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Deleting Media

To delete media files, you have to go outside Final Cut Express, locate the files in the project’s Capture Scratch folder, and move them to the Trash.

You delete unused render files from disk in the same way. You’ll find render files in folders labeled Audio Render Files and Video Render Files. If you render frequently, you would be surprised how much storage space your old render files can hog.

To delete a source media file from disk:

Save your project and quit Final Cut Express.

In the Finder, navigate to the project’s Capture Scratch folder and select the media file you want to delete.

Control-click the selected media file; then choose Move to Trash from the shortcut menu (Figure 4.31).

Figure 4.31. In the project’s Capture Scratch folder, Control-click the media file you want to delete; then choose Move to Trash from the shortcut menu.

The source media file is moved to the Trash.

Relaunch FCE and open the project.

If you have not previously deleted the clips that reference the source media file, you’ll see the Offline Files window listing the media file you moved to the Trash.

Click the Forget Files Movie button to update your FCE project’s item tracking (Figure 4.32).

Figure 4.32. Clicking the Forget Files Movie button updates your FCE project’s item tracking, removing the deleted file from the project’s database.

To finally delete the files, you’ll need to empty the Trash manually. If you change your mind later, before you empty the Trash, and want to retrieve the files, drag them out of the Trash and reconnect them to your project by using the Reconnect Media command. If you empty the Trash, your files are finally deleted.


  • You can delete render files in the same way. With your Finder window in Column view, you can preview each media file in the QuickTime preview utility built right into the file window. Select the clip you want to preview, and the QuickTime preview appears automatically. This trick works only in the Finder, though—not within the Reconnect dialog box in FCE.

FCE Protocol: Deleting Media

How do you delete media files from Final Cut Express the right way?

Before you toss that folder full of source media files in the Trash, take a moment to review the way Final Cut Express tracks files. Remember that the Browser clips you use to construct sequences in your project are not actually media files; they are pointers to the actual media files on disk, and Final Cut Express’s links to those underlying source media files are location dependent. If you open the Item Properties window for any clip in Final Cut Express, you’ll see the directory path to the underlying source media (the clip’s directory path also appears in the Browser’s Source column). If you have created subclips, repeated the same clip in a sequence, divided a clip with the Razor tool, or created multiple versions of your sequence, you can have quite a few different clips all pointing to the same media file on disk.

If you delete a clip from the Browser folder or a Timeline sequence, you haven’t thrown out the underlying media source file on disk. You can re-import the file to reconnect it to your project, or if you’ve already used that clip in a sequence, you can drag a copy of the sequence version of the clip back into the Browser. Dragging a clip from an open sequence in the Timeline back into the Browser places a copy of the sequence version of the clip in your project.

Your source media files stay on disk until you drag them to the Trash in the Finder. It’s best not to delete media files linked to an open project while Final Cut Express is running.

You should save and close the project before you delete media files in the Finder. Determine your own comfort level here, but quitting Final Cut Express before you trash any media files would be the safest course.

Once you’ve deleted a source media file, all clips referring to that file are marked as offline. Final Cut Express warns you that the clips are offline each time you open the project until you delete the clip references, including any versions of the clips that appear in sequences, or tell FCE to “forget” the offline clips. See “Using the Offline Files window to reconnect” earlier in this chapter.

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