FCP 7: Using the Match Frame Function

Posted on by Larry

[ This article was first published in the May, 2004, issue of
Larry’s Monthly Final Cut Studio Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]

Match Frame is a technique that allows you to put your playhead on a shot in the Timeline and find that exact same frame from the original shot in the Browser.

For instance, Match Frame is an excellent tool to use to add sync audio to a clip that you edited to the Timeline as video only.

Best of all, it’s easy to use. (The screen shots used in these next two techniques are courtesy of the Goucher College Theater video production of The Bacchae, by Paul Jordan.)


1. Put your playhead in the clip in the Timeline to which you want to find the Match Frame. Placement of the Playhead is important, because whichever frame is displayed in the Canvas will be the frame that is matched and displayed in the Viewer.



2. Type the letter “F,” or select View -> Match Frame -> Master clip.



3. The original clip from the Browser will be automatically loaded into the Viewer and the playhead will be positioned on exactly the same frame that the playhead is displaying in the Canvas.


From here, you can edit it back into the Timeline as you would any other clip.


Sometimes, though, you may want to find the original clip in the Browser. For instance, you want to use a different clip from the same longer shot.



4. In this case, put your Timeline playhead inside the clip you want to find and type, “Shift-F,” or go to View -> Match Frame -> Source File.



Notice that the master clip for the Timeline clip is now highlighted in the Browser.


(Important note: For version 4.1.x of FCP, this keyboard shortcut is listed as Shift-Command-F, which doesn’t work. Command-Option-F does.)


Tom Wolsky added a comment to this article:

This technique only works if you’ve logged and batch captured your material. If you working with sub-clips or some other post-capture organization technique, the Find Unused technique is, unfortunately, pretty useless.

UPDATE – October 2007

Christian Johnson writes:

If I use just the video part of a clip, i.e. as an insert or b/roll and then decide to call up the audio to include also, how do I do it without having to go back to search the original footage, is there a command that retrieves the audio track or re-links it_

Larry replies: Thanks for writing! Put your playhead in the clip you want to locate and type the letter F.

If the clip is on a track OTHER than V1, then before pressing F, option-click the gray Auto-Select button for the track containing the clip you want to locate (the buttons are on the left side of the timeline).

Final Cut

The clip you want is loaded into the Viewer with matching In, Out, and Playhead position.

If you turned off the Auto-Select buttons, option-click on the same button to turn everything back on again.

UPDATE – 10/4/07

Nathan Seay and Brendan Cusack both wrote to say:

To avoid messing with the auto-select buttons, you can simply select a clip in the timeline. With the playhead parked over the selection, hit F and it will ignore the auto-select buttons (it works with Shift-F too). This is much faster and easier, especially if you’re interested in an audio track.

Larry replies: This, too, can work. However, as Brendan points out, this is often not reliable. Using the Auto Select buttons works every time.

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5 Responses to FCP 7: Using the Match Frame Function

  1. Ashtam Dev says:

    When I try to match frame its show media infoline in fcp 7 how to resolve it

    • Larry says:


      I really don’t understand your question. Would you try asking again?



      • Jared says:

        I am having the same issue. When I match frame, a “Media Offline” message appears in the Viewer window. The clip does not appear in the Viewer; the only thing that appears is a “Media Offline” banner and the clip name. It’s odd because some clips match frame just fine but 80% of the time it gives me this issue. Any ideas?


  2. Dharam says:

    i had same issue match frame show media offline in viewer , but now i am facing another issue rearding match frame, when i do match frame it shows some other media then the footage on my playhead

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