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Power-Logging in FCPX

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Shelley O'Neil
Power-Logging in FCPX
on Aug 7, 2013 at 12:49:58 am

I make ethnographic studies on video with many hours of material to work with. The logging phase is a major part of the analysis. In FCP7 I would view and log creating short clips with long descriptive names like:

Dave 5 MASCULINITY girls dress up for celebrations, me and my mates are more laid back

in this way I'm describing the Interviewee "Dave", reel/day number 5, one of the main themes MASCULINITY, and a verbatim quote "girls dress up for celebrations, me and my mates are more laid back"

I could then search for themes and quotes by finding words and reading clip names rather than laboriously viewing clips.

In FCPX how might I make best use of keyword and smart collections to catalogue my material for analysis?

Cheers Shelley

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Anders Utterstrom
Re: Power-Logging in FCPX
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:50:28 am

I'm interested in how you would solve this as well. Creating many different key words?

Anders Utterstrom
Chicago, Illinois

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Michael Garber
Re: Power-Logging in FCPX
on Aug 7, 2013 at 1:53:04 am

Any single word tokens that are shared over many clips could be keywords. Dave is a keyword, Masculinity could be a keyword. You could also create a keyword for the reel. However, there is a metadata field for that so you might find it easier to just log it in the "reel" column. That can easily be done by selecting a group of clips and changing the REEL field in the inspector under the info tab.

A benefit you might find in keywords is that you can apply them to parts of clips. So, "Dave" can be applied to the entire clip. Then "Masculinity" can be applied to the section which he discusses that topic. With each keyword range, you can add a note. I find this best managed in list mode (cmd-opt-2).

There is a caveat when searching for keywords when you have a lot of them. The search (rather, "filter") box does not allow you to find a keyword based solely on text. You have to add a keyword filter in the search box and then find the keyword you are looking for in a list (to my knowledge, you can't just start typing it in). If you have, say, 100 keywords, finding the keyword you want could take extra time. In the event that this would be problematic for you, you might want to place "Masculinity" in the notes field. That way it can be quickly searched across clips.

Yet another way (and probably my preferred way at this time) to log this would be to create a general keyword called "Description" or "Answer" "Dave Answer" or something like that. Every time you find a section you want to log info, select the range and apply the "Description" keyword. Then add "masculinity" and "long transcription of answer" to the notes field. Be sure to add the keyword "Dave" to the entirety of a clip in advance. It's still searchable.

You can then organize all of the keywords relating to Dave in a folder. Or if the keywords themes apply to many different interviewees, then you can create a folder called "Themes" or really anything of your choosing. Then you can skim by alphabetical order for the keyword you are looking for.

Michael Garber
5th Wall - a post production company
My Moviola Webinar on Cutting News in FCP X

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Bill Davis
Re: Power-Logging in FCPX
on Aug 7, 2013 at 2:56:34 am

Here's my overall key wording process... use all or part or none - your call.

For most projects if clip size and drive space aren't a big issue, I digitize nearly whole clips rather than trying to "pre-edit" in advance.

First, I stop and think about the project and see if there are a dozen or so important keywords that I know I'll want to use. B-Roll, Interviews, Professor Smith, whatever. I write them on a yellow pad and keep it next to me while I start my electronic keywording.

Then I do an initial "rough pass" using my judgement to do Three things. First, I'm looking to tag as REJECTED - anything that clearly dreck. Pre and Post scene footage, broken takes with no good content, etc. I do this with RANGE selections and using the Delete key to mark them. My goal is to ruthlessly cut out anything I KNOW want taken away from my "editing field of view." I also sometimes see random things I want to highlight - so I tag them as Favorites, but only temporarily. If during this process, I see things that are on my keyword paper list - I tag the range with that immediately. (After all, it's under my playhead, so why not get it done now!) Once I use a keyword tag, I cross it off my paper list since from that point on, I can call up that keyword with it's first couple of letters in the Keyword HUD and apply it to additional ranges so easily.

If I've used the Favorite dashboard tag, I'll next Show Favorites and make SURE these have more specific tags other than exclusively the dashboard tag of Favorite. Then I REMOVE the Favorite tags from those ranges as soon as I've given it a better tag - so I can re-use Favorite for other things. (that might be a tag of IMPORTANT or USE or something similar to Favorite - but I want to clear my dashboard Favorite tag for further use later.)

Then I use the Hide Rejected filter to narrow my focus on everything NOT rejected and I scan through what I think of as my "1st order selects" to refine my keywording. At this point, because I've already gone through all my footage simply to reject the crap - I typically have a decent Idea of whether a thing I might have THOUGHT would be a keyword candidate is actually important. I also may have added to my paper list of potential keywords.

So I do a "final initial pass" to refine things further.

That's the general process I use to do structured keywording of large swaths of footage.


Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.

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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Power-Logging in FCPX
on Aug 7, 2013 at 3:52:23 am

Final Cut Pro X will be awesome for this.

Wait. Did I just say Final Cut Awesome?

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Carsten Orlt
Re: Power-Logging in FCPX
on Aug 7, 2013 at 5:09:55 am

I would:
A. Dave / Masculinity = Keywords
B. The complete answer that contains "girls dress up for celebrations, me and my mates are more laid back" = Mark as Favourite and put "girls dress up for celebrations, me and my mates are more laid back" in the note field of this favourite.
C. The reel should be entered in the reel field of the clip. Since using FCPx I don't use reels as a search feature anymore. Much better to go by Keywords for scene or location or date or the combination of all.

Basically think of Keywords as global search criteria that go beyond the specific of a single clip. Dave will appear in more than one clip. Same goes for Masculinity as a theme. BUT "girls dress up for celebrations, me and my mates are more laid back" only appears in the single section of one of Dave's interview clips. If you would make a Keyword for all of those single events you get to many and defeat the purpose of Key-wording. Therefor Favourite is the best choice. Don't get fooled by the word 'Favourite'! It is just a name for a range marking function. It could have been called 'Marked Section' or something similar. In fact you can rename a favourite to anything you like.

3 additional tips:
A. Collect keywords by themes in folders (create folder in Event list and drag Keywords in) e.g. People / Locations / Themes etc. They are just an additional visual help to find what you are looking for.
B. As Bill said use Rejects to get rid of stuff that is unusable.
C. Make use of the view filter to only look for Favourites or Hide rejects etc.

Hope this will give you some ideas.

Happy editing

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Rosa Linda Román
Re: Power-Logging in FCPX
on Apr 3, 2014 at 4:50:51 pm

Thanks for this thread. I was just about to start logging 3, 30 minute shows worth of footage and I thought "There's gotta be a better way to log all this footage!"

Sure enough, there is.

Rosa Linda

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