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Use Smart Collections To Sort Mixed Format Footage in FCPX

Noam Kroll

Save yourself a ton of time when dealing with a mixed format project by using Smart Collections in FCPX.

It’s become quite common to edit a project that’s comprised of many different formats. Run and gun-type material — documentaries, promos, etc. — is often shot across a multitude of formats (often in different frame rates) and at some point during the editorial process this likely becomes very problematic.

In some cases, and for many reasons, it can be very beneficial for you to have your footage sorted by frame rate. As an example, at some point you might want to bring all of your slow motion footage (60p) into a timeline, and it would be ideal to access all of it at once.

Another scenario might be that you want cross convert your 25p (PAL) footage into 29.97 (NTSC) prior to bringing it into your timeline. There are countless reasons why organizing your footage based on frame rate is so beneficial, and thankfully FCPX offers an easy solution for doing this.

The Smart Collections feature in FCPX essentially allows you to pick any set of parameters and filter all of the footage in your project based on them. In this case, I’d recommend creating a collection for each of your frame rates. Let’s say you’re cutting a documentary shot on 3 cameras (23.98, 29.97, and 60p). You’d create three different smart collections, each of which pertain to a different frame rate:

creating smart collections in FCPX

This way, any clip in your project is automatically organized by frame rate and any new clip you add to your project will be organized in the same way. Not all projects have a need for organizing footage this way. However, in the finishing stages of nearly any mixed format project, this type of organizational structure will be extremely effective in helping you streamline your output/delivery process.

Want a few more FCPX tips? Check out these articles from right here on PremiumBeat!

Did this FCPX tip help you out? Got any other workflow tips you can share? Let us know in the comments below!