All I want to do is take large videos, cut them up into small clips, and then reorder those clips into a new video. Yet this seems completely impossible to do with Final Cut Pro X… it can't be impossible because this must be a common need but it won't let me copy the cut clips into the media library and if I can't do that how can I do this? Why is this so hard to do?

  • FCPX is nondestructive to the source video. It does let you select portions of source video, put them on a timeline, and trim them as necessary, but it will not reduce your original media in any way, even if that's what you're trying to do. All other NLE's support media management to reduce file footprint.. So, if you want to permanently delete the unused portions, you'll have to manually export the used portions, and then delete the originals. See my question here: video.stackexchange.com/questions/7455/… Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 10:05

4 Answers 4


The clips you cut in your timeline can’t be copied into the media pool because technically these aren’t individual clips yet. Just references to the original media. You can rearrange these easily in your timeline. Just drag and drop clips in your timeline. Everything will move around the clip you change position.

  • Sure. But let's say I have a clip, and I've used the first half of that, edited it, etc. And now I want to put a different clip after this first half. So, I delete the second half. And add the second clip in instead. Now of course I can retrieve the video from that second half again, but 1. it will take me a minute or two to find the right place. 2. There are two clips stuck together, and I don't want to have to realign them again. I mean, for the second issue I can create a compound clip. But it'd be nice to be able to somehow 'store' a reference to the the second half of each of these clips. Commented Jul 10, 2022 at 16:08
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    When you cut a clip in two parts you can add a different clip “into” this cut and the second half of your initial clip will move out of the way. There is no need to delete the second half and then later add it again. Commented Jul 11, 2022 at 11:57
  • Sure, one could do that. But I don't really want it cluttering my timeline. You can say that's because I have a tiny brain, and I'll agree. I actually came up with some ways to handle this issue. But I've put them in a new question video.stackexchange.com/questions/35494/… I also describe them in a youtube video youtube.com/watch?v=D8vvWpBSTy4 Commented Jul 12, 2022 at 12:15
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    Thanks Hugh, these are good solutions. It probably depends on the workflow and how long this “rest” would remain in the timeline. If it is just a short time, I would insert a larger Gap to move the “rest” out of my view and do the changes in front of the Gab. When I’m done, I delete the Gab, and the “rest” is back. For lengthier or more complicated work, your methods are admittedly better. Commented Jul 12, 2022 at 12:36

Calm down. Final Cut Pro X is a software for professionals and as such requires a certain investment of time until you can work with it. If you are not willing to do this you should look for a simpler tool.

Yes, of course it's possible to do what you want, but to me it sounds like you don't know the basics of how to operate the software. To get you started, these videos might help you:


Blade Tool


When you import clips into Final Cut Pro and make a project, they should all show up in that project. If you want to put specific clips in the timeline, then you need to select the specific part in the window that includes all your imported media. None of the imported media will go away if you do this. Once you import the media, it doesn't matter how much you cut it up when editing, the media will still be there.

  • Just for clarification, when you cut out a specific piece from one long clip to use in your timeline, the original clip remains intact. Don't think of it as cutting out that specific bit, think of more as copying it into the timeline. It doesn't disappear, you are just making a replica.
    – 267126
    Commented Jun 22, 2020 at 15:03

It's certainly possible to drag all of your clips to the timeline, then chop out the parts you don't want, and then drag-and-drop the remaining pieces into the order you want. I used to do that with the old-school version of FCP (prior to FCPX), and it still works. (In fact, as you do this, it closes gaps where you delete parts of clips, which is very convenient.)

Or, you can play the clips in the bin using J/K/L to control playback, I/O to mark in and out points, and E to take that part of the clip and throw it into the timeline at the end. So you could hop around in the clips in the bin, throwing pieces you want into a rough cut in the timeline without ever touching the timeline.

Or, you can play through the clips in the bin and use markers to remind you where you're hearing/seeing things you really want to use, then go back and do the I/O/E thing to throw them the timeline. (You can be a little loose and fast with your I/O since you can always expand your clips in the timeline to reveal parts you missed with your I or O.

And you have options other than E to put pieces of clips in the timeline at places other than the end. (And you can drag-n-drop highlighted pieces of clips into the timeline.) For example W will insert the currently selected piece of a clip into the timeline at the current playhead or if you move your cursor down into the timeline it creates a red line where the insertion will occur. You could literally jump to 5 places in your timeline and insert your clip 5 times in about a second if you wanted to.

If you're envisioning cutting clips up and arranging them in the bin, FCPX doesn't work that way as far as I can tell. If you're troubled by the pieces of clips sliding around in the timeline to close gaps, that's the storyline concept of FCPX: you have a main storyline that closes gaps and to which you link supporting elements, above, that move with the part of the storyline they're attached to but that do not close gaps when edited/deleted.

FCPX is different from most editors and from prior versions of FCP. It's relatively affordable, but it's very much for professionals who expect to use keyboard shortcuts, want to work super-efficiently, and don't mind learning the foundational concepts that FCPX is designed around.

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