Tips for reconnecting offline media in Final Cut Pro X

If you ever get into a situation where you are trying to store your media outside of Final Cut Pro X’s event folder structure, and Final Cut keeps copying the original media into the Final Cut Events > Original Media folder (which happened to me after using FCPX’s Merge Events commend), here’s a workaround. What you CAN’T do is simply put an alias to the original media into your Final Cut Events folder – Final Cut is too savvy for that, and it won’t connect to the media.

The simple solution: create a new event (which you’ll delete momentarily), import the media you want with ALL options unchecked in the import dialog, and then immediately quit FCPX after the files appear in the event browser. You’ll see an alert warning you that all background tasks will be aborted if you quit. Quit anyway – you don’t need the render files it’s churning away on.

Then, in the Finder, open the Original Media folder of your new event, and drag all of the FCPX-created aliases into the Original Media folder for the event you’re trying to reconnect. Make sure FCPX is quit while doing this. Now delete the new event, and start FCPX.

Boom, all your original files are reconnected.

44 thoughts on “Tips for reconnecting offline media in Final Cut Pro X

  1. Araby

    Thanks Dan,

    The fact that this has to be done at all makes me want to throw my computer out the window though…

    1. Dan McComb

      It’s fascinating to me how much the responses to change have been like yours – visceral. I think I’m one of those people who loves change. I get bored when things stay the same for too long. I enjoy the challenge.

  2. Shawn

    Unfortunately it’s not working for me. Any other ideas?

    Also, I’m not opposed to change at all, I welcome it. But when something as necessary as this is tossed out the window with no solution, its very upsetting. I’ve spent three hours now trying to reconnect footage and I’ll probably have to start the whole project over from scratch. This is not savvy, its ignorant.

  3. Dan McComb

    Shawn, can you tell me specifically what you mean by not working? If you’ve followed all the steps, I guarantee it will work – I am in the middle of transferring a terrabyte of events that just arrived from my assistant editor this morning using this approach, and it works flawlessly, if awkwardly.

    I agree it sure would be nice to have a more elegant way to reconnect media. But clearly what Apple is trying to do here is make the whole process of media management simpler than it’s ever been by imposing this structure. After a month of working inside of FCPX’s new file management paradigm, I have to say it’s pretty slick. For the first time in my editing life, I know where all my files are without having to think about it or look it up.

  4. Ramon

    I have a work around. Just drop all the footage into the (original media)f older in the project folder. Quit FCPx and reopen..

    1. Dan McComb

      That will work if you don’t mind moving all of the original footage into the Original Media folder. That’s what I’ll be doing for all future FCPX projects. But for this first one, I’ve already stored my media elsewhere, and don’t want to change where it’s stored. Hence, the workaround.

  5. ronno

    ramon and dan : thx for your comments. very informative.
    here’s my problem, and your solution might work for me, but i imagine with modification.
    i have all my file on an outboard drive. in the events folder are aliases to other folders on that same drive that hold my media (i had imported from 5D using FCP7). so far so good.

    but, i have some alias’es in my events folder that point to other actual media file which are located on a my imac drive. my deisre is to take my ouboard drive and plug into my laptop. all good, except for the media that is on my imac drive.

    so, i need to redirect those aliases…i think. what steps need i take then to make the aliases see the actual events (that i am happy to move anywhere onto my outboard drive).

    i’m trying to be clear. and thx ahead of time for your help, as i think you guys are about to tell me how to do it 😉

    1. Dan McComb

      I would simply move all the files that are on your iMac over onto your external drive, and then you’ll be set to go. If you’re not sure which files they are, you can quickly discover them by breaking the links – just temporarily rename the folder containing the iMac files, then restart FCPX. You’ll immediately see which files are broken. Note which files. Quit FCPX. Move those files over to the Original Media folder for that event on your external hard drive, and restart FCPX. All files will now be where they are supposed to be.

  6. Kevlar

    I loved better ways of doing things… I really do…

    In my opinion there shouldnt even be cause for this thread of conversation…. If things just worked intuitively, then they just work right.

    Its simple, this unfortunately is simple if you let X move your files where it wants them.

    I just opened final cut X after creating a project last night. I did not change location of files and yet, Final Cut X still lost the connections. I tried your trick and for some reason it only restored connections to the AVI files in the project, not the MOVs, go figure.

    1. Dan McComb

      I’ve been using FCPX as my primary NLE since shortly after it was released in June, and I gotta say, it’s really grown on me, even the file management stuff. I don’t have any broken files anymore, because I simply let FCPX put them where it wants to. I also purchased a Promise Pegasus R4 raid that connects with Thunderbolt, and that’s done more than anything else to make FCPX run well. It demands a very fast connection to its data to work well, and if you give it that, wow, it’s incredible.

  7. Andy


    I have lost link with my original media due to Modified Files. (white paper alert icon with yellow triangle) One blog suggested FCPX uses meta-data also to link with media.

