Panicking because you think you might have lost some work in Final Cut Pro? These tips might be able to help you get those timelines and edits back.

Final Cut Pro has a very uncluttered GUI compared to other NLEs. However, projects still get lost in the Library, so here’s a few ideas on how to find your cut that you’ve just spent hours working on.

1) After a restart

Final Cut Pro sometimes has complete amnesia after being closed and then reopened. I think we have all had near heart attacks when FCP opens up an older version of a project timeline and there’s work missing.

If FCP opens up on a completely random sequence and you can’t remember the Event the original Project was in, just click on the 'Projects' Library Smart collection.

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This will list ALL the Projects in the Library so you can spot your cut. Whilst you’re at it, why not make an Event for all of your Projects? By putting a space at the beginning of the name, it will go to the top in your Event list in the Browser.

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2) I can’t remember which version I was working on!

Do the above, then click on Content Created column in the browser. This will list the Projects in the descending order when they were created (if that little arrow is pointing down). Your sequence is probably the one at the top or bottom.

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If you’ve been editing multiple sequences, add the 'Last Modified' column to a custom Column Set and that will show you which Projects got modified last. 

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Ah yes! Final Edit V2, we had to revert to the earlier montage. How could we have forgotten?

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3) Editing a copy

When versioning Projects, it is very easy to edit the wrong version. Let’s say you are on Cut 4 and want to carry on editing, but keep that as a backup. After renaming the new copy to Cut 5, make sure this is the version you continue to edit with. If your versioned Projects end up with missing work, check the previous version.

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You can of course right click to use Snapshots here to semi-automate the process. Using a lot of Snapshots will bog down the Library. All Compound Clips & Multicams in the Snapshot remain at the state when the Snapshot was taken.


4) I’ve deleted a Project timeline I was working on.

Don’t worry, we have all done this more than once in our careers. Not a problem, you need to copy the sequence across from a backup.

Open the latest backup from the ‘Open Library’ item in the File menu.

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You should now have another Library open with a timestamp after the name. Navigate to the desired Project and drag it into your original library. Don’t worry if you get a warning notice saying you are copying between libraries.

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Close the backup and then continue working on the Project you copied over. You might have to go back further down the date list of backups if you’ve only just noticed something is missing.


5) I deleted the Library by mistake

Really? (Deep breath) OK, a few fixes here. First of all check the macOS Bin to see if it is there, if so drag it out to the desktop, make sure everything is ok and then continue.

Not in the Bin? Then it is time to revisit the backups again. You can open a backup from a blank Library by selecting ‘Other’ on the opening dialogue and then navigating to the Final Cut Backups folder which normally lives in the Movies folder. Unless you have told it otherwise in the Library storage settings.

I just go straight to the Final Cut Backups folder and copy the latest backup to the desktop (ALT Drag). Then rename it to lose the timestamp.


6) I can’t find my Library, but I know it is on my Mac somewhere

First of all check the default save location which is the top level in a User’s Movies folder. Not there and you know what it is called? Do a Spotlight search by clicking on the magnifying glass in the top right of the macOS menu bar and entering in the name of the Library. Quite intrigued here why I also get offered murder and eyelash website searches!

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Still can’t find it? Take a look a this video, it was made a few years ago, but as you can see from the YouTube comments, it has saved more than one production!


So hopefully, losing a Project or a Library isn't the end of the world, but it does highlight the need for a proper naming convention and being extra careful where things are stored AND backed up.

Have you got a data rescue tip? If so, please contribute in the comments below. 


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.


BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.


Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!


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