Tech Notes on Final Cut Pro X

Posted on by Larry

I get lots of questions every day about Apple’s Final Cut Pro X. Most I can answer using articles I’ve already written or just my knowledge of the program. A few, though, require some research.

Last week, I headed over to Apple’s website to see what I could learn. Here are the results, written in Question/Answer format.

Q. Is there any scenario where FCP X will actually delete an Event or Project, rather than just move it to the Trash?

A. This depends upon the version of Final Cut Pro X. In 10.0.x, Events and Projects were distinct entities. When you selected an Event in the Event Browser, or a Project in the Project Library, and chose File > Move to Trash, the folder that contained that Event or Project would be moved to the Trash.

This behavior changed with the 10.1 update. Now, if you delete a Project or Event from within Final Cut, the selected object does not go into the trash. Instead, it is deleted from the Library inside FCP X and the Library bundle stored on your hard disk. You can recover a deleted Event or Project using the Undo command. (This is analogous to deleting text in a word processing document. The text is removed from the document, but doesn’t appear in the Trash.)

If you delete an Event or Project at the Finder level or from inside the Library bundle (which I do NOT recommend), then, yes, it will be in the trash.

Deleting media, though, is different from deleting Events and Projects. If you are inside Final Cut and delete a clip that is used elsewhere — in another Library or by another user with shared storage — then the media itself is not deleted. The clip is deleted from the Browser and the Event, but the media itself remains on the hard disk. This is because Final Cut has the media flagged that someone else or some other library is using it. This means you don’t get a dialog asking if you want to move the media to the trash because the media remains in place on the hard disk.

However, if the selected clip is not used anywhere else then, when you delete that clip, the system will ask you if you want to move the media file to the trash. If you deleted the wrong file, you can retrieve it from the trash later.

NOTE: This is another good reason not to delete media outside of Final Cut. You lose the protection FCP provides to prevent deleting media that is used in multiple projects or libraries.

Q. What is the best method for backing up FCP libraries that reference external media. Should File > Duplicate Project be used in this case? And does it keep media external or build it back into a library?

A. File > Duplicate Project will not back up the media by itself. You need to duplicate the library and then consolidate the media to the archival storage location.

Use File > Consolidate Files and pick the location to copy the media. You can also copy the media into the library bundle, but I recommend letting FCP handle media management in this case.

Q. In my editing, I notice an audio level shift when playing across two Timeline clips. The meters remain constant, but the audio levels on the second clip drop what feels like 4-6 dB. Exports seem to be OK, though.

A. This can occur when clips have a mismatch between the type of audio on the clip and the way it is being mixed down in the timeline. The next time it happens select the two clips and look in the Audio section of the Inspector at the type of audio on the two clips — stereo, surround or mono. It is best if all clips match. Also, check the panning of each clip and the project settings for a mismatch.

Q. I’m getting LOTS of questions on why the horizontal scroll bars appear/disappear. Are they suppressed when a trackpad is attached?

A. This is a Mavericks setting. The KnowledgeBase article is here:

Q. I’m hearing audible pops in multicam clips when switching camera angles, but not switching audio. These intermittent pops would also appear in the waveform of the exported project.

A. This was a known problem in 10.0.x that should be fixed in the 10.1 update.


If you have questions about Final Cut Pro X that you just can’t find answers to, feel free to contact me via my on-line Support page.


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7 Responses to Tech Notes on Final Cut Pro X

  1. JIm Caldwell says:

    Variation on the last Q&A. Occasionally in multicam clips in 10.1.1, I get an audible pop when I use a cross dissolve at the edit point where switching angles but if I delete the cross dissolve, the pop disappears. Sometimes, I can fix this by moving the edit point and then applying the cross dissolve but other times this either doesn’t work or moving the edit point is not an option.

