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  • Advice on tagging, organizing vast amount of footage (documentary)

  • Mabel Valdiviezo

    March 1, 2016 at 12:43 am

    Hello folks,

    I am logging a vast amount of footage (over 200 hours) for my feature documentary and wanted
    to get feedback on my logging approach, which by the way, hasn’t been too consistent.

    I want to avoid any red flags that later on can be issues for retrieving original media or when recapturing footage at the finishing process. I also want to make it easy for myself (producer/editor) and an additional editor in finding footage both in the finder level and the project level.

    Lastly, I am currently logging in FCP7 with the potential goal of migrating my project to Premiere CC, but not so sure yet if this route will work for the project which is actually divided in 3 projects so far: 1) for Footage, 2) for Editing Sequences and 3) for Archival, Music, VO, Stills, etc (I did a trial before and there were issues that could make the migration not so ideal). My goal is to do all the prep work in FCP7 prior to further editing, and if the migration doesn’t work then I can still continue on FCP7.

    So, here is what I am doing logging wise:
    – Clip Name: Name clips based on character, action and topic/issue/scene (I like to know what is is the essence of the core content right away)

    -Description column is used for more detailed info of the clip

    – Scene column will be used potentially for scene types: Family gathers for Christmas, etc… or for editor reactions to the footage.

    -Master column 1: thinking to use this for adding keywords..which FCP7 won’t take advantage of but Premiere Pro CC will – any thoughts here?

    – Shooting date, card/tape#, camera type go under two different logging columns such as Reel and either Logging Notes or Comment A. The name I use under Reel typically correspond to the original media backup I have in other external drives.

    – Shot/Take has the original name of the clip such as MVI_2132 or Tape 3-10 (shot in various camera types)

    – Bin names are organized based on scenes/topics and in some cases, these bin names correspond to the folders name at the finder level. But other times, the bin names are different. For example, Peru July 2011 (main bin) and sub bins Day 1, Day 2, etc, and each Day bin having their set of clips named according to the content/theme.

    I am debating whether to keep this as is or rather rename/create bins according to the content.
    If I keep it as is, the footage will be mostly organized by shooting dates and day of shooting. If I organize these according to content, then the info on the shooting location, date and shooting day # will be only on the logging columns. Another thought is to keep this structure as a backup in the FCP7 project but duplicate the bins which can be renamed based on scenes/topics.
    Not sure what will be best. Most of the footage is verite and 25% interviews and we shot a lot in double system sound which I am still working on getting them all synced…which means I am going to have a lot of timelines just for the various synced footage.

    By the way, all these logging columns described above translate to Premiere CC well, so no issue there.

    Does Premiere Pro CC have strong capabilities regarding footage organization, specifically tagging with keywords like in FCPX where you can actually set keyword collections (mentioned in detail in this great article: )

    Ideally, I would like to be able to tag in a similar manner presented in the article: chronologically, by topic, by character, by date.

    If Premiere Pro CC is not capable of doing this level of tagging, would Prelude be able to do that?

    I would appreciate any thoughts and feedback on my logging approach and any tips to help me improve them.

    Thank you very much!

    Mabel Valdiviezo

  • Mabel Valdiviezo

    March 1, 2016 at 12:54 am

    Thank you, David.
    We started in FCP7 a while ago and did an academic cut and lots of trailers for funding organizations. We have done some good work already and have it half organized in FCP7 and got to migrate to Premiere CC at this point… or stay in FCP7 and confront the consequences.

    Mabel Valdiviezo

  • Mark Suszko

    March 1, 2016 at 2:43 pm

    If your heart is set on Premiere CC, you should probably rip the band-aid off right NOW and do all further work directly in Premiere, because one of the things Premiere will give you is much more detailed, granular” and flexible tagging and organizing of the assets. Premiere is good at this, maybe not as good as Avid, that’s debatable. You know what else is really good for organizing clips, media, etc. ? FCPX. The entire workflow of FCPX seems purpose-built for the kind of deep-level cataloging you’re talking about.

    You can really go nuts in the “first-level cut” in FCPX by doing a lot of the editing within the clips in the bins themselves, plus there’s snapshots and roles, which let you mix, match, and compare entire sequences an sub-sequences with alternate takes and elements, without disturbing the overall timeline. Very powerful keyword-based searches locate an exact shot using as many criteria as you want. Premiere can also do this, but the implementation in FCPX seems easier to me.

    In my opinion, staying in Seven, for you, is perhaps a mistake, in that you’re setting yourself up for a lot of unnecessary and time-wasting repetition in re-importing and organizing the assets, …even with third-party plug-in assistance.

    Rip that bandage off in one fast tug; it will only hurt for a second, and everything will be better right after.

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