My Final Cut Pro X Frustrations: One in a possible series

Although I love Final Cut Pro X overall, there are still ways it frustrates me. Today – disclosure triangles! Final Cut Pro X is incredibly bad at remembering the state of disclosure triangles in list view in the Event Browser.

It forgets the state of the disclosure triangles if you leave an Event and then return to it later. (Should be remembered and open exactly as it was left.)

Annoying for sure, but nowhere near as annoying as having the disclosure state reset itself every time I rename a clip. I have clips from three days in this Event, and have chosen to close the disclosure triangles for the days I’m not working with. (There is, in fact only one clip in one day and two voice-over recordings in the other day.)

What I’m finding is that the disclosure triangle state resets every time I rename a clip, or even adding a Note to a clip: opening closed days again. Now with just three clips, it’s probably easier to just leave them displayed, even though I’d prefer not. If I had 20 or 30 clips in each day in the Event, and this kept happening, I’d probably be invoking some classic curse in the general direction of the Pro Apps team.

It’s not the biggest issue, and it probably isn’t at the top of the feature list, but it is little things like this that affect user experience.

That said, I am loving FCP X in general, but just don’t want anyone to think I believe it’s perfect just as it is!

15 replies on “My Final Cut Pro X Frustrations: One in a possible series”

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  1. Yup, I filed a bug report on this about 2 weeks ago.

  2. This would be a great series. Criticisms from people who actually like the software.

    Most of the projects I’ve been doing in FCPX since February have been relatively small in scale. I’ve been recommending one of my clients to move to X for a large, multi-video job. There’s going to be a LOT of footage, with a lot of crossover in terms of assets. So my pitch was that the asset organization in X would be of HUGE benefit. So I went in for a demo with their in house tech guy. We sat down and keyworded the heck out of about 2 dozen clips. Names, subjects, important things in b-roll… Imagine my surprise when we started to type in search strings in the Event browser and nothing came up. It had absolutely not occurred to me that keyword collection names would not show up in text searches; that you had to go into the search parameters, add KEYWORD and then manually check the boxes for each search string.

    As keywords are the easiest metadata to add to multiple clips, it seems odd to me that those search terms wouldn’t show up by just starting to type them in to the search field.

    Do you have any thoughts on this Philip?

    1. Off the top of my head I think I like it the way it is because it means I can search for a mixture of text within keywords, or filter down in a more fine-tuned way.

      But other than the daily blogs, I’ve been more focused on tagging than searching/filtering, but to me it seems I’d rather be able to fine tune my text search to say only “Philip” related text. (I’m using the Notes field a *lot*.) Or to match text only in the Quotes keyword collection(s).

      But I reserve the right to rethink that later 🙂

      1. I guess my concern is that if keywording is your primary method of tagging content, then on a large project you could end up with hundreds of keywords- which isn’t a problem if as you type in the search box it autofills in possibilities, then you just TAB and type in another search string, and another, and another, until you get down to a narrowed list. This concept obviously assumes you have a basic knowledge of what the keywords are. If you were coming in to a pre-tagged project, the checkbox method obviously lets you see what your options are.

        Since only keywords and favourites can be applied to CLIP RANGES, named favourites obviously become that much more important in the absence of keywords showing up in text searches.

        I guess that means that the other 2 user-editable fields CLIP NAME and NOTES, by nature should contain search information that applies to the entire clip. Where KEYWORDS and FAVOURITES are for tags that will be applied to many clips, and only sections of clips.

        I’d imagine there’s dozens of different methodology’s that would work…

        1. Clip name should definitely contain information pertinent to the whole clip. The nice thing about Keywords and Favorites is that each one also has its own Notes field. Unfortunately the only way to view these is when the disclosure triangle in list view is open, so the continual closing of the disclosure triangles makes using the keyword/favorite notes field quite frustrating.

          On the other hand, once you’ve got notes for a keyword, and you’re working in the timeline, the notes for keywords show very handily in the Timeline Index.

  3. I used named favorites for a while, until I realized that the names do not propagate into the XML. From my previous work with First Cuts/Assistant Editor I realized that having too many keywords was as big a problem (if not bigger) than too few.

    So now I have Keyword collections for each person, some general and consistent categories, and the “catch all” Quote (for a select) where the detail goes in the Notes field; Action – where the detail goes in the notes field (this is very useful for noting different action in a long take), and Problem – again with details in the notes field

    But you’re right, there are dozens of methodologies that would work

  4. I’m also looking for a good methodology for documentary editing in FCPX.

    Problem when marking details in favorites notes field is that they don’t appear in Timeline Index… unless I made something wrong ?
    (I can see notes from keywords, not from favorites)

    So right now I have plenty of keywords for quotes selects, but I can feel this is not optimal. Even in Search Window, I can’t see all my keywords because I can’t resize the window which is very small by default.