    • Larry Jordan says:


      Audible pops are caused by editing where there is a loud audio source; normally, you should edit audio where the waveform is as short (small) as possible, but video does not always allow that. (Audio engineers call this the “zero crossing,”)

      The best solution is to add a short – 2-3 frame dissolve or fade up to remove the pop.


  2. Hi,
    Thanks fro this article, very interesting. Want to pick up on one thing though. RE Scrollbars. I don’t have a problem with them in FCPX, but in Motion, the vertical scroll bar of the Timeline Pane disappears. Closing and re opening the pane will bring it back. This is not a Mavericks setting, but did only start after mavericks was installed. I can still scroll the pane with an apple mouse, but there is nothing to click on in the scroll bar area.

  3. Andrew says:

    Hi Larry,

    As always, I learn something new each time I read your posts and listen to your podcast! Thank you.

    Regarding one of the Q&As above, I needed to free up space on my media drive. Inside FCPX 10.1.1, I copied the Event (and, I assume, all Projects and Media associated within) to another FCP Library (stored on another drive).

    I then sent the original Event (and, I assume, all Projects and Media within) to the Trash – hoping to free up that space on my media drive. However, it appears that Event has gone ‘somewhere’ but I am unable to actually free up the space.

    This is rather confusing. There is no “Empty Trash” option within FCPX and the media (etc) is not in my Finder Trash. How do I now delete the Event/Projects/Media associated and free up that much needed space.


    • Larry Jordan says:


      You are correct – FCP X is very cautious about actually deleting files. I’m not sure why you are getting these results. You SHOULD be able to see the deleted Event, plus any media it contains, in the Finder Trash.

      First, verify that the Event DID move to the second drive. Make sure all media and projects are in their new location and that everything works properly.

      Second, assuming the move was successful, quit Final Cut, go to the Finder and locate the original library icon.

      Right-click the library icon and choose “Show Package Contents” – this opens the Library bundle.

      Locate the Event folder you want to trash and drag it out of the library bundle (folder) and store it somewhere else – the Desktop is fine.

      Restart Final Cut and see if you can open the library from which you removed the Event. If the Library opens and everything works, you can now delete the Event folder you dragged to the desktop. If there are problems, quit FCP, and drag the Event folder back into the Library (you’ll need to right-click it to open it again).

      Normally, FCP should do what you expect. I’m not sure why it isn’t in this case.


      • Andrew says:

        Okay….. So – let me share what I have found after following your advice Larry (thank you very much, by the way) and delving deeper…

        1. I had 3 or 4 multi-cam weddings on my Media Drive which I was finished with – but did not want to completely delete (yet).

        2. Each of these weddings had a Highlights Film – in the form of a Project inside their respective Events folders.

        3. I wanted to create a sampler movie containing the Highlights Films of these weddings and did so by copying the footage/edits from the timelines of the respective Highlights Films Projects. These were each pasted into the timeline of my sampler Project (there in lies the problem, as I have since discovered).

        4. In order to free up space on my Media Drive, each Event (containing media and Projects) was copied to a separate drive. I then deleted each of the Events from my Media Drive – thinking (hoping/expecting) these would be deleted and to free up the space.

        5. After following your advice and digging deeper into the Libraries on both my Media Drive and my spare drive), it appears as though the Events have been successfully copied to the new drive. (Phew!)

        6. However, it appears as though the original media and transcoded media (etc, etc) of each of these Highlights Films (weddings) also resided in the Event folder for my new sampler Event. This makes sense (now!) – FCP was looking out for me here… 🙂

        7. I expect what I should have done was export each of the Weddings’ Highlights Films as ProRes movie files then imported each of those ProRes movies into the sampler Event (I assume this would not reduce quality at all?). This would only use a few GB each rather than the hundreds of GB each – true?

        Thank you for your advice and support Larry. I hope this becomes a resource to help others… 🙂

        • Larry Jordan says:


          Correct. FCP X copies entire media files when copying or moving events and projects. If you ONLY wanted the media in the highlight film, then exporting just the film would meet your goal.


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