Knowledge Base

Final Cut 7 "Unknown File" error when attempting to save or open a FCP project.

When working with Final Cut on editing a project, there are times when you can not save the project, i.e. "Unknown File" error or if you close the project and open it back up later, you may get the same error.

The "Unknown File" Final Cut error message is telling you that it does not recognize the file as a Final Cut project file.Final Cut does not look at the file extension ".fcp". Instead the files have an extended attribute called "com.apple.FinderInfo"that Final Cut reads instead. They may have other extended attributes as you can see below but it is the "com.apple.FinderInfo" that is key here.

Here is an example:

bash-3.2# xattr -v good.fcp
good.fcp: com.apple.FinderInfo
good.fcp: com.apple.metadata:kMDLabel_qygkxhrfarhtxanqhi264amkku
bash-3.2#

Now let's take a look at what makes up the "com.apple.FinderInfo" attribute.

cjd:Good cjd$ getfileinfo good.fcp
file: "good.fcp"
type: "FCPF"
creator: "KeyG"
attributes: avbstclinmEdz
created: 12/20/2011 12:20:39
modified: 12/20/2011 12:20:39

The "type" should be "FCPF" and the creator "KeyG".

Now, if you take a look at a project file that is notrecognized by Final Cut, it's "com.apple.FinderInfo"may look something like:

cjd:Original cjd$ getfileinfo bad.fcp
file: "bad.fcp"
type: "M^G+M^X"
creator: "KeyG"
attributes: avbstclinmEdz
created: 12/21/2011 10:05:32
modified: 12/21/2011 10:05:32

As you can see, the "type" is not "FCPF" for this projectfile.....something has trashed that part of the "com.apple.FinderInfo" attribute. Otherwise it looks fine.

Another way to look at this is with the xattr command:

bash-3.2# xattr -px com.apple.FinderInfo good.fcp
46 43 50 46 4B 65 79 47 00 5C 00 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
bash-3.2# xattr -px com.apple.FinderInfo bad.fcp
00 87 2B 98 4B 65 79 47 00 5C 00 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00

You can see that the first 4 bytes are different......

46 43 50 46 (F C P F)

verses

00 87 2B 98 (garbage)

So with a little work we can fix the extended attribute so that Final Cut will again be able to open/use the file... There are several methods to fix corrupt files.  If you want to avoid these type of corrupt files, in FCP avoid using the "command-S" to save a project... Apple suggests either saving the project locally then copying it to the NAS later or use the keyboard shortcut "command-shift-S" save in an unnamed project (give it a name).

Here are suggestions on how to fix the files:

  1. Control click on your FCP project file (right click) and select "Open With"
  2. Open with TextEdit
  3. Select "File/Save As..."
  4. Save as another file name with the .txt extension
  5. Find your newly created file and change extension to .fcp (may need to go to Finder/Preferences/Advanced tab and select "Show All Extensions" to get file extensions to appear)
  6. FCP should work with it now.

Second method to fix the file:

First, find another Final Cut project file that is good... we can use it's extended attribute to copy onto the bad file's extended attribute via the xattr command:

bash-3.2# xattr -wx com.apple.FinderInfo "`xattr -px
com.apple.FinderInfo good.fcp`" bad.fcp

The above command reads the attributes from one file and writes them to the other......pay attention to the " and ' usage in the line.....it is just one line,not multiple...

Now you should see that the extended attribute on thebad file, is now correct and Final Cut will accept this project file again.

bash-3.2# xattr -px com.apple.FinderInfo good.fcp
46 43 50 46 4B 65 79 47 00 5C 00 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
bash-3.2# xattr -px com.apple.FinderInfo bad.fcp
46 43 50 46 4B 65 79 47 00 5C 00 00 00 00 00 00
00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00
bash-3.2#

So the question remains why did the file's com.apple.FinderInfo attribute get trashed. This has yet to be discovered but more then likely some Final Cut "plugin" or some other Application may have done it. The evidence it left (the "type" of "M^G+M^X") does not help us.....but you have a method to repair the file.

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