Choosing Reel Names
Older editing systems accepted three-digit reel numbers, starting at 000 and ending
at 999. For maximum compatibility, this is a good naming convention to start with.
Unless you have over a thousand tapes in your project, this reel naming convention
should be sufficient.
You can use the digits of your reel name to mean different things. For example, the first
digit can be used to represent a particular location, with space for 100 tapes per location.
100–199 could be used for tapes shot in Washington, D.C., while 200–299 could be used
for tapes shot in Los Angeles, and so on. Pick a consistent method, and if you have to
break your convention, have some numbers reserved just for this. For instance, you could
reserve 900–999 for miscellaneous tapes that don’t fit your naming convention.
Note: Tapes recorded using professional video equipment allow the user to define the
timecode with custom hour numbers, so you can use those for your reel names. For
example, tape 001 would begin at timecode 01:00:00:00, and tape 022 would start at
timecode 22:00:00:00, and so on. Of course, this method only works if you have less
than 24 tapes.
Most mini-DV devices don’t allow you to set custom hour numbers, so with these
devices the best policy is to write reel names onto the tapes themselves, and to use
these to identify your tapes.
Note: If you plan on exporting an EDL, there are restrictions on the reel names you can
use. The restrictions depend on what EDL format you’re using. For more information,
see Volume IV, Chapter 10, “Importing and Exporting EDLs.”
When logging, always make sure that you:
Â Label your tapes with simple, unique names. If the reel names you used during
production are too long and complicated, you may want to relabel your tapes when
you start post-production, using a simpler, more consistent naming convention.
Â Assign the proper reel name to each clip before you log and capture it. If a clip is
assigned the wrong reel name, Final Cut Pro asks for the wrong tape whenever you
recapture. You can change a clip’s reel name in the Browser, or by selecting the clip
and choosing Modify > Timecode. For more information, see Volume II, Chapter 25,
“Working With Timecode.”