Automatically Naming Your Clips

The names given to files by the camcorder are often difficult to distinguish. When you transfer media and create clips in your projects, you can have Final Cut Pro use a clip-naming convention, called a preset, that you choose or create. For example, you can use a name format that includes a clip name that you specify, plus the reel, shot or take, scene, and any date information that you want. You can also select from any of the clip’s metadata listed in the Name Preset dialog.

Final Cut Pro provides a number of preset name formats, and you can also create your own naming conventions. You choose the preset name format you want applied before you transfer clips to the Transfer Queue. That name format is then used for all clips you place in the Transfer Queue. The same clip name is applied to the media file transferred to your scratch disk as to the clip in the project. A sample of the clip name appears in the Logging area. To give other clips a different style of clip name, choose or create a different name preset before placing the clips in the Transfer Queue. A list of the available name presets appears in the Name Preset pop-up menu.

Final Cut Pro provides the following preset name formats:

Preset name format
Current Name and Clip Date/Time
Clipname 2008-01-01 at 01_45_12
Current Name with Counter
Clipname 001 Partial Span
Clip Date/Time
2008-01-01 at 01_45_12 Partial Span
Custom Name with Counter
Custom clipname 001 Partial Span
To choose a preset name format
  • In the Logging area of the Log and Transport window, choose a name format from the Name Preset pop-up menu.

Applying Valid Filenames

Proper filenaming is one of the most critical aspects of media and project management. The following sections present several issues to consider when naming clips and their media files, and describe how to create custom name formats.

Avoiding Special Characters

The most conservative filenaming conventions provide the most cross-platform compatibility. This means that your filenames will work in different operating systems, such as Mac OS X and other UNIX-based operating systems, Mac OS 9, and Windows. You also need to consider filenaming when you transfer files via the Internet, where you can never be certain what computer platform your files may be stored on, even if temporarily.

Example characters
File separators
: (colon)
/ (slash)
\ (backslash)
You cannot use colons in the names of files and folders because Mac OS 9 (Classic) uses this character to separate directories in pathnames. In addition, some applications may not allow you to use slashes in the names of items. These characters are directory separators for Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, and DOS (Windows) respectively.
Special characters not included in your native alphabet
These characters may not be supported or may be difficult to work with when exported to other applications.
Punctuation marks, parentheses, quotation marks, brackets, and operators
. , [ ] { } ( ) ! ; “ ` * ? < > |
These characters are often used in scripting and programming languages.
White space characters such as spaces, tabs, new lines, and carriage returns (the last two are uncommon)
White space is handled differently in different programming languages and operating systems, so certain processing scripts and applications may treat your files differently than expected. The most conservative filenames avoid all use of white space characters, and use the underscore (_) character instead.

Creating Custom Name Formats

In addition to the preset name formats, you can create custom name formats. To create a name format, you select the name elements you want in the Naming Presets dialog. You can compose a name format that combines the name elements that appear in the dialog.

To create a custom name format
  1. In the Logging area of the Log and Transfer window, choose New from the Name Preset pop-up menu.

    The Naming Presets dialog appears.

    Figure. Naming Presets window.
  2. Click the Add (+) button to create a new name format, or select the preset name format you want to change.

  3. Drag the name elements you want into the Format field in the order you want them. You can also add valid characters or spaces between the name elements. For more information about valid filenaming characters, see Avoiding Special Characters.

  4. Enter a custom name in the Custom Name field, if you want.

  5. Click OK.

Your new name format now appears in the Name Preset pop-up menu.

When using a counter in your name format, you can specify the starting number and the number of digits, from one to six, that appear in the counter. When you use a preset name format with a counter, make sure to reset the initial starting number, if necessary. Otherwise, on the next import Final Cut Pro will continue numbering the imported images starting from the last number of the previous import.

To reset the starting number of a counter in a name format
  • In the Naming Presets dialog, type 0 (zero) in the “Incrementing counter starting at” field.