July 8, 2015

An FCPX Plugin that Makes Adding Metadata to Your Clips As Simple As Speaking

FCPXTRA Plugin for FCPX Metadata Dictation
When you're working with tens or even hundreds of hours of footage, metadata becomes your best friend.

The only problem is that manually adding the appropriate metadata to every clip – or at least your selects – is a wildly time-consuming process. That's the situation that documentary filmmaker Jan Willem den Bok found himself in earlier this year. After spending 4 years shooting a documentary in Sudan, Jan had over 4TB of footage and no idea how to get it tagged with notes and keywords in FCPX in a reasonable amount of time. So he wrote a plugin that did most of that work for him.

It's called FCPXTRA, and it allows you to dictate metadata into FCPX (all of which is easily searchable), thus saving you time and energy while making the rest of the editing process more streamlined and efficient. Here's a rundown of how it all works.

And here's a more in-depth look at the problem which FCPXTRA is solving, namely the time-consuming process of adding keywords and notes by hand.

FCPXTRA is already getting attention in higher levels of the editing industry. Professional first assistant editor Michael Matzdorff, who uses FCPX on major Hollywood features, recently took the new plugin for a spin and was impressed.

The possibilities for what you can accomplish using FCPXTRA are really only limited to your particular editorial workflow. You can set it up to categorize certain types of footage, like interviews, B-roll, stock footage, and so on. You can use it to categorize shot types like wides, mediums, and closeups, and then use the dictation feature to add the dialogue as a note so that it's easily searchable. If you're serious about getting your footage organized in FCPX (and not spending outrageous amounts of time doing it), Jan's plugin may very well become your new best friend. Although, he hopes that this functionality will eventually be incorporated directly into the software. So Apple, if you're listening, get on that.

FCPXTRA costs $29 for a single license, and can be purchased here. Jan wrote up a more in-depth piece about why he created the plugin over on fcp.co, so if you'd like to read more, head on over there. He also has some more advanced tutorials on his Vimeo page if you need any help getting the plugin to work.     

Header image from fcp.co

Your Comment

8 Comments

Great plugin!
But I'm wondering: Would it be possible to have the audio from the footage feeded directly into FCPXtra, so that it generates the meta data automaticly?

July 9, 2015 at 4:55AM, Edited July 9, 4:55AM

0
Reply
avatar
Ole Ebbesen
Cameraman and editor
76

Hello Ole, I tried that with Soundflower routing to Dictation, but it seems that this possibility (which used to function up to OSX 10.9) is disabled in Yosemite 10.10. Google more about that.

July 9, 2015 at 4:11PM

0
Reply
avatar
Jan Willem den Bok
Documentary Filmmaker
161

Thank you for the reply. I will certainly do that.

July 10, 2015 at 10:02AM, Edited July 10, 10:02AM

1
Reply
avatar
Ole Ebbesen
Cameraman and editor
76

I don't even talk to my phone, why I would I talk to my editing program, when their example even has it adding extra random words he isn't saying?

July 9, 2015 at 3:19PM, Edited July 9, 3:19PM

3
Reply
zac
89

I think you miss an opportunity here. A lot of people are really happy with it, because talking to your edit-program helps you to add loads of metadata without typing it, clicking your mouse etc. I've used this for my documentary in South Sudan, 4 TB filmed over the course of 4 years...I completely lost my way in it. But with notes and keywords FCPXTRA/FCPX gives you unique and deep access. I useDictation more and more, relieving me from annoying typing on phone or computer. Siri is perfect for me. But if you don't like to talk to your computer I understand...it's a bit weird.

July 9, 2015 at 4:15PM

0
Reply
avatar
Jan Willem den Bok
Documentary Filmmaker
161

So you're telling me in the example you show, when it has a mistake that you ignore, that's completely okay? You're adding extra variables of possible mistakes that will make the project even more difficult. I work with projects that have even more than 4TB of footage, but if you can't manage to properly organize your footage, and FCPX seems terrible at it in comparison to Premiere, then you should really rethink how you are organizing things. It will be incredibly faster than this process. But everyone has their own way.

July 9, 2015 at 7:41PM

0
Reply
zac
89

FCPX is terrible at organizing footage compared to premiere...what? Is that why premiere is trying to copy their smart collections function with their search bins (which are not nearly as powerful). Batch renaming files, yes what a terrible way to organize...if only I could do that in Premiere. Say what you will about X, organization is not one of its weak spots, it's one of its best functions.

July 10, 2015 at 3:16PM

4
Reply
avatar
Brad Jones
Director/Producer/Writer/Editor
554

I am without any experience on Premiere. But coming from FCP7 to FCPX one of the major USP's of FCPX is organisation. It saved me very much time and helped me (with FCPXTRA) to tame 4TB of material, gathered over the course of 4 years. And I'm happy Michael Matzdorff, first ass. editor on 'Focus' calls FCPX one of the deepest NLE's he knows (he has worked with it all) and he tweets that FCPXTRA is great bit of tech. https://twitter.com/FCPxFeatures/status/617029012502614016

July 10, 2015 at 5:24PM, Edited July 10, 5:24PM

0
Reply
avatar
Jan Willem den Bok
Documentary Filmmaker
161