Where are my clips and timeline gone to?

I successfully made a video and exported it out of Shotcut. However I went back to it today with a view of a making a change to it and when I try to open that project I get the message that that all the clips are missing from the play list . I can replace them into it of course (and have done so) but the timeline is no longer there!!! Ouch!

Does all this get deleted on completion of an export perhaps? . .I’ve only done this once so I don’t know. If this is the case or if I’ve messed up somehow.

I’m rather sick at the thought of re-doing it all again. Am I missing something here? (other than the timeline of course!!!)

thanks in advance


Did you save your video as well as exporting it? If you saved it you should have an .mlt file as well as your exported output file (.mp4 etc)

Thanks for the reply. Yes I have an MLT file for it.

Hello @Len,
I assume you never moved any of the files that were in your playlist after a successful export? Unlikely but I have to ask.

And a backup? One thing I now do religiously - once I am reasonably happy with whatever work has been done - is create a backup of the mlt file. Then I continue working and after some more progress, I will overwrite the backup (or create a new one). And so on and so forth. This approach has saved my bacon once or twice, so definitely create mlt backups in the future.

At any rate, you never mentioned your OS or Shotcut version, but if on windoze maybe you have automatic file versioning (file history) and can try grabbing a slightly older mlt and giving that a whirl? But probably not.

Other than that, and this is not ideal, but you might be able to open the exported video and continue working on that inside Shotcut. It really depends on what changes you want to make, but I understand there is a good chance this isn’t a viable solution (still worth mentioning).

I’d recommend attaching the mlt here so someone can take a look.

Shotcut does not delete files.


Thanks for your comprehensive reply to my problem

No I never moved any files as I am aware that the program then cannot find them. Like you suggest I made a back up of the MLT file as I went along. I mentioned earlier that I still have all the clips for it but on closer inspection I seem to be missing a good many of them. I even searched in my recycle bin in case they had been deleted but they are gone.- Very strange.

I don’t know about automatic file versioning . I am windows 8.1 (I think).

Thanks for taking the time to reply.


Ok, so you’re now discovering some of your video clips are actually missing?

If you didn’t set up file history, it’s not on and you won’t be able to get back the mlt or the missing clips I’m afraid (well, not easily and data recovery is beyond the scope of this forum).

One thing with backup mlt files is they usually need to be opened from the same location as the original to preserve file paths, but your timeline shouldn’t be gone in either instance unless the project is completely empty.

Sorry I can’t help much more than that, but please do attach the mlt backup file here.

To cut down on the amount of work needed to create a project that gets corrupted in some way, save your project regularly (e.g. every hour) to a new project name e.g. File->Save As myproject_2.mlt

Also, consider backing up your filesystem files incrementally on a regular (say once a day) basis. I have a Windows system and use an excellent (free) backup solution called SyncBackFree. See this very clear tutorial on how to use it:

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