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Reconnecting Offline Files

In Final Cut Express, the links between your clips and sequences in the Browser and the underlying media source files on disk are based on the media file's name and location. FCE relies on the file path described in a clip's Source property to maintain the link between that clip and its source media file. If you move or rename the source media files used in a project or sequence, the file path listed in the Source property becomes invalid and you'll be greeted with an Offline Files alert the next time you open your project. Don't panic. You can reconnect clips to media on your disk using the Reconnect Media command (Figure 4.22).

Figure 4.22

Figure 4.22 The Reconnect Files window.

It's important to understand how Final Cut Express's protocols governing clip versions affect the reconnection process. Starting in FCE 2, sequence clips by default are affiliated with a master clip in the Browser. The offline/online status of the master clip and all affiliated clips is linked; make any one affiliated clip offline, and all its affiliated clips are taken offline automatically. Fortunately, the same principle applies to relinking. Remember, however, that any independent clips in your sequence are considered separate copies of the clips in the Browser. If an independent clip is used in a sequence, the sequence copy and the Browser copy must be reconnected separately. This is a little tricky, because the sequence icon in the Browser doesn't display the red diagonal offline indicator to warn you that it contains offline clips. Selecting the sequence when you are reconnecting allows you to locate files for all offline clips in the sequence.

To reconnect offline files:

  1. Select the file or files to be reconnected (Figure 4.23). You can select clips or sequences in the Browser or clips in an open sequence in the Timeline. Select the sequence icon in the Browser to reconnect all clips in that sequence.
    Figure 4.23

    Figure 4.23 Select the clip you want to reconnect to its source media file.

  2. Do one of the following:
    • Choose File > Reconnect Media.
    • Control-click the clip or sequence; then choose Reconnect Media from the shortcut menu (Figure 4.24).

      Figure 4.24

      Figure 4.24 Control-click the clip; then choose Reconnect Media from the shortcut menu.

      The Reconnect Files window opens.

  3. In the Reconnect Files window, the Files to Connect list may display Offline, Online, or Render files, depending on your current file selection. Enable the button for each type of file you want to reconnect (Figure 4.25).
    Figure 4.25

    Figure 4.25 In the Reconnect Files window, enable the button for each type of file you want to reconnect. The Files to Connect list will filter out any clip types you deselect.

    The Files to Connect list updates to show only the type of files you have selected. Files with the same source media file location path are grouped together. The first file to locate is underlined.

  4. To specify how you want locate the file, do one of the following:
    • Click Locate if you want to navigate manually to the source media file's location. If you know the location of the file and you have multiple files to reconnect in the same location, this can be the fastest way to go.
    • Click Search if you want Final Cut Express to search for the file in all locations, or just in the locations you specify in the Search Folders pop-up menu.

    Final Cut Express searches the specified locations for the first file in your selection. If FCE successfully locates the source media file for your first offline clip, the Reconnect dialog box appears with that source file listed in the file window (Figure 4.26).

    Figure 4.26

    Figure 4.26 Final Cut Express searches your media drives for the first file in your selection, then opens the Reconnect window with that source file displayed in the file window. Files that don't match are dimmed. You may have to scroll down through the list to see your file.

  5. In the Reconnect dialog box, do any of the following:
    • Select a file type from the Show pop-up menu to limit the file list display to the selected file type.
    • Check Matched Name and Reel Only to restrict your selection from the file list to a name that matches exactly. Disable this feature to allow selection from the complete list of the folder's contents.
    • Select a drive or folder to search from the Search pop-up menu. Click the Next Volume button to move to the next media drive.
    • Check Reconnect All Files in Relative Path to automatically reconnect any other clips in the sequence that are associated with files in the same folder.
  6. Click Choose to select the source media file(s) to be reconnected with the clip.

    The Reconnect dialog box closes, returning you to the Reconnect Files window.

  7. Back in the Reconnect Files window, repeat Steps 4-6 until you have located all the files. If FCE's Search cannot locate a source media file, the Reconnect dialog box does not appear. You should click the Locate button to try to find the file manually, click the Skip File button to move onto the next file in your list, or click Skip Directory to move to the next file location, skipping all the files in the current directory.
  8. Click Connect to reconnect all the clips listed in the Files Located list with the source media you specified (Figure 4.27).
    Figure 4.27

    Figure 4.27 Click Connect, and all the clips listed in the Files Located list will be reconnected with the source media you specified.

Using the Offline Files dialog box to reconnect

Final Cut Express displays the Offline Files dialog box to alert you that media files have gone missing since the last time you saved a project. Any time you open a project or switch back to FCE from the Finder or another application, Final Cut Express rechecks the status of your media files. If FCE detects missing files, the Offline Files dialog box appears to alert you and offer you options for restoring order to your project.

To reconnect using the Offline Files dialog box:

  1. Final Cut Express displays the Offline Files dialog box (Figure 4.28), which alerts you that media files are missing from the current project. This list could include:
    • Missing source media files
    • Render files lost because they reference a missing media file
    • QuickTime reference movies made invalid by a missing media file
    Figure 4.28

    Figure 4.28 The Offline Files dialog box appears to alert you that media files have gone missing since the last time you saved your project.

  2. Do any of the following:
    • In the Forget Files section, check the box next to a file type (Figure 4.29) if you want to change the status of the files from "missing" to "offline" (by clearing the file path listed in their Source property) and remove them from the list of missing files. If you don't use the Forget Files option, Final Cut Express will continue to post alerts about missing media each time you launch the project, until you reconnect the media and clips or make the clips offline.
      Figure 4.29

      Figure 4.29 Check the box next to a file type in the Forget Files section to change the status of missing files from "missing" to "offline."

    • Check Media Files if you want to change the status of all missing source media files "missing" to "offline." All clips referencing these files will be marked as offline clips in your project, but you can still relink the files later.
    • Check Render Files if you want to mark all missing render files as offline. If you choose to forget (remove) render files, you won't have the opportunity to reconnect them later.
  3. To finish the process, choose one of the following options:
    • Click the Reconnect button (Figure 4.30) to open the Reconnect Files window feature, and then try to locate and reconnect the missing files. The Reconnect Files operation is described earlier in this chapter.
      Figure 4.30

      Figure 4.30 Click the Reconnect button to access the Reconnect Media feature and try to locate and reconnect the missing files.

    • Click Continue to exit the Offline Files dialog box. If you left the Forget Files options unchecked, FCE will continue to classify the files as missing or invalid. The next time you launch this project, FCE will display the Offline Files dialog box again, and you can choose to reconnect or to take files offline at that time.
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