FCP X: Why Files Won’t Relink

Posted on by Larry

logo-fcpx103A reader recently asked:

I sometimes have to use low-res footage from a stock library in an initial edit [in Final Cut Pro X]. When I then need to replace the footage with the hi-res footage I cannot use File > Relink Media as the low-res is generally .MP4 and the hi-res is .MOV and FCP X does not let me replace footage with a different file format despite both clips being the same length.

I then have to replace the footage ‘from start’ and then re-trim on a clip-by-clip basis, which is very time-consuming.

I’ve run into this problem myself and decided to find out more. Here’s what I learned.

Final Cut Pro X doesn’t care about changing the file formats, but, rather, matching timecode and number of audio channels. The files can use different codecs and frame size and still relink.

What Apple is concerned about is to make sure that people don’t relink to the wrong files by accident, which can create a serious headache to undo.

Keep in mind that if you are creating proxy files manually, most compression presets assume that you are only creating stereo audio. If you change the number of audio channels in the proxy, when compared to the source media, your files won’t relink. It is very easy to overlook this change when you are in a hurry to compress media.

As always, let me know if your experience is different.

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31 Responses to FCP X: Why Files Won’t Relink

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  1. Nathan Veer says:

    Looks like I’m the latest victim of the un-re-linkable files. I processed my audio using Izotope RX 8, saved it and now it won’t re-link…I think because I converted stereo to mono in RX8. Is there a way to undo this? I undid all my edits in RX8 and re-saved to what should have been the original specs…but FCPX still doesn’t want to let me re-link it. Are there any options?

    • Larry says:


      There may be options – but I don’t know them, aside from importing, syncing and replacing files manually.

      I suggest you contact Apple Support – and let us know what you find out.


    • Mark Kopecky says:

      It happened to me today, for a first time in approx 10 years – I am unable to relink audio files. Usually I process track from external recorders in Logic after those tracks are in FCPX already. And I always trash original dry files from „folder“ and replace them with processed files from Logic – so Final Cut thinks, that those are still the same original files. I never had problems with this, until today. „No shared media range“ seems to be a problem. When I see the beginning time of original files in FCPX inspector – they are different than times of new files from Logic. Weird, as in such cases I always import dry audio files from recorders to the beginning of Logic’s timeline (1 1 1 1) and process them one by one. It is really weird – as some tracks are working, some not.
      I do not think stereo to mono or vice versa is a problem – at least in my case. Because I always process mono microphones to stereo (adding some early room reflections etc. if microphones used are not boom mics but rather under-cloths, so very dry) and I never had problems replacing original dry mono audio files with processed stereo files from Logic. Like I wrote – I trashed dry tracks from a „folder“ and moved the processed track in to this „folder“. It was not a problem if the „folder“ was outside FCPX Library or inside – so that means wether I leaved files outside Library or imported them in at the beginning…
      Luckilly I have original dry tracks, so I will finish editing and than share audio from FCPX as a master, import it to Logic than import it back and sync it manually – but it sucks. But this way, Nathan, you may be able to work it around too – if you have original unprocessed track(s). Just import the processed track(s) as a new file and than sync them with original audio track – either by letting FCPX create Synchronized clip by syncing video including original audio AND new processed audio – or you can sync audio visually in the timeline, as you probably know…

    • Mark Kopecky says:

      I found out, that if I am wotking with CAF, than it is working OK (replacing original audio files with processed ones from Logic). However in case of WAV files thare is a mess with Time Code, which probably makes the problem with relinking. Nathan, did you use CAF, AIFF or WAV. As Logic uses Broadcast wave natively > but in my case embedded TC (or Time Stamp)in bounced files from Logic differs from original files and I believe that is the problem.

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