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The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All

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David Lawrence
The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 7:33:55 pm

About me and my background:
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/335/9060

The Magnetic Timeline – What’s The Paradigm?
http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/335/9629

Standard disclaimer – Everything in all my posts is my opinion only. I have no special insider knowledge or connections with Apple. I’m just calling it the way I see it, having thought about this stuff for a while. If I get something wrong or if you have information I don’t, please feel free to correct me and/or add your knowledge to the pile. I’m all ears.

I personally believe that the usability of FCPX's new UI/interaction model is the most important question we need to explore as we try to figure out whether we can work with it or not. Many of the missing parts in FCPX can and will be fixed with plug-ins and updates. But if Apple's fundamental design assumptions about editorial workflow don't work for you, it won't matter. You'll eventually switch to something else.

In my previous post, I asked "What’s the paradigm?" The goal was to start a discussion about the new interaction model FCPX brings to the table. Thank you for your thoughtful comments! The thread raised a couple key issues I hoped would come up which I'll explore further here.

We've talked a bit about how FCPX is built around a database managed, container-based, object-oriented data model.

One of the analogies I frequently see in this forum goes something like this -- "Using FCPX is like using a relational database as opposed to using a spreadsheet a la FCP7 and earlier. People having difficulty using FCPX are simply not getting the relational database model. They're stuck in the spreadsheet way of thinking."

While this analogy has factual basis, I think it's a mixed metaphor and misses the larger point:

FCPX is built around an object-oriented data model. FCPX uses a relational database to manage this data. Structured data objects in a relational database can be manipulated in very powerful and flexible ways. All of this is true and we see the potential of this throughout FCPX. Metadata, keyword tagging, etc. are powerful organizational features. But there's a inherent disconnect.

A relational database can have an infinite number of dimensions. It can store any type of data set in innumerable ways. But there's one Very Big Thing a relational database doesn't understand or even know about.

Time.

A relational database exists completely outside the dimension of time. In a relational database, all possible data relationships exist simultaneously in a timeless, abstract state. They have no human perceptible meaning until we use tools to call and display them. In order to experience time-based data, we must play it. In order to represent time-based data on a computer screen, we must use space.

Human beings work with data and time very differently than computers do. I think this point is getting lost in much of the discussion of FCPX's interaction model.

While it's true FCPX uses a relational database foundation and metadata is a powerful, flexible way to organize, it's also true that humans don't process data or time like a computer. We use pattern, space and physical reference points to understand and navigate the world around us. This is wired into our bodies and this is why all NLEs use timelines.

Timelines give tangible, perceivable form to the abstract data and relationships held by a computer. Timelines allow us to perceive and manipulate time-based data in a way that makes physical and experiential sense.

FCPX introduces a radically different approach to the timeline interaction model. It replaces the familiar model with something that borrows many similar representational conventions, yet behaves very differently.

I'm convinced that any similarities between the old and new timeline models are fundamentally necessary. Yet Apple's newly added differences run counter to years of expectation in regard to the timeline's central frame-of reference. This makes it unintuitive for many editors.

Frame-of-reference is key, and leads to the fundamental truth about the timeline I hinted at in the end of my last post:

There must be a Master Clock.

In any NLE:

There is always a Master Clock.
The Master Clock dictates absolute time.
The Master Clock is the master frame-of-reference for time.
The Master Clock must be represented in space.

This is where things get curious with FCPX. FCPX has changed the master clock.

FCPX changes the frame-of-reference for the master clock from what we've used for decades -- the sequence window, a fixed, external frame-of-reference defined by absolute spatial position -- to a container object inside the sequence window.

Here's an illustration:



In FCPX the primary storyline is the master clock.

This is why there can only be one primary storyline. This is why connected clips only connect to the primary storyline. In object-speak, the primary storyline is the parent container for all media events in the sequence (project).

This change in itself is a big deal. It means that in FCPX, we edit the temporal frame-of-reference as we edit our piece.

And it gets more complex because FCPX's master clock has gravity. Locked in ripple mode, the primary storyline always pulls all contained objects to the singularity of 00:00:00:00. This is useful if you need help avoiding black gaps in your program, but it has a side effect of constantly changing the time position of everything else you're working on. This may or may not be a problem depending on what you're doing.

Here's a simple exercise you can do to see how FCPX treats time in the sequence (project) window:

Drop a clip in the primary storyline. Hit shift-z (zoom to fit) so you can see the full clip. Use the blade tool to make a cut in the center of the clip. Use the trim tool to select only the head of the clip on the right. Now drag the selected head right and left to trim the clip head forward and backward. Keep your eye on the time indicator. Notice what happens to the timeline and where time is in the window space. Time is moving in space relative to the object being trimmed.

Try the same thing in FCP7. Use the ripple tool to simulate the FCPX trim mode (which is currently ripple only). Also try this with the regular trim tool.

The difference in how each version of FCP performs this function demonstrates how each version treats the master clock frame-of-reference.

In FCP7's open timeline, time is absolute in relation to the sequence window. Changes to any media objects on the open timeline affect the objects only. Time in space is constant.

In FCPX's magnetic timeline, time is always relative to 00:00:00:00 on the primary storyline. Depending on how you manipulate objects on the timeline, 00:00:00:00 can and will move in space. Time in space is variable.

Question - In the FCPX exercise above are you trimming the object on the timeline, or pulling the timeline into the object?

FCPX's new interaction rules and behaviors are loaded with assumptions about how you should edit. Depending on your needs, they'll either help you or get in the way. But make no mistake. If you work in FCPX, you must follow them.

Next post, I'll look at the rules that govern object and timeline behaviors in FCPX. The floor is now yours.

_______________________
David Lawrence
art~media~design~research
propaganda.com
publicmattersgroup.com
facebook.com/dlawrence
twitter.com/dhl


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Herb Sevush
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:14:40 pm

David -

You've created a new genre, the page turning cow post. Can't wait for the next installment.

Thanks.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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David Cherniack
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:22:09 pm

Well that certainly shut everyone up....at least for a while.

Thanks David, I look forward to pondering the ramifications through with you and others here.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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David Cherniack
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:25:33 pm

A question: what are the ramifications of this cutting segments and 'projects' to time. The broadcast slot is, of course, absolute ( in more meanings than one :)

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:26:12 pm

I'm one of those who mention the spreadsheet vs database comparison.

Another concept I've tried to express is that time is relative to the relationship of media objects rather than an absolute time grid . . . or maybe as you say the handling of the master clock.

Clip connections (and Secondary Storyline connections) are relative to each other as shown through the "connection" point. The connection points themselves can be moved in relative time (Command Option and click the top of a media object/clip). This is such that if a clip overlaps two clips in the primary storyline once can change the connection to any frame of the clips below it through all overlapping points in time (frames).

That it is relative to that can also be shown when slipping a clip in the primary storyline as the connection stays linked to a given frame of the media object/clip within the primary storyline rather than to a specific point in time along the time grid. In other words, use the trim tool and do a slip on the clip in the primary storyline and the connection, linked to that frame, will move in time with the specific frame.

Tangentially, that several connected clips can be made into a Secondary Storyline becomes wrapped as a single media object and, therefore has only one clip connection to the primary storyline.

Perhaps you can correct and/or expand on or better explain the above. A key though is how this might benefit the editorial process because I think people are missing that. I think understanding the relative nature of clip connections in time is key to unlocking some of the power of FCPX .

One way I've had of looking at and describing this is that the "connection" is a "time node" and as such the node connection can be changed relative to the media object while they cross (overlap) each other in time. Also, Storylines can embody clips that relate to each other sequentially (transitions, effects) and each connected object (clip or storyline) to the clips below it relative to the connection point which is itself a mobile connection for overlapping time.



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Matt Callac
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:39:45 pm

Craig, I think David's point is that sometimes master time needs to be absolutely fixed. Ideally, an editor is a story teller, and the story should be the master. Hence the primary storyline being the movable adjustable clock for the edit. Problem is All editing isn't ideal and a lot of times you are a slave to absolute time. a commercial that is 30 seconds. A documentary for Television that has to fit nicely in 5 designated timed segment etc etc.

