Share Your Process. How Do You Log Video?

Posted on by Larry

Björn asked an interesting question:

“How do you off-load and log media clips? I am trying to help my friend Goran who uses a Canon XA-70 with UHD-files. Currently, using FCP, he creates a Camera Archive, imports the clips, then opens the Archive, views the clips, modifies the file name to reflect the content, then copies and pastes all the file names into a Numbers spreadsheet.”

“The benefit of the Numbers spreadsheet is that he now has a searchable database of all his clip file names. But, is there a better way?”

NOTE: Björn’s question was also the impetus to write this tutorial on camera archives in Final Cut Pro.

I told Björn that this system wasn’t bad, but it was really awkward. Then, I stopped to think. What system allows us to log clips, change file names and metadata, then search for them across multiple projects? Hmm… that list is pretty short.


Hmm… You can’t use what you can’t find.  Logging and tracking clips in a single project is supported by all NLEs.

My question is what do you use to track media across multiple projects?

Share your thoughts in the comments. I’m stumped.

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29 Responses to Share Your Process. How Do You Log Video?

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  1. David Vogt says:

    I use Lightroom for videos as well. They don’ always play smoothly, but they can be keyworded, added to collections, etc.

    Once I locate the videos in Lightroom, I do a “show in finder” I load them into my NLE as reference movies.

    This is all done on a Mac Studio. I don’t know how well it will work on less powerful machines.

  2. David Vogt says:

    For me, there is an additional advantage to having both still and video assets in the same database. Frequently a project will use both video and stills, and having them cataloged in the same place means seeing all the selected assets at once.

  3. steve knattress says:

    I use CatDV, expensive but works well, standalone, or on a network.
    just point at (any) media, lots and lots of filtering options
    Can use it to generate proxies, for off line or web browsing.
    Can put together compilations/edits and send xml to premiere.

  4. Joe Torina says:

    Hi Larry,
    My Excel system evolved from the tape days. Today, instead of spinning through tape, I create logging timelines by content and subject category. All of my footage for that subject/category goes into a timeline from which I review the material. As I go along, I copy the timecode for each select and paste this into an Excel sheet formatted with columns I will use for reference. Now, working from paper, I choose a shot in the Excel sheet, punch the timecode into the logging timeline, and go to that frame. Once there, I match-frame to pull the clip into the preview monitor for editing. Old fashion perhaps, but works great for me. Also, no need to change clip names which could eventually be problematic.

  5. Jonathan Kirsch says:

    I used to use CatDV until it because unaffordable. I now use Iconik which is a great alternative. Same features (Metadata, tagging, filtering, proxy generating, generating timelines from clips) along with AI tagging and transcribing. I have it synced with a Backblaze account so anything I put into it automatically gets backed up into the cloud.

  6. Jim B. says:

    I still use Kyno, and surprised no other company has created something similar. But they have gone silent, with no updates for over a year. I’d love a worthy replacement to Kyno.

    Using a Stream Deck interface with Kyno, my ability to select, reject, favorite, keyword, transcode to ProRes and then send everything to FCP is/was amazingly fast.

    But as OSX and FCP advance, the app is starting to break down. Unfortunately, they still offer it for sale, and use your endorsement, Larry, on their website. That’s poor business on their part, when they know they’ve left the product for dead.

    If you have any industry connections to them, you might want to ask them to remove your endorsement from their page.

    Thank you for everything you do!

    • Larry says:


      Like you, I’m very sad that Kyno is essentially dead. I have reached out to them several times over the last few years – but no response. Use the software as long as you can – but start planning to move somewhere else.


  7. I first download my GoPro video onto my Raid folder titled GoPro and then logged by date captured. For my stills I download to MacBook Pro harddrive and to Apple Photos in separate 2 year Photos libraries. I also put my video from iPhone in the proper 2 year Photos library. These are my backups for FCP whose libraries are named for the subject matter and then by event year. If I need a clip from another event year I move the clip to the event I need it in. At 85 I know where to find the FCP clips in the browsers by year and Library name. I always can find a backups where I stored them by year. I am a single user and I know the years where I want to find the clip either in Photos, Mac Pictures folder or the GoPro folder. Using years to find. Sometimes I change the clip name to year,month & day along with the orginal file name given by the camera. So my storage of clips are simple and would not work too well for business type productions.

  8. Charlie says:

    I use FileMaker Pro to create a logging database to keep track of documentary style footage. Since most of what I do is talking heads I use it to find topics and subjects using text descriptors and subclip names in Premiere. This in addition to meta data in the project columns.

    • Larry says:


      Duh! I totally forgot about Filemaker. Great idea. I used to use FileMaker a lot.

      Another simpler-to-use database is Tap Forms 5. While I’ve only dabbled with it, this, too, could be easily used for logging.


  9. Robert says:

    Oh boy, this is a tough one as I’m sure everyone has a different process. Here’s ours at Studio Eight.

    First off, we use the MovieSlate app on an iPad and iPhone and everything gets slated. Ninety percent of the stuff we shoot is MOS, but we still slate. Having a visual reference of the scene number and take on a clip is a serious win for us. We went for a few years without slating and had a few bad bumps trying to figure out which clips belonged to which projects. We also use Atomos Ultrasync One and Ultrasync Blue to sync the MovieSlate app to the camera (and the audio recorder when we capture on-set audio).

    We use Final Cut Pro in-house for all the editing. We have two in-house editors that mostly work off-site in tandem. I capture, ingest, log, then set up and prepare the Final Cut Libraries for editing. We have a strict folder structure that everyone must use. We use the app Post Haste by Digital Rebellion to quickly create the folders for us. What started six or seven years ago as eight folders is now at thirteen folders.

    I start out by creating a new FCP Library with Postlab. I ingest the media using Hedge. Once the media is ingested into its proper folder, I have FCP import it into a new event (keeping the files in place). I create events based on the date of the shoot, very similar to “dailies”. Every new day of shooting brings a new Event. I then export an XML file of the Event into its proper folder.

    Logging then follows; I use an app called KeyClips (made by the MovieSlate team) to match up the FCP XML to the timecode recorded on the MovieSlate app. The MovieSlate app records all the various notes, keywords, important information, and lots of other data for each clip captured. KeyClips exports a new XML file that we open in FCP as a new Event. This new Event has everything we need to make logging very fast and painless; what used to take me half a day now takes less than an hour.

    FYI, MovieSlate can export various types of files that can be used for logging, including .csv files that can be opened by Excel or Numbers.

  10. Euan Williamson says:

    Hi Larry,
    Here’s a little known app which fits the bill. – which is now called “NeoFinder” –
    keeps a catlog of all files, both online and on offline disks.
    Can search keywords in FCPX libraries.
    On off purchase $40 – no subscription

    Cheers, Euan

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