Browser Pane Stuff & Junk

I am having to teach new editors while on the job these days. I’m not traveling the country non-stop doing consulting and trainings, I’m running a small, local TV station, which is growing quickly. One thing we have to work out is the general workflow we all follow. A big part of that is structuring our Libraries in a standardized fashion. This way one editor can start a project, someone else can jump in to help, and there’s no confusion. A big part of teaching this is making everyone understand what all the stuff and junk is in the Browser. In this blog post I’ll help clarify that for anyone else who’s starting off in FCPX and would find this information helpful. And I’m gonna keep this as fairly brief as I can.

The Media Management Pane - Breakin’ It Down
To start with, I personally call it the Browser Pane, but not Apple. Anyway, there’s pieces and parts to the structure of the FCPX media management section. Actually, I consider that there are two Browsers, but Apple calls them the
Library Sidebar and the Browser. Many of us call them the Library Browser and the Clip Browser. I’ll stick with the terminology used in the FCPX help document.

Either way, both are inside of what I refer to as the
Media Management Pane. It’s not that complicated. If I explained making a PB&J sandwich, it could sound complicated. But once you have actually slapped the peanut butter and jelly onto that bread, it’s pretty simple. So hang tight, read on, and get yer brain learning stuff on!

Media Management Pane
This is the top left section of the FCPX window. The whole app is a Window, which is sub-divided into what I call panes: Browser, Viewer, Inspector, Timeline Index, Timeline, Effects. But I only give a care about the top left, the Media Management Pane, seen here.

001 Media Management Pane

Library Sidebar
The Library Sidebar is the left-hand column of the overall Browser Pane, and it has parts, and then each part has its pieces, and then there’s the stuff and junk. To clarify:
- The
parts are your Libraries.
- The
pieces of those Libraries are the Events inside each Library.
- Then there’s
stuff & junk inside each Event, that I call the four Event Sub-Groups. They are: Keyword Collections, Smart Collections, Analysis Collections and Folders.

*Side Note; To be honest, I’ve yet to meet someone who uses the Analysis Collections (close up vs wide shots, single vs multiple people), so if you do use them, let me know about it, please.

Let me clarify this really quickly; think of a Library is a physical container on your hard drive, where all of your media assets live inside of it. And think of the other elements listed in the Library Sidebar as
filters, that help you limit how much of it’s (sometimes overwhelming) content you see in the Browser at one time.

002 Library Sidebar

This is where you browse the contents of each Library, Event, or one of the Event Sub-Groups as such:
- Select a Library and it lists everything in the Library.
- Select an Event and it lists everything in that Event.
- Select an Event sub-group (keyword/smart/analysis collection or folder) and it will list what is contained inside the selection.

003 Browser

Browser Content Types
There’s two types of content shown in the Browser.
1- There’s Projects which are the timelines you edit your content in to, often called a Project Timeline.
2- Then there’s Clips, which is everything else, and which are simply all of your media assets. These include photos, videos, audio files, and the specialize container clips types in FCPX. Let’s clarify all of that now, OK?

004 Browser Catagories

Media Types vs Clip Types
If you create Smart Collections, you’ll need to know this stuff especially. But in general, yeah, you’ll run into it here and there. Learn it, love it, live it, and have a refreshing beverage.

1- Media types are based on the physical characteristics of the media asset. These are as follows:

  • Video Clip, a video+audio or video only file.
  • Audio Clip, and audio only file.
  • Still - Photo or other graphic, called a still because it doesn’t move, and technically should only occupy one frame in a Project timeline. Yeah, think about that, before you import it, it is only a single frame in terms of video. But FCOX gives it a duration because we work with durations of time in video. This isn’t photography, bro.

2- Clips types are specialized containers, as mentioned above, and are based on specialized functions. These are as follows.
  • Synchronized Clip - Known as a “Sync Clip” and is usually a video+audio clip that has been synced up to an audio only file, like when the camera mic gets crapy audio and an audio recording device records the same audio in great quality.
  • Multicam Clip - Contains multiple video+audio and audio only clips, all shot at the same time, in order to edit them all at once together.
  • Compound Clip - a group of media assets (video, audio, still), usually composited together, placed into this container that acts as one clip in the Project timeline.

005 Types


There you have it, a basic breakdown of all the pieces and parts and stuff and junk what makes up them media management stuff in that upper left corner of your screen. It can get more complex when you get into the more advanced techniques of media management, such as media being managed vs external vs hybrid, for example. So I hope this blog post helps someone. And if you have any questions,
drop me a line. Cause I know stuff and junk.