FCPX 10.1 Keyword and Smart Collections Video tutorial

Hey what’s up everybody. My name is Jasper Thayer I’m an Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro and developer of

In this lesson I’m gonna be talking about rating media and applying keywords to your media. I’ll also talk about filtering media and working with smart collections so that you can quickly find the media you’re looking for in your library while you’re editing.

Right now I have all of my media imported into my events.

If I click on my events in the library you will see that there’s different media that I’ve imported into each event. There’s Clips of Beverly Hills in the Beverly Hills event. Clips of Hollywood in the Hollywood event, and clips of Malibu Beach in the Malibu Beach event.

If I click on the library then I can see all of the clips in the library, which includes clips from every event.

Let me show you some ways to find clips you’re looking for in your library and events.

First off we can see that the clips are grouped in the library by the date the content was created.

I can click on the gear icon in the bottom left corner to change the way the clips are grouped. You can see there are many different ways to group your clips. You can also sort the group by ascending or descending.

For now I’ll choose none for the group option. Then I’ll take a look at the sorting options. I’ll choose to sort the clips by the name so that I can see my clips in alphabetical order.

Naming your files is a great way to find them later on. Usually when you import clips from a camera they have some generic name like GP123.MP4 or something.

It’s a good idea to name your clips to something that will help you recognize what the clip is of.

I was able to name my files before I imported them into Final Cut Pro. If I wanted to name my media in FCP I can click the name of the file and rename it. This will rename the file in FCP, but the name of the file will retain its original name in the Finder.

There’s a search field in the top right corner of the Browser. You can click in the text input field to type words that will filter clips in the browser and display clips that appear in the results.

For instance if I scroll down a little bit you can see that I have a clip in my Hollywood Event that I named Red Carpet. If I were looking for this clip then I could click in the search field and type red carpet to display the red carpet clip in the search results.

Now let’s say you want to add more terms to a clip so that you have a broader way to filter your clips later on. If you click on this button down here then you can display clips in the list view. From the list view you can add a note to a clip. Then whenever you filter the text of clips FCP will show results that match either the text that is the file name, or text that is contained in the clip’s note.

Another way to organize media is to apply keywords to clips. You can apply keywords to clips and those clips will be referenced in a keyword collection that appears in your event so that you can easily find media while you’re editing.

Let me show you how keywords work.

You can apply keywords to your clips to help you quickly locate the clips you need to compose your movie. After you apply a keyword to a clip or clip range, the clip or range is marked with a blue line in the Browser. Clips that have analysis keywords, which are automatically applied after certain types of analysis, are marked with a purple line.

When a keyword is applied to a clip or clip range, a Keyword Collection appears in the Event. A Keyword Collection contains pointers (or aliases) to clips tagged with a specific keyword. For example, if you apply the keyword “Motorcycle” to clips containing a Motorcycle, then you can then select the Motorcycle Keyword Collection from the Event to view all clips containing the “Motorcycle” keyword in the Browser.

You can apply one or more keywords to a range within a clip, a whole clip, or a group of clips in an event.

Let me show you how to apply a keyword to a clip.

In the Browser, I’ll hold the command key and click to select these two clips that I want to add a keyword to. One clip is in the Beverly Hills Event where I’m on Rodeo Drive, and the other clip is in the Hollywood event.

Now I have these two motorcycle clips selected. I want to apply a keyword to these clips so that I can organize them in a keyword collection.

To open the Keyword Editor, click the Keywords button in the toolbar.

At the top of the Keyword Editor, I’ll type “”motorcycle” since that’s the keyword I want to apply to the selected clips, and then I’ll press Return.

A blue line appears at the top of the selected clips in the Browser, indicating that keywords have been applied to them.

Now if I drill down the disclosure triangle in the Beverly Hills event I can see that a keyword collection for the keyword “Motorcycle” is now available in the event.

I can select the keyword collection to see all the media that has the “motorcycle” keyword applied to it inside of this event.

The same thing happened with the Hollywood event because I applied the motorcycle keyword to a clip in the Hollywood event.

When I go to the Hollywood event I see there’s a Motorcycle keyword collection there as well. When I look in there I can see that any clips from the Hollywood event that have the motorcycle keyword applied to it will appear in this keyword collection.

The point is that each event will have its own keyword collection for keywords that are applied to clips inside of each individual event.

FCP doesn’t make a copy of the media to place it in the keyword collection. There’s just references to the original media in the keyword collection to make clips easier to locate.

If I want to apply the “Motorcycle” keyword to other clips it’s a little easier now that the keyword collection has been created.

I can select another clip I want to apply the “Motorcycle” keyword to and drag the selection to the keyword collection to apply the keyword to it.

If I want to remove a keyword from a clip I can select the clip in the keyword collection then go to the keyword editor to see the keyword applied to the clip at the top area of the keyword editor.

If I click on the keyword from the keyword editor and press delete then it will delete the keyword from the clip.

In the keyword editor you can also see that there’s a list of keyboard shortcuts reserved for keywords that are applied to clips. You can edit these keyboard shortcuts to assign frequently-used keywords to a keyboard shortcut.

That way when you’re in the Browser you can select a clip and use a keyboard shortcut to apply a keyword that you setup from this window.

