How To Automatically Name Your Clips in Final Cut Pro

Defining names to be used on files created on a camcorder can often be a confusing process; however, Final Cut Pro makes naming your clips easy and efficient. Final Cut allows for the easy creation of pre-determined naming conventions that can be applied to a clip whenever one is added or created in the project viewer window. These are call naming 'presets', and you can use them to create easy to remember clip names that make sense. Setting up Final Cut Pro to automatically name clips is easier than you think, and this handy how-to guide will walk you through the process.

What You Will Need

  • A computer with Final Cut Pro installed
  • A DV camcorder
  • Footage to import

Step 1: Understand the Final Cut Pro Preset Name Formats

Final Cut Pro comes with four different naming presets already configured to make naming your clips easier and more efficient. Out-of-the-box, Final Cut Pro supports the following preset name formats:

  • Current name and clip date/time
  • Current name with counter
  • Clip date/time
  • Custom name with counter

Step 2: Know How to Apply Valid Filenames

The proper naming of files in Final Cut is a critical aspect of properly managing your project. When naming clips or files in Final Cut Pro, you should always try to avoid special characters. In order to create file naming conventions that are cross-platform compatible, use a conservative naming system. Doing this will allow your filenames to be read in various operating system systems, whether it is Mac OS X, UNIX, Windows or others.

Step 3: Choose a Preset Name Format in Final Cut Pro

In order to use one of Final Cut Pro's default presets in your naming convention, open the Log and Transport window and go to the logging tab. There, choose a name format from the pop-up menu next to the main preset option. Afterwards, all of your clips will be named in accordance with the preset naming format.

Step 4: Create a Custom Name Format

Go to the logging area in the Log and Transfer window. Then, choose new from the name preset pop-up menu. Next, the naming presets dialog box will appear. Click on the add button (+) in order to create a new preset name format, or you can select the default preset name format that you want to change or customize.

From there, you can drag-and-drop various name elements you want into the format field in any order you choose. You can also add valid keyboard characters or spaces between the name elements.

Once you have set up the format for your new custom name, you simply need to enter a descriptive name in the Custom Name field. Once that is complete, click 'ok' to have your new custom format appear in the name preset pop-up menu.

Step 5: Working with Counters

If you are using a counter in your name format, you are able to specify the starting number as well as the number of digits to be used. You can use 1 to 6 digits that will appear in your counter. Also, when using a preset name format that has a counter, be sure to reset the starting value if needed. If you don't, Final Cut Pro will continue numbering the imported images starting from the last number of the previous import in a prior job. In order to reset a number counter in a name format, type 0 in the field 'incrementing counter starting at'.

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