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Re: FCPX metadata--how significant is it? And why?

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Bill Davis
Re: FCPX metadata--how significant is it? And why?
on Nov 16, 2011 at 3:30:58 am

Here's a small example.

I recorded a VO. As is typical, there were good takes and bad. In legacy, that meant that I had to put the whole thing on the timeline and edit the whole down via an initial edit.

The result was a group of individual clips laid out in time with only what I wanted (a typical timeline edit.)

If I were to delete any of those clips - the data about their trimming and duration disappears with them since the timing data is related only to the TIMELINE. Back in the browser, the original source clip has no idea that I've decided (even if only temporarily) that I'm only interested in a small part of the larger clip.

So compare that process with what happens in X.

In the Event browser, I skim and JKL my way to setting in and out points to define each "good" snippet of my master clip. After setting the edit points, I mark each one with a single keystroke (F) to make them (temporarily) a Favorite. That preserves the SELECTION data in a persistent form in a table that I can access as long as I need it. It's like a virtual snapshot of all my edit decisions. That decision info is PRESERVED by the NLE as metadata.

When I do this, the original clip shows my decisions by putting a green bar on that part of the clip INSIDE the Event Browser, which gives me visual feedback on what part of my overall clip I've selected, how many sub-selections I've made in in the master clip, etc. That green bar, by the way, is something you can click on as one way among others to "recapture" the selection decision should I want to alter or amend it later, so it's a useful tool in itself. This also demonstrates that the current data about EACH selection tag is clearly flowing between the browser and the timeline dynamically - in ways impossible in Legacy. (a color tag, for example, set in the timeline didn't EVER reflect back to it's source in the Browser.)

My next step would be to open the disclosure triangle for the clip in the event browser, where I'm presented with a nice table showing all my tagged "favorites" for that particular VO clip. This shows the metadata my "selections" have generated. It's an editable table kinda like an excel spreadsheet, and like one I can sort, or arrange clips into new orders if I choose. If I select all or any of those tags with the traditional "command click" on multiple selections, and drag the group into the timeline — BINGO, those clips arrive in the new "timeline" container as an already completed rough edit in a single step. One that reflects all the choices I made earlier ready for refinement or trimming as needed.

Still I understand that this in itself is not that different than what you can do, (albeit with more physical "cut and edit" trimming) in Legacy.

But in legacy, this is about ALL you can do with a clip in terms of using it's metadata in useful ways. In X, it's just where it begins. Because now that my "selects" are defined in the database, I can not only sort or search or manipulate that data on the CLIP level, I can work with it on a GROUP of clips. I can tag groupings of clips just like clips. (Clip Collections) Something simply not possible in Legacy.

In X, even if I make a bad mistake and delete or screw up my timeline, my original "selects" (however I've re-named them as clips or groups subsequently) are preserved in the Event Browser. So it's a nice hedge against deleting a timeline clip accidentally. Your decisions at the clip level PERSIST in X.

On the Legacy timeline, ALL I could do was move those clips around, or cut and paste them into new timelines. I couldn't sort them, or label them in groups, or manipulate them in any but the most rudimentary ways. And outside of saving "versions" of the timeline, none of the position information about scene edit decisions would STICK in the legacy timeline.

In X, just like in any database, once you tag something into a particular "class" that's just the start. We're used to databases where "first name" might be a field, but that field can be used to display that data as part of a a name tag, an address label, or as the salutation on a letter - whatever else you want the NAME field to apply to - you just hook it up. In X, that's just the same with clips. Once you define a clip with a "TAG" you can use it in conjunction with other tags to reorder and re-use the tagged clips to your hearts content. You can apply additional tags to already tagged clips to assemble them in sub-classes, append some or all with additional sort criteria, and search those tags all day long. If you can FIND them by tag, you can USE them by tagged groups. So the essential difference is that decisions you make in X can be made persistent and those decisions can be combined with other decisions in new ways. Also, like with all databases, your tags are so flexible they can come and go as you like!

So after I use the "Favorite" tag to define some group of VO clips as in my example above, I can apply a NEW tag to the arrangement, Delete the Original "Favorites" Tag from the set, and now use "Favorite" tag to define the some OTHER criteria I want to use later.

In legacy a clip would have a name set at the Capture Scratch level, but that and the master clip meta-data and and perhaps a color tag while it lived in the timeline was all that Legacy was set up to store and keep track of. Metadata is a whole different ballgame in X.

In short, in X, clips can be appended with an unlimited array of tags, those tags can be manually or automatically generated through user actions (dropping clips into a smart collection automatically applies that collections tags to all the dropped clips) and so forth.

Does that help outline some (among many) of the differences?

Sorry for running on, but it's a complicated topic and this really just scratches the surface.

Hope it helps.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Connor

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