Right now the “Motorcycle” keyword is assigned to the keyboard shortcut: Control-1

I also have a lot of clips of me driving. I can assign the keyword “Driving” to the keyboard shortcut Control-2 so that when I’m looking at clips in the library I can select them and press Control-2 to assign the “Driving” keyword to selected clips.

Let’s click in the keyword editor next to the Control-2 keyboard shortcut and type the keyword “Driving”.

Now the keyword “Driving” is assigned to the keyboard shortcut Control-2

Now I’ll close the keyword editor window and go back to the library and select clips that I’m driving in.

With the clips selected I’ll press Control-2 on my keyboard to apply the assigned keyword “Driving” to the selected clips.

You can see here that keywords can be assigned to clips that are located in separate events.

Clips can also contain multiple keywords. For example I can have clips of me riding my motorcycle and apply both “Motorcycle” and “Driving” keywords to those clips.

I can click on the button to view clips as a list view and then drill down the disclosure triangle for clips that have keywords applied to them to see a list of what keywords are applied to those clips.

A blue key icon appears along with a list of the keywords that are applied to the clip.

Now you can also filter clips according to keywords. Click on the magnifying glass icon in the search field to see the filter window appear. From the filter window you can apply rules to help you locate media.

The TEXT rule is for searching the text of the name of the clip, or any notes you may have written about a clip.

Let’s filter clips in the Browser by keywords. I’ll click on the PLUS icon in the top right corner of the filter window to add additional filter rules. Let’s add a keywords filter rule.

Now a keywords filter rule appears in the Filter Window.

You can choose to include any, include all or not include any of the selected keywords listed in the rule.

Now, only clips that apply to the filter rules are displayed in the browser.

You can mix-and-match filter rules to setup your own custom searches to find clips.

Once you setup a set of filter rules that you like and you feel like you might be looking for clips that match these search parameters then you can save the custom search as a Smart Collection.

That way whenever new clips are added to your project that apply to the search rules then those clips will automatically appear in the Smart Collection.

Let me give you a simple example of a Smart Collection.

Remember earlier when I said I’d show you an easy way to find music tracks? Well check this out. Let’s clear all these search filters from the Filter Window and Click the PLUS icon to add a filter rule that will filter clips by Media Type.

From the Media Type rule we will select Media that IS ~~~ AUDIO ONLY

Now I’ll click the New Smart Collection button to make a Smart Collection of this search filter.

An Untitled Smart Collection will appear in the Event.

I’ll double-click the Smart Collection’s name and rename it to Audio. Now, any time I add any other audio tracks to my Library the media will automatically appear in the Audio Smart Collection.

You can’t drag media into a Smart Collection. Media only appears in Smart Collections when the filter rules apply to a clip. You can drag clips into Keyword Collections to apply that keyword to a clip though.

You can always delete a Keyword Collection or a smart collection without affecting the clips in your library. To delete a Collection, simply right-click the collection and select the delete option from the bottom of the contextual menu.

I want to show you one more thing.

Let’s talk about rating clips really quick.

You can rate your clip as a favorite or a rejected clip. Let’s say there’s a couple takes of a clip that you’re considering using in your project. Perhaps you’re looking at the clips and you’ve decided to use one version, but you might want to keep the other clips “JUST IN CASE”

Instead of moving the clips to the trash or keeping them cluttered in your library you can mark the clip as a rejected clip. That way the clip remains in your library, it’s just tagged as rejected so that you can quickly hide those clips from your library if you want. You can also do the same thing with favorite clips to only show your favorite clips, or a selection of a clip.

Let me show you.

This bike ride yellow lambo, clip I don’t think I’ll use much of the clip after I ride past the lambo, but I MIGHT. So I’ll select the part of the clip after I pass the lambo and then click the rejected button in the toolbar to mark the selection of the clip after I pass the lambo as rejected.

I can also press DELETE on the keyboard to mark a clip selection as rejected.

The rejected selection appears with a red line at the top of the clip. Favorites are marked with a green line and you can mark a clip as a favorite by clicking the button in the toolbar or pressing F on your keyboard.

Now there’s a drop down in the top that lets you filter clips depending on whether they’re favorites or rejected. I can hide the rejected selection, view clips that have no ratings or keywords applied, or view All Clips.

If I choose to view the clips marked as Rejected then I can see the selection of the Yellow Lambo clip that I marked as rejected AFTER I passed the yellow lambo on my bike.

I can remove the ratings from this selection by clicking the remove button in the toolbar or pressing U on my keyboard.

You can also see if clips are marked as rejected or a favorite from the list view in the Browser.

In the next lesson I’ll show you how to start building a rough cut in the Final Cut Pro storyline.

Jasper Thayer is the developer of

He has over 15 Apple Pro Certifications for video editing and special effects including Apple Certified Trainer for Final Cut Pro X and Apple Certified Trainer for Motion 5. Jasper is also an AWS Certified Developer and AWS Certified Solutions Architect. is known worldwide for its unmatched excellence in providing top-quality Final Cut Pro X tutorials. Subscribe to our mailing list to remain updated on the latest info about Final Cut Pro X tips, tricks, and tutorials.