    But all this keyword appear in TL index, and it’s very convenient to see at a glance all quotes selects edited.

  5. Ok sorry, I get what Philip explains.
    One general keyword (“Quote”), then details in Note field (the sentence told by the character).
    This way everything appear in TL index.
    That’s good.
    The only thing I miss in creating keywords for quotes is this quotes being displayed on the clip in the event (if skimmer infos is on).
    I often edit foreign languages and it’s pretty convenient to see the translation when browsing the clip.
    But I think I’m going to use this method, allowing to fine search with text.
    Thanks !

  6. By the way, let me ask this to you all these three questions:
    1) While tagging / assigning keywords / naming favorites … Have you been able to do all this without a single touch of the mouse?
    2) And then again, doesn’t any of you miss the fact of being able to connect an extension of the keyboard so that keywords would be easier to be applied (for instance a keyboard with around 20 customized hardware keys all specially tagged for a specific documentary)?
    3) If the hardware extension solutions does not suit you, wouldn’t it be nice that keywords could be intuitively guessed while typing theyr first words?

    And one last question specially for Greg (and to everyone else, of corse) : If my purpose is to transcript and, at the same time, indicate in which language I’m transcribing, which would be the best method in FCPX in order to be able to export that information to a later parseable xml?

    I really believe all these issues concern to everyone of us in this blog string.

    1. Hi Edgar,

      Keyworded ranges and favorites can definitely be done without a mouse. Although FCPX shows and assigns keyboard equivalents for the last 10 keywords, the keyword tokens will autocomplete in the field, so there’s no need to type the whole thing. And to add a second keyword just needs a comma and start typing the new keyword. Philip will have some more information on non-keyboard metadata entry very soon 😉

      For including transcript in an XML you’ve got two choices: either the clip’s Notes field (for info about the whole clip) or better would be a keyword’s Notes field. For multiple languages I’d suggest adding multiple keywords: say “Quote EN” and then put the English translation in the keyword’s Notes field and then “Quote ES” and put the Spanish translation in that keyword’s Notes field. That way you’d be able to filter in the Timeline Index to just show the keywords for a particular language.

    2. Yes, keywording ranges can be done entirely with the keyboard. Play controls, I, O (although skimming is actually more efficient). Command K to enter Keywords, Command 1 to switch back to the Event Browser, Enter to enter a clip name, then 4 tabs to get to the Notes field.

      Not sure what you mean by your second question. Could you clarify? Keywords are autocomplete so as you type it completes. You can assign 9 keywords to keystrokes currently.

      For the language and keyword notes into XML, Greg is exactly right.

  7. Thanks to all! I’ll try all this very soon and will say something in a couple of weeks or more. And thank you very much specially to Greg for giving me hints about how to introduce the transcriptions on FCPX. I’ll be practicing the workflow he describes in mid September and say something about it.
    My second question refered on having a second special keyword. For instance, the same way you may add a plastic film on a Magic Trackpad so that such device converts itself in a numerical keyboard (, you shall be able to customize areas on your Magic Trackpad so that everytime you push them, a new and different keyword is added to the section of the clip you have just “Favoritized”.
    The reason I’m insiting on this is because I beleive this could change (for good) the workflow as well as the relation between the editor’s and the director (or the editor’s assistant) since the last one could be concentrated on applying keywords while (AT THE SAME TIME, THAT IS) the editor is concentrating on the INs and OUTs as, also perhaps, naming the “Favorites”.
    Also, there could be TWO Magic Trackpads running at the same time: The editor would have the one with the “Type-of-shot” pattern (Closeup, long shot, Zoom in etc) and the assistant coud have the Magic Trackpad with the “What’s-going-on” labels (Good acting, Maria, Intirior, Scene12, etc).
    Does this inspire workflow effectiveness to anyone or does it sound as a bit confusing?

    1. Sounds like what you’re wanting to do on the magic trackpad – and that does sound interesting – is what we’re doing with our in-development logging tool. This logs real time, as the shot is being shot, and software merges the two.

      Except the type of shot is derived in FCP X electronically. I’m experimenting more with that right now.

  8. I really enjoy hearing you are experimenting on FCPX’s Type of shot classification. But then again, FCPX might have some lack of criteria distinguishing between “closeup” and “macro closeup” or between “Zoom in” and “Travelling in” etc.
    Two other things:
    1) Please, get a look on MovieSlate for iPad
    2) I’m really interested on your logging tool!

    1. Agreed, I don’t think FCP X is quite as fine-grained in shot description, nor is it determine things like Zoom in, etc.

      Our logging tool is still a long way from release. Checking out MovieSlate

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