Working with Master Clips

A master clip is created automatically when you import or capture a media file in Final Cut Pro. All subsequent clips created from this master clip are affiliated with that master clip.

In addition to capturing and importing clips into a project, there are several other ways to create new master clips:

Implicit and Explicit Master Clips

If you have a sequence that contains a lot of copies of the same clip, all of these clips are affiliate clips with a single master clip in the Browser. If you delete the master clip in the Browser, your project still contains the master clip information even though the master clip can no longer explicitly be seen in the Browser. This means that the affiliate clips still share their properties, which are stored in the implicit (now invisible) master clip.

You shouldn’t delete master clips without a good reason, but if you do, your affiliate clips won’t lose their property affiliations. It’s easy to make the master clip explicit by dragging an affiliate clip from the Timeline to the Browser or by choosing View > Reveal Master Clip with an affiliate clip selected. When Final Cut Pro does not have an explicit master clip in the Browser to reveal, it asks if you want to create one.

How Master Clips Connect to Media Files

The connection between a master clip and its media file is the clip property called Source. A clip refers to a media file via this property, which contains a directory path. A directory path describes where a file is located within the file and folder hierarchy of the file system. For example, the hard disk is the top level of the hierarchy, as all files and folders are contained within the hard disk. The location of one of your media files might be described like this:

/Volumes/Scratch Disk/Capture Scratch/My Project/My Media File

To find a clip’s media file in the Finder
  • Select a clip and choose View > Reveal in Finder.

Identifying Master Clips

Master clips can exist only in the Browser; a sequence cannot contain a master clip. The only way to identify a master clip is to view its Master Clip property, either in the Browser or in the Item Properties window.

To view a clip’s Master Clip property
  1. Select the item.

  2. Choose Edit > Item Properties > Logging Info.

    If there’s a checkmark by the Master Clip property, the clip is a master clip.

Creating a Master Clip by Duplicating a Master Clip

You can intentionally duplicate a master clip to create a new, unrelated master clip, which will then have its own affiliate clips. However, you should do this sparingly because the main reason for a master clip is to have only one clip per project that represents a media file on disk.

To create a new master clip by duplicating a master clip
Do one of the following:
  • Select a master clip in the Browser, then choose Modify > Duplicate as New Master Clip.

  • Control-click any master clip in the Browser, then choose Duplicate as New Master Clip from the shortcut menu.

    The clip is duplicated, and the new clip is an unrelated master clip.

Finding a Clip’s Master Clip

Using the Reveal Master Clip command, you can identify the master clip of any clip in your project.

To find a clip’s master clip
  1. In the Browser or Timeline, select an affiliate clip. If the Timeline is active but no clip is selected, the clip at the position of the playhead acts as the selected clip.

  2. Choose View > Reveal Master Clip.

    The master clip is automatically selected in the Browser, but the way the master clip is revealed depends on whether the Browser is in column view or icon view.

    • If the Browser is in column view: All necessary bins are opened hierarchically via their disclosure triangles to reveal the highlighted master clip.
    • If the Browser is in icon view: The bin containing the clip is opened in its own Browser window, and the master clip is highlighted.

Note: If the clip’s master clip doesn’t reside in any of the project’s bins, Final Cut Pro asks if you want to create one. Click OK to create a new master clip. The new master clip is selected in the Browser.