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. Tommy Brown says:

    Hi Larry.

    I came across this comment by chance but did ask you a simliar thing on YouTube but is there any way to force a re-link of media even with a different file extension. I know the media is the exact but the extensions are different?


    • Larry says:


      FCP X SHOULD relink with different extensions, but not if the media specs are different. If it doesn’t, contact Apple support to get this on their radar.


  2. paul says:

    Dear Larry,

    Big fan of your courses, bought one 🙂

    I have a similar issue. I created proxy media on import with a low res version of the main source file. Did all my edits. I detached the audio from the main source.

    Would that – for fcpx – be equal to ‘changing’ the audio channels? And if so, should I then ditch the audio from the high-res file first for re-link to work? What would you do?

    I hope I am clear in how I describe my problem.

    Best wishes,

    • Larry says:


      If you imported the media with audio, then detached it in the timeline, you should be fine simply relinking to your high-res media. Or, even easier, if you use FCP X to create the proxies, just switch between Proxy and Original/Optimized media in the View menu in the top right corner of the Viewer.


  3. Lorne Ould says:

    Hi Larry,
    I have moved content from one drive to another, the exact same files, they do not link ?, Any Idea why.

    • Larry Jordan says:


      They will unlink because your hard disks have different names.

      You should be able to relink them using the “Relink” menu. If they don’t, it’s time to call Apple Support.


      • Solange J. says:

        Bonjour Larry,

        I moved a large library to a second, larger hard disk. When I tried to relink the media I received a message it missing audio.
        Following you suggest, I just changed the name of the second hard disk identical to the first one. Magically, I relinked media as usual without problems.

        Thank you VERY MUCH!!!

  4. Swapnil Bhartiya says:

    I recently worked on a very complicated documentary with 100s of shots. Now when I want to make some changes, the music track is missing. I can’t relink , I can’t replace and FCPX is NOT giving any option to fix it. Since the audio track was trimmed and cut to beats its painful to FIX the project. Any solution?

    • Larry says:


      Ouch! I’m not sure what you mean by “missing.” If the audio file was erased using the Finder, there’s not a lot you can do.

      Give me some more details.


      • Swapnil Bhartiya says:

        I had music in the music directory. I created a project…then opened it next day, the music files shows red. I tried to relink from the Music folder get this error:
        “The original file and new file have no shared media range.

        Relinked files must have the same media type and similar audio channels as the original files, and must be long enough to cover all the clips that reference the files.”

        It’s the same file.

        • Larry says:


          The “Music Directory” is your iTunes folder. See if you can copy that file to the desktop – or anywhere outside iTunes. See if you can relink to it again.

          Was the original music file attached to video in any way? Audio has no timecode, all it uses for timing is the sample rate.

          If moving the file doesn’t work, you’ll need to contact Apple Support. FCP X should relink to the same file – my only thinking is that something made one of those files different.


  5. Lorne Ould says:

    Hi Larry,
    is there a way to utilize the keyer in FCPX for all colours ?,
    as in the older versions of FCP’s eyedropper.
    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  6. Suzi says:

    Hi Larry,

    I’ve just “updated” a project to 10.4.5 and am having issues with only certain multicam interview clips. I know that the original files are indeed there because when I drill down into my multicam clip, I see them. However, and this is the weird part, that association seems to get lost a level higher (ie at the multiclip macro level where I do the keywording and then any timeline compound clips where they are used). I’ve tried relinking and even though they are there, FCPX isn’t linking to them an.

    Any ideas? I’m stumped!

  7. Nonye says:

    Hi there, I am new to this site/forum and seeking desperate advice.
    I’ve shared my project to someone else by copying the folder I work in (that is including all the files included) I left everything in place figuring it would be easier for him to open and relink files when he imports the fcpx project.
    The only difference should be the name of the HDD.

    now it seems that all the compound clips cannot relink?
    He sees all the separate (non-compound) clips in the event viewer.
    But I always work with compound clips… allot.. even compound clip in compound clip, and copies that are new parent compound clips etc.
    I see allot of (old) forums where this seems to be an issue for FCPX?

    Can anyone advice?

    • Larry says:


      Hmmm…. First, make sure you copied the Library file, as well as your media files.

      Second, if all the files were copied properly, everything should relink, once you point to a file on the new hard disk.

      Other readers’ may have a thought, but as you are under deadline pressure, I suggest contacting Apple Support.


  8. Alex says:

    Hi Larry,

    Any word on manually linking proxies? Shooting on the canon c300mkii is great bc you can make proxies as you go. But I’m currently not finding a way to link them in FCPx. Seems bonkers you can’t do this.

  9. Paul says:

    Hi Larry,
    Recently imported a bunch of FS-7 footage that was converted in Catalyst browse to ProRes 422. The original and the transcoded footage had 8 channels of audio (5 were blank). On import to FCPX, I selected “remove silent channels”. Had to move the project and now media will not relink. I believe it is because my source footage has 8 channels but FCP is looking for 3. is there a workaround?

    • Larry says:


      I’ve run into this myself, and I don’t have a good answer for you. I agree, they SHOULD link and I also agree that they don’t.

      Time to call Apple Support.


    • Antoine says:

      Hi Paul, do you have any news on that problem from Apple ? Or did you find a solution ?

  10. Aphrem says:

    Hi, my wife moved her videos from her mac laptop to a usb drive. Relinking doesn’t work. We tried it several times with the files on her laptop and usb, but only around half the files are found and relinked. Any idea how to proceed, or is it time to call apple?

    • Larry says:


      My guess is that the USB drive is formatted as FAT-32, which is not a format that is kind to Mac files. Move the files back to your hard disk, then make SURE that they all have the correct file extension (i.e. .tif, or .mov, or .mp4 … whatever).

      I suspect that once files are located back on a hard disk and with the correct extensions, they should link OK.

      If not, it’s time to call Apple Support.


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