Final Cut Pro X - Keywords: Organizing Your Media

Ken Stone's FCP by Steve Douglas & Ken Stone

In legacy versions of Final Cut Pro we learned to organize our footage via the use of labeled bins that we could refer to in order to locate specific clips. For example, bins could be labeled, interior, exterior, music, narration, foley and so on. In my case, bins were separated by species of animals and marine life. Having separately labeled bins made for a quicker and more efficient workflow. In legacy versions of FCP, I always named my clips and then imported. While time consuming, it had a positive impact on my organization. With the introduction of SSD memory cards for video recording, and the decline of tape in the workflow, in FCP X we now ingest our video using 'Import Files' or 'Import from Camera'. Import window is shown below. Using either of these two methods does not provide us with the opportunity to name our clips before ingesting. Clips that are ingested have names like "MVI_3773" which could be a clip of an elephant or a clip of a clown fish; the file name provides no indication of what the clip actually is. After the clips have been imported, it is necessary to name each clip within the Final Cut X Clip Browser, one at a time.

In FCP X, we organize our media by using 'Keywords' and 'Keyword Collections'. This enables the editor to be just as efficiently organized as he/she was in legacy versions of Final Cut Pro. Keywords are a way to tag your clips with metadata. Metadata is actually the foundation of FCP X. By adding keywords, we add additional metadata to the clips. For example, I might name a clip, 'Hammerhead Attack' while the keyword applied is simply 'Hammerheads'. This is the same as having named a legacy bin as Hammerheads while within the bin were several clips of hammerheads all with different names such as 'hammerhead approach', 'hammerhead cu', 'hammer biting my ankle', and so on.

Naming Clips

Before we move more deeply into organizing our footage using keywords, let us start with the simple naming process. In the browser you can see what each clip contains by scrubbing through each one. That can be time consuming. Trying to remember which clip is which by the camera given name would be an exercise in futility, so naming them appropriately is your first major step towards proper clip organization. read more...

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