Finally! Your project is done and ready to share with the world. Except… when you choose File > Share > Master File, the Info screen displays some strange text.
What is this? Where did it come from? And can you change it?
The answers are:
Let me explain.
(Footage courtesy: John Putch “Route 30, Too!” (www.route30trilogy.com))
The labels displayed in the Info pane are called metadata. They are designed to provide additional information about your movie. They can be added to any ProRes, MP4, MP3 or QuickTime movie and travel with the file as embedded data wherever that file goes.
This data can be changed, but not here.
ACCESSING THE OPTIONS
If the Share > Info panel is open, close it. Then, select your project in the Browser.
Display the Inspector (Shortcut: Cmd + 4)
Click the Project Info icon (it looks like a trident and highlighted here by a red arrow).
This pane has three sections, one of which is hidden. The top half shows the current labels applied when sharing a file and the information that currently fills them.
The lower half shows all the times this project was exported, along with an arrow you can click to reveal the exported file in the Finder.
NOTE: This option only works if you never move the file from the exported location. Since I almost always move files after export, this option is less helpful to me.
The third set of options is hidden. Click the small white arrow on the right side to reveal a menu of other labels that can be added to this panel.
The bottom option in this list – Edit Share Fields – opens this panel where you can edit the contents of each of these fields globally, rather than on a project-by-project basis.
You can make these the default fields for every export by selecting Save as Default from the arrow menu. (And you can probably guess what Update to Default does.)
For example, here I added Category, Copyright and Directors fields. Copyright pulled up the changes I made when editing the fields earlier, while Category and Directors I added specifically for this project.
NOTE: To avoid legal, ah, confusion, I’m claiming copyright only for the purpose of this article. These images were shot and owned by John Putch for his film: “Route 30, Too!” John is a regular reader of my tutorials, who graciously shared his files with me.
Now, when you choose File > Share > Master File the metadata labels you applied to the project show up exactly as you entered them earlier.
When you then save the file, the Title entered here becomes the name of the exported file.
But… adding the data is only the first step. How do you read it?
VIEWING THE RESULTS
The key question is: Can you view this information after you export the file? And the answer is – wait for it – : “It depends.” Why? Because this information is entered as Spotlight data.
If you select the movie in the Finder and choose File > Get Info, all these custom fields are displayed.
Enter one of the metadata terms into Spotlight and it instantly finds the file.
But, when you open the file in QuickTime Player, only the following fields are displayed:
Worse, when you review it in Kyno, above, or load the file back into Final Cut Pro, none of these custom fields appear.
In other words, these custom labels are stored as Spotlight data with the file, but not all apps display Spotlight data. Adding these fields in a project is no guarantee it can be read elsewhere.
I still think it is a good idea to add them, especially because they are searchable in Spotlight, but it is also important to understand the limitations.