So you just bought an external SSD, you’re super excited to hear about how much faster you’ll be able to edit your footage and how much longer your laptop might last. But for some reason it’s not working. I’ve ran into multiple errors and went through tabs and tabs of research (so much, that my computer slowed down lol). So, I summarized all that information into a 6 step process that has seemed to help minimize the number of errors so far.

What is An External Drive?

Why are you even using an external drive?

So first off why the heck are we using an SSD? Why is it external? and is it even necessary?

Well, the best place to start is to answer what are we even using?

The Setup

So Rachel and I are both using 13″ 2018 MacBook Pros. Extremely excited to start using this to edit, we noticed a major difference from our really, really old setup (2011 MacBook Pro). Our computers were getting full really fast, and even after we cleared them out it still seemed super slow. So while I’m not like an expert or anything of all things electronic. I find them super interesting and if we base everything on how you’re supposed to build an editing rig, the MacBook Pro would be missing an important feature. So let’s get into it.

You Need a Scratch Disk

So for those that are too lazy to read. The main thing we’re missing is a scratch disk. When working with heavy data based things (graphic design, video editing, etc.) the turnaround of drive space is rather volatile, meaning the lifespan of your drives would be shortened (you’re using it more than the normal person so it makes sense).

So according to Reddit the thing we need to remember is to:

“NEVER put your footage on the same drive as your Operating System!!!”

Reddit Video Editing PC Build Master: u/leandroc76

TL;DR

You need your working files to be on a drive SEPARATE from your OS otherwise your computer will be… ded x_x

We only have USB-C Ports...

If you’re a PC user you might be scratching your head at why we don’t just replace some drives or what not. But we’re MacBook users which means we’re confined by the space and things Apple gives us. No swapping drives and only USB-C connections.

So as a result we need a USB-C drive and that’s what the External Samsung T5 is good for. It has a direct USB-C cable so you don’t need a USB hub as a convertor. But if you have someone that needs the old USB plug it still has that option. Also that means it doesn’t take up too many ports *thank goodness!*.

I hate dongles...

Same. Having anything hang off or outta the laptop is extremely annoying. But since we sided with Apple we don’t have a choice. So while not being the most elegant solution something my friends and I have done is actually just stick velcro onto our laptops. It’s actually been really helpful and allows you to move your work stations without worrying about your disks too much.

How to Edit on an External Drive

TL;DR

You just copy and paste the project file.

However due to possible errors and just wanting to prevent media from caching incorrectly. Below is how to setup your scratch disk.

Step 1: Create a folder on your SSD [Optional]

Create folder in external ssd (Optional)

This isn’t a necessity but I like to keep my stuff in a specific system/hierarchy so that in the future it’ll be easier to find. I usually name folders like this: YYYY-MM-DD_PlaceEventName

Step 2: Save your Library in your New Folder on your External SSD

Remember to create a new library on your external ssd

Before you just start a new project in one of your old libraries/events make sure that you are creating a new library that is located on your SSD. This is how you’ll take advantage of those extra fast hard drive speeds. Follow your naming conventions and then press save. Mine is: PlaceEventName

Follow naming conventions on external

Step 3: Redirect your Library’s Storage Locations

This is that extra step that usually mitigates the error that I mention. I thought that just creating a library would be enough which it is sometimes but you want to make sure to reroute your backups onto your SSD as well. To do that I like to make sure that all the settings are set to ‘save in library’, you wont have that option for backups so that’s why I like to create that folder name so you can point it to that location and remember to press save. Example: /ExternalSSD/YYYY-MM-DD_PlaceEventName

Step 4: Import your Footage to the New Library on Your SSD

To make sure those steps didn’t go to waste, make sure that you’re importing your footage into the right library. What I like to do is to actually close Final Cut Pro X and open the library that you just created from the finder window to make sure that you saved everything correctly. Then this is where I begin to import my footage. Example: /ExternalSSD/YYYY-MM-DD_PlaceEventName/PlaceEventName.fcpbundle 

Open New Project

Step 5: Create a New Project in Your SSD

Now that your library on your SSD is ready, just simply create a new project and you’re ready to start the editing process! Just make sure that your event and library are located on your SSD and use whatever naming conventions work best for you. Mine: ProjectName

Creating a project on your external hard drive

Some Issues You Might see

Awhile ago we got a message from Mia. And she was  wondering how we’d be able to work on existing projects on the SSD

If you have some existing projects on your computer,  the easiest thing to do is just to simply drag and drop the file onto your SSD!

