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Broken links to external media - are FCPX aliases really 'aliases'?

354 Views 3 Replies Latest reply: Jul 3, 2012 4:31 AM by Matt Davis (UK) RSS
Matt Davis (UK) Calculating status...
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Jun 30, 2012 5:44 AM

Let's say you have an Event, and you import footage from a folder on a separate volume - unchecking the box 'Copy Files to Final Cut Events folder'.


Your Original Media folder is now full of 'Alias' files - double-clicking them actually opens the original files. We know they aren't the REAL files because 1) they are mere bytes in size and 2) they have little bent arrows on them, the Mac convention for denoting these icons as Aliases.


But ARE they traditional aliases? If I make an alias using the Finder's Cmd-L, then get info on it with Cmd-I, I have the option to click a button to 'Select New Orignal...' - but the alias made by FCP does NOT have this button, nor does it have the option to select a Finder colour.




My issue is that a project I was working on suddenly 'stopped working'  because about 10-15% of the referenced files' links (these pesky faux aliases FCPX uses) decided that they would point to the folder they were enclosed in, rather than to the file they should be referencing. Painstakingly making 47 new aliases didn't work because they weren't real aliases. Other aliases looked fine (appearing to use FCP7 QT icons), but if opened would either need their Alias fixed (at which point they looked like ordinary QT aliases) or more often wouldn't open at all, resulting in a Mac OS error -43.



Note that in the image above, all 'good' links are QT icons, all bad links are FCP7 icons, and the folders were once movies and now point to the Original Media folder.


This meant that the project in its current (and backed up) state would not open.



  • Have you had this problem?
  • Do you know what these files really are if they're not Aliases?
  • Anyone know how to fix them?


Please note that, once these links are broken, untl there's a fix, FCPX won't open that edit and the whole Event/Project is toast.

MacBook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.8)
  • CodeWench Calculating status...

    I think what you may be seeing is the UNIX hard versus soft (symbolic) links.


    I suspect that FCPX creates hard links to the original file, but when you create an alias in OSX, you create a soft link.


    Or something like that, anyway.


    Have a look at Wikipedia:

   <-- talks about OSX Aliases

    <-- talks about UNIX hard links

   <-- talks about UNIX Soft/Symbolic links

  • Luis Sequeira1 Level 5 Level 5 (4,815 points)

    FCP X creates Symbolic links (a.k.a. "soft links"). These appear in the Finder with a little arrow, just like aliases. To an unsuspecting user, they are virtually indistinguishable from aliases, but they are not the same thing.


    A symbolic link is like a little text file that basically contains the name of the real file to which it is "pointing".

    I don't buy the notion that the symbolic links "decided" to point somewhere else. Anyway, you could probably sort that mess out by remaking the soft links. Here is how you create a soft link to a file with minimal typing:


    1) Open Terminal

    2) Type the following, without the quotes, but with the SPACE at the end:

      "ln -s "

    3) Drag the original file from the Finder to the Terminal

    2) Drag the destination FOLDER from Finder to the Terminal

    3) Type Enter


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