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Chapter 4. Preparing Your Clips > How the Browser Can Save Your Sanity

How the Browser Can Save Your Sanity

The Browser is a powerful tool for organizing all your program elements in a way that makes sense to you. You could construct a multilevel folders-within-folders structure by organizing your material in multiple bins, or you could use one long list containing every element in the same display. You might want to keep separate bins for your stock and production footage; or in a classroom situation, you might want to use a separate bin for each student's editing assignment.

You can search for your clips based on any clip property and sort from most Browser columns. Any markers you've placed in a clip will be noted in the Browser. You can use the Browser shortcut menu to modify some clip and sequence properties, or you can add or modify most clip information directly by double-clicking a Browser column entry.

To select an item in the Browser:

Do one of the following:

  • Click the item you want to select.

  • Use the arrow keys to step through the item list until you arrive at the item you want.

  • Use the Tab key to move between items alphabetically from A to Z. Use Shift-Tab to move alphabetically from Z to A.

  • Type the first few letters of an item's name, and the corresponding item will be highlighted.

Selecting multiple Browser items

Item selection in FCP's Browser works differently than it does in the Macintosh Finder. Shift-clicking a selection in a Finder window on the desktop will select multiple individual items. But in FCP's Browser, Command-clicking selects multiple items individually. Shift-clicking in the Browser selects a range of items.

To select multiple items in the Browser:

Do one of the following:

  • Command-click the individual items you want to select (Figure 4.21).

    Figure 4.21. Command-click to select multiple Browser items individually.


  • Shift-click the first and last items in the list to select a range of items (Figure 4.22).

    Figure 4.22. Shift-click the first and last items to select a contiguous range of Browser items.


  • Drag a bounding box around a group of list items or icons (Figure 4.23).

    Figure 4.23. You can select a group of items by dragging a bounding box around them.


  • To add or subtract single items from a multiple selection, Command-click the item.

Sorting items

Final Cut Pro allows you to sort by almost every column you see in the Browser. You can use a series of secondary sorts (up to eight) to further refine your list order.

To sort items in the Browser:
1.
Click the column header to select the primary sort column (Figure 4.24).

Figure 4.24. Click in the column header to sort by name; the direction of the tiny arrow on the right of the header indicates ascending order.


The primary sort column is indicated by a green arrow in the column header.

2.
Click again to reverse the sort order (Figure 4.25).

Figure 4.25. Click again to reverse the sort order; the direction of the tiny arrow now indicates a descending order.


3.
Shift-click the additional column headers to select secondary sort columns (Figure 4.26).

Figure 4.26. Shift-click in a second column header to select a secondary sort column; a green arrow indicates the primary sort column, and light blue indicates a secondary sort.


4.
Shift-click again to reverse the sort order.

Secondary sort columns are indicated by a light blue arrow in the column headers.

Customizing the Browser display

Different Browser display modes offer different functionality. List view, for example, offers a multitude of data, arranged in sortable columns, and those sexy scrubbable Thumbnail clips. Large Icon view allows you to drag your clips into any order you choose. Final Cut Pro will save your custom Browser arrangement between sessions, and you can save multiple custom Browser layouts with the Save Column Layout feature described later in this chapter.

You can customize the Browser in the following ways:

  • Make items appear as icons (Figure 4.27) or as a text list.

    Figure 4.27. The Browser in Large Icon display mode. You can also select Medium Icon, Small Icon, or List view.


  • In List view, rearrange, resize, hide, or show as many columns as you like. (Note: You can't hide the Name column.)

  • Sort by most columns.

  • Set a standard arrangement of columns and switch between that preset and another preset column arrangement for logging clips. Both presets are selectable from the column header's shortcut menu.

  • Change the Comment column headers.

To display items as a list or as icons:
1.
In the Browser window, Control-click the Name column.

2.
Select a display option from the shortcut menu (Figure 4.28).

Figure 4.28. Another way to select a display option: Control-click the Name column and then select from the shortcut menu.


Or do this:

  • Choose View > Browser Items and then select a display option from the submenu: As List, As Small Icons, As Medium Icons, or As Large Icons (Figure 4.29).

    Figure 4.29. Choose a display option from the Browser Items submenu of the View menu.


To display thumbnails in List view:
1.
In the Browser window, Control-click any Browser column except Name.

2.
From the shortcut menu, choose Show Thumbnail (Figure 4.30).

Figure 4.30. Select Show Thumbnail from the shortcut menu.


Tip

  • You can scrub a clip's thumbnail in the Browser by clicking the thumbnail and then dragging in the direction you want to scrub (Figure 4.31). Initially, your thumbnail will display the clip's first frame, but you can select another poster frame by scrubbing through the clip until you locate the frame you want and then pressing the Control key before you release the mouse button. Very slick.

    Figure 4.31. Click and drag your cursor across a thumbnail in the Browser; the thumbnail will scrub through the action in that clip.


To hide a column:
1.
In the Browser window, Control-click the column header.

2.
From the shortcut menu, choose Hide Column (Figure 4.32).

Figure 4.32. Select Hide Column from the shortcut menu.


To display a hidden column:
1.
In the Browser window, Control-click the column header to the right of the place you want the hidden column to be displayed.

2.
From the shortcut menu, choose the name of the column you want to display (Figure 4.33).

Figure 4.33. Choose the name of the column from the shortcut menu.


Tip

  • Final Cut Pro initially hides some Browser columns by default. Check the shortcut menu in the Browser's column header for a complete list of available columns.


To rearrange columns:
  • Drag the column header to the new location (Figure 4.34).

    Figure 4.34. Click and drag a column to its new location.