So some editing models just can't fit in the new timing paradigm apple has created.

-mattyc


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 9:27:06 pm

[Matt Callac] "Craig, I think David's point is that sometimes master time needs to be absolutely fixed."

But in FCPX things relative to that master and its clips are only relative to the clips. They are not fixed to the master time. They are fixed (connected) to a point in time of the object. If that point in time in the object moves, so moves those related to it. Alternately one can change that point so it links to the object at a different point. That too can move though. You can connect to frame 1 or frame 100 of a clip. You can connect to clip 1 or clip 2 as long as the media object in the primary storyline is crossing the time path of the connected object (you can only connect to points that overlap rather than any frame in the object).

So the master storyline may be fixed but its internal components are mutable and so are the relationships to them.



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Matt Callac
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 9:39:00 pm

[Craig Seeman] "But in FCPX things relative to that master and its clips are only relative to the clips. They are not fixed to the master time"

Right, but sometimes it's necessary for things to be locked to a Master Time, and not what you might call Story Time (time as dictaded by the primary storyline).

-mattyc


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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 10:05:56 pm

[Craig Seeman] "But in FCPX things relative to that master and its clips are only relative to the clips. They are not fixed to the master time. They are fixed (connected) to a point in time of the object. If that point in time in the object moves, so moves those related to it. Alternately one can change that point so it links to the object at a different point. That too can move though. You can connect to frame 1 or frame 100 of a clip. You can connect to clip 1 or clip 2 as long as the media object in the primary storyline is crossing the time path of the connected object (you can only connect to points that overlap rather than any frame in the object).

So the master storyline may be fixed but its internal components are mutable and so are the relationships to them."


Yes, all correct. The question is, is this more efficient? Is it a better way to work? What happens if this behavior is not what you want or need for a particular situation?

_______________________
David Lawrence
art~media~design~research
propaganda.com
publicmattersgroup.com
facebook.com/dlawrence
twitter.com/dhl


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 10:41:27 pm

[David Lawrence] "The question is, is this more efficient?"

It is when you've created stacks of items that are designed to happen relative to each other. The interview, cutaways, titles, fx, are relative to the words and actions in the interview and you can move that entire relative relationship anywhere in time and the relationship will be maintained.

[David Lawrence] "What happens if this behavior is not what you want or need for a particular situation?"

Yes it's also possible that one wants a specific thing to happen at exactly (entire timecode number of choice) but as a "story teller" more often (for me) I want the elements related to where a move that part of the story if I move it.

If one wants an end tag to start at 26 seconds of a 30 second spot, the time and not the relativity are the guide in this case but that's the roll of the Primary Storyline. If all things above it must stay locked to that time you can use the delete key that replaces with gap (as opposed to the one that ripples) and you have the device that "holds" that time and all things relative to it while you find your alternative clip that must be in that exact time.

FCPX requires a different understanding of time and it's immutable vs its relative nature. I don't think it's worse or more inconvenient. In many ways it's more flexible. It's just that people aren't used to it. That begs the question whether one should conform to past ways of thinking because they've become normative.

Back when I was very involved in various avant garde music circles these were actually very important questions regarding the composer and listener experience when it comes to things like microtonal work and different tuning temperaments vs the very nature of "notes" vs sound as something that evolves without discrete steps and how this relates to time signatures vs the "freest" of free jazz. I don't think you can call anyone "correct" or "better." The artist makes the choice and so does the listener. One's guitar or instrument might be Avid or it might be FCPX. They are played differently.

One can even say the progression of instrument development is related. The rigidity of the harpsichord eventually led to the much more flexible piano but that eventually was part of the development of the keyboard synthesizer which creates timbres that don't really exist in "nature" when various physical objects are percussively hit or bowed. Yet this variety of "unnatural" sound is now pervasive. Some musicians were even afraid (and many rightfully so depending on one's values and goals) of such development. FCPX may yet become the new keyboard synth (or may not. Only time and Apple's marketing effort will tell).



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David Cherniack
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 12:36:24 am

[Craig Seeman] "[David Lawrence] "The question is, is this more efficient?"

It is when you've created stacks of items that are designed to happen relative to each other. The interview, cutaways, titles, fx, are relative to the words and actions in the interview and you can move that entire relative relationship anywhere in time and the relationship will be maintained."


Craig, here's a fundamental issue I'm wondering about with the grouped stack:

I don't edit in ripple mode much at all. I frequently need to insert a video or audio clip in a timeline that may have 10 tracks of both video and audio. I select everything to the right of the insert point with a single click of my five button mouse and deselect those clips that overlap the insert point from the left that I don't want to move. I then create a gap equal or longer than the clip I'm inserting and plunk the new clip on the correct track depending, if it's video, on the layered ordering I want. But the clips that don't move may be only 2 of 10 overlapping clips. I know which ones they are. I know the vertical layering order of the new clip. No software algorithm will or can.

It's hard for me to see how a grouped stack of equal complexity can handle the insert situation I described as efficiently. This is where the vertical fixed track would seem to me to be more capable than going about placing and replacing objects before and after they've been shifted 'magnetically'. But please enlighten me if I'm wrong.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 5:45:44 am

I'm not quite sure I understand what you're trying to do.
In FCPX if you insert a clip in the primary storyline, those clips linked to clips after that all move and maintain their relationships to the clips they connect to in the primary storyline. There's nothing to select or deselect. They all maintain their relationships. If you want to insert a gap it's Option W. It inserts a gap of three seconds which you can then extend if you'd like. If you want to remove a clip but maintain the relationships to the clips above it you'd just use the delete key (as opposed to the backspace/delete key which is a ripple delete and also deletes all related/connected clips).



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David Cherniack
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 12:18:22 pm

[Craig Seeman] "I'm not quite sure I understand what you're trying to do."

I'll try to expalin it another way because I think the example exposes a fundamental limitation in the efficiency of the magnetic timeline:

Say you have ten layers of video and ten layers of audio. At a single point in time you wish to create a gap, say to insert a new clip. But all the clips at that point overlap with some cuts and transitions happening to the left and some to the right of your insert point. The gap you want to create is not a vertical hole, a cut all tracks and ripple. Rather it's going to maintain that overlapping nature. But which clips will move to the right and which won't are editorial decisions.

I've found the most efficient way to do this is in non-ripple mode...to select all clips that intersect my insert point in time plus all those that lie to the right of them. (I can do that in Premiere Pro with a single macro-enabled mouse click, otherwise it's 3 operations) Then I de-select the clips that I don't want to move, and move the entire selection rightward. This leaves me with the overlapping gaps that I want. I then insert the new clip and extend whatever layers of sound and video that I decide are required to close up the newly created gaps on their various tracks.

This operation is necessary in some form or other in all complex timelines of any length. I will do it hundreds of times in my projects. And I'm sure there are alternative ways of doing it in all NLEs. The point is though, that it requires a lot of editorial decisions about individual elements, stuff that couldn't possibly be done in ripple mode without the software reading my mind. And it seems to me that it will always be done more efficiently in non-ripple mode with a traditional vertical timeline.

The magnetic timeline appears to be designed to be better at automating simple tasks of assembly where it doesn't require much built in ripple intelligence. Go beyond a few layers of overlapping video and audio and it's efficiency will have rapidly diminishing returns. It's clear that it was designed to be efficient at less complex forms of editing and thus appeal to a less demanding market. But unless the underpinnings of the interface will allow Apple to provide the alternative of a traditional multi-tracked timeline at some point in the future, I think using X for any complex editing task will be done more for the sake of proving that it's possible rather than it provides a clear advantage.

As far as multi-layered audio the idea of designating tracks by metadata looks like an inherently clumsy workaround compared to the visually intuitive track based vertical timeline.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 12:55:49 pm

[David Cherniack] "Say you have ten layers of video and ten layers of audio. At a single point in time you wish to create a gap, say to insert a new clip. But all the clips at that point overlap with some cuts and transitions happening to the left and some to the right of your insert point. The gap you want to create is not a vertical hole, a cut all tracks and ripple. Rather it's going to maintain that overlapping nature. But which clips will move to the right and which won't are editorial decisions."

