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Tutorial: Keyword Tagging in Apple Final Cut Pro X

In this first installment of our new tutorial series, Glen Elliott demystifies Final Cut Pro X, illustrates its core functions, and focuses on one of the most powerful new features for organizing, accelerating, and streamlining your edits: metadata keyword tagging.

Keywording in the Event Library

An Event is a collection of media. A Project is synonymous with a sequence or timeline in Final Cut Pro 7—it's an area where you're going to assemble your edit.

To begin working effectively in Final Cut Pro X, you're going to want to learn your way around the Event Library (Figure 4, below). It's one of the key areas where Final Cut Pro X shines. It's the place where you do all your metadata and keyword tagging, which is one of the major things that sets Final Cut Pro X apart from any other NLE on the market.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 4. Close-up on the Event Library

This particular project is pretty simple. But for larger, more complicated projects, the process of categorizing your footage with keywords is going to make your job so much easier as an editor. Let's face it: One of our major jobs as editors is the process of culling hours of footage to find the pieces that tell your story.

Keywording is a great method of organizing your footage. The more organized and accessible and familiar you are with your footage, the more easily your edit will come together.

To access existing or add new metadata to any clip, click the thumbnail in the Event Library to highlight it and then open up the Inspector. Once you're in the Inspector, select the Info tab (Figure 5, below).

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 5. The Info tab in the Inspector

You'll see several attributes and parameters in the Info tab. Some are editable and some aren't. Down at the bottom of the Inspector, therere are also several different views you can toggle through to view all different types of metadata for your events (Figure 6, below). There's a ton of stuff in here.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 6. Other views

To begin keywording, highlight your first clip. Hit Command+K on your keyboard to bring up the Keyword dialog box. Then type in your keyword, hit Enter, and Final Cut Pro X will add the keyword to the particular clip (Figure 7, below).

Apple Final Cut Pro X 
Figure 7. Adding a keyword in the Keyword dialog

Again, this is a very simple project—a promo that consists of a talking head with some B-roll. We're going to keyword it just to differentiate the talking head from the B-roll. So we'll start with Camera 01 and we're going to keyword this first clip as "b-roll." Once you hit Enter it's going to automatically populate the first selection below the keyword field, as shown in Figure 8 (below). When you go to tag the next clip that's considered B-roll, you can start typing "b-roll" and it'll actually finish typing for you. Just hit Enter. Or you can actually highlight another clip that's B-roll and just hit Ctrl+1 on your keyboard to tag it as B-roll.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 8. Tagging clips as B-roll

Now, you'll notice as soon as you keyword a clip, Final Cut Pro X adds a blue line near the top of its thumbnail to designate that it was keyworded. On the left in the Event Library, you're going to see a new keyword collection pop up. It basically looks like a blue page with a little key icon. Figure 9 (below) shows our keyworded clips.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 9. The blue line indicates that clip MVI_5470 has been tagged

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