How to Solve Offline Media Problems in Final Cut Pro X
Solving offline media problems
One of the most frustrating things when editing is opening your project just to discover that you can't get started because some or all of your media is offline. Now throughout this course I have stressed numerous times that you need to be aware and be deliberate about your choices in media management. But sometimes, something happens. So in this movie we're going to explore how to diagnose and fix offline media. So throughout this movie, I am going to be working with media that you don't have, because I didn't want to mess up your Final Cut Events folder.
However, I have gone ahead and messed up mine, so you can just sit back and watch. First, just a little bit of review on where everything lives. You have two folders that really make everything happen. Final Cut Projects which is where all your projects live and Final Cut Events which is where all your events or media lives, you need both to be able to work in Final Cut. As we know these folders can live in one of two places. If you don't have an external or a partitioned hard drive connected to your system, they can live in your Movies folder. Or if you have an external or partitioned drive connected to your system, then these two very important folders must live at the root directory of your Media Drive.
And another point of review, when you import media into Final Cut, you have the option to copy the media into the Final Cut Events folder. When you select this it actually makes physical copies of the media, thereby becoming a self-contained media folder. You can always tell that this is the case because in the original Media folder you see thumbnails of the media and the media size is large. When you don't select this option, Final Cut just places small pointer files in the Final Cut Events folder, but it's actually pointing to media files elsewhere on your system.
So in this case you don't see media thumbnails, you just see pointer files with little arrows and the media size is very small. So with all of that covered, let me tell you some very common ways that your media can end up offline. One, the drive that contains the Final Cut Events folder isn't connected to the system. This is really common, especially when you're working with multiple drives or when you're constantly moving from system to system. Fortunately, this is the easiest to fix, since you just need to reconnect your drive to the system and your media comes back online.
Two, your Final Cut Events folder is in the wrong place and thus Final Cut can't see the media. May be you inadvertently moved it, may be you were doings some general file housecleaning and accidentally put it in another folder. Hey, it happens! The important thing is getting it back where it belongs. So searching for Final Cut Events via the spotlight function on a Mac can generally help you locate a missing folder pretty well. Three, if you choose to not copy the media into the Final Cut Events folder, which again means that you just have those pointer files in the Final Cut Events folder that refers to media elsewhere, then the link between these two locations, has been broken.
This most often occurs when you aren't careful about where you choose to have your media live, and then you move it and the link breaks. This can often be difficult to fix if you can't find the original media. Now if you know where it is then it's easy to fix. You just relink the media to the new location. Four, and this is the big one, you accidentally copied your media to the internal hard drive of the system that you are working on, which thereby put the media in the Final Cut Events folder and the Movies folder of the Mac that you were working on. Now again, this is extremely common, and this is why I always say to be aware and be deliberate about your media import destination.
If you copy the media to internal Movies folder on the Mac you were working on, on Monday and then on Wednesday you are on a totally new computer, your media is offline. The only way to fix it is to go back to the original computer and copy everything over or to re-import your media from scratch. Okay so in my experience these are the big four. Now most often you'll notice that one of these four things has happened, because you're going to fire up Final Cut and things will look a little like this. So I recommend doing a couple of things here.
First, find out where the media is supposed to be. If you click on your project here and then go up to the Inspector, Cmd+4, and then go to the Properties tab, you can check out the Referenced Events, what it thinks it's pointing to and where that is. So, as you can see here, the Referenced Events are from the Farm to Table event, and it's on the Media Drive. So this gives me a very good clue as to where Final Cut is looking for this media and right away I can say, "Aha! It's looking for media in the Firm to Table event in the Media Drive, let's go see if it's actually there." So that's step one.
I am going to minimize Final Cut, and I have ensured that the Media Drive is connected, so we have completed that step. Next, I want to make sure that my Final Cut Events folder is in the right place. So it needs to be at the root directory of my Media Drive, so it needs to be right here, and I can see that it's not. Final Cut Projects is here, but Final Cut Events is not. All right, so I can just tell you that I have purposefully hidden it right here inside of this Miscellaneous folder. But you probably won't know where it is so you'll just may be want to use the Spotlight up here to find it.
All right, but I'm just going to go ahead and drag this back into place, and let's fire up Final Cut again, and you can see that everything in Farm to Table is magically back online. That's great, and we have everything except the very first clip, which we'll come to in a second. But you can see that everything else is back online just because I have moved my Final Cut Events folder to the right location. So very nice. But we still have our Swing, Baby! Project Offline and our Swing Dancing event offline, so let's keep going through the diagnostic steps.
So number three, you're going to make sure that the media that any pointer files are referencing is in the correct location. So again let's hide Final Cut, and let's go into Final Cut Events and Swing Dancing and Original Media and what we're looking at is to make sure that these are pointer files, that they are aliases pointing to another location, and you can see that they are. We don't see the thumbnails, we see these little arrows. And if you click on one of these, you can see that they are aliases.
So these are pointing to a location that is not matching up correctly. So, what I am going to do is actually just search for it, I can do so via the Spotlight up here. But you know what, I actually know exactly where this media is because I threw this offline on purpose, so I'll spare us the search. I put it in MEDIA and then MISC and then Swing. So I may have thought I was doing some housekeeping, but you know things didn't work out so well. So let's just redirect Final Cut to this media.
So I am going to open Final Cut again, and I am just going to right-click on the event and choose Relink Event Files. And here are all of the files that have come up missing, so I am just going to select one and Cmd+A to select all of them. So once I have located the folder full of files, I am just going to click on Locate Selected and here it is. I can go ahead and just click on the parent folder, should find everything inside. We're looking for 32 for 32, let's see how successful this is.
It found all of them 32 for 32, very good. Now in order to prevent this from happening again, I strongly recommend that you select Copy Files into Final Cut Events folder. So no longer will I have to maintain this link, instead I'm going to make my Final Cut Events folder a self-contained media folder and things will be a lot better. Okay, so I'll go ahead and Relink Files, you can see that everything in the Event Library came back on, fantastic! And my project is back online as well, wonderful! So those are steps one, two and three.
Remember, that fourth possibility is that you captured the media on to the internal drive of another system. So if these three don't work it probably is that fourth option, and you might have to go hunting for media on other systems. Let's go back to this third option about bringing event media back online. Now what if it isn't an entire folder, what if you're just missing one or two or a couple of event files. If you come down here, we're missing a file from this project. And if I go ahead and enter this, you can see that it's my orange close-up, we have seen that plenty of times before.
Well, I am going to click on this and then right-click and Reveal in Event Browser, because I want to see if it's also missing in the Event Browser, which it is. So in this case what probably happened is that this file got moved or renamed, and then it lost its link. So what you can do here is just click on the file and then come up to File and Relink Event Files, and then we're going to go ahead searching for this one clip. So it's Orange CU, and I'll try to locate it, and I don't know where it is actually I do.
But let's say I don't know where it is so I am going to go hunting for it in Final Cut Events to begin with, and Original Media, and let's see if we can find it in here. So here is a classic example of someone renaming or moving or changing in some way your media once it's been imported into Final Cut. You can see that Final Cut thinks it's called "Orange CU" and in here it's called "Orange closeup". So even though it's the same piece of media, it's been renamed so that link has been broken.
So what I am going to do is just relink this, so I am going to go ahead and Choose it. Right now it's verifying for compatibility. It says, "Oh yeah! You are the same file." And then it found it, and then I can relink it, and it's back online. So bottom line, you should always strive to be very aware and very deliberate about your media management in the first place. But if something goes missing, there are quite a few ways to bring your media back online in Final Cut Pro.
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