With this example, I think it becomes important to distinguish among different concepts in the FCPX "timeline" which FCPX bundles together into one big idea.

There's the magnetic timeline, which relates clips to each other. There's the storyline, which fundamentally relates clips to one main video track, instead of placing clips in absolute time. There's the self-collapsing trackless timeline, which mitigates destructive clip collision.

I think the magnetic timeline is actually a really interesting idea, and I think that clip connections would work well in a traditional absolute non-collapsing tracked timeline. (I expanded on this a bit [link] in the prior Magnetic Timeline Paradigm thread.)

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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David Cherniack
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:16:08 pm

[Walter Soyka] "With this example, I think it becomes important to distinguish among different concepts in the FCPX "timeline" which FCPX bundles together into one big idea.

There's the magnetic timeline, which relates clips to each other. There's the storyline, which fundamentally relates clips to one main video track, instead of placing clips in absolute time. There's the self-collapsing trackless timeline, which mitigates destructive clip collision."


But how does the distiction address the specific example and its execution in an efficient way? I do believe this may be the tipping point where the magnetic timeline becomes comparatively inefficient.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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David Cherniack
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:17:12 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I think the magnetic timeline is actually a really interesting idea, and I think that clip connections would work well in a traditional absolute non-collapsing tracked timeline."

Wouldn't this really amount to more or less the same thing as the Group Clips" function that exists in PrPro and by other names in other NLEs? The only potential difference that I see is that the resulting object has meaning in the relational database, but that can be worked around in other NLEs.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Walter Soyka
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:44:40 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I think the magnetic timeline is actually a really interesting idea, and I think that clip connections would work well in a traditional absolute non-collapsing tracked timeline."

[David Cherniack] "Wouldn't this really amount to more or less the same thing as the Group Clips" function that exists in PrPro and by other names in other NLEs?"

Some editorial decisions make sense in absolute time, but I think some make more sense in relative time. For example, a sound effect may be linked to a specific visual, or a graphic may be linked to a specific sound bite.

Group clips relates two clips together as wholes; clip connections relate a specific point from one clip to a specific point in another.

For example, think of a short sound effect that anticipates and accents a specific visual hit. If you simply group the clips, then insert edit another clip during the anticipation but before the hit, you can inadvertently split the sound effect. If the clips are connected (linking the hits in audio and video), the sound effect can follow the hit and avoid being split by the insert edit.


[David Cherniack] "But how does the distiction address the specific example and its execution in an efficient way? I do believe this may be the tipping point where the magnetic timeline becomes comparatively inefficient."

With clip connections on an absolute timeline, you wouldn't have to manually select the correct clips before editing. The NLE could select them for you, based on the clip connections you had already defined. You're front-loading the thinking about which clips go together in a move.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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David Cherniack
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 5:23:52 pm

[Walter Soyka] "With clip connections on an absolute timeline, you wouldn't have to manually select the correct clips before editing. The NLE could select them for you, based on the clip connections you had already defined. You're front-loading the thinking about which clips go together in a move."

But FCP-X is not an absolute timeline so you're citing a possibility that doesn't exist. My contention is that in a relative timeline the example is possible but clumsy and may lead to clips getting shifted around in unintented ways.

Why isn't Craig jumping in here to point out the errors in my conjectures? Is it still unclear?

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:22:57 pm

I don't find the magnetic timeline an issue. If you want to move things around without the magnetic effect just use P (Position tool) instead of A (Selection tool).

Since clip connections can be moved to any frame on any clip underlying I don't see a problem there either.
If a Connected clip or Secondary Storyline crosses multiple clips, you just connect it to the frame and clip of your choice. The connection defaults to its first frame but it's easy to move.

One thing one must be aware of is that if a connected clip or secondary storyline is only over a single clip, it can only be connected to that clip. You can easily delete the primary storyline clip and the gap that replaces it, maintains all the connections. Nothing ripples.

Of course you can use the delete/backspace key and then the primary storyline does rippled and the clips connected to that clip also disappear but it's just one choice one has given the other form of delete without rippling.

I can also copy and paste and individual clip in the storyline (any clip connected or any storyline) and it doesn't carry the connected clips.

I can even Command click to select clips and copy and paste them together whether or not they are connected.

A big advantage of clip connections is that it becomes easy to move a complex stack related to a clip . . . a frame . . . in the primary storyline. It's there to use but you're not really limited by it in any significant ways I can see as of yet.

Things can be magnetic or not, be moved together or not. I find there's no complex procedures for it to behave as I need it in any given circumstances.



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David Cherniack
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:40:30 pm

[Craig Seeman] " I find there's no complex procedures for it to behave as I need it in any given circumstances."

You've just described what appears to be a much greater number of procedures than what I do to accomplish this task. I've never inferred that it can't be done in X, only that's there would diminishing efficiency compared to the tracked timeline as the complexity of the layers grows.

But thanks for the input.

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:46:39 pm

[Craig Seeman] "A big advantage of clip connections is that it becomes easy to move a complex stack related to a clip"

So before FCPX it was hard?


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Herb Sevush
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 7:16:32 pm

"So before FCPX it was hard?"

Michael, your not the first to ask that question, and definitely not the last.

http://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/11474

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 7:56:01 pm

[Michael Aranyshev] "So before FCPX it was hard?"

Yes for many people who really had a hard time lassoing or command clicking clips. Now it just works. There's zero risk that I've missed selecting a clip. Maybe you've always been perfect at that but I don't want editing to be hampered by my hand eye coordination or lack thereof.



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Herb Sevush
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:10:46 pm

"I don't want editing to be hampered by my hand eye coordination or lack thereof."

New slogan - "From the folks who killed of Shake, we bring you FCPX, for editors with the shakes!"

But wait, how do you select the clips to be connected and compounded? No mouse use there?

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:45:39 pm

[Herb Sevush] "But wait, how do you select the clips to be connected and compounded? No mouse use there?"

Edit the clip and it's connected. Moving the connection is just command option click on top generally over the area I want unless I need a specific frame.

If the stack is big enough selecting for compound can be a bother but that's no different than selecting to nest was in FCP7.

With FCPX, in most cases the clips are already connected so the move doesn't involve selecting anything. Selecting is the exception not the norm and that makes my editing life easier.



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Michael Hancock
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:19:51 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Now it just works."

Provided you linked your clips correctly. There is always room for human error, and I don't see how this design will prove any different. If you don't link the right elements together, they won't move together will they?

----------------
Michael Hancock
Editor


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:47:17 pm

[Michael Hancock] "If you don't link the right elements together, they won't move together will they?"

They link by default. It's only if you have to move a connection that one has to be concerned and no more concerned than before.



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Michael Aranyshev
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:34:06 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Maybe you've always been perfect at that but I don't want editing to be hampered by my hand eye coordination or lack thereof."

Never tried to perfect this type of the skills. Too dangerous for your wrist. There is a keyboard. It is fast and precise.


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 8:48:58 pm

Selecting clips in a stack usually involves the mouse at some point in most cases. Even Command click involves "click." Lassoing involves mouse.



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Michael Aranyshev
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 9:16:41 pm

Set IN. Set OUT. Select In to OUT.


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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 11:16:24 pm

[Craig Seeman] "The rigidity of the harpsichord eventually led to the much more flexible piano but that eventually was part of the development of the keyboard synthesizer which creates timbres that don't really exist in "nature" when various physical objects are percussively hit or bowed. Yet this variety of "unnatural" sound is now pervasive. Some musicians were even afraid (and many rightfully so depending on one's values and goals) of such development. FCPX may yet become the new keyboard synth"

Very interesting analogy and line of thought. There are ton's of examples of interesting new UI approaches that allow for whole new kinds of music to be made. For example,



which Bjork used on tour a couple years ago. I love this stuff!