To resize columns:
  • Drag the edge of the column header to the new width.

To save a custom Browser layout:
1.
In the Browser, select and arrange the columns you want to include in your custom Browser layout.

2.
In the Browser window, Control-click the column header; then choose Save Column Layout from the shortcut menu (Figure 4.35).

Figure 4.35. Control-click the column header; then choose Save Column Layout from the shortcut menu.


The File dialog box opens in the Column Layouts folder (Figure 4.36).

Figure 4.36. Custom Browser layouts are stored inside the Final Cut Pro User Data folder in your System's Preferences folder. You can copy layout files from here, or install layouts from another FCP system by copying them to this folder.


3.
Enter a name for your new custom layout, then click Save.

To load a custom Browser layout:
1.
In the Browser window, Control-click the column header; then choose Restore Column Layout from the shortcut menu (Figure 4.37).

Figure 4.37. Control-click the column header; then choose Restore Column Layout from the shortcut menu.


The File dialog box opens in the Column Layouts folder.

2.
Select the custom Browser layout you want to use (Figure 4.38); then click Open.

Figure 4.38. Select the custom Browser layout you want to use; then click Open.


Your custom Browser layout will be applied to the active tab in the Browser.

To edit the Comment column name:
1.
In the Browser window, Control-click the Comment column header.

2.
From the shortcut menu, choose Edit Heading (Figure 4.39).

Figure 4.39. Control-click the Comment column heading; and then choose Edit Heading from the shortcut menu.


3.
Type the new column name (Figure 4.40).

Figure 4.40. Type the new column header name and press Enter.


4.
Press Enter.

Or do this:

1.
Choose Edit > Project Properties.

2.
Type the new column name in the Comment text box and then click OK.

Tip

  • Try double-clicking or Control-clicking clip information right in its Browser column. You will find that you can modify lots of clip settings without bothering to open the clip's Item Properties window. You can also modify clip settings for multiple clips in a single operation by selecting the clips and then adjusting the setting of just one of the selected clips.


To apply a label to a clip:
1.
In the Browser window, Control-click the clip's icon.

2.
From the shortcut menu, choose Label; then select a label from the submenu. (Figure 4.41).

Figure 4.41. Control-click the clip's icon; then choose a label from the shortcut menu. Note the Label column; you can sort your clips by label.


Tips

  • When you apply a label to a bin, all the items contained in the bin will display the same label.

  • FCP has a keyboard shortcut for everything. You'll find shortcut keys for applying labels in Appendix A.


Searching for items in the Browser

Final Cut Pro has a powerful search engine in its Find function. You can perform a simple name search, but you can also search for single or multiple items by timecode, by file type, or by log comment, or you can search your project for unused clips—clips you have not yet used in any sequence. Take a moment to explore the search options available in the Browser and imagine how you might plan your project to make use of them.

To search for a single item:
1.
Start in the Browser window. Choose Edit > Find (Figure 4.42); or press Command-F.

Figure 4.42. Choose Find from the Edit menu.


2.
In the Find window, type your search criteria or select from the search criteria options available from the pull-down menus along the bottom of the window (Figure 4.43).

Figure 4.43. You can search for a clip by timecode number.


3.
Click Find Next.

Final Cut Pro highlights the found item in the Browser (Figure 4.44).

Figure 4.44. The clip with matching timecode is highlighted in the Browser.


To search for multiple items:
1.
Start in the Browser window. Choose Edit > Find (Figure 4.45); or press Command-F.

Figure 4.45. Choose Find from the Edit menu.


2.
In the Find window, type your search criteria, or select from the search criteria options available from the pull-down menus near the bottom of the window (Figure 4.46).

Figure 4.46. This example searches for all clips with names that contain “head” and that have a check mark in the Good column.


3.
Select an option from the Results pull-down menu. You can choose to replace the results of your previous Find or add the new results to your previous list of found items (Figure 4.47).

Figure 4.47. You can set the Results option to Replace Find Results.


4.
Click Find All.

The list of found items that match your search criteria appears in the Find Results window (Figure 4.48).

Figure 4.48. The Find Results window with the list of clips that match your search criteria; note the two shortcut buttons at the bottom of the window.


Tip

  • Searching by the Name column in the Browser will return clips whose current name matches the search. But if you renamed your clips after capture, searching by both the Source and Name columns will track down all the clips—including those pesky renamed clips—associated with a source media file.


Using the Find Results window

The Find Results window displays a list of found items that match your search criteria (Figure 4.49). This window displays the same clip information as the Browser, and it offers the same flexible sorting and display options. You can perform multiple searches in the Find window and assemble a collection of items in the Find Results window to do any of the following:

  • Copy or move found items to a single bin for assembly into an edited sequence.

  • Delete found items from a project.

Figure 4.49. The Find Results window with a list of found clips; columns can be sorted just like in the Browser window.


Tip

  • You can search within the Find window. If you have assembled a large group of items in the Find Results window and you want to refine your list or perform an additional search, you can select Project: Find Results from the Search option pull-down menu (Figure 4.50).

    Figure 4.50. Performing a search of the Find Results window.


Search the Project or Search the Sequence?

You can perform two types of searches in Final Cut Pro:

  • Choose Edit > Find with the Browser window selected, and Final Cut Pro will search all open projects for clips, sequences, graphics, and effects but will not search for items located inside sequences.

  • Choose Edit > Find with the Timeline selected, and your search will be limited to the currently open sequence. You'll want to search in the sequence if you are looking for the sequence version of a particular clip—a clip you applied effects to after you inserted it into a sequence, for example.

Searching for items in the Timeline is discussed in Chapter 7, “Using the Timeline and the Canvas.”


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