I’m getting a lot of questions recently about why files go off-line in Final Cut Pro X.
Most problems exist because we move files using the Finder, rather than Final Cut. The difficulty with using the Finder is that files can be stored in multiple places, which means when you THINK you are moving everything, you are only moving a portion of the files you need, which causes all kinds of problems.
There are several reasons why files will go off-line. Here are some of the most common:
The easiest way to fix this is to select all your files in the Browser, then choose File > Transcode Media, check Create proxy media, then click OK. Proxy files will be created in the background, allowing you to edit in the foreground.
The easiest way to fix this is to make SURE, when ingesting files from a camera card, to copy them into the Library. FCP X allows you edit while the files are transferred from the card to your hard disk.
NOTE: Here’s an article that explains this in more detail.
When Final Cut Pro X was first released, it had very limited media management, using an extremely limited system of folders for storing media and events. Since that time, multiple updates have significantly improved media management within Final Cut.
The reason this is important is that Final Cut files can be stored in multiple places, and if you don’t know where all your files are stored, you can easily forget to move them when you are migrating projects:
Where files are stored for each project is determined by the Library Properties panel. To view this, select the Library you want to verify, then choose File > Library Properties (shortcut: Control-Cmd-J).
To change the storage location of any group of library elements, click the Modify Settings button in the top right corner of the Library Properties window.
At this point, you can specify new hard disk and folder locations for media, cache files and backups.
BIG NOTE: Changing these settings does NOT move any existing files. The best time to change these settings are at the beginning of a project. Changing these settings in the middle of a project means that your files will be stored in multiple locations – the old one and the new one.
The best and safest way to move files is to use Final Cut itself.
For example, to move a specific project and all the files it contains, select the Project in the Browser, then choose File > Move Project to Library.
NOTE: If you select multiple Projects, you can move all selected Projects into the same location at one time.
This allows you to move a Project into an existing Library – which must first be open in Final Cut for you to choose it – or create a new Library.
If you choose to create a new Library, give the new Library a name and a storage location.
Then, decide if you just want to move the camera native files, or include optimized and proxy files as well. Remember, if you don’t move proxy files, they will be offline in the new Library until you create them as outlined above.
Even if these files are stored in multiple folders and hard disks, you can consolidate them all into one new library during this move.
You can also move the entire contents of an Event from one location to another. As with Projects, select the Event in the Browser, then choose File > Move Event to Library.
NOTE: If you select more than one Event, you can move all selected Events into the same location at one time.
The process is exactly the same as moving a Project.
If Library or Event files are stored on multiple hard disks, but NOT multiple folders on the same hard disk, you can consolidate all your library files into a single location by selecting the Library, then choosing File > Consolidate [Library/Event] Files.
This allows you to move all selected files into a single new location, and choose which of these files get moved.
Just as you can move files, you can also copy files to a new location. Use the File > Copy… menu option, instead of File > Move…
Also, I’ve written a lot about media management in Final Cut Pro X. Take a look at these articles and you’ll find answers to many common questions about media management in Final Cut.
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