Practical Emogis For Editors


There was once a lot of hoopla about using emojis in naming things inside of FCPX’s Browser panes. I saw lots of cute examples, but then it faded, nothing very practical was shown, in my personal experience. I’ve been producing an educational show about dogs, which has tons and tons of media that I need to sort through weekly for each episode. I’ve learned to use emojis in a way that is practical and allows me visual identification immediately. I’m getting older and my eyes are not what they used to be. FCPX’s text set at medium works fine, but I still have two strain on occasion. And setting its text to large is way too big. Since FCPX doesn’t let me choose it’s GUI text size myself, emojis let me identify what I need, or need to avoid, immediately.


Practical Emojis For Editors
Perhaps I should have titled this blog post “Emojis Help Old Guys Who Can’t See Worth A Damn,” but, there you have it. Perhaps it can help younger editors, also. The name of the game here is
Time. Time is everything. The longer you take to edit, the more stress you’re under, the less your quality of work, the less money you make off of that job. To begin, we need to define two entities important to the subject at hand.

First, let’s establish that during an editing session, we spend a LOT of time glancing quickly up at the Browser, with the goal of finding what we need to add to our Timeline, but more importantly, WHERE TO FIND IT. The quicker we can identify what we need, the shorter our edit time is.
I’ve been waiting on the damned telepathic interface from Apple for two decades now!
We may be talking about fractions of a second for each visual scan, but add that up over the course of pumping out a whole episode for TV broadcast, much less the whole series, and you’ve saved time and reduced stress. Add that up over the course of editing for a week, or a month, and it’s a LOT of accumulated time saved. Not to mention how much you reduce your stress when you can glance and see exactly where you need to go, immediately.

Second, let’s establish that emojis are those cute little pictographs that represent in a visual symbol
what we are too lazy to simply type out on a keyboard. Or are unable to verbally express because we didn’t pay attention in English class in high school. In this post though, I’m focused instead on their use in serious, professional, stress-filled, hectic, often confusing broadcast, and other types of editing workflows. I target broadcast because it is the fastest turn around time and probably the most stressful of all editing jobs, and what I currently do the most of.

Generating An Emoji In Your Browser Naming
To get an emoji into your media and organizational names we’re going to set up our keyboard tool in the Finder menu bar at the top of your screen.

Side Note; these can be used not only in clip names, but in keyword names, even names, library names, smart collection names, etc. But PLEASE do NOT go overboard with them, or you’ll have a confusing mess, trust me, been there, did that, have the t-shirt…

To begin with, let’s go to the System Preferences (Apple menu top left of your screen), then to the Keyboard section. Here, in the Keyboard tab, make to “Show keyboard and emoji viewers in menu bar” is checked. Then in the top right of your screen, in the tool bar, you’ll see the keyboard/emoji viewer menu symbol. Select the “Show Emoji & Symbols” option. I mainly focus on Symbols and shun emojis and more elaborate pictographs, for reasons I’ll explain in a moment.

sys prefs


symbol viewer

Now, while I’m in FCPX, in my
Browser, I’ll select my Unused smart collection, hit enter to rename it, my down arrow key to get to the end of the name, space bar to create a blank space, and then go to my Symbols viewer, select the red circle, (⭕️) double-click it, and it is added to where my typing cursor is waiting patiently for me to add content to the name. It is that easy.

As you can see, I placed a green check symbol in the episodes I’m finished with. I only placed it into the first one, after that I did a quick copy (cmd-c) and paste (cmd-v) for the rest. Work fast, work efficient,
stay thirsty my friends. Actually don’t, stay hydrated, and get up and walk around every half hour. Stay healthy and creative my friends.

applying a symbol

Tips For Real-Word Usage
Below you can see how I’ve set some symbols up myself. This image is from an actual production I’m currently in the middle of, and is actually airing on local TV. Now you can see that I honestly do use this daily, I’m not just blowing smoke up your butt.

I have found while editing many, many shows and other projects, that keeping media organization
simple and similar is VITAL to making it help you work faster. I have found in my own experience, that using the more elaborate pictographs, especially actual emojis, are too complex, blend together and are not IMMEDIATELY distinguishable enough to help. It actually hurts.

And NEVER place them at the beginning of a name, EVER! They will screw up the alphabetical order your listed items fall in to, that we’re all really super used to and expect unconsciously. So, end of the name, they do the same job either way, keep it simple, keep it practical.

As to my example below; you see I use a green square with a check mark for the completed episodes.

I use scissors for the one I am currently cutting.
I use red x’s for the ones I’ve yet to work on.

And a red circle for my Unused smart collection.

Occasionally we do a shoot that is just so messed up, or one camera was not double-checked and gave horrible, unusable clips, and I mark those with the international NOT ALLOWED symbol,

I like these, because I work in list mode most of the time, and I can see my own status for things this way. Until Apple gives us a way to see ratings in list mode easily. Hey, Apple, a simple RATING column would solve this, HELLO!?

Again, experience has taught me too many colors, too many details, and you end up seeing visual clutter, which hurts more than it helps. Remember, KISS
* my friends.

I hope you found something useful in this blog post, and as always, Rock Those Edits!™


*Side note; the popular K.I.S.S. rule of thumb is “Keep It Short & Simple.” It is NOT “Keep It Short, Stupid” which I’ve heard recently sited. I’ve done my research, “Keep it short and simple” is the rule, and has nothing to do with calling someone stupid, which is very rude and not constructive in any way. The stupid know who they are, and in any case, they’re not working in my own production department, so I don’t care…