About the Connection Between Clips and Media Files

Clips are not to be confused with the media files you captured to your computer’s hard disk. A clip refers to a media file on your computer’s hard disk, but the clip is not the media file itself. Clips usually reference all of the content within a media file, but you can also create subclips that reference only part of a media file, or merged clips that refer to several media files at once.

A Final Cut Pro clip refers to its media file via the clip property called Source, which describes the location of the media file in the form of a directory path. For example, the directory path for a clip’s media file might look like this:

/MyScratchDisk/Capture Scratch/MyProject/MyMediaFile

Note: Every file on your hard disk can be located by its directory path. A directory path describes where a file is located within the file and folder hierarchy of the operating system.

To see a clip’s Source property
  1. Select a clip in the Browser by clicking it.

  2. Choose Edit > Item Properties > Format (or press Command-9).

    The Item Properties window appears.

  3. Look at the directory path in the clip’s Source field.

  4. If you can’t see the complete directory path, you can do one of the following:

    • Drag the right edge of the column heading to the right to increase the column width.

    • Move the pointer over the directory path in the Source field, then wait until a tooltip appears showing the complete directory path.

Relationship Between Source Tapes, Media Files, and Clips

The relationship between source tapes, media files, and clips is described below.

  • Source tape: An original videotape from your production.
  • Media file: A QuickTime movie file created by capturing video, audio, and timecode from the source tape to a computer hard disk. This is a copy of the original footage.
  • Clip: An object in a Final Cut Pro project that represents a media file on the scratch disk. A clip connects to a media file, but it isn’t the media file itself. If you delete a clip, the media file remains intact on the scratch disk. If you delete the media file, the clip remains in the project, but it is no longer connected to its media. You can create clips by importing or dragging media files to the Final Cut Pro Browser.

Reconnecting Clips to Media Files

If you modify, move, or delete your media files on disk, the clips in your project lose the connection to the media files and they become offline clips. In this case, the word offline refers to the fact that a clip’s media file has become unavailable.

To create an offline clip (without a corresponding media file)
Do one of the following:
  • Choose File > New > Offline Clip.

  • Create a clip by clicking the Log button in the Log and Capture window.

For more information, see Logging from Tape.

An offline clip has a red slash through its icon in the Browser. In the Timeline, an offline clip appears white (when you play back your sequence in the Canvas, offline clips display a “Media Offline” message). To view these clips properly in your project, you need to reconnect the clips to their corresponding media files at their new locations on disk. This reestablishes the connection between the clips and their media files.

Figure. Browser and Timeline windows showing offline clips.

Final Cut Pro allows you to reconnect clips to media files in whatever way suits your project. For example, you can work on one project on two different editing systems that both contain the same media files. When you transfer the project from one system to another, you can easily reconnect the project clips to the local media files. For more information on reconnecting offline clips, see Reconnecting Clips and Offline Media.