[ This article was first published in the January, 2005, issue of
Larry’s Monthly Final Cut Studio Newsletter. Click here to subscribe.
Updated February, 2005, with reader comments. ]
I have a client who’s beginning to edit to documentary that has over 100 hours of material to be edited into a 30-minute documentary. What he wants to do is log each clip, then copy that logging information out of Final Cut so he can load it into Excel. The advantage of exporting all this data is that he can think about his clips, and share this information between producers, without running Final Cut.
Fortunately, even though he has hundreds of clips, this process is easy. Here’s how.
1. Open the project that has the clips with the information you want to export.
2. Select File > Export > Batch list
3. Give the file a name.
At the bottom, you can select between tabbed text and formatted text. I’ve found tabbed text to be the best to use on the Mac. Then, store it someplace you can find it again. I tend to use the Desktop for these kinds of temporary files.
4. Open Excel.
5. Drag the file from your Desktop onto the icon for Excel in your Dock.
6. Excel opens it, puts each clip on its own row and neatly duplicates all Browser columns in your the worksheet.
Ta-Dah! Trés cool.
After reading this article, Mike Krause, one of my students, wrote in with this technique for exporting batch lists from the Browser.
I had a few thoughts on exporting a batch list. I’m currently doing something very similar for a project I’m working on and have a few tricks I’d like to pass along to the documentary editor.
I find when I export batch lists I don’t usually need the info in every single column of the bin I’m working with. I have made a few custom bin views where I’ve hidden all but three or four columns so when the list is exported, then imported into Excel, only the visible columns from your bin are available.
If you need one list to give to an assistant that only notes the clip name, ins and outs, you’re set. Say the producer doesn’t care about that but wants to know the clip names, good takes, comments, there’s another view to use.
Also, when I have a long source tape with numerous shots, I will subclip all the shots I’m going to use into a new bin (or bins) and organize as needed. I rename them, add comments, etc. and export a batch list to work from instead of working from (for example) a cameraman’s handwritten notes or the in-the-script’s-margins notes from an on-set script supervisor.
Realistically, the time it saves the user is when working in Excel, so you don’t have to sort and delete the info you don’t need. Coincidentally, I’ve been exporting various tape and project logs like mad lately and have found I can do the same sorting in FCP HD in half the time as well as better organize my projects at the same time. And a well organized project frees one’s mind up for editing…
Larry replies: I have two comments. First, this technique works even if you don’t use subclips. For me, I prefer to capture shorter clips, rather than long ones.
Second, using Excel as part of your capturing technique works both ways. When I was heavily into production a couple of years ago, I found I could log tapes faster in Excel than using Final Cut. So I created an Excel template that I used for all my logging. I then saved that log as a tab-delimited text file. Finally, I imported that text file as a Batch List (File -> Import -> Batch list) and all clips came in ready to capture.
If you are interested in using my template, click here to download a copy. You will need Excel in order to use it. Instructions are included in the worksheet.
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