Once you’ve got your material diced up you should spend some time getting it put away in some fashion that lets you find things again. There are no firm rules about this, and I find each project tends to dictate it’s own organizational structure. Usually I begin with one bin that holds all the master shots. These are usually pretty big chunks of video, 10, 20, 30 minutes, sometimes smaller, usually not. From the master shots the material is separated out into bins. Keeping the master shots has the advantage that you can go back to the bulk of the material to look through it. I like to do this as the project nears completion, to see if there is anything I overlooked, which might be useful in light of the way the material gets cut together.

The separate bins can be organized in a variety of ways. Narrative projects tend to have material broken down in scene bins, with sub-bins for different types of shots or characters depending on how complex the scene. Documentary projects tend to break the material down into subject matter, a bin for all the forest shots, another for logging scenes, another for road work, another for weather perhaps, another for all the interviews, another for sound, another for narration tracks, another for music, another for graphics. As I said there are no hard and fast rules on how material is organized. It’s a bit like the Eskimos, if your subject is snow, you may have 20 different bins for different types of snow, but if your project is weather in general, there may only be a single generic snow bin.

The real trick is to break down your material into enough bins so that your material is organized, but not too many bins so it becomes difficult to find material. As you move clips into bins add notes, lots of them. The more information on the clips you can include the easier it will be to find material.

This part of the editing process, cutting up your shots and organizing them into Bins is critical to working efficiently, particularly for long form work. The longer the project, the more tapes you have, the more sequences you, the more complex everything becomes and having your material well organized is crucial. Fortunately FCP provides ways to help you organize what you’re doing. Principally you have Bins, and Bins within Bins. But at the most visible level you have labels, color-coded and user definable as we have seen in the Browser. The Browser also provides a number of Comment fields, a Label field, a Description field, Log Notes and well as a Good check mark. Do not overlook or hurry through the note taking and entering process. Every editor will have his or her own way of organizing material, loading information into the computer, and keeping it consistent. However you do it, it opens up to you one of computer-based editing’s great boon, the computer’s ability to search through huge amounts of data almost instantly. To be able to use these search capabilities you have to enter the information first. You can enter it either directly in the fields in the Browser, or by Control-clicking and selecting Item Properties, in the tabbed Logging Info panel.

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