How To Drag and Drop an Existing Project onto your SSD

Go to your project file [It’s usually located: Macbook Pro –> Movies –> ProjectFile.fcpbundle (It’s the fcpx file that usually looks has the 4 stars)]


Drag and drop that into your SSD and you should be able to edit right off from there!

Troubleshooting that silly error. Unable to export video (to YouTube)

We kept getting this weird error saying that it couldn’t export the video out of FCPX. I haven’t figure out why it does this but I’m assuming that redirecting backups should help but if that doesn’t work and you still somehow get the error that your files are being routed from an external drive this is what you gotta do.

Error Step 1: Select all your footage that has an error (tiny camera on the bottom left)

error troubleshooting unable to export video

Error Step 2: Right-click and Re-upload… Wait

right click, reupload, and wait I know it sounds way too easy to be true but that’s all you need! Good luck. and let me know if you need any help 😀

We recently purchased the Samsung T5 External SSD but oddly enough using it as a scratch disk wasn’t as straight forward as we thought it would be. Sure maybe you gave it a shot and figured by saving you library would work. But figuring out how to change the backup location was that extra key step. Here’s how to do it!

So you just bought an external SSD, you’re super excited to hear about how much faster you’ll be able to edit your footage and how much longer your laptop might last. But for some reason, it’s not as simple as you thought it would be. After running into a couple of errors (which we’ll troubleshoot later), a series of trial and error and multiple tabs that my computer slowed down. I summarized all that into the 6 step process that I wish was out there, to begin with.

How To Edit on an External SSD

Step 1: Create a folder on your SSD [Optional]

Create folder in external ssd (Optional)

This isn’t a necessity but I like to keep my stuff in a specific system/hierarchy so that in the future it’ll be easier to find. I usually name folders like this: YYYY-MM-DD_PlaceEventName

Step 2: Save your Library in your New Folder on your External SSD

Remember to create a new library on your external ssd

Before you just start a new project in one of your old libraries/events make sure that you are creating a new library that is located on your SSD. This is how you’ll take advantage of those extra fast hard drive speeds. Follow your naming conventions and then press save. Mine is: PlaceEventName

Follow naming conventions on external

Step 3: Redirect your Library’s Storage Locations

This is that extra step that usually mitigates the error that I mention. I thought that just creating a library would be enough which it is sometimes but you want to make sure to reroute your backups onto your SSD as well. To do that I like to make sure that all the settings are set to ‘save in library’, you wont have that option for backups so that’s why I like to create that folder name so you can point it to that location and remember to press save. Example: /ExternalSSD/YYYY-MM-DD_PlaceEventName

Step 4: Import your Footage to the New Library on Your SSD

To make sure those steps didn’t go to waste, make sure that you’re importing your footage into the right library. What I like to do is to actually close Final Cut Pro X and open the library that you just created from the finder window to make sure that you saved everything correctly. Then this is where I begin to import my footage. Example: /ExternalSSD/YYYY-MM-DD_PlaceEventName/PlaceEventName.fcpbundle 

Open New Project

Step 5: Create a New Project in Your SSD

Now that your library on your SSD is ready, just simply create a new project and you’re ready to start the editing process! Just make sure that your event and library are located on your SSD and use whatever naming conventions work best for you. Mine: ProjectName

Creating a project on your external hard drive


Troubleshooting that silly error. Unable to export video (to YouTube)

We kept getting this weird error saying that it couldn’t export the video out of FCPX. I haven’t figure out why it does this but I’m assuming that redirecting backups should help but if that doesn’t work and you still somehow get the error that your files are being routed from an external drive this is what you gotta do.

Error Step 1: Select all your footage that has an error (tiny camera on the bottom left)

error troubleshooting unable to export video

Error Step 2: Right-click and Re-upload… Wait

right click, reupload, and wait

I know it sounds way too easy to be true but that’s all you need! Good luck. and let me know if you need any help 😀

We recently purchased the Samsung T5 External SSD but oddly enough using it as a scratch disk wasn’t as straight forward as we thought it would be. Sure maybe you gave it a shot and figured by saving you library would work. But figuring out how to change the backup location was that extra key step. Here’s how to do it!
So you just bought an external SSD, you’re super excited to hear about how much faster you’ll be able to edit your footage and how much longer your laptop might last. But for some reason, it’s not as simple as you thought it would be. After running into a couple of errors (which we’ll troubleshoot later), a series of trial and error and multiple tabs that my computer slowed down. I summarized all that into the 6 step process that I wish was out there, to begin with.