But keep in mind that most exotic new keyboard synths all still use a keyboard as their primary UI. In the case of FCP, I think the timeline is the keyboard. It's a UI optimized for a very specific task. To take your analogy a bit further, it seems like some people are confusing the synthesizer (the sound engine) for the keyboard (the UI that drives it).

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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 11:34:20 pm

[David Lawrence] "But keep in mind that most exotic new keyboard synths all still use a keyboard as their primary UI. In the case of FCP, I think the timeline is the keyboard."

I used to play a Buchla and built a Serge kit. No keyboards on the models I used. I admit I'm adventurous when it comes to interfaces.

And when I used the DX7 I immediately began to play with just intonation and microtonal tuning.

FCPX timeline, while a timeline, is certainly using a new tuning.

Keyboards over the years when through tuning changes as well. Just ask a deep "classical" and "pre-classical" music expert and some will argue that the modern versions are not using the original tunings in many chamber pieces for example.



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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 11:52:24 pm

[Craig Seeman] "FCPX timeline, while a timeline, is certainly using a new tuning."

I think a better analogy is that the magnetic timeline is to the open time timeline as a GarageBand smart keyboard is to regular keyboard. They're both keyboards, you play them both in similar ways, but GarageBand's smart keyboard has all kinds of automated features to help make good sounding music easily and with less skill. The regular keyboard is completely open. You're on your own. It only sounds as good as you're able to make it sound with your abilities and style.

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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 9:54:54 pm

[Matt Callac] "So some editing models just can't fit in the new timing paradigm apple has created."

Yes, that's what I'm getting at.

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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 9:53:57 pm

[Craig Seeman] "Perhaps you can correct and/or expand on or better explain the above. A key though is how this might benefit the editorial process because I think people are missing that. I think understanding the relative nature of clip connections in time is key to unlocking some of the power of FCPX ."

You're doing a thoughtful and articulate job explaining this Craig. I agree with your descriptions about how the clip relationship model works in X. I think where we might differ in opinion is on the question of what this brings to the process of editing. I'm open to the possibility that this might be better, but I'm highly skeptical. I want to see proof.

I think we may be seeing different sides of the same coin. Here I can only speak for myself. When I edit, any relationships I create between clips comes as a direct result of where I place them in time. My concern is always time first. This event happens now. The now part is very important. The relationships arise from this placement. I might not even understand them before I perform them! For me, this is the intuitive, creative part of editing. This is why I want my time foundation to be fixed. I want absolute control of what happens and when it happens.

This is not to say that I never ripple. I do all the time. But it's never my default mode. It's always intentional.

I'm not suggesting that the relative/relationship model can't work. What I'm saying is that it's not what you want all the time.

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Paul Dickin
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 10:28:53 pm

[David Lawrence] " I can only speak for myself. When I edit, any relationships I create between clips comes as a direct result of where I place them in time. My concern is always time first. This event happens now. The now part is very important. The relationships arise from this placement. I might not even understand them before I perform them! For me, this is the intuitive, creative part of editing. This is why I want my time foundation to be fixed. I want absolute control of what happens and when it happens."
Hi
You have got me thinking...
I can't remember a single instance - not one - since I started editing professionally for the BBC in 1965 where I've made a story-telling edit (or an edit decision) based on absolute time. Everything is always 'relative' to other A/V assets, and the ebb and flow of the action within the clips or the music, and the precise time-irrelevant cut points.

Sure I'd lay out a 93 feet 12 frames spacer in the 4-way synchroniser to time a 60 sec slot (PAL-land), but only at the end to get it to time - after the edit. Because the movieola or Acmade was too imprecise.

Similarly in a one-hour documentary the show would be assembled and then fine cut with only a very generalised notion of overall running time. Cutting down to make the exact timing would be the very last editorial process, long after the 'story-telling' had been locked down.

But I suppose for the BBC it was irrelevant and for ITV/C4 there was a relaxed policy of timing for commercial breaks.



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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 10:36:00 pm

[Paul Dickin] "I can't remember a single instance - not one - since I started editing professionally for the BBC in 1965 where I've made a story-telling edit (or an edit decision) based on absolute time. "

Agreed. It's not necessarily the absolute time value that matters (although sometimes it does). It's that the spatial foundation for time is fixed and I'm laying out my edit decisions within that fixed frame-of-reference.

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Paul Dickin
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 10:41:59 pm

Hi
A piece of film hanging in a bin being transferred to a viewer doesn't have a clock - only a frame rate.
The chinagraph marks are never applied with reference to a time-piece. No different in an NLE to my way of thinking ;-)



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Paul Dickin
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:41:31 pm

Hi
Shut up!!!! Not much chance of that here :-)

i) For me, existentially, time is almost never 'linear' - except when I'm counting the seconds - ie never when I'm editing. So for me, whilst visual story,-telling seconds=centimeters can never be a valid metaphor.

ii) I used Premiere 3.1.3>6.5 almost as long as I've used FCP (1993-2001). With its A&B roll topography, and especially its precisely rulered timeline, always marked in meaningful seconds (unlike FCP for a PAL timeline), it was much more a layed down linear representation of time in a line, with meaningful overlaps for transition points. I know editors who still hold Premiere as a 'better' NLE for that reason.
Getting used to meaningless timeline time rulering was the biggest hindrance to me when transferring to FCP v2 - it took me all of two weeks to get my head around that...

iv) My favourite ever Mac program was mTropolis, and object-based nodal multimedia authoring program like Director. It had no problems with 'time', as any time-based object had its own timeline. So as a descendant of that philosophy I welcome FCP X. :-)

iii) There was, briefly, a totally trackless Mac NLE called Montage made by Arboretum. Limited though it was it had no really fundamental problems for its being trackless - it was just too simplistic, and therefore limited, to compete with Final Cut Express. Complexity goes with the territory.
Complexity = learning curve.



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David Cherniack
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 8:43:07 pm

Some observations that may fall out of your post:

FCP-X's timeline is a creation from the minds of object oriented software engineers.

As you point out we experience the playback of a timeline in absolute time, not the relative time the objects and their containers exist in.

So in a sense the creators of the absolute time playback are creating in a relative time container. This leads to a significant question:

Is it appropriate for editing with a sense of timing and rhythm?

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 10:02:56 pm

[David Cherniack] "Some observations that may fall out of your post:

FCP-X's timeline is a creation from the minds of object oriented software engineers.

As you point out we experience the playback of a timeline in absolute time, not the relative time the objects and their containers exist in.

So in a sense the creators of the absolute time playback are creating in a relative time container. This leads to a significant question:

Is it appropriate for editing with a sense of timing and rhythm?"


Outstanding observations and a key question, David. Great stuff!

Yes -- what does this interaction model mean for rhythmic modes of cutting? Cutting is always about rhythm and pacing. What does it mean to be cutting to a relative frame-of-reference?

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David Cherniack
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:31:29 am

[David Lawrence] "Outstanding observations and a key question, David. Great stuff!

Yes -- what does this interaction model mean for rhythmic modes of cutting? Cutting is always about rhythm and pacing. What does it mean to be cutting to a relative frame-of-reference?"


Thank you David.

I suspect that Craig's point about rhythm & pacing being relative to other objects rather than absolute time is only partly true. It holds for rhythm but not so much for overall pacing which is often a combination of clock time and content, as any long form editor will attest.

Nevertheless, I'm sure the magnetic timeline can manage both. What's not clear is how it deals with complex insert situations that I outlined in my post to Craig elsewhere in the thread...which may be the record for the longest wait for response by Craig in the the history of this forum...two hours and counting :) (Ah well, I give the guy the benefit of the doubt...maybe his typing fingers have fallen off :).

David
AllinOneFilms.com


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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 12:00:08 am

[David Cherniack] "What's not clear is how it deals with complex insert situations"

I think this is a huge question and it's the how I tend to do the bulk of my work. My hunch is we'll see the first scaling issues here and with sound mixing.

