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Tutorial: Using Apple Final Cut Pro X Timeline Index and Markers

In this video tutorial Glen Elliott of Cord3Films looks at FCP X's Timeline Index which provides innovative options for viewing, navigating, and searching your projects, including three different types of timeline markers and the ability to create a navigable To Do list of editing notes that's indispensable for collaborative workflows.

In this tutorial we’re going to introduce the Final Cut Pro X Timeline Index, and discussing how to use it and apply markers in your editing workflow. Final Cut Pro X implemented an area where you can view, navigate, and search a project which is called the Timeline Index. It’s something I’ve never seen utilized in any other NLE, but have found very helpful when editing Cord3Films projects in Final Cut Pro X.

At the very bottom left of the screen, the first icon you’ll see is the one you click to show the Project Library. Directly to the right of it is another button that looks like a page icon, and if you hover your cursor over it, it’ll let you know what it does: Show or Hide the Timeline Index (Figure 1, below). The keyboard shortcut is Shift+Cmd+2.

Figure 1. Click here to toggle the visibility of the Timeline Index.

When you click it, you’ll see the Timeline Index, which comprises 3 main tabs: Clips, Tags, and Roles (Figure 2, below).

Figure 2. The 3 main tabs in the Timeline Index.

Using the Clips Tab

We’ll start with the Clips tab. Under the Clips tab, the Timeline Index lists every single clip that you’ve used in your edit (Figure 3, below) in chronological order. The arrow icon on the left edge of the Timeline Index lets you know where the timeline cursor is in accordance with this particular clip. So, essentially, it’s a list view of your edit. As you step down through the list, the Timeline Index cursor corresponds to the timeline cursor.

Figure 3. All clips used in the timeline are listed in the Clips tab.

This is useful if you have a pretty complex edit, which the example project we’re using in this tutorial (Figure 4, below) happens to be. I believe it’s is about an hour long and uses roughly 600 clips.

Figure 4. A complex project served well by the Timeline Index

If I need to find a particular clip in this project and couldn’t find it by scrubbing through 600 clips in the timeline, I can go the Timeline Index and use the search field (Figure 5, below) to find it.

Figure 5. Searching for clips in the timeline using the Timeline Index

Additionally, you can change the sorting options in the Timeline Index. By default, it lists All, which means it lists all audio, video, transitions, and titles in the order in which they appear in the timeline. By clicking the Video button at the bottom of the Timeline Index, as shown in Figure 6 (below), you can choose to list only video clips, and likewise audio or titles.

Figure 6. Choosing to list only video clips in the Timeline Index

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