How To Edit on an External SSD

Step 1: Create a folder on your SSD [Optional]

Create folder in external ssd (Optional) This isn’t a necessity but I like to keep my stuff in a specific system/hierarchy so that in the future it’ll be easier to find. I usually name folders like this: YYYY-MM-DD_PlaceEventName

Step 2: Save your Library in your New Folder on your External SSD

Remember to create a new library on your external ssd Before you just start a new project in one of your old libraries/events make sure that you are creating a new library that is located on your SSD. This is how you’ll take advantage of those extra fast hard drive speeds. Follow your naming conventions and then press save. Mine is: PlaceEventName Follow naming conventions on external

Step 3: Redirect your Library’s Storage Locations

This is that extra step that usually mitigates the error that I mention. I thought that just creating a library would be enough which it is sometimes but you want to make sure to reroute your backups onto your SSD as well. To do that I like to make sure that all the settings are set to ‘save in library’, you wont have that option for backups so that’s why I like to create that folder name so you can point it to that location and remember to press save. Example: /ExternalSSD/YYYY-MM-DD_PlaceEventName

Step 4: Import your Footage to the New Library on Your SSD

To make sure those steps didn’t go to waste, make sure that you’re importing your footage into the right library. What I like to do is to actually close Final Cut Pro X and open the library that you just created from the finder window to make sure that you saved everything correctly. Then this is where I begin to import my footage. Example: /ExternalSSD/YYYY-MM-DD_PlaceEventName/PlaceEventName.fcpbundle  Open New Project

Step 5: Create a New Project in Your SSD

Now that your library on your SSD is ready, just simply create a new project and you’re ready to start the editing process! Just make sure that your event and library are located on your SSD and use whatever naming conventions work best for you. Mine: ProjectName Creating a project on your external hard drive

Troubleshooting that silly error. Unable to export video (to YouTube)

We kept getting this weird error saying that it couldn’t export the video out of FCPX. I haven’t figure out why it does this but I’m assuming that redirecting backups should help but if that doesn’t work and you still somehow get the error that your files are being routed from an external drive this is what you gotta do.

Error Step 1: Select all your footage that has an error (tiny camera on the bottom left)

error troubleshooting unable to export video

Error Step 2: Right-click and Re-upload… Wait

right click, reupload, and wait I know it sounds way too easy to be true but that’s all you need! Good luck. and let me know if you need any help 😀

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Mia

    Hello. I just got a SSD and have some projects on Final Cut Pro I would like to continue to edit but on the SSD and I don’t really have any idea how to do it. Would you be able to help me?

    1. Dylan Yang

      Hey Mia!

      Most definitely! If you have some existing project on your computer and you want to edit on your SSD the easiest thing to do is just to simply drag and drop the file onto your SSD!

      Go to your project file:

    2. It’s usually located: Macbook Pro –> Movies –> ProjectFile.fcpbundle (It’s the fcpx file that usually looks has the 4 stars)
    3. Drag and drop that into your SSD and you should be able to edit right off from there!

  2. Mike

    Hello Dylan,
    I see this is an old post, but hopefully you’ll still see my comment. First, thank you for the instructions for using an external ssd! I am new to FCPX (and video editing in general) and your reply to Mia has me a bit confused. Your suggestion to her was to simply drag and drop the library file to her ssd. That seems super simple! So then why would one need to do the steps you listed? Is it strictly for starting any new projects directly on the ssd as well? Thereby keeping you from having to start new projects on your computer and then transferring them later to the ssd? I wanna do the external ssd thing and just wanna make sure I’m doing it correctly. Thanks!

    1. Dylan Yang

      Hey Mike!

      You’re absolutely right. Sorry for not making it clearer.

      • The comment for Mia was how to transfer existing projects.
      • And yes, my steps are for starting new projects directly on the ssd.
      • The main reasons my steps are there is sometimes when you create a new project on another hard drive the cache and media stuff messes up the files.
      • It’s not a required process but this has so far been good for me.

      Hopefully, this clears things up, but if not let me know and I’ll try again lol.

  3. Fred

    Thanks. This is super helpful!

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