    Back story… I converted some .MTS files using Skysoft Video Converter and successfully edited them in FCPX 10.0.0 After upgrading to 10.0.1, FCPX crashed when trying to update the event containing those Skysoft converted files. Crash report noted some kind of audio format problem.

    **Thinking I could re-connect, I re-converted the originals using compressor this time and replaced the original media in the event with the same file names. I also tried your tips suggested above. No luck, FCPX still shows the modified file alert icon.
    When I ask unconnected clip in the event list to “reveal in finder” it correctly sends me to the right file. I open that file and it plays fine in QT player.

    Any thoughts?


    1. Dan McComb

      If you followed the steps I recommended (to delete the offending files from the event library, then quit FCPX, move the files back into the Original Media folder, then open FCPX again), I don’t know what to tell you. It shouldn’t make any difference what tool you use to modify the file.

      1. Tim

        Dan and Andy,

        I have just a week ago started using Final Cut Pro X 10.1.3. I haven’t done an editing project since Final Cut 5. I like a lot of it, but X sure could be more flexible and intuitive and informative when you run into difficulty. I like the new Library concept, but it could be polished up with several more features to help with media management and media connection management. I should be allowed to put original media and proxy media wherever works best for me, and Final Cut should be graceful about letting me work in a way that works best for me. I have wasted many many hours experimenting and learning work-arounds for things FCPX will not do naturally and easily. Here are a few things I have learned and some work-arounds:

        * Once media is imported , FCPX wants to ALWAYS see a file of the SAME resolution/codec/properties, etc. not JUST the same file name. I almost lost an original media file that was on a drive that developed errors. I swapped out that media file for another that had the same video content, but not exactly the same attributes and basically ruined my Library, at least every place that clip was used. Luckily I had a backup of the original media and Library which allowed me to back up and fix things.
        * I manage my project with multiple editors that are not on the same network, but in the same geographical area. Each editor has their own drive. I DO NOT want to put the original media (1.2 TB) and proxy media (100+ GB) in the Library file “where FCPX wants me to put it” and then copy that 1.4 TB Library back and forth. Each editor has their own 2 TB drive with all the media, then we copy Library files (~20MB) back and forth.
        * The best way I have found for me to copy a Library, is to within FCPX highlight all the Events, then choose File>Copy Events To Library>New Library
        * When I create or move that new Library to a second drive, all the media becomes disconnected. It is easy to click on the Library and choose File>Relink Files, then click Locate All (Don’t click on any individual file names before clicking Locate All), point FCPX to the first file it is looking for on the second drive (It gives you the file and path that it was previously connected to for reference). However, NONE of the Proxy media reconnects to the proxy files on the second drive. FCPX forces you to re-transcode proxy media. What a pain! (…see the next tip)
        * To trick FCPX into reconnecting automatically to the original AND proxy media (or even to take your project home to work on on your portable drive with the proxy media only – without the original media), rename your 2nd drive to the SAME NAME as your first drive. Then, you will trick FCPX into thinking you are opening the first Library on the first drive, and all your media will be connected on the second drive without any additional steps.

        Final Cut Pro X 10.1.3 is pretty slick, but I shouldn’t have to loose so much sleep and sanity figuring out how to keep media connected. It should allow me in some easy to use drag-and-drop interface reconnect anything I want to anywhere. I would even love a setting to tell FCPX that all of the SAME media files are in the same RELATIVE locations to some parent folder and have it ignore whichever drive the files are located on. These would be very nice features to add.

        1. admin Post author

          It’s a lucky thing that you are coming to FCPX at version 10.1.3, because there are a lot of ways to put your media wherever you like it now, that weren’t in the earlier versions.

  8. Tim Hedger-Gourlay

    Brilliant Dan – worked perfectly – I’d been banging my head against a wall for hours beforehand – thanks for the tip.

  9. Sam

    Really appreciate this thread, Dan. 

    I have rough cut a significant project (240+ clips) using FCPX. The fluidity of viewing and trimming lots of footage makes roughing in almost pleasurable. 

    However, many of the clips need cleaning. My fave denoise tool is Neat Video for After Effects. 

    By now you’ve guessed my question…

    I don’t know how to efficiently take just the trimmed portion of the clips that need trimming out to AE and back. FCPX loses the reference. If I replace by dragging the cleaned footage in from the finder, I have to retrim. 

    Do you have a suggested workflow?

    1. Dan McComb

      Is it possible to perform the After Effects work as the final step? That way you wouldn’t have to worry about getting it back into FCPX. I’ve read about a commercial script, FoolCut, that might be useful to you. See But I can speak to it’s effectiveness as I don’t use AE in my current workflow.

  10. jhave

    its perturbing to me tht FCPX
    compulsively forces workarounds (or forces user to conform to its file model)
    where a less advertised software (for windows) like sony vegas
    does this shit super easy, allowing user to remain in control:
    reimport entire folders from within interface context menu

    my feeling is clear:
    apple wants to control data
    not because it makes better interfaces
    but because it makes better business

    in vegas assigning sets of clips tht have moved is 3 clicks away per folder
    the workarounds proposed here involve

    1. Dan McComb

      Glad to hear you’re happy with Vegas. If it’s perfect for your needs, stay with it. I find Final Cut Pro X, even with its media management limitations, to be almost perfect for my needs and style.

