Tags & Keywords


Anyone who knows me knows that I am a big fan of metadata and what it can do for production and postproduction workflows all the way through distribution.  Needless to say, one of the many features catching my eye this week when Apple Mavericks was introduced was “Tags and Keywords” for any file on the system. “Keywords” has been quite the buzz with FCPx users and how it can be used to manage lots of sources quickly and efficiently when needed. I have equated, perhaps crudely, that this is basically a “FIND” function on invisible spanned Markers. I am not belittling the feature in any way, other than to describe an implementation using Media Composer terms. I think it provides a fantastic new way to group sources in any way one sees fit and can provide an alternate view on the sources. I also think this becomes even more powerful when used with other search type metadata to further refine the results as too many results can be just as bad as not enough in certain situations.

I can’t help but think that these tags and keywords will be supported in FCPx when the update is released (as well as being free based on what we’ve seen so far). Now any tagging or “keywording” done by anyone, anywhere in the process, can be repurposed during the editorial process.  It’s almost a form of “crowdsourced logging” as these files move from system to system with keywords added and then being able to inherently take advantage of this metadata is pretty compelling. 

Could it be repurposed in Media Composer? I would think so, but there are several functional areas in Media Composer that would need to be updated to take advantage of this:

  • AMA: At the very least, the QuickTime AMA would need to be updated to see these tags and Keywords in order to even have access to them within the project. I have mentioned this in previous blogs, but the QuickTime AMA only supports filename and timecode. All other available metadata is ignored and cannot be repurpsoed without going through additional steps using third party solutions. Clip color only seems to be an internal tag and not available outside of Media Composer/Interplay. 
  • FIND: The “Find” function in Media Composer was a good start, but in my opinion, one area of missed opportunity in changing the way users interact with their media. This deserves its own blog, but for starters, adding the ability to search for Markers and Spanned Markers would go a long way. But a shortcut for TAG and Keywords field would be better rather than having to enter the same search item twice in order to filter out results. 
  • SPANNED MARKERS: It is unfortunate that the first release of Spanned Markers was designed for one use case only without more flexibility in the way most users want to use spanned markers. Aside from the inability to search them, the fact that they cannot overlap is very limiting as spans can have different metadata needs separated by a unique tag, and then additional keywords. 

One of the downsides in supporting these type of features is not being cross-platform. But I am one who likes the tools to be the best they can be on whatever platform they are used, and not limited to the least common denominator of either operating system.

The other feature that caught my eye, but remains to be seen whether FCPx will support it (and to what extent) is the ability to remotely collaborate on documents as shown in the iWords for iCloud demo. For that we will have to wait and see.


Update 7/16/2014: As suspected, FCPx has added support for finder level logging as seen in this video.

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