Being able to edit video projects where the project elements are in the cloud has seemed like an unrealistic goal for all but very high end productions… until now.  Improvements in internet connection speeds and cloud storage have risen to a level where editing and syncing small projects stored in the cloud is possible.

This is not a perfect system and it has not been thoroughly tested, but if this system suits your needs, it could be an exciting first step towards online collaboration between video editors.

The key to accomplishing the collaboration is having a Final Cut Pro X library shared via Dropbox between editors and having that library’s cache stored locally for each editor.  In other words, the editing database and original media are stored in the cloud, but render files are stored locally.

Note: This workflow could also be done with the original media being stored locally as well (each editor having a copy of the original media on a local drive), but a goal of this is to store the original media in the cloud.


  • Collaborate on a Final Cut Pro X editing project where the editors are in different physical locations.
  • Backup the original media and the project database to cloud storage.



  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Cloud storage that syncs and shares between editors.  Dropbox’s Pro plan with 1TB of storage is an excellent solution for this.
  • Only one editor can work on a FCP X library at a time.  In order to know who is currently editing the library, use Finder labels to identify if it’s safe to open the library or not.  Use red for “In Use” and green for “OK to open”.



Here are the steps to this workflow:
1. Setup a folder in Dropbox that is shared between editors.
2. Create a Final Cut Pro X library in this Dropbox folder.
3. Setup the Final Cut Pro X library as a Managed Media library.(in other words, the imported media will be stored within the library and will therefore be synced to Dropbox)
4. Setup the Final Cut Pro X library to use local cache.  When other editors open the library, they will need to set this for their system.
5. One editor can import media and begin editing.  This first editor will need to allow time for Dropbox to sync the media to its servers.
6. When work on the project is done, the editor will need to close the library.  Once the library is closed, change the Finder label of the library file to green to indicate that another editor may open.

After this initial setup is done, each editor will need to follow and repeat the steps below for cloud collaboration:
1. Sync all files from the Dropbox folder for the project.
2. Before opening the library, change the Finder label of the library to red.
3. Open and edit the Library.
4. When finished with editing, close the library and change the Finder label to green.


Note: You will also need to share/sync any custom Motion Templates that are used in the project.



  • Collaboration between editors is possible if the editors follow the rules of checking a project in and out.
  • The Final Cut Pro X library and original media is backed up in the cloud, providing extra insurance for project recovery should disaster strike.



  • There are two major constraints, both of which will improve in the future given better technology: the speed of your internet connection and the amount of available cloud storage.
  • The amount of time it takes to upload/download the original media for a project could be significant given a slow connection speed.
  • Depending on the size of your project, 1 TB of Dropbox space may not be enough space to store your raw media.



This workflow is not without its potential hurdles.  Sharing and rendering may fail according to an article by Apple.  Click here to read the article as well as an easy fix in case you run into issues.



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Copyright 2014 - Bascomb Productions

AuthorBascomb Productions