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Walter Soyka
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 9:54:16 pm

[David Lawrence] "FCPX introduces a radically different approach to the timeline interaction model. It replaces the familiar model with something that borrows many similar representational conventions, yet behaves very differently."

[David Lawrence] "Apple's newly added differences run counter to years of expectation in regard to the timeline's central frame-of reference. This makes it unintuitive for many editors."

[David Lawrence] "FCPX changes the frame-of-reference for the master clock from what we've used for decades -- the sequence window, a fixed, external frame-of-reference defined by absolute spatial position -- to a container object inside the sequence window."

Two followup questions to these points:

What challenge was this redesign meant to address?

What benefits (if any) are there to changing the way we think about how the NLE abstracts and represents the edit back to us?

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
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RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
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Paul Dickin
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 10:04:39 pm

[Walter Soyka] "What challenge was this redesign meant to address?"
Hi
i) As Craig has indicated, to find a way of graphically representing AV Foundation building blocks in an edit-friendly manner, and more importantly
ii) to make the 'editing process' more comprehensible to a (far) wider user base.

ie Not the answer you want to hear I suspect :-(
But the whole caboodle is reverse engineered from the viewpoint of 'where the puck will be'.
Not from existing custom and practice...



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Walter Soyka
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:21:27 am

["Walter Soyka]" What challenge was this redesign meant to address?""

[Paul Dickin] "As Craig has indicated, to find a way of graphically representing AV Foundation building blocks in an edit-friendly manner"

I have argued this with Craig every time he's brought it up. I think AV Foundation here is a red herring. (See this post where I dig through the AV Foundation documentation [link] and outline why I think AV Foundation has nothing to do with the FCPX data model.

AV Foundation is the framework for reading and writing media. The AVMutableComposition class [link] that everyone keeps pointing to as the essence of an FCPX project does not provide any tools for clip connections, which are the foundation of the magnetic timeline, or for primary and secondary storylines. I think AV Foundation naturally models timelines the old-fashioned way.


[Paul Dickin] "to make the 'editing process' more comprehensible to a (far) wider user base."

I agree here -- I've argued elsewhere [link] that I think that FCPX's design philosophy is abstraction, hiding technical detail where possible and moving the editor away from the underlying mechanics of what the computer must do to assemble the edit.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
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Paul Dickin
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 9:29:37 am

[Walter Soyka] " The AVMutableComposition class that everyone keeps pointing to as the essence of an FCPX project does not provide any tools for clip connections, which are the foundation of the magnetic timeline, or for primary and secondary storylines. I think AV Foundation naturally models timelines the old-fashioned way."
Hi
The linked document is dated 5th May 2010. A year is a long time in s/w development ;-)

The AVF complex clips must be defined in essence in their own database structure. Wouldn't it be possible in a 'relational database' context for the designers of AVF to have added hooks to the individual elements of the AVMutableComposition - to link to other AVMCs (via the database 'hooks') to form even more complex AVMC entities?

In other words, since FCPX doesn't have a 'project' in the old way, the databased interaction of AVF and CoreData (= the OS) define the Project (= Sequence). The FCPX GUI designers have worked to service that 'engine'...
That would be my guess. ;-)



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Walter Soyka
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 10:48:03 am

[Paul Dickin] "Wouldn't it be possible in a 'relational database' context for the designers of AVF to have added hooks to the individual elements of the AVMutableComposition - to link to other AVMCs (via the database 'hooks') to form even more complex AVMC entities?

Why assume that this all goes back to AV Foundation? That's just the framework for reading and writing media -- FCPX is free to "think" about the timeline however it likes, then make AV Foundation calls to read the edited clips in and write the rendered timeline out. Applications build on frameworks; they are not constrained by them. The new timeline model was a choice, and now we're trying to analyze it. The development internals shouldn't matter in this context.


[Paul Dickin] "The FCPX GUI designers have worked to service that 'engine'..."

This issue is broader than GUI design. It's not just how we interact with the surface of the editorial app that's changed -- how the app itself "thinks" has changed.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
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Paul Dickin
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 11:18:50 am

[Walter Soyka] "...how the app itself "thinks" has changed."
Hi
Reversing your reply:
How the app itself "thinks" has changed. The new timeline model was a choice. Why (not) assume that this all goes back to AV Foundation?

I'm not saying that that was a 'good' choice. Just that that may be part of a simple explanation.

Until the OS's CoreData functions have full XML I/O APIs FCPX can't have any external interchange options.


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Walter Soyka
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:02:36 pm

[Paul Dickin] "Why (not) assume that this all goes back to AV Foundation?"

Because I don't think that makes any sense. You're suggesting that FCPX is a pretty GUI wrapper for AV Foundation. I think that FCPX adds tons of functionality on top of the basic routines provided by the frameworks it's built on.

AV Foundation, like CoreData, CoreImage, CoreAnimation, and CoreVideo, is a low-level framework. No one framework encapsulates everything that an FCPX project/timeline can do, and the frameworks don't really overlap. They provide basic routines to developers, and it's up to the developer to build the higher-level pieces.

But this whole diversion is a bit of a moot point -- even if FCPX is a user-exposed AV Foundation, we can still talk about the design decisions that went into the model.

Walter Soyka
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Paul Dickin
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:29:49 pm

[Walter Soyka] "AV Foundation... is a low-level framework. No one framework encapsulates everything that an FCPX project/timeline can do"

QuickTime was a low level framework.
But QT couldn't do this:
AV Foundation uses... a mutable composition to add and remove tracks, and adjust their temporal orderings. You can also set the relative volumes and ramping of audio tracks; and set the opacity, and opacity ramps, of video tracks. A composition is an assemblage of pieces of media held in memory. When you export a composition using an export session, it's collapsed to a file.
http://developer.apple.com/library/ios/#documentation/AudioVideo/Conceptual...

QT elements didn't exist only in memory - it took an application like Final Cut to take the raw QT assets and mutate them into a new entity, rendered into memory and ready to be exported.

But that description of editing from the AV Foundation document has subsumed most of what an old FCP timeline (recorded in a project) existed to do.

[Walter Soyka] "But this whole diversion is a bit of a moot point... "

Not entirely. Without understanding the context of the new entity that FCPX is, the discussion will still revolve around why aren't there hay-net storage facilities in the new (motorised) vehicle.

Or "why can't we import FCP 7 projects into FCPX?"
If the answer is that its the OS that now handles importing or other data exchange directly into the core Foundation engines then the scale of the problem assumes a different order of magnitude.

[Walter Soyka] " I don't think that makes any sense"
Fine, I'm cool with that. ;-)



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Walter Soyka
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:28:17 pm

The larger question -- how does FCPX/AVF/whatever represent the edit to the editor -- still applies.

I'm leery about dwelling on the technical details too much, because this is all a distraction from David's lessons on how we think about time and perceive time and relationships in the NLE. I'll give one more go at trying to show why I think the details are irrelevant, and then the last word on the topic is yours.


[Paul Dickin] "QuickTime was a low level framework. But QT couldn't do this:
AV Foundation uses... a mutable composition to add and remove tracks, and adjust their temporal orderings. You can also set the relative volumes and ramping of audio tracks; and set the opacity, and opacity ramps, of video tracks. A composition is an assemblage of pieces of media held in memory. When you export a composition using an export session, it's collapsed to a file."

QuickTime actually CAN do all that, except programmatically ramping volume and opacity.

Additionally, there's a lot that AV Foundation cannot do by itself that FCPX can, like animating position and scale, processing effects, establishing clip connections, etc.

I accept your premises that QuickTime and AV Foundation are different, and that FCP and FCPX are different -- but that doesn't imply that AV Foundation and FCPX are entirely the same!

I see nothing in AV Foundation that would prohibit building classic FCP on it. I see nothing in QuickTime that would prohibit building FCPX on it. The media reading and writing framework need not be linked with the way the edit is represented in the NLE.

If I'm wrong, and FCPX is nothing more than wrapped AV Foundation, then we can simply change all the questions we're asking about how FCPX represents the edit in time to how AV Foundation represents media storage in time. The questions will still be valid.


