FCP X: Display Source Timecode

Posted on by Larry

Normally, when you skim clips in the Event Browser, the timecode bar in Final Cut Pro X displays the source timecode.

In fact, when you select View > Show Skimmer Info, a small window appears below each clip as you skim it displaying both the clip name and timecode.

But, in the Timeline, all we get to see is the timecode of the project. Unless, you know this cool secret tip….

Check View > Clip Skimming so it is checked.

Then, turn on skimming (shortcut: S).

Now, as you skim inside clips in the timeline, the timecode display shows source timecode.

Turn on snapping (shortcut: N) to snap the skimmer to an edit point.



Here’s another article that talks about Clip Skimming in a bit more detail.

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18 Responses to FCP X: Display Source Timecode

  1. William Hohauser says:

    OK, this is a great tip. Now here’s a related question; I am working on a documentary and the writer was working off raw camera file to get sound bites and quotes. Unfortunately their video player didn’t read the SMPTE time code on the files so all the selects are based on zero from the beginning of each file. How do I get FCPX to read time elapsed in the Event viewer so I am not doing time calculations to locate every select?

    • Larry Jordan says:


      You can’t. Nor, for that matter can you do this in FCP 7 or Premiere.

      However, what you CAN do is select the Browser clip and choose “Open in Timeline.” This displays the clip in its own project, where the project timecode starts at 0:00.

      You can then create your selects from there.


      • Eric says:

        Having the same timecode problem. Has there been any updates that allow you to browse clips by a zeroed out timecode? Can I transcode video clips to reset timecode without losing quality? If I create a compound clip of the entire clip in question I can start the timecode at zero. But will i run into problems later editing with all of those compound clips.

      • Diego Delgado says:

        I love your videos, and just found this blog. The only quick solution that works for me bringing the counter to zero is to make a compound clip. You need to make sure the audio channel you want to work on is properly sorted out and that means bringing it to a new project, but only for a minute, after you adjust it, you can select whatever part you want from the clip directly from the browser.

  2. Mike says:

    I have a client in the room, and he would like to view the timecode from afar. Can I have a separate timecode window display?



  3. Bill Ringen says:

    Hi Larry, Bill at Cleveland Clinic. Just read the above. Question, can you burn the source timecode into the video on the timeline? Using FCP X. Was easy in FCP 7. I want to take a 10 min interview. drop it down on a timeline (project) and burn a window onto the project, that shows source timecode. Then export. (share) The off site producer can then pull their sound bites with ease. They see the source timecode right on the video interview. They don’t need viewing software on their end that reads source timecode. They just see it on the screen. Thanks Bill

    • Larry says:


      Not with FCP X. You CAN using Compressor. Hmmm… you could create a custom Compressor setting and use that during export from FCP X.

      THAT would work.


      • Bill Ringen says:

        OR…. a custom droplet on your desktop. Then take the raw interview clip,, drop it on the droplet, and it spits out a new clip (file) with timecode window burned in, showing source timecode for Producer use.

  4. This was fantastic. Thank you so much.

  5. Simona says:

    Hi Larry,

    Thanks for the post. I have one probably really simple question: I recently switched to shooting with a Canon 7D Mark II, and for some reason since I have done that, the time code in FCPX displays the cumulative time code shot for all material with the camera instead of the timecode for an individual clip (which is what it showed for material shot with my previous camera, a Canon Rebel T4).

    I have tried everything but can’t figure out how to change the time code back to show just the time code of a specific clip. At this point I’m not even sure if it’s a setting in my Canon or FCPX.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

    • bob says:

      any updated threads on the last question from Simona?

      i am really struggling with this. i have done over 100 hours of translation on time codes clip by clip, but FCPX is showing me accumulative timecode. now i cannot easily go back to find the translation markers.

      i am forced into doing time math which sometimes takes a few minutes per dialogue marker. ugh.

      • Larry says:


        You can only display source timecode in the Browser.

        However, as a workaround, put your playhead on the clip in the Timeline that you want to determine source timecode for, then type Shift-F. This selects the source clip in the Browser, and jumps the playhead to the same frame in the source clip.

        Then type Control-Y to toggle on the display of the timecode of the source clip in the Browser.


  6. dhgjrhj says:

    How in earth can i turn off this annoying time code? i want to skip to certain time within the video NOT the time it was shot…

    • Larry says:


      You can’t “turn off” timecode, it is essential to all video editing; regardless of which NLE you use. However, by default, the timecode displayed in the Timeline starts at 0:00:00:00 with the start of your project, so it is easy to see how long your project is. (Remember, timecode is displayed as Hours:Minutes:Seconds:Frames; you can ignore the frames it that’s too much detail.)

      To jump to a specific point in your project, click in the timecode display and type in the time you want to go to – you don’t need to use punctuation. So, to go to three minutes and twenty seconds into your project, type: “32000” – without the quotes.


  7. Maegan says:

    Hello, I have a question about embedded timecode (not sure I fully grasp the difference between the different types of timecode, smpte, rtc, etc..)

    I have footage and sound recorded off a tascam and two dslrs. My problem is that the tascam couldn’t be synced by HDMI because there was too much action in the shoot, so RTC timecode was used and there is substantial drift.

    I had an idea to retime the audio in FCPX, change the project timecode to match the audio TC, and re-export it to make up for the drift. However when I re-export it, TC is lost. This is a big problem for me because I have huge amounts of footage to sync and was hoping to use Sync-N-Link X to do so. Is there a way I can generate timecode for my audio file?

    Thank you!

    • Larry says:


      Audio files don’t contain timecode – EXCEPT the Broadcast WAV format (BWAV). So, if you are exporting and expect to use timecode, you’ll need to select this codec.

      However, digital files should not drift – unless there is a sample rate mismatch. In general, audio files for video should use a 48,000 sample rate. Anything else has the potential to drift.


      • Maegan says:

        Thank you, Larry! I can’t find the BWAV codec in FCPX, is this something I would need another program for? Compressor or Protools, maybe?

        I just want to be sure I understand. If I have RTC timecode in my Tascam, could this potentially drift out of sync in the timecode but not within the file? If the Tascam is set-up at 48, 000 sample rate, the audio file itself should not have any drift in it and thus the audio recording be the same length as the audio from my camera that is filming 48, 000 in 29.97 DF?

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