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Organising media is very important when you have a lot of files in FCPX, especially when you need to navigate to the clips you require quickly. If you do a long edit job over many days, then building time sensitive Library Smart Collections might help. A lot!


Over the summer, I do a lot of Final Cut Pro X jobs that are weeks long, sporting events made up of stages, days or different locations.

Getting a good Library structure has been an ongoing development process for me since 2014 when it was decided to cut the cycling events I do on FCPX.

There have been many tweaks from our original Library, which to be honest was a mess for the first year. Too clunky and too many keywords.

Things have slimmed down since, especially this year by using Smart Collections for days programmed by date in Events. So for example there would be a Day1, Day 2, Day 3 etc. Smart Collection in a graphics Event, the same in a satellite feed recording Event, the same in a voiceover Event.

events time sensitive 2 fcpx

Smart Collection with an absolute date/time set (Right click for larger images)


That works really well, because to add media, the selection just has to be on the Event on import and the Smart Collection will sort out the rest. We even split the Events down into folder weeks so the Smart Collection list doesn't scroll off the bottom of the screen (Although this FCPX screen configuration helps loads)

All good and nicely organised, but having to dig through each Event to find graphics, satellite feeds and voiceover for use today is bit of a pain.

I had seen the demo of closing the Browser and just using a Smart Collection, but I haven't got time to tap in what I need every time when close to air.

So why not build a 'Today' Library Smart Collection that organises everything for you?

After a bit of tinkering around, a Library Smart Collection set to 'Content Created' 'is in the last" and then '10 Hours' did the trick perfectly. (There is no good Boolean arguments to boil it down to the day without having to enter an absolute rather than a relevant time period.)

events time sensitive 3 fcpx

 Smart Collection with a relative date/time set

Then by toggling off the display ordering to 'none,' each Event was displayed in order with all the clips from today sitting there ready to be used. You can just see the same creation date on the right hand side. You also get to see your Projects for the day too.

events time sensitive fcpx

All of today's clips ordered by Event.


Now, here comes the time sensitive bit. When you open the Library tomorrow, all those clips will be gone and then the 'Today' Smart Collection will fill up during the day as you import new clips. Think of having a moving 10 hour window of selection. You might have to shorten or extend this if you do very long days!

This was a bit of a revelation and became my default view for the Summer. Why hadn't I thought of it before? I don't know, but it just goes to show how you can leverage FCPX to help you work faster.

One note here. Don't try to fool FCPX by messing around with the creation date in the Finder, it won't work. If a clip isn't in the right place, go to the Modify menu and use 'Adjust Content Created Date & Time." 


peter wigginsPeter Wiggins is a broadcast freelance editor based in the UK although his work takes him around the world. An early adopter of FCP setting up pioneering broadcasts workflows, his weapon of choice is now Final Cut Pro X. You can find him on Twitter as @peterwiggins or as he runs the majority of this site, you can contact him here.





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