[Paul Dickin] "Without understanding the context of the new entity that FCPX is, the discussion will still revolve around why aren't there hay-net storage facilities in the new (motorised) vehicle."

I think the faster horse/car analogy fails -- I think car analogies always fail -- but we're not just asking where to keep the hay. We're asking fundamental questions about what makes the new vehicle actually move.

And for the record, both horses and cars move by pushing off against something that moves less. You don't have to change your model of physics to understand horses and cars, but you do have to change your model of time to understand FCP and FCPX.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
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Paul Dickin
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 3:03:37 pm

[Walter Soyka] "then the last word on the topic is yours."

I'm cool with that, and agree with your overall conclusions. :-)
Now Lion is roaming free maybe some of the WWDC NDAs will vanish and allow discussion of relevant technical advancements out into the open.

But:
[Walter Soyka] "You don't have to change your model of physics to understand... "
[Walter Soyka] "...you do have to change your model of time to understand FCP and FCPX."
That's metaphysics. I'll back out ;-)



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 3:10:24 pm

[Paul Dickin] "and allow discussion of relevant technical advancements out into the open."

Not quite NDAish, but helpful:

http://www.digitalrebellion.com/blog/posts/5_great_lion_features_for_editor...


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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 11:54:17 pm

[Walter Soyka] "I think AV Foundation here is a red herring. "

It may be that we're seeing it modeled in the UI but I absolutely agree that if that's the case, it's a choice on the part of the designers.

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Glen Hurd
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 11:28:51 pm

I feel like we're giving Apple too much consideration. It's like a committee of linguists studying a recently discovered collection of free-verse, spending days discussing the potential insight and irony of this genius, while, unbeknownst to them, it's actually the meandering words of a child - signed by a playful parent - e. e. cummings.

This isn't meant to diminish anything written here. David L's comments could/should be collected and used with every "Intro to Editing" course (with his permission), as a means of showing how much depth exists - and is required - in the editing culture. I thoroughly enjoy the philosophical underpinnings to his observations about FCP X and editing in general. But that's another topic.

But why don't we see industry leaders stepping forward saying, "I was a contributor, and it was my idea to do this!" Where's Walter Murch, the Coen Bros, etc.? I mean, if Apple was serious about improving the industry, don't you think they'd talk to the big boys? I cannot believe that we are talking about the possible merits of FCP X with the assumption that programmers for Apple could POSSIBLY have more insight into what's needed for editing, than those who edit!!! And if those who edit contributed to all this, then where are they? Why aren't they standing up and admitting it was their idea, that they grew up as kids loving magnets, and felt that clocks played havoc with their creativity?

Where are the luminaries? (I know that many of the supporters for FCP X, here at the cow, were indeed beta testers, but even they don't claim actual responsibility for these ideas.)
Are we assuming that Randy and crew came up with these insights on their own? Or were they handed gold tablets while walking their dogs in the morning dew? Why is someone like David caught flat-footed here, left to wrack his brain around what Apple is trying to do, let alone define the problems that Apple was trying to solve? Obviously, he, nor any of his circle of friends/associates, were consulted.

Are we really contemplating that Apple knows best? And . . . we're not embarrassed by that?

I think psychologists will use this event in their classrooms to simply demonstrate the power of branding, years to come.

Apple.
Final Cut Pro.
Hmm . . . must be good . . . 1 million editors just gotta spend 6 more months to figure out why.

I don't accept that Apple was trying to improve the editing paradigm and spent 4 years in a monk-like trance dreaming up the "new way forward." If they were that passionate about our art, they wouldn't be killing off other applications along the way, let alone forcing us to adapt to rigid methods - or else.
What, are we sinners, needing Apple's redemption?

Again, I do enjoy looking at the underpinnings of FCP X in an effort to "study the trees" - a method of understanding Apple's purpose, and, of more benefit, to define who we are as a community (I think the latter will be more valued).
But I also see a forest on fire, and a company who continues to exceed profit expectations from iPad sales, not to mention a yet-to-be-released upgraded telephone. Woo-f-ing-hoo!!! So the trees aren't speaking to me.

I've been a tireless evangelist for many years, and FCP X has turned me into Nietzsche.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 11:46:13 pm

[Glen Hurd] " Why is someone like David caught flat-footed here, left to wrack his brain around what Apple is trying to do, let alone define the problems that Apple was trying to solve?"

I think the answer is quite simple Glen, it's because Apple isn't talking. They've left it up to all of us to figure out what the heck they're up to and what the heck they have in mind for the future.

Trying to interpret the many disconnects left dangling by Apple since June 21st is really a ridiculous waste of time, but no intelligent person can resist trying to interpret hieroglyphics, so here we are...


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new tutorial: Prepare for a seamless transition to FCP X and OS X Lion
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/FCP-10-MAC-Lion/1

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


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Glen Hurd
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:05:26 am

[David Roth Weiss] "but no intelligent person can resist trying to interpret hieroglyphics, so here we are..."

Brilliant!!! So true :)

And great podcast, btw.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:16:10 am

[Glen Hurd] "And great podcast, btw."

Thanks Glen!!! Always good to hear positive Cow feedback.


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new tutorial: Prepare for a seamless transition to FCP X and OS X Lion
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Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Glen Hurd
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:15:34 am

I can be positive . . . no, really!! ;)

You're welcome, Dave. So many words get lost in the jumble on the page - no matter how many breaks we use to create clarity. But hearing an insightful discussion keeps complex ideas alive and manageable. Much appreciated. Especially with this topic.


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Walter Soyka
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:30:47 am

[Glen Hurd] "I feel like we're giving Apple too much consideration. It's like a committee of linguists studying a recently discovered collection of free-verse, spending days discussing the potential insight and irony of this genius, while, unbeknownst to them, it's actually the meandering words of a child - signed by a playful parent - e. e. cummings."

I think many here are still trying to understand the new model Apple's engineers and UI designers have dropped in our laps. I don't think they built it this way accidentally, which is why I'm so interested in understanding what it does, why it does it, and what workflows it's built for.

David has been leading us through an exploration of why NLEs have worked the way they do -- going back to theory and first principles. This is all presented in contrast to the new FCPX model. Since FCPX isn't likely to go away any time soon, and since it's so different from what has come before, I think the study is well worth while.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Glen Hurd
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:33:09 am

Walter, I understand that many are still trying to understand. I'm not sure there's much more to discover. This software wasn't written in collusion with Walter Murch and the Coen bros. In fact, I have yet to hear of one industry insider that can say he contributed to what was released last month.
We do know the Jobs loved iMovie 8. And now we have FCP X for $300.
That's why I poked a little fun at studying a child's writings that is assumed to be e. e. cummmings. Yes, we're hoping to find insight, but there may not be any. It might be as simple as "Steve made me do this."

I enjoy everything David L writes. I wish he'd been at Apple when all this was going on. We'd still be lighting firecrackers and dousing lawn fires with champagne if he had been part of the production - no doubt about it. But he wasn't.
So while his questions are intriguing, and his observations are educational, I can't help but think he is also privately digging around the ruins of FCP, like an archeologist, hoping to find consolation for its sudden demise.


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Bill Davis
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 7:12:12 am

Perhaps the central problem you - and MANY other "professionals" are having is that for you - editing is EXCLUSIVELY the kind of editing you do.

We are ALL wedded to an individual experience model. And it's incredibly easy to fall into the trap of "video editing is what my experience tells me it is." - I personally fall into that trap all the time. But I'm trying to change my thinking.

I still remember a guy asking me some years back for help on problems he was having doing a commercial - and I started preaching the gospel of 29 and a half seconds - only to discover he wasn't doing broadcast at all, but rather doing a WEB commercial and actually needed something that could run anywhere from 20 seconds to 2 MINUTES!

He was getting paid for his work the same way I was - but NOT working under the same traditional standards I've spent decades thinking were absolute.

