[ This article was first published in the September, 2010, issue of
Larry’s Monthly Final Cut Studio Newsletter. Click here to subscribe. ]
(To read my disclosure policy on product reviews, please click here.)
get searches your media files – specifically the audio part of your media files – based upon text you enter in a search box. The magical part is that you don’t need to create transcripts first. Plus, once you find the clips you are looking for, it is a single mouse click to load them into Final Cut Pro.
This is easier to show than explain.
This is the get interface. Before you can start searching, you need to index your files. get is designed to index individual folders, rather than your entire hard disk. This is actually a benefit, as you’ll see below.
To index a folder, click the Plus button in the lower left corner and select the folder(s) you want to index.
The benefit to indexing by folder is, say you have three documentaries that you are working on at the same time. If you search for the words “we have a problem,” you’ll probably get hits from all three shows. However, you are only looking for hits from the media files of one show.
By specifying which folders to search in, you limit the results you are going to get.
While selecting folders to index takes a bit more time initially, after that, the indexing process is automatic. get keeps an eye on every folder you initially indexed. If you add more media to that folder, the new files are reindexed automatically.
NOTE: get is not designed to work on a server. Nor is it designed to index network volumes. It works strictly with direct-attached storage. This indicates to me that another product is in the works to provide network-wide indexing.
A small clock appears next to a folder that is being indexed. The clock slowly fills as indexing progresses. When indexing is complete, the clock disappears.
I haven’t done any formal timing tests but based on what I’ve seen so far, using an recent model iMac, indexing media is about 20 times faster than real time, somewhat less than AV3 mentions on their website.
Once the indexing is complete, finding media is as easy as searching for text in a word processor. First, you need to select the folder you want to search by selecting it from the Search popup menu.
Here, for example, I am searching for the word “interplanetary” spoken by Dr. Vint Cerf as part of a documentary on the future of the Internet.
NOTE: I am very grateful both to Dr. Vint Cerf and Alcatel/Lucent for permission to use this interview.
I simply type the word, or words, I’m looking for. After less than two seconds, three clips showed up.
NOTE: This illustrates the benefits of capturing interview answers as separate clips. It makes finding and reviewing them much easier. However, get works equally well with either short clips with single answers or long clips containing multiple answers.
To review a clip, either double-click the name, or click the Preview Result button.
Notice that in the clip illustrated here, the word “interplanetary” appears three times. Each appearance has a blue marker in the playhead scrubber bar, plus it is listed in the table below the clip.
The buttons at the bottom allow you to easily move between the found clips, jump between markers within the clip, even export the clip (more on that in a minute).
Let’s say we want to use the portion of the clip where he says “interplanetary” for the second time. While we COULD send the entire clip to Final Cut, it may be easier to simply mark the portion of the clip we want to use.
As in Final Cut, you can drag the playhead with the mouse, or press the spacebar to play/stop a clip. Also like Final Cut, press I to set the In and O to set the Out.
To send the file to Final Cut, click the Export New Clip button in the lower right of the clip screen.
NOTE: For this to work, both Final Cut Pro and the project you want to send the file to must be open.
The Save File window opens and on the left is a list of all the projects currently open in Final Cut Pro. Select the project you want to load the clip into, give the file a name, and click Save.
As this screen shot shows, the file is exported to FCP, with markers placed where the word “Interplanetary” occurs and including the In and Out that you set. (Setting an In or Out in get is not required, but I wanted to show you that it could be done.)
As an alternative way of exporting clips, in the main search window you can select some or all of the clips that were found, and click the Export New Clip button in the top right corner.
The Save File window appears. Give the files a relevant group name – in this case I used “Cerf.”
Each file appears as a separate file in Final Cut, but named using the group name plus a number.
While not a big requirement as you are getting started, keeping your searches manageable is important. There’s no value in searching for something if, everytime you search, it finds either nothing or everything.
get allows you to limit your searches based on additional attributes. It also allows you to index files stored in folders or Final Cut Pro projects, save searches for reuse later, and modify the threshold it uses to find matches.
The benefits to limiting your searches become significant as your media files increase in number. We’ve all experienced the feelilng that “I know it’s here somewhere, I just can’t remember where it is.”
Spotlight solves a lot of these searching issues, but not for the content of media files. get takes over where Spotlight leaves off.
In the past, in order for us to find something we needed to take the time – and effort – to add metadata to all our clips. A very time-consuming process which we tried to ignore as often as possible.
Now, get makes it possible to find stuff without metadata.
The only real negative to using get is that you need to index your media files before you can search them. Well, that, and a retail price of $499. Still, if you are drowning in files that you can’t find, it may be a cheap price to pay.
get is a truly amazing product. As I said during my webinar, get is something very close to magic.
UPDATE – Sept. 26, 2010
Ben Balser adds:
[As part of writing an article for Event DV magazine, ] I actually did test it out on an Ethernet networked volume, and it indexed just fine.
Larry replies: Thanks, Ben, for the update. This is good to know.
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