  11. jhave

    recently have to begin using fcp for work
    it seems potent in some respects
    limited in others:
    notably, it will not even recognize externals unless they are formatted hfs+

    so i need to find a way to reconcile my windows laptop with my mbp
    it seems there are some platform issues

    1. Tim

      I use exFAT formatted drives extensively for sharing data between Mac and Windows. It does not have the 4B per file size limit that FAT32 does. I haven’t tried exFAT yet with FCPX, but I’m hoping it will work well. Has anyone else tried this?

      1. admin Post author

        I only use exfat for formatting my CF cards for use with Magic Lantern Raw. I’ve never had an issue with the format type, but then, I’m not trading files with Windows users.

  12. Pingback: Reconnecting Media in Final Cut Pro X | Brandon Muramatsu

  13. Rafa Peletey

    Changes are changes, good or bad that’s what they are. Bugs are bugs. Not to be confused with changes.

  14. Robert Ansley

    Step 1) Go to your project library and single click your project
    Step 2) Go to your Properties dialog (upper right panel) and click the Modify Event References

  15. Nico


    FInal cut seems to not be able to reconnect to an event which i had originally created within the final cut event file. I have move nothing , nor changed any naming. It just can never find an event that seems to be right where it should be.


  16. Don

    Dan what are the best practices for purging a drive? I’m working on a trailer and my portable drive was filling up fast. I moved old events and old projects to a stay-home drive. How do I stop FCP X from referencing the files I moved?

    Also my new project suddenly has offline files. Why would moving unrelated files affect my new project?

    1. Dan McComb

      Hi Don,
      To ensure smooth moves of your data, it’s best to initiate the move from within FCPX. The reason is because if you just make another copy, it will have the same invisible ID number as the previous version, so FCPX can get confused. So the proper way to move an event or project from the external drive to your internal drive is to open fcpx, select it, go to the File menu, and choose “Move Event” or project.

      To reconnect to offline media, choose File > Relink Event Files (or Relink Project Files) and you can browse to the new location where the files are stored. Then, make sure you check locate “all” and “locate all.” That way, you just have to click on the first file and it will automatically relink to all the rest without having to click on each one.

  17. Tristan


    Thank you so much for your workaround, it has saved me and my colleagues hours of time. However, I do have one problem that I just cant shake. I have several events that have to be viewed on different systems so multiple people can view dailies/write scripts/edit. When I copy the events to other drives, all the original media (in proper alias form) is still there. But when those events are opened on different systems I still have to execute your workaround. Why is this? Thanks!

    1. Dan McComb

      If you copy the events to other systems, you have to do more than copy the aliases. You have to also copy the original media. After using FCPX for a few years, I’ve learned that the best thing is to let FCPX manage the data the way it wants to, rather than doing this type of workaround. So. If you want to send an event to another person, use the FCPX file menu to Duplicate Event (command-D) and send the duplicate to them. This will work every time.

      1. Tim

        Just having the original (and proxy) media will not automatically cause them to re-link. Try this (I also mentioned above):

        1- Use an external drive,
        2- Rename the external drive the same name as the original drive.

        That should trick FCPX to connect to both the original and proxy media without jumping through hoops or re-transcoding.

  18. Simon

    I have a curly one. I am a FCP beginner and like a dummy I moved stuff outside of FCP. It all went pear shaped of course and I frantically put all the stuff back but now I have only one piece of media missing from a compound clip and it will not come home ! I have tried all of the above and tried the re import function as well. I can see the media from within FCP and I can see where it is in Finder. When I performed the relink feature it did and I can actually see the media in the Events browser but it does not appear in the compound clip. I love FCPX and have learned ( now by the hard way so it seems ! ) to let FCP do its thing with media management. In future you can bet that I will be managing media from within FCP.
    This compound clip is a complex set of clips with 8 point mattes etc, so I would like to retrieve if at all possible.
    However if I need to recut, then so be it. I will pay for my media mismanagement sins !
    If you can possibly help with a solution , I would be most grateful.

  19. Tom Turner

    Where do you find the aliases? I’ve basically imported clips from my 7D into iPhoto, transfered them onto an external HD to then use in FCP X and it’s giving me the red thumbnails with the yellow warning signs when I import them into FCP X

    1. Dan McComb

      Hi Tom,
      Do you have the original files on your hard drive? I think iPhoto likes to create copies in its own folder structure, so you might have to do some digging to figure out where that is. Probably in the Pictures folder somewhere. But if you have originals on a hard drive, and you imported those directly into FCPX, then iPhoto should have nothing to do with it. If you’re seeing the red thumbnails, it’s because FCPX doesn’t see the original media. How far along in this project are you? I would reimport everything if you haven’t done any work on it yet.


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