In FCP's early days, I had the great fortune to spend time talking to Apple Product evangelists, early users group leaders and even a few people at Apple itself (including a couple of very brief chances to talk directly to Randy U. and Brian the product manager. One thing I always made it a point to note is that for every editor like Walter Murch or The Coens, there are dozens, hundreds or now thousands who are NOT like them at all. Most of us who edit video for business purposes do very, VERY different work than "Hollywood style" movie cutting. We work on corporate presentations, business videos, demo reels, presentation embeds, infomercials, and a host of other "non-movie" tasks. Personally, I've edited more than 300 corporate videos and I've NEVER cut a movie - and have absolutely no desire to do so.

"Movie-making" is the visible and important tip of the spear - and drives a lot of acceptance for the brand - but the maybe 10,000 Sundance submissions PALE in comparison to the thousands of corporate communications pieces done each and every day around the world with FCP.

FCP-X and it's new way of thinking about content over time might create major difficulties for some types of work in these early days. But if you can't open your brain up to the new possibilities of what it MIGHT do very much better - I suspect you're going to miss something.

And if it DOES offer speed and data base flexibility and superior "agility" in the long run, I suspect many of the issues that it has today will fall pretty rapidly over it's development cycle.

If apple has truly developed a new "engine" here - while it makes perfect sense to debut it in something akin to a sports car - if that engine approach is fundamentally efficient and powerful and durable - I suspect it will eventually end up in both motorcycles and long haul trucks.

We'll see.

Great discussion, btw. I'm delighted so see the knees stop jerking and some rational discussion of the underpinnings here. THIS is far more useful than the chicken little stuff from the first weeks.

Bravo, all.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Paul Dickin
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 10:07:29 am

[Bill Davis] " ...if you can't open your brain up to the new possibilities... "
Hi
Good post Bill.
When I 'retired' from broadcast TV in 1993 I determined that I should boldly go into what was then a buzz word on the distant horizon - Interactive Television.

The prototyping tool of choice at the time (for an individual unsubsidised enthusiast like I was) was Macromedia Director. Director had an inflexibly timeline-based workflow with lots of 'goto' moments. In essence clunky and inelegant.

In the late 90s a new program called mTropolis was born - OS 9 only :-( (It was later bought out and killed by Quark!!!)
This had an extremely elegant and powerful node-based object-oriented workflow, one which allowed the essentially linear viewer experience of watching the 'media', but allowing very cool presentation in an 'interactive multi-' way.

I think interactive television as a paradigm floundered because it neither gave the navigational freedom that say the Web does, nor the high-fascination (totally linear) experience that a good move or television programme provides.

BUT. The editing assembly process an editor goes through to aggregate his cut-together clips to eventually achieve the finely crafted finished movie or TV show is, at a lot of stages in its gestation, very much like the juggling-of-building-blocks that went on with Director or mTropolis.

At that stage of the editing process a Node-Based interface paradigm could be totally appropriate (and productive), in my view.

A question to David L.:
How much time have you spent using Shake or the node-based part of Color?



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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 12:45:50 am

[Paul Dickin] "In the late 90s a new program called mTropolis was born - OS 9 only :-( (It was later bought out and killed by Quark!!!)"

Interesting you should mention mTrop. Somewhere in my studio I have a copy of 2.0 given to me by the CEO of the company. In the pre-dot com mid-90's I was partner in a Paul Allen funded start-up. Our company designed and produced two CD-ROM titles and were spun off as a new venture that became a national brand.

That story is for another time but the core technology my company bet on was mTropolis. I loved how it was designed as an object-oriented system for building event driven interactive experiences. Light years better than the Director UI model. So smart and efficient! I was devastated when Quark killed it.

But here's the thing. We authored in mTrop, but we had a Media 100 to create all our time-based assets. Media 100 and Premiere for any and all time-based work. mTrop for integration and interactivity and interactive time-based play.

[Paul Dickin] "At that stage of the editing process a Node-Based interface paradigm could be totally appropriate (and productive), in my view.

A question to David L.:
How much time have you spent using Shake or the node-based part of Color?"


I've played with Shake, Nuke and a bit with Color. My brother Dan is way more expert than I am but we've discussed it a lot. My take (and bro concurs) is that node-based processes are fantastic on a shot/scene level. But they don't give you much leverage in editing because editing is a fundamentally different kind of process with very different concerns driving the task.

To put it more simply, the timeline is optimized for time-driven manipulation, but thu layer stacking and filter ordering you can roughly simulate a nodal pipeline. A nodal pipeline is highly optimized for shots but may have a timeline attached because it's comping in a time-base effect. You can work in both, it's all about picking the best tool for the job.

_______________________
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Scott Sheriff
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 5:53:02 am

[Walter Soyka] "What challenge was this redesign meant to address?"

That is the 64,000 Dollar Question.

[Walter Soyka] "What benefits (if any) are there to changing the way we think about how the NLE abstracts and represents the edit back to us?"

The 64,000 Dollar Question, Mark II.

Then if you take the answer to those two questions, plus the question of Life, the Universe, and Everything, and feed them to Deep Thought, and let him grind on that for seven and a half million years. You will then find out who the target market for FCP X is, and of course 42.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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Carsten Orlt
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 10:40:51 pm

[David Lawrence] "Here's a simple exercise you can do to see how FCPX treats time in the sequence (project) window:

Drop a clip in the primary storyline. Hit shift-z (zoom to fit) so you can see the full clip. Use the blade tool to make a cut in the center of the clip. Use the trim tool to select only the head of the clip on the right. Now drag the selected head right and left to trim the clip head forward and backward. Keep your eye on the time indicator. Notice what happens to the timeline and where time is in the window space. Time is moving in space relative to the object being trimmed."


Not sure I agree. What I'm seeing is simply that FCPx keeps the clip being trimmed (head or tail) static and shifts the rest. Yes that causes the time(line) to move differently from FCP7 BUT this is actually a good thing because it keeps the clip I want to change focused.

When you trim the first part in your example, it stays stationary and the second part moves, keeping the time(line) static.

--
I was talking to a friend (editor too) yesterday and told him that FCPx is strange because I'm not sure yet if the 'new' way is actually a better way. But your post and and analysing it showed me again that we are looking at it with old expectations and are confused when they are not met.
My judgment right now is that every day I discover that the changes are actually quite good but I still haven't made the final call :-)

Carsten


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Matt Callac
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 10:49:06 pm

[Carsten Orlt] "Not sure I agree. What I'm seeing is simply that FCPx keeps the clip being trimmed (head or tail) static and shifts the rest. Yes that causes the time(line) to move differently from FCP7 BUT this is actually a good thing because it keeps the clip I want to change focused.

When you trim the first part in your example, it stays stationary and the second part moves, keeping the time(line) static."


I think he's using this as a visual metaphor. The timeline is moving while the clip is staying still, b/c the Clip in the primary storyline IS the primary timekeeper. Whereas in all other edit systems, the timeline itself is the primary timekeeper.

-mattyc


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Jim Giberti
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 11:23:15 pm

Good stuff David.

I wonder whether these essential but esoteric questions would occur to someone using FCPX as their first experience with temporal design.

For instance, many of the graphic designers in my shop over the years had virtually no grasp of these concepts - things that were common to those of us who evolved with linear film and audio tape in our g studios. I've had some great designers that were virtually lost when I tried to explain how we were incorporating their work into a timeline.

I'm thinking of at least a couple of senior art directors I've had that were masters of the layered space that they designed in but nearly dyslexic or at least phobic regarding animating or incorporating their work in time.

Just wondering if new editors, whatever their age, would quickly adopt the X paradigm, without a thought of the things being discussed here.


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 11:53:24 pm

This brings up an important point in how Apple may have done their GUI research.

One software developer once had me sit in front of their GUI and asked me to perform certain task. This was deliberately without any manual or help of any kind. They wanted to see where I would attempt to find things and how I try to do those tasks and how quickly I'd understand how the program does these things.
Of course my choices were influenced both by my preconceived thinking of where certain things might be and how certain things might be done but were also influenced by my "natural" inclination to try things in ways I thought would be most convenient.

