Relink clips to media files

In Final Cut Pro, clips represent your media, but they are not the media files themselves. Final Cut Pro keeps track of the links between clips and media files automatically. However, there are times when you need to manually relink clips to media files.

One common scenario that requires relinking is when files are altered or re-created outside of your copy of Final Cut Pro. For example, if you send files out for color correction, you may need to relink the clips in your event to the color-corrected versions of the files when you receive them.

Another case requiring manual relinking is missing media files. For example, if you move or rename externally linked files in the Finder, or you move an event or a project to a different location, you need to relink the event or project clips (which appear as red frames with yellow alert triangles) to the files.

In either case, manually relinking connects the clips in Final Cut Pro to the correct files on your hard disk. Metadata in the relinked clips remains unchanged.

The new (relinked) files can have a different resolution and codec than the original files, but they must be the same media type. (In other words, you can’t relink a video clip to an audio file.) Relinked files must also have the same frame rate and similar audio channels as the original files.

The new (relinked) files can also be trimmed versions of the original files, but they must be long enough to cover all the clips that refer to the files.

When you relink clips to media files on your hard disk, all instances of the clips in the current library (including those in other projects or events) are updated to link to the new media files. In other words, if you used a clip in multiple projects or events, each of those projects and events is relinked to the new media file.

Note: You cannot undo the Relink Files command.

Relink clips to media files

  1. Do one of the following:

    • In the Browser or the Timeline, select the clips or the projects containing the clips you want to relink.

    • In the Libraries list, select an event or an entire library containing the clips you want to relink.

    • In the Timeline, select the clips you want to relink.

  2. Choose File > Relink Files.

    The Relink Files window appears. By default, this window shows missing clips or events only.

  3. If you want to show all items in the selection, select All.

    Relink Files window
  4. Do one of the following:

    • To locate all the matching files: Click Locate All.

    • To locate some of the matching files: Select items in the list and click Locate Selected.

  5. In the window that appears, navigate to one of the files you want to link to, or to the folder that contains it.

    Text at the bottom of the window indicates how many potential matches to items in your original list were found (based on the filenames only).

    Window listing media files matching clips in selection

    Note: Final Cut Pro identifies matches based on proximity in the directory structure and related filenames. For example, if your original files were in two adjacent folders, Final Cut Pro looks in folders adjacent to the folder containing the file you chose and relinks all matching files in the relative path. If your original files were named “File1,” “File2,” “File3,” and so on, and you chose to relink to a file named “File1_A,” Final Cut Pro looks for files named “File2_A,” “File3_A,” and so on to relink the remaining items in your list.

  6. Click Choose.

    Final Cut Pro analyzes the files to confirm that all attributes (in addition to the filename) match items in the original selection. Analysis results are shown below the Original Files list (for example, “3 of 3 files matched”).

  7. Click the disclosure triangle next to the analysis results to show a list of old files (on the left) and the new matching files (on the right).

    Table showing original and matched files that can be relinked

    If a file was matched incorrectly, select it in the list and press Delete. The item is placed back in the original list at the top of the Relink Files window.

    Items with no matches remain in the original list above. You can continue to locate those by selecting them and repeating steps 4 through 6.

  8. To link the event clips to the new media files, click Relink Files.

    All matched clips (including those in other projects or events) are updated to link to the new media files.