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Reconnecting with Lost Video by Relinking

In Final Cut Pro X, it is easier to recover from moved or deleted media file problems By Diana Weynand, James Alguire and RevUpTansmedia

When the legacy versions of Final Cut Pro couldn't find the media files referenced by video clips imported into your projects (because they were moved, renamed, or deleted), you would get an error message and the opportunity (and tools) to reconnect the project clips back to the media files. Unfortunately, the ability to reconnect media files to clips was noticeably absent from Final Cut Pro X when it was released; due in part to the new way that it managed media files.

If you moved an Event you could modify a Project's Event references and "reconnect" to the Event in its new location, or to a completely different Event, but you could not reconnect to the media files directly . . . until now. One of the shiny new features of Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3 is the ability once again to directly reconnect, now called relinking, to missing or moved media files, and this tutorial will show you how to relink media files.

When Media Files Take a Detour

Final Cut Pro X manages all of your media files by grouping them in various Events that you create. This makes it more difficult, but not impossible, for media files to go missing. Events can be moved, deleted or renamed, and Apple recommends that you do these operations from within Final Cut Pro itself so that FCPX can always properly keep track of the media files. But there will be times when you move, delete, or rename files directly in the Finder, and that could prevent FCPX from properly referencing the media files.

The first step is to simulate a missing media file:

Breaking Up is (not) Hard to Do

First you need a place to store the missing file.

1 In the Finder Open a new Finder Window and select your Media Drive in the Window's Sidebar


You want to be sure to store the missing file on your media drive so it doesn't actually get lost.


3 In the Media Drive Finder Window create a new Folder by selecting File > New Folder or pressing Command - Shift - N on the keyboard, and name the Folder "Moved Footage".


This folder will be the temporary location for the "missing file."

5 In the Media Drive Finder Window, hold down the Command key on the keyboard and double-click the Moved Footage folder to open it in a separate Window.

6 A new window for the Missing Footage folder will appear in the Finder.

7 Click on the Missing Footage Window's Title Bar and move it next to the Media Drive's Window.


Putting the windows side-by-side makes it easier to move a file from one to the other.

9 In the Media Drive Finder Window open the Final Cut Events > Original Media folder.

10 The Original Media folder is where FCPX stores the primary media files. You may also see folders for optimized and proxy media, and render files.

11 From the Original Media Folder drag one of the media files to the Moved Footage folder.


Since the media file is no longer in its original location, Final Cut Pro will consider it missing.

It's All about Your Connections

Now we'll show you how to relink to the missing file.

1 In the Finder, Launch Final Cut Pro.

2 Notice, after FCPX loads, that the Event that the missing file was located in has a warning symbol indicating a problem.

3 In the Event Library, click to select the problem Event, Relinking01 in this example.

4 Notice in the Event Browser that the missing clip thumbnail icon also indicates that the media file can't be located.

5 In the Timeline click the Project Library button to view your projects.


7 Any projects that contain clips taken from the missing clip will also display the Missing Clip warning thumbnail.

8 In the Event Library choose the Event with the missing media file.

9 From the Menu Bar choose File > Relink Event Files.


The new Relink Files window will open.

The Relink Files window provides several options to assist you in reconnecting the missing media files. At the top you can choose to relink just the missing files or all media files related to the Event. Below that there is a list of the missing original files. Clicking on a listed file will display the file path to the original location below the list.

Below the Original Files list is the Matched Files list, which keeps a running tally of the original files that you have relocated. You may need to click on the disclosure triangle to view the list of matched files. Below the Matched Files list is a checkbox to enable or disable copying the relinked file from its current location into the Event folder. Your mileage may vary, but the recommendation is to check this option, that way all your media files are kept together in the appropriate event. Also below the Matched Files list are the buttons to cancel the process or relink the files.

11 In the Relink Files window click the files in the Original Files list that you need to relink and click the Locate Selected Button to initiate the search for the missing file.

12 Note: With no files selected the button will say Locate All.

The File Selection sheet drops down. Here you will navigate to the location where the missing files are located. Unlike legacy Final Cut Pro, FCPX's relinking option does not have an automated search function. However you can still use Mac OS X's built-in Spotlight search capabilities by clicking in the search field in the upper right of the window and typing in the name of the media file.

13 In the File Selection Window, navigate to the Moved Footage folder that you created in the first section of the tutorial. It should be at the root, or top level of your media drive.

14 Select the missing file that was moved to the Move Footage folder and click Choose.


The media file is now listed in the Matched Files list of the Relink Files Window.

16 In the Relink Files window click Relink Files.

17 The media file is relinked to the referenced clips in the Final Cut Pro Events and Projects.

18 Click on the Event and note that the warning symbol is gone and the video clip displays thumbnails of the actual video.


20 Also check out the Project in the Project Library and verify that the warning symbol is gone and the video thumbnail images are properly displayed.


If you checked the option to copy the media file from its current location back into the Event folder, you should see a copy of the media file back in the Original Media folder.

Final Cut Pro X actually provides two ways to relink media files. You can follow the procedure just outlined and relink media files to Events. Or you can select a project in the Project Library and relink the media files by Project. I recommend relinking files through the Events in most cases. While linking files through a Project will also relink the files in the Events, sometimes it will only relink the referenced clips in the Project.

Now that you have the ability to relink media files back to referenced clips in Final Cut Pro X, it should be easier to recover from moved or deleted media file problems than ever. Another good reason to upgrade to Final Cut Pro X 10.0.3

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Diana Weynand, an Emmy nominated editor, a distinguished educator and Apple Certified Trainer, is the author of several books including the Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro X, Final Cut Pro 7 and Final Cut Pro for Avid Editors and How Video Works. Diana has been on the cutting edge of technology training for two decades, and is co-owner of Rev Up Transmedia, (Formerly Weynand Training International) an Apple Authorized Training Center and mobile application developer.

James Alguire, an Apple Master Trainer, has been involved in the computer industry for over 25 years. His experience includes digital design, electronic prepress, multimedia, digital video/audio, technical support and training. He is an Apple Certified Trainer, an Apple Certified Technical Coordinator, an Apple Certified Help Desk Specialist and Apple Certified Support Professional. He is a lead instructor for Rev Up Transmedia and was a contributing writer for Diana's book, Final Cut Pro X.
Related Keywords:FCP, Final Cut Pro X, Video Editing, NLE, Video Storage, Video Files, Post Production

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  • Reconnecting with Lost Video by Relinking by DMN Editorial at May 25, 2012 4:55 pm gmt

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