Metadata is vital to a digital workflow. It’s how we organize and search for our media assets in post-production. In Final Cut Pro X we have some great metadata tools. The Inspector’s “Info” tab gives us access to much of this information. Yet one size does not fit all needs. That’s just fine because we can customize the views in this window pane.
Select a clip in the Event Browser and use F4 to open the Inspector window pane if it’s not already open. By default, you see the Basic View. In the bottom left of the Inspector is a View Preset menu that lets you select between various preset metadata views. This is our first method of customizing what we see, by selecting one of the built-in preset views.
In the View Preset menu select Edit Metadata View. The metadata view editor opens. For each preset, you can select it and by simply checking and un-checking the various metadata fields, customize an existing preset. In the bottom left of this window is an Action menu identified by a gear icon. From there select New Metadata View. You have a new preset created waiting for you to give it a name.
Once you’ve created your own custom metadata view preset, you can start to check off all of the parameters in the properties list you want to include. If there’s a specific parameter you can’t find, simply type in the search field at the top right of this window. It’s that easy!
If there’s custom information you want to assign your media assets, in the Action menu at the bottom left again, select the Add Custom Medatdata Field option. A window opens up prompting you to fill out a title and description for this field. Give a good description that an editor who’s never seen this will understand.
This creates a new text field. Be sure to check it off so it’s included in your custom view. You can also add it to the other view presets if you wish. If you want to change the name and description, or delete your custom metadata field later just right-click it in the properties list and select either Edit Custom Metadata Field, or Delete Custom Metadata Field.
When you’re done, click the OK button. If you wish to delete a view preset simply highlight it in the left hand list. From the Action menu again, select Delete Metadata View.
Back in the Info tab of the Inspector, in the View Preset menu at the bottom left, select your new custom preset. In the custom metadata field you created, type in the information appropriate to that field for the media asset you have highlighted in the Event Browser. From this Info window pane, you can also add a custom metadata field with the Action menu at the bottom right.
I’ll warn you of two limitations of custom metadata fields. In the Event Browser you can’t search them and you can’t include them in the Browser metadata columns. Regardless, with such simple yet powerful tools to organize and customize our metadata, Final Cut Pro X allows very simple and fast ways to keep track of our media assets, and append custom metadata fields and custom metadata views in the blink of an eye.
Ben Balser studied educational psychology at Loyola University, and after retiring from a 20+ year IT career, now produces, consults, teaches, and rents equipment for media production as a full time job. As an Apple Certified Master Trainer, he runs the Louisiana Cajun Cutters FCP users group, teaches Final Cut and Motion courses regularly in Louisiana at Louisiana State University’s Performing Arts Academy, The Orchard, and for AATC facilities across the USA. Ben is lead instructor at LSU's annual Teen Filmmaking Bootcamp. He has consulted for higher education, government, broadcast and private production facilities.