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Some Initial Observations and Recommendations

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Shawn Larkin
Some Initial Observations and Recommendations
on Jun 16, 2012 at 10:48:54 pm

I'll post on the Area boards as well:

1) When editing with linked selections on for groups in the timeline, I feel that all selections should work the same as FCP7 -- especially since most shortcuts and logic are same as that application. However, these two things stick out:

a) Like Avid, you have to select both the video and audio cut points to slip a cut between two shots. In FCP7, you only need to select the video in a linked selection. At this point, the audio is automatically selected. Hence, the fact that they are supposed to be LINKED. And there should be a hotkey modifier if you only want to select one or the other -- audio or video -- when working with linked selections. In FCP7 it is option-clicking that part of edit on the audio or video.

b) Similarly, I don't get why I have to select all audio and video gap clips to delete a gap between 2 clips while retaining sync. As it is now, if you select only the video track's gap clip, you will jump the video to close the gap but leave it's linked audio behind. Again, aren't these "linked" clips?

2) In the release notes it is mentioned, but without some serious viewer feedback, trimming is pointless. If I slip, slide, or roll an edit, I have to see what is happening between my cuts from the appropriate viewer screens that show frames in a responsive / contextual way; it's like all trimming is done blindly right now.

3) I'm sure with context, there is great use for having a dedicated timeline tab for a source to be viewed (although I don't get it yet now). However, why does it always have to be there -- next to my actual project timeline? Why not make this more FCP7-ish, and have it appear only when you double-click a source in the media sidebar. You should be able to then close it from the timeline or open as many as possible if you so desire. But I don't see why it is there permanently.

4) Why can't I drag and drop edit from my left 2-up display the way I can in all other NLE's? I'm forced to use 2, 3, and 4-point keyboard-driven editing to get clips into my timeline right now. That is very limiting when I want to navigate a shot to a place on the timeline (and I would like to have some contextual pop-up viewers to help me as I drag and drop).

5) The prompt to change the blank timeline settings to match a clips settings when first importing mis-matched footage is confusing. Can you make it more clear?

6) Why can't I nudge a selection left / right by using the arrow keys or the < > keys?

7) Timeline audio editing isn't so developed. I can understand that everything you do to a media file on the timeline becomes an effect; that makes sense for how create a composite stack for the CFX view and other editors. However, just like any NLE, I want to be able to edit the audio -- create keyframes, drag the rubber bands between keyframes, and drag out selections of keyframes to alter all in the timeline without jumping to an editor -- regardless if an audio fx node has to be applied once I start working in the timeline. Have you guys seen how amazingly well FCPX (Yes, FCPX) handles audio editing in the timeline? You can drag a selection over a any part of a clip or clips and then pull on the rubber bands in that selection and it auto-keyframes it for you and makes the adjustment to the rubber bands. That's the kind of audio editing I'm hoping Autodesk can figure out in the timeline.

Overall, editing feels a lot like FCP7 with some Avid mixed in for good (or bad) measure. I think the UI works in a familiar old-school way, but it does not look very modern and the colors and outline of objects, buttons, etc, are bland and hard to see. I think once the functionality is more solid, the UI could be more modern and showcase the information in a better way.

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Frederic Warren
Re: Some Initial Observations and Recommendations
on Jun 19, 2012 at 1:16:19 pm

I replied to you on The Area


Frédéric Warren

Flame / Smoke Senior User Experience Designer
Autodesk Media & Entertainment

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Shawn Larkin
Re: Some Initial Observations and Recommendations
on Jun 20, 2012 at 1:12:29 pm

Thanks Fred,

I replied to your reply with details. However to summarize the "overall" larger point:

I’m curious why there are many FCP7 shortcuts and workflow ideas applied to SMAC 2013, but not all have been translated. Like, why are the modifier keys to Shift + Ctrl / Option + Ctrl + V when a simple Option + Click (or delete) is what is used in FCP7 (and to some extent Avid)?

I’m sure Larry Jordan or the Ripple Guys or any of the other heavy FCP users you are working with can help you implement feature-matching shortcuts (when possible). Why not go “all the way” ? I mean, legacy Smoke users can keep their shortcuts and muscle memory and the new breed of users could have all FCP7 shortcuts—the most user-based NLE ever.

Finally, aside from wanting SMAC 2013 to be a feature-set FCP7 replacement—I know I’m not alone there—I really hope you guys do try to implement the “best features” from all NLEs. Like, I think your use of the Ripple Tool Button for full track-base rippling is a great way of accomplishing what FCPX does (with it’s trackless timeline) while retaining tracks. Bravo for doing this!

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