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  • Can I run different older versions of FCPX on same machine?

  • Rikki Blow

    January 5, 2021 at 3:48 pm

    I need to update some early FCPX projects. Can anyone confirm whether it’s OK to reinstall earlier versions of the app (FCPX2 and 3) while I’m mainly running FCPX 4 on my laptop. Will there be any preference file clashes or other such issues? I don’t need different verions running at the same time, but I do want different versions running at different times on the one machine, so that I can open FCPX2 projects to export footage, or to upgrade them to FCPX3 and then to FCPX4.

  • Jeremy Garchow

    January 5, 2021 at 8:22 pm

    If you must do this, I would create separate boot partitions and boot from one or the other (or just simply keep everything up to date). Why do you need “FCPX2” (which I really don’t know what that is) when you can use “FCPX4” all the time?

  • Joe Marler

    January 5, 2021 at 9:32 pm

    If you are actually referring to various versions of FCPX, you don’t need to remove or re-install the app. Given an older version on another machine, you can simply duplicate then rename the “Final Cut Pro.app” bundle to, say, “Final Cut Pro_10_4.app”, copy that to the new machine and double-click on that file to launch the old version. It is not necessary to rename the .app to the original name. If you double-click on it in /Applications it will still launch with the 10_4 name, or whatever.

    The library versions are mostly locked to a version of FCPX, so an older version of the app will likely not open a newer library. Likewise if you open an older library with the newer app, it will upgrade it — which you may not want. When sequentially running different versions of FCPX, it’s best to close all libraries before closing the app. That way the next version you run won’t try to upgrade the previously-used libraries.

    You can inspect the library version by doing right-click>Show Package Contents in Finder, then doing Quick Look (space bar) on the file CurrentVersion.plist.

    You can have several different versions of FCPX and various library versions on the same machine under the same login account, but you must keep organized about what version you are running and what the library versions are. In Finder I usually rename the library with a suffix to indicate the FCPX version.

    It’s best to have all libraries separately backed up before doing this in case you encounter a problem or accidentally upgrade an older library you didn’t wish to.

    The above is mostly speaking of a fairly narrow range of FCPX versions on a newer version of MacOS. If you try to run a new version of FCP on an really old version of MacOS, that may not work. Likewise if the old projects contain effects, plugins or certain Motion templates, it’s possible they might not work right on a vastly different version of FCP.

    If you are dealing with really old libraries, I think I think pre-10.1 libraries could be updated to 10.2.3, then those could be updated to later versions.

    If the library version is 10.1 – 10.2.3, I thought those could be updated to the current version but I’m not sure. Maybe there was a cutoff version range where 10.1 – 10.2.3 could be upgraded to 10.3x but not later — just can’t remember; maybe someone else can.

  • Rikki Blow

    January 6, 2021 at 12:10 am

    Sorry maybe my problem wasn’t really clear.

    I’m trying to open and then update old libraries so they will all run on current 10.4.10 version.

    It looks like anything from 10.2 upwards will automatically update if I open the older library in 10.4.10, so I won’t actually need to install FCPX3 at all.

    However, I have some really old stuff edited in a 10.1.X version with the original folder structure of Projects and Events, and I can’t see any way to open those in 10.4.10

    So I was hoping I could install 10.2.3 on same machine just to update these to FCPX2 library format and then open them in 10.4.10 and update that way (my original question was to see if there’d be any problem in doing this).

    But now, on doing a bit more research to clarify the issue, I see that 10.2.3 won’t actually run on High Sierra and above, and I’m on Mojave, so that solution isn’t going to happen anyway.

    There’s no way of opening those early libraries on a current system is there?

    Looks like I have to try and get hold of an older operating system, install that onto some external drive, install 10.2.3 on that and get the Project/Event folders updated into libraries.

    What a horrible lack of backward compatibility. Anyone got a quicker fix?

  • Joe Marler

    January 7, 2021 at 4:17 pm

    Unfortunately I don’t know of any other solution. Re older stuff edited in 10.1.x, I thought 10.1 which was released in 2013 included the new library format. I thought 10.1 or later libraries could be opened in the current FCP 10.5.x version, but I can’t remember. The current FCP version definitely cannot open a non-updated project before 10.1.

    If your really old stuff is in the old project and event format (pre-library) and hasn’t been updated since 2013, that is a problem since I thought the last version of FCP which could update that was 10.2.3 or thereabouts from 2016.

    With the advent of 10.1 in 2013, Apple recommended backing up the library and FCP bundle before any upgrade. The purpose was to better preserve ability to run that in the future. However as you mentioned certain really old versions of FCPX might not run on a modern version of MacOS. I’m not sure what the limits are. https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT203010

    You might have an exported version of the old timeline, and the media itself may still be available in the old event folders. Those media files could be imported to a new version of FCP and edited “by eye”, using the old exported timeline as a guide. I think the solution is either that or locate someone with an old archived (and runnable) version of FCPX 10.2.3 who could upgrade your old project. They might not even need the media and could possibly export an XML, send you the XML which you could then import and try to relink to the on-disk media. Just a guess.

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