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.
@fcpxtra - I think this is a GREAT bit of tech. congratulations!— Mike Matzdorff (@FCPxFeatures) July 3, 2015
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.