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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.

Using the Keywords Tab

Stepping over to the Keywords tab, this one will show you all the keywords that are used in your project. I haven’t really found a use for this, but it is cool that you can do it. Once you’ve organized your project with keywords and dropped them in, you can actually see a list of keywords collections that were used in your edit in the Timeline Index (Figure 11, below).

Figure 11. Keywords used in the project shown in the Timeline Index

You can do searches for them as well. Once you click on them, they’ll jump just like the markers.

Using the Analysis Keywords Tab

The next tab is the Analysis Keywords tab. In this project it’s empty because I don’t use the Analysis Keywords feature of FCP X, but here’s what it does: On import, or even after import, you can ask FCP X to analyze your footage and let you know if it’s a two-shot, a one-shot, a wide shot, or a close-up. To use it, select a clip or a portion of a clip, right-click it, and choose Analyze and Fix. In the Analyze and Fix dialog that appears, in this example we’ll choose Find People (Figure 12, below) and click OK.

Figure 12. Choosing Find People in the Analyze and Fix dialog

After FCP X finishes analyzing the clip, you’ll see a purple line (Figure 13, below) that lets you know it’s been analyzed (the blue line means it has a keyword associated with it). If you drop it on the timeline, it will populate. In this case, it says “Two persons, wide shot” (Figure 14, below Figure 13). FCP X can tell that it has two people and that it’s a wide shot.

Figure 13. The purple line indicates that FCP X has analyzed the clip.

Figure 14. Analysis Keyword tagging for the analyzed clip

Creating and Using To Do Markers

The next two tabs, highlighted in Figure 15 (below), are related. The first one is Incomplete To Do’s, and the second one is Completed To Do’s.

Figure 15. Left to right: Incomplete To Do’s and Completed To-Do’s (with the checkmark)

To-do items are something I’ve actually used a lot in FCP X. When I have an edit that comes in from one of my editors and I find an edit that needs to be swapped out, or I need changes to the audio or stuff like that, rather than sitting with him and going over it right away, I can actually mark it as I go through it.

So if I’m going through an edit and find I’m not really crazy about a particular shot, I can mark it as a To-Do item. I press the M key to add a marker, then press M again to enter into the marker. At the top of the dialog, you have 3 options. First is the standard marker, next is the To Do marker (Figure 16 ,below), and the third one is a chapter marker.

Figure 16. Creating a To-Do marker

To create a To Do marker, click the To Do button in the center of the panel, and type in something like “Swap this shot out,” as shown in Figure 17 (below) and click Done to exit the dialog. The marker becomes a red marker, which indicates that it’s an Incomplete To Do item, and you’ll see it populate in the Timeline Index with All or Incomplete To Do’s selected in the Tags tab. You can create additional Incomplete To Do items as you go through the edit, naming them with other specific instructions or notes, such as “Stabilize this shot.” Figure 18 (below Figure 17) shows a close-up of the Timeline Index with two Incomplete To Do’s in it. When I click them in the Timeline Index the timeline cursor will jump between them.

Figure 17. Marking the To Do item so the editor will know what … to do

Figure 18. Two Incomplete To Do’s appearing as red markers in the Timeline Index

When my editor gets the edit back, he can open the Timeline Index, read the Incomplete To Do section, see a to-do list of edit changes, click on each one, go to the shot, read the notes on it, make the changes, then double-click the marker to open the Marker dialog, and click in the Completed checkbox (Figure 19, below).

Figure 19. Marking the edit complete

Once you’ve marked your To Do item Completed, you’ll notice that it no longer appears in the Incomplete To Do list, and will populate the list of Completed To Do items (Figure 20, below). You’ll also notice that the red marker has turned to green in both the Timeline Index and the timeline.

Figure 20. Completed To Do’s

This function is excellent. I use it all the time. It’s very helpful when you’re reviewing an edit, as described above, but also if you’re doing an edit yourself. Say there’s an area on the timeline where you know you need to address an issue with a particular shot or swap that shot out, but you don’t want to do it at that particular moment, you have the ability to leave a To Do note for yourself as well.

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