FCP 7: Fixing Merged Clips

Posted on by Larry

“Merging files” in Final Cut Pro 7 means to combine a video file with at least one and no more than 24 unrelated audio files so that they appear to be a single linked clip where the audio and video is in sync. Merging is generally necessary when syncing video with audio files that were recorded to a separate device. (What we call “double system recording.”)

Most of the time, merging works fine. However, if your sequence settings don’t match the video clip settings, you’ll create merged clips that don’t mirror the size, quality, or frame rate of the original video. This means you need to create all new merged clips to correct this mistake.

This is easy if you only have one or two clips, but what if you have hundreds? That’s where the following technique, sent in by Jesús Pérez-Miranda, can help.

The benefit to this technique is that you don’t need to unmerge all those clips, which means your audio and video remain in sy nc; saving you from having to redo a ton of work.

FCP 7: Fixing Merged Clips

[Jesús writes:] Here’s the best and fastest solution that I discovered to fix this particular problem:

  1. Create a New Sequence that exactly matches the clip settings; in my case, this was 1080p/25.
  2. Edit all the Merged Clips with messed up properties (again, in my case, this was 960×720 / 23,98fps) into the new sequence.
  3. Select All the clips in the Timeline (Cmd-A)
  4. Go to Modify > Scale to Sequence (this fixes the Scaling issue).
  5. Go to Modify > Conform to Sequence (this fixes the Aspect Ratio issue).
  6. Go to Modify > Make Independent Clip (this turns the Affiliate clips into Master Clips, so when you drag them back into the Browser, they are copied as totally independent master clips).
  7. Drag all the clips at once from the Timeline to the Browser (they now appear at the correct Frame Size, and what’s more important, at the correct frame rate)
  8. Delete the old messed up merged clips from the project.


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Larry replies: Thanks, Jesús. This technique can save a lot of time.

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One Response to FCP 7: Fixing Merged Clips

  1. Jesús P-M says:

    Thanks Larry for posting this up! I’m glad that I could contribute to your wonderful site.

    This is something that FCP7 users wouldn’t expect to happen. You wouldn’t imagine that the properties of your merged clips could be somehow contaminated by the settings of the sequence where you merged them from. In fact, FCP7 User Manual doesn’t say anything about this in the section “Creating Merged Clips from the Timeline” (Pg. 425) nor anywhere else.

    Even more so, when you realize that the only messed up properties on the clips seem to be “Frame Size” and “Vid Rate”, both of them, considered by FCP7 “Media File Properties” (not master clip properties).

    I know there are a few of the media file properties that can be changed inside FCP via the masterclip (for example, “Reel” or “TC”). But what’s really surprising about this bug is that “Frame Size” and “Vid Rate” are media file properties that can’t be changed via the master clip… Then, we shouldn’t be able to change this properties by creating merged clips from the timeline, in such an easy way as dragging them to the Browser.

    The other “big” issue with merged clips inside FCP7 is that you will only see out-of-sync indicators if you keep your video and audio linked (that is, underlined) in the Timeline. According to the User Manual (Pg. 592) the reason for this is that the video item and the audio item of the merged clip come from two different media files… This shouldn’t be like that, specially, since in FCP7 it’s so easy to unlink clips accidentally in the timeline: sometimes you just need to make a few cuts with the razor blade in one track, what we call “Trhough Edits”, and most of the video or audio items of that clip become unlinked.

    It seems that Premiere Pro has inherited some of this merged clips issues from FCP7. I guess this is one of the reasons why most people rely on external applications (like Red Giant’s Plural Eyes 3) to syncronize dual system video and audio. From there, it is easy to export a Quicktime file (self-contained or reference) with the video and the desired audio tracks only, import the new clips to FCP7 or Premiere Pro, so they are treated as master clips referenced to only one media file (then, you always get your out-of-sync indicators, no matter if they are linked or unlinked).

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