Whenever you encounter problems or have questions in Final Cut Pro it is always a good idea to search the help files first. They generally are well written and provide much of the necessary help immediately. Such is the case with setting the scratch disks either when FCP is first opened, if they are “misplaced”, or if you want to specify a destination such as an external firewire drive for your project content.
Below is an excerpt from those help files that should explain the process and get you well on your way.
Specifying Scratch Disks
A scratch disk is a hard disk, internal or external to your computer, where Final Cut Pro stores captured digital video and audio, as well as rendered media files created during editing. (Rendering is the process of creating temporary video and audio render files for portions of your sequence that Final Cut Pro cannot play in real time.)
By default, Final Cut Pro uses the hard disk on which the application is installed. You use the Scratch Disks tab in the System Settings window to choose where you want to save the video and audio files that you capture and the render and cache files that Final Cut Pro creates. You can also specify other settings related to the size of captured and exported files and the minimum available space allowed on scratch disks.
To specify one or more scratch disks and associated settings:
1 Choose Final Cut Pro > System Settings, then click the Scratch Disks tab.
2 To specify a disk or a folder on a hard disk as a scratch disk:
•In the dialog that appears, locate and select the disk you want to use.
•Only connected external disks or installed internal disks are listed. If your hard disk doesn’t appear, make sure that it’s connected properly and correctly initialized and mounted. For more information, see the documentation that came with your computer, your hard disk, or your disk-formatting software.
•Click Select (the button includes the name of the disk you selected). The specified disk is listed next to the Set button, along with the amount of available disk space.
3 To capture video and audio to separate files, select the Capture Audio and Video to Separate Files checkbox. Note: For capturing DV media, it’s usually best to leave this checkbox unselected. For more information, see “Capturing Video and Audio Separately” on page 287.
4 Select the checkboxes corresponding to the type of files you want to store on each scratch disk: Video Capture, Audio Capture, Video Render, and Audio Render.
5 To choose a folder where Final Cut Pro will automatically save copies of your project for backup purposes:
•Click Set next to Autosave Vault.
•In the dialog that appears, locate and find the disk you want to use, then click Choose.
Scratch disks you’ve set can become unavailable for a number of reasons: they might be turned off, disconnected, or temporarily unmounted. Also, if the scratch disk folder you selected has been moved, deleted, or renamed, Final Cut Pro might not be able to find it.
When you open Final Cut Pro and one or more of your scratch disk folders cannot be found, a dialog appears with three options:
• Quit: Lets you quit without changing the scratch disk preferences.
• Set Scratch Disks: Opens the Scratch Disks tab in the System Settings window so that you can change the current set of scratch disks. Any disks that are missing are removed from this list. You must choose at least one scratch disk to continue.
•Check Again: Allows you to reconnect or start up your scratch disk, wait for it to mount, and then proceed as usual.
Assigning Search Folders for Reconnecting Media Files
After you specify which volumes and folders you want to use to capture media, you may want to assign these same locations as search folders for the Reconnect Files dialog. This allows Final Cut Pro to limit its search for media files if they become offline.