Finding Clips in Final Cut Pro

Posted on by Larry

[This article was first published in the October, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Monthly Final Cut Studio Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.]


Over the last few versions, Apple has added new options in Final Cut Pro that make finding clips a lot easier. In this technique, I want to show you what some of them are.


Let’s say you’ve edited a clip video-only into the Timeline, then, realized later you want to add the audio as well. What’s the fastest way to find the Source clip?

Easy, a Match Frame.

Put your playhead in the Timeline clip you want to Match Frame and type F (View > Match Frame > Master Clip).

The Source clip loads into the Viewer and matches the position of the In, Out, and playhead of the clip in the Timeline. The Source clip is ready to edit back into the Timeline.

Now, let’s say you need to find another shot from the same clip you edited to the Timeline. Obviously, you can look for the same clip name in the Browser that matches your clip in the Timeline. But how boring is that?

Try this. Put your playhead in the clip in the Timeline that you want to find in the Browser and type Shift+F (View > Reveal Master Clip).

Assuming you first imported the clip into the Browser before editing it to the Timeline, the Source clip file name will be highlighted in the Browser.

Or, how about this? You want to find the Source clip of a clip you’ve edited into the Timeline, but you don’t want to use the same In and Out of the Timeline clip?

Piece of cake. Put your playhead in the Timeline clip and press Option+Command+F (View > Match Frame > Source file).


You are in the middle of editing a documentary and searching for a shot you haven’t used. The problem is you looked at so many shots, you can’t remember if you used one or not. Here’s a fast way to find out if you used a particular shot or not.

Load a clip from the Browser into the Viewer. Put your playhead on the frame in question in the Viewer and be sure the Viewer is selected. Type F (View > Match Frame > Master clip).

If you used the shot in the sequence, Final Cut will instantly move the playhead to the matching frame in the Timeline. Cool.

What if you are toward the end of a long, complex edit and you just want to know if you even used a Browser clip in your edit. Assuming you first imported the clip into the Browser before editing it to the Timeline, here’s something even faster that our last technique.

Select the clip in the Browser and choose View > Reveal Affiliated Clips in Front Sequence. If you are using any clips in the sequence that are taken from this master clip, all of them will be highlighted.

This is a great technique to use when you need to color correct the same clip which appears multiple times in the Timeline. Use this technique to find them all, then drop the color correction setting on all these clips at the same time. Instant adjustment.

Want to find the media file of a clip in the Timeline (or, in fact, in the Browser)?

Select the clip and choose View > Reveal Clip in Finder.

This is a great technique when you want to delete a related media file — or rename it.

Thinking about renaming a file, there are two ways you can change the name of a clip – from the Desktop or from inside Final Cut Pro.

Frequently, I will change the name of a clip in the Browser in Final Cut and I want to change the media file on my hard disk to have the same name. This is especially true when I’ve captured media from tape.

To change the name of a media file, select the clip in the Browser and choose Modify > File to Match Clip.

If you have reconnected missing media and need to change the name of a Browser clip to match the name of the file on your hard disk, select the clip in the Browser and choose Modify > Clip to Match File. (I find this technique less useful than changing the name of the media file because if I change the media file before starting Final Cut, the links automatically break between the media and FCP. For this reason, I always try to change media file names inside FCP to prevent this problem.)

One last clip trick. Have you ever had problems with a clip and you weren’t sure if it was a problem inside Final Cut or with the master file? Here’s a fast way to find out.

Select the clip you have questions about in either the Timeline or the Browser and choose View > Clip in Editor. The media file is instantly opened inside QuickTime, where you can check to see where the problem, if any, is located.


The Find command (Edit > Find) is a very valuable tool when you are looking for something in a sequence.

For instance, type Command+F (Edit > Find) and enter the name of a clip.

For instance, here I entered the word Track and clicked Find All. All the clip names that start with, or contain, the letters “track” are highlighted.

But we can do more with this command. You can also search marker names and text using the same command. This is a fast way to find the marker you left last night with the name “Start here.”

You can limit the range of your search by selecting one of the options in the Where pop-up menu.

Selecting All Tracks searches everywhere in the Timeline. Auto-Select Tracks just searches those tracks where the auto-select icons are dark. And From In to Out only searches all tracks from the Timeline In and Out points.

While you can’t search for specific filters or motion effects, you can search for transitions.

For example, let’s say you’ve applied both Edge Wipes and Cross-Dissolves on clips in the Timeline. And you decide to change all the Edge Wipes to, say, a Cross-Stretch.

Type Command+F (Edit > Find) and enter Edge for the search text. Click Find All and all the Edge Wipe transitions are highlighted.

Now, here’s the cool part. With all those transitions still selected go to Effects > Video Transitions > Stretch > Cross-Stretch and this new transition will instantly replace all the selected transitions. (You can do the same thing by dragging the transition from the Effects tab in the Browser on top of one of the selected transitions, but the Effect menu is faster.)

With each new version, Final Cut Pro improves how we can find clips and files inside the application. These techniques become especially helpful as deadlines keep getting shorter and our projects more complex.


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One Response to Finding Clips in Final Cut Pro

  1. dabon says:

    Hi Larry ancd thanks for this useful article.
    I need to find out how to find in wich sequence I used a clip.
    It’s a complex project and i’m looking for the sequence where a goup of clips are used.
    I’m sure that they are used in a sequence (the find tool with option used media find them) but i can’t find the sequence.
    Can you help me.

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