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Selected media is in use and can not be removed


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  • Moderator
Many of you are already aware of this, but it does come up in support from time to time.
I welcome any suggestions on a better way to identify all cues that reference a media window entry.
The error
The support question ...
  "... how do I remove a media that says it’s in use, when it really isn’t?  I see nowhere it’s in use... the media doesn’t even exist."
Definition of term: WATCHOUT Production = watchmaker
"in use" in watchmaker has a different meaning than one might think.
Any item in the media window that appears on any timeline or composition as a cue
 ialways in use from watchmaker's perspective, no matter what. 
Does not matter if the original media file is gone, does not matter if it is not being displayed,
 its placeholder (the media item) is still referenced by a cue in a timeline or composition somewhere.
The only way
 a media item can be removed from watchmaker's media window
 is if all cues that reference it are first deleted.
No method exists
 to identify the location of all cues that reference a media item,
that I am aware of.
The closest thing I have come up with is searching every timeline with
Edit - Find/Replace 
Media Item selected
All at Once selected.
Search for the name of the media item and with those settings
it  will find all instances of cues that reference that media item in the current timeline or composition
Then just hit delete to remove the cues.
In the screenshot below, the media item I am going to search for
 is highlighted in the media window so you can see what I am looking for.
The find function is set to 
select any cues that reference that media item in the current timeline (or composition)
the screenshot below shows the result - the find function has
 moved the timeline to the first item that met criteria
 and the cue is selected
you must repeat this search for every timeline or composition that may reference the media item.
good thing is, as you make each timeline or composition active to search it,
find will remember its previous settings, so subsequent searches are quick ;)
When you are successful with removing all cues referencing that media item, it will allow you to delete the media item.
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  • Moderator
1 hour ago, Bluetonesblue said:

BOY this sounds cumbersome! The find/replace option should have a way to look through all timelines and compositions.

Kevin Lawson

Not arguing with you - it is what it is. In most cases the user will know where to look for the offending cue, searching everything is the worse case scenario.

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If it's a piece of media that I know is in a bunch of timelines and comps I just use notepad to sort it out.

  1. Copy all aux timelines and paste data into notepad.
  2. search the filename
  3. Once you find the file just scroll up/page up to the closest timeline to retrieve the name



Timeline name


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  • 1 month later...

I've uploaded to github a small application that searches through aux timelines for filenames/keywords and prints that timeline's name if the file is found.  It's basically just automating the approach I posted above using a gui app.

Source code and an EXE are available.

here's the link - https://github.com/franklin113/Find_Media_Cues.git

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