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Diana's Top 10 FCP 7 Features: #10 - Color Coding Tabs

By Diana Weynand

The ability to utilize the operating system's color-coding capabilities for organizing and easily identifying bins, clips and sequences has been a standard feature in earlier versions of the software. However, Final Cut Pro 7 now raises the bar by implementing the color-coding of bins, clips and sequences to their respective tabs in the Timeline, Canvas and Browser windows.

Applying Color Labels
If you're not already familiar with applying a color label, let's review. You can apply a color label to any clip in the Browser by simply right-clicking an item to get the shortcut menu then choosing Label and selecting a color. You can rename the color labels in the Labels tab of the User Preferences, although changing the name doesn't affect the color.

Why Add Color Labels to Your Elements?
Color-coding bins, clips and sequence tabs makes it easy to identify them and also creates tons of possibilities when organizing your projects. For example, you can make Act 1 sequences yellow, Act 2 green, and so on. Or make all your rough cut sequences red, and make your final polished sequences blue. Creating pre-builds of shot options? Make one group red, another one blue. That way, you don't have to 'read' tabs when they're open in the Timeline. Just seez the color you want, and click.

Colored Sequence Tabs
When a sequence is color coded in the Browser window, its tab in both the Timeline and Canvas windows display the same color.

Colored Tabs in the Viewer
When you open a clip that has a color label into the Viewer, the Video and Audio tabs of the Viewer window display the same color-coding. This is particularly useful when there is a need to color code a particular type of clip, such as multi-cam footage.

Colored Tabs in the Browser
While you've always been able to add a color label to a bin, now you can see that color label when you open a bin in the Browser window tab area. To review how to do that, just Option-double-click the bin in the Browser, and the tab appears in the tab area next to the project tab. The bin will now open with the same assigned color as the bin in the Browser.

You will also see something new on project tabs in FCP 7. A Final Cut Pro project file icon is now displayed on all FCP project tabs, making it easier to distinguish project tabs from bin tabs.

Repositioning Tabs
In addition to working with colored tabs in the new FCP 7, you also have the added flexibility of being able to reposition tabs in the Browser, Canvas, and Timeline windows. Simply click a tab then drag it to its new location and release it. You can do this with bin and project tabs in the Browser, as well as sequence tabs in the Canvas and Timeline.

Closing Other Tabs
Before FCP 7, each tab in the Browser window or in the Timeline had to be closed individually. A new option called "Close Other Tabs" has been added allowing you to close all tabs except the one selected. Just right-click on the tab you want to remain open, then select "Close Other Tabs" from the shortcut menu. In the Timeline, right-click on the sequence tab you want to remain open, and choose Close Other Tabs.

While color-coding clips, bins, and sequences and reordering tab positions won't change the look of your show, I can guarantee you it will improve anyone's workflow whether you edit alone or as part of a team. Try it - you'll like it!

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Diana Weynand is co founder of Weynand Training International,

Diana Weynand is author of the Apple Pro Training Series book, Final Cut Pro 7. She is co-founder of Weynand Training International, a Gold Level Apple Authorized Training Center that offers hands-on classes on Apple Pro Applications around the country as well as customized on-site training. She is also one of the creators of iKeysToGo Your Personal Shortcut Assistant in the Palm of your Hand! - a series of iPhone and iPod Touch applications for Final Cut Pro 7, Photoshop CS4, iPhoto, Word, etc. These Apps are available on the iTunes App Store. For more information, check out her website, www.weynand.com, call her at 818.995.1719 or email at weynand@mac.com.

Related Keywords:FCP tips, video editing, NLE, video workflow, final cut pro tips

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