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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.

Working With Keyworded Collections

By keywording all the clips we're going to use and rejecting the others, we've organized our project into smaller, more manageable sections. If you used the deductive method and selected No Ratings or Keywords, you won't have any clips showing in the Event Library, and you'll get the message shown in Figure 14 (below)

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 14. If all your clips are rated/keyworded and you have No Ratings or Keywords selected, you'll see an empty window with this message. You'll need to be sure to select All Clips to see your clips again.

Now we have our keyword collection for b-roll and our keyword collection for talking heads (Figure 15, below). At any time, you can click on your original event to see all of your footage on one screen.

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 15. Our two keyword collections in the Event Library

If you highlight one of your keyword collections and hit Delete, it doesn't delete the footage; it just deletes the keyword collection. If I hit Command+Delete, it looks like all the b-roll disappeared, but it's still here; it just doesn't have keyword clusters--the blue line is missing.

Applying More Detailed Keywording

Next, I'm going to use this opportunity to show you how you can even do more detailed keywording. Let's say we wanted to differentiate the outdoor shots from the indoor shots. To begin, highlight all the b-roll from the outdoors, as shown in Figure 16 (below).

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 16. Selecting all the outdoor clips

Press Command+K to open the Keywords for selection dialog, and type "outdoor b-roll" in the keyword field. All of these clips are now tagged as outdoor b-roll (Figure 17, below).

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 17. Tagging all the outdoor b-roll clips

Next, we'll name the rest of the clips "indoor b-roll," and we'll have two keyword collections, "indoor b-roll" and "outdoor b-roll." You can even drill down and be more detailed. For example, in this promo, we could break it down by car by selecting all the shots of the Kia Optima and keywording them as Kia Optima clips using the same process described above. Same with the Kia Sorento and the Kia Soul. Or we could tag all the outdoor establishing shots, or wide shots of the showroom, car delivery shots, and so on. We can group the car delivery shots with the outdoor establishing shots. And this is the Kia Sorento. So now, we have multiple keyword collections in more detail (Figure 18, below).

Apple Final Cut Pro X
Figure 18. Multiple keyword collections

So you can really drill down and make it really detailed. This is how I work, especially with more complex projects.

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