Deploying Final Cut Studio

December 15, 2009

I (and every other sysadmin who’s had to deal with this) often bash Adobe for creating “enterprise-unfriendly” installers but when you think about it, Apple is just as bad with Final Cut Studio (i.e. “their Creative Suite”). It may come as a pkg but that doesn’t mean you can automate the installation any better. The main reason seams to be that FCS packages refer to each disc using a x-disc URL scheme which installer seems to ignore. The result is that even if you mount all the discs, running installer with the main .mpkg will only install the apps and none of the additional content.

You can modify the .dist files, but here’s an alternative approach:

  • Create a 50 GB sparse image, name the volume “Final Cut Studio 3”
  • Enable permissions on the “Final Cut Studio 3” volume
  • Mount all the FCS discs, install the main package using installer:

    installer -verbose -pkg /Volumes/Final\ Cut\ Studio\ Install/Installer/FinalCutStudio.mpkg -taret /Volumes/Final\ Cut\ Studio\ 3

Running the first phase through installer allows us to skip entering the license info.

  • Run all the remaining installers from the individual discs, i.e. “Audio Content 1”, “DVD Studio Pro Content”, “Motion Content 1”. In the installer click “Change Install Location…” and select the “Final Cut Studio 3” volume.
  • Create a new compressed disk image from the “Final Cut Studio 3” volume, scan for restore (only necessary if you want to do a block restore, see below).

Now you have a complete FCS install as a single disk image, ready to be restored with asr. I’ve only tested this with fresh systems so YMMV, but the idea is straigtforward - we just copy all the files that come with FCS to their correct locations.

Since a default FCS installation is about 14 times the size of a minimal Snow Leopard install (!) it might make sense (save time) to first lay down FCS with a block copy (i.e. erasing the target first) and then restore the OS with a file copy. I tried this and it actually worked! With this method, a complete install of Final Cut Studio 2 clocks in at just under 12 minutes.

On an unrelated note, a minimal 10.6 install restores in 80 seconds over 1Gb Ethernet (onto a Mac Pro, using RAID 6 on the server). Probably less time most Windows PC’s take to boot up. :-P