Interview with Timothy Armes: Final Cut Library Manager

March 31, 2014 Tags: , ,
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An FCPWORKS Interview with Timothy Armes: Developer of Final Cut Library Manager from Arctic Whiteness.

Last week we profiled Final Cut Pro Library Manager, a highly useful utility for organizing and managing Libraries outside of Final Cut Pro X. Now we present an interview with that plugin’s chief developer, Timothy Armes from Arctic Whiteness. In this FCPWORKS chat, Tim discusses what’s involved in being an indie developer for Final Cut Pro X.

Arctic Whiteness’ Timothy Armes

Tell us a little about yourself and Arctic Whiteness.

I’m an independent British software developer based in the South of France, where I’ve been living since 2001. I now specialise in iOS and Mac development, developing both my own software and taking on commissions. I also offer a large number of plugins for Adobe Lightroom via another one of my sites – The Photographer’s Toolbox. Arctic Whiteness is my development company. The strange name is quite literally the result of mixing “Arts with science” (an anagram) and that really describes the core of my work: software that helps artists, whether they be filmmakers, photographers or any other creative souls that have to use computers.

Describe your history with Final Cut Pro X.

I personally use Final Cut X on a purely amateur level for making videos of my kids, holidays, etc. However, Vincent Zorzi, co-developer of both Final Cut Library Manager and The Touch is a professional film maker, specialising in small publicity ads for the local area. He’s used just about every version of Final Cut X since its inception and had a great understanding of it.

What can customers do with Final Cut Library Manager?

The primary reasons to use Final Cut Library Manager are to track your libraries across all your drives (both offline and online), so that you can find them very quickly. And to quickly and easily reclaim gigabytes of disk space by deleting the Render Files, Optimised Media files and Proxy files from inside these libraries, a process we call cleaning. These files can take up huge amounts of space, but they can be regenerated by Final Cut Pro at any time so there’s really no reason to keep them for archived projects.

Final Cut Library Manager also offers loads of nice little features that really help busy users save time. You can see and modify the Finder comments for each library, you can quickly search your libraries and open them in Final Cut Pro (even alone without any other libraries loaded), you can sort them in numerous ways (such as by the potential space gain once cleaned), etc.

Why did you create Final Cut Library Manager?

I think the best software is made by those who need what they’re creating since they personally know what has to be done to make a great product. The first version of Final Cut Manager was made simply because we constantly found ourselves running out of hard drive space and having to empty out libraries manually, which is a painstaking and potentially error-prone task. It didn’t take too long to realise that there had to be a better way.

The initial release of the application was met with enthusiasm and we were soon inundated with lots of great feature requests. After a couple of weeks of very hard work we released version 1.50 which added some major new features, such as the ability to track libraries on off-line drives. I imagine that for many people that’s now the major reason they’re using the application.

"During development periods… we typically work ridiculous hours since we can’t stop thinking about the project!"Timothy Armes

What’s your process for developing software for the Mac platform and for Final Cut Pro X?

Vincent and I work together, each with separate roles. I handle the software development; Vincent draws up the various UI designs and creates the graphics and communication videos. He also spends vast amounts of time testing what I’m producing. In terms of UI functions, we’ll spend hours discussing all the options before anything gets implemented. The applications need to be intuitive, functional, and aesthetic.

We’re both independent and we both work from our respective homes. During development periods we rely heavily on Apple FaceTime to discuss things. We typically work ridiculous hours since we can’t stop thinking about the project! Final Cut Library Manager is the result of over a month of 9am to 2am days. So about 4 man-months of typical working hours. (The Touch was 16 man-months!)

Much of the time is due to the degree of perfection we insist upon for the user interface. The primary feature of version 1.0 of Final Cut Library Manager was the library cleaning, and that was only about a day’s worth of work in itself. The rest of that time was all spent on perfecting the user experience, this is software for artists after all!

Arctic Whiteness’ Vincent Zorzi

What’s on your roadmap for future development/upgrades to Final Cut Library Manager?

We’re always asking users for feedback to see what they need. That’s the most important thing for us, and it drives the priority of the development process. We do have our own ideas in the pipeline, such as built-in handling of the Finder’s tags and possibly the ability to clean individual events within the libraries if there’s a demand for that.

For more information about Final Cut Library Manager, please visit Tim’s site: Arctic Whiteness.


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