Disks tab of the System Settings window.

  2. You can specify settings for the following:
    • Video Capture, Audio Capture, Video Render, and Audio Render: Check these boxes to specify the types of files to be stored on each disk. Specify more than one disk for increased storage space. When the current disk runs out of space, Final Cut Pro automatically switches to the next specified disk for storing capture files or to the disk with the most space available for storing render files.
    • Clear: Click to remove a disk from the list of available disks.
    • Set: Click to choose a disk or a folder on a hard disk. You can specify up to 12 disks.
    • Capture Audio and Video to Separate Files (not recommended for DV): Check this box to optimize playback for QuickTime files with higher data rates. This feature allows you to write the video and audio tracks in a QuickTime movie to separate files on separate disks during the capture process. Video and audio files have the same name, with _v appended to video files and _a appended to audio files. Note that separate files must be captured to different disks; you cannot capture the two files to different directories on the same disk.
    • Waveform Cache: Click the Set button to specify a folder or disk to store waveform cache files (graphical representations of audio signals). The default location is the Final Cut Pro Documents folder on your scratch disk.
    • Thumbnail Cache: Click the Set button to specify a folder or disk to store thumbnail cache files. The default location is the Final Cut Pro Documents folder on your scratch disk. You specify the size of this cache on the Memory & Cache tab.
    • Autosave Vault: Click the Set button to specify a folder or disk to store FCP's automatic backup copies of your project files. The default location is the Final Cut Pro Documents folder on your scratch disk. For more information on the Autosave Vault, see Chapter 4.
    • Minimum Allowable Free Space on Scratch Disks: Enter a limit value. When disk space falls below this minimum, a disk will no longer be used as a scratch disk, and files will be stored on the next disk in the list.
    • Limit Capture/Export File Segment Size To: Enter a limit value. The default value is 2 GB. Final Cut Pro allows the capture and export of single files larger than 2 GB, but if you plan to move your files to another system that has a file size limitation, or if you share media files over a network, you should enable this option. Files that are larger than your specified limit will be spanned (written as separate, but linked, files).
    • Limit Capture Now To: Enter a limit value. The default limit is 30 minutes.
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