Tests like this can guide someone in the development of a GUI. It may well be Apple looked at people's "natural" inclination to try do to things without the heavy influence of pre-existing NLE use as well as people who had such background and watched the mix of history vs the desire that thinks made be easier in this new interface.

They may have decided to go with a GUI that those with strong prehistory were least comfortable with because they found that a more "natural" attempt lead to a different GUI. They may have found that people's concept of time and vertical use was very different than the GUI that most NLEs used. Since the greatest market growth may be in people who don't have the pre-history, that's where they want. BTW that does NOT mean they would be locked into a consumer or prosumer market. This may well be the next generation of very advanced professionals.



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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 11:21:09 pm

[Carsten Orlt] "What I'm seeing is simply that FCPx keeps the clip being trimmed (head or tail) static and shifts the rest. Yes that causes the time(line) to move differently from FCP7 BUT this is actually a good thing because it keeps the clip I want to change focused."

Yes, this is what it does. But this behavior is inconsistent. If you trim from the clip tail, the object changes but the timeline does not (of course, objects to the right will ripple down, but that's another story). My point is that frame-of-reference is relative and changes depending on how you interact object on the timeline. Depending on your zoom level, it can be disorienting. Is this a good thing? How does this make the actual task of editing easier?

_______________________
David Lawrence
art~media~design~research
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Carsten Orlt
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 19, 2011 at 11:45:50 pm

[David Lawrence] "But this behavior is inconsistent. If you trim from the clip tail, the object changes but the timeline does not"

Hmm not following you here as it wouldn't make sense it it would be the same :-)

Think of time is to be read from left to right. If I change the out of a clip I change this point in relation to the master time either making it later (and therefor needing to add more frames to the clip itself) or earlier (therefor taking frames away from the clip) Therefor the time ruler is not changing but the clip(s) after.

If I now trim the head of clip 2, I do NOT change the point in the master time. The edit point remains at a fixed time because otherwise I would have to overwrite clip 1.

In fact when you switch to the trim tool (T) and do a roll edit the time ruler stays static and the clip move.

All makes perfect sense :-)

FCPx just does something that no other NLE does and that is shifting the timeline on the left as well when needed to keep the clip you're working on in focus.

Carsten


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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 12:00:22 am

[Carsten Orlt] "All makes perfect sense :-)

FCPx just does something that no other NLE does and that is shifting the timeline on the left as well when needed to keep the clip you're working on in focus."


Yes, I agree it makes logical sense, but I'm not sure the last part -- shifting the timeline on the left -- makes intuitive sense with how we expect objects to behave in space.

_______________________
David Lawrence
art~media~design~research
propaganda.com
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Carsten Orlt
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 12:34:49 am

[David Lawrence] "but I'm not sure the last part -- shifting the timeline on the left -- makes intuitive sense with how we expect objects to behave in space."

But why does it have to?
If I'm trimming an edit point I'm at this very moment most interested as to how the edit works. Keeping the clip I'm trimming in focus does exactly that.

If my interest when trimming is the total length of my story (to use the 'new' terminology) I would agree with your analysis. And of course there are cases when it would actually be the main goal of a trimming operation. But in 99.99% percent (or in other words the majority as I have of course no proof for the number) of trimming operations I'm interested in the edit I'm trimming, NOT the master time.

Carsten


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Craig Shields
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 12:21:48 am

Hi David,

Are you using FCPX now? If so, how much time are you spending with it? Do you have or can you create examples of the potential problems of which you speak?

I'm asking these questions as someone who has spent a lot of time reading various viewpoints of the new software. Like many, I see the potential of FCPX but I am also concerned about the potential pitfalls.

Thanks.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:52:55 am

The part of this equation that no one can know, is exacty that, the unknown.

It is pretty obvious to me, there are things missing, or not "switched on".

The interface might be confusing as all the parts aren't there. The foundation is built, but the walls aren't raised.

I agree with you David L, the efficiency is in question and the proof or lack of evidence will come with time. I do find the trim tool to be remarkably efficient as it essentially removes the "media limits" of FCP7 and all that comes with that.

I do think all the functionality isn't all fleshed out yet. There is a reason the vocabulary has changed. It might not quite make sense at this point, as the dictionary is still being written.

Of course, I could be wrong about all of this.


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Dean Isaacs
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:45:40 am

I sort of think this is what the Apple engineers had in mind: Wife puts together a beautiful video of Kid's 2nd B-Day Party. Titles, cut-aways, photos. A few songs. Beautiful. Husband watches the video and says,"Great, but you need to add in the clip of Aunt Ethal." Wife drops the clip of Aunt Ethal in after the first two clips. Everything stays together. Video is done.

Dean Isaacs


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David Roth Weiss
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 3:12:02 am

[Dean Isaacs] "I sort of think this is what the Apple engineers had in mind: Wife puts together a beautiful video of Kid's 2nd B-Day Party. Titles, cut-aways, photos. A few songs. Beautiful. Husband watches the video and says,"Great, but you need to add in the clip of Aunt Ethal." Wife drops the clip of Aunt Ethal in after the first two clips. Everything stays together. Video is done."

And, they had to very publicly take over the entire Vegas SuperMeet for that???


David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles
http://www.drwfilms.com

Don't miss my new tutorial: Prepare for a seamless transition to FCP X and OS X Lion
http://library.creativecow.net/weiss_roth_david/FCP-10-MAC-Lion/1

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Business & Marketing and Apple Final Cut Pro forums.


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Robert Brown
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 5:18:01 am

This is an interesting experiment. I for one don't find myself rooting for Apple on this one. They're fixing something that wasn't broke.



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Chris Kenny
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 3:20:51 am

[Dean Isaacs] "I sort of think this is what the Apple engineers had in mind: Wife puts together a beautiful video of Kid's 2nd B-Day Party. Titles, cut-aways, photos. A few songs. Beautiful. Husband watches the video and says,"Great, but you need to add in the clip of Aunt Ethal." Wife drops the clip of Aunt Ethal in after the first two clips. Everything stays together. Video is done."

Does not compute. That market does not buy $300 software.

--
Digital Workflow/Colorist, Nice Dissolve.

You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read our blog.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 3:33:54 am

[Chris Kenny] "Does not compute. That market does not buy $300 software."

Agreed. They have iMovie for that.


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Walter Soyka
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 10:38:26 am

[Chris Kenny] "Does not compute. That market does not buy $300 software."

Why not? That market buys $2,000 Macs and $1,000 DSLR kits.

Walter Soyka
Principal & Designer at Keen Live
Motion Graphics, Widescreen Events, Presentation Design, and Consulting
RenderBreak Blog - What I'm thinking when my workstation's thinking
Creative Cow Forum Host: Live & Stage Events


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Bill Davis
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 7:35:45 am

Or...

I'm getting very well paid to do the monthly corporate video report.

This month the CEO's script requires 8 minutes instead of his usual 3. The other 4 area reports are also all over the time map...
Also, the art department finished all the new logos and wants them replaced throughout the piece so I'd like to manipulate the meta-data to tag them as the new standard graphics and have them repopulate all their respective occurances - full screen, insets, in composites, and in title screen - automatically - project wide. Finally, I'd like to confirm that the numbers in all the embedded charts that we use for each show are updated when accounting gets them done...

Since a lot of this stuff is time flexible - I don't want to waste my time opening 25 holes in my timeline, pasting new clips, dragging all the titles and stuff into alignment and then closing up all the gaps I've just created everywhere - that seems inefficient and kinda stupid...

Wouldn't it be SWEET to have a video editing app with a super-flexible timeline that also understands DATA naturally? Rather than just a linear stack of fixed state picture clips and unconnected layer clips that have to be re-built, relayed, and re-timed endlessly in order to do the same basic construction each month?

Oh, yeah, and I can use it do do Mom's birthday movie every bit as well.

Works for me.

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Andy Mees
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:23:57 pm

Wouldn't it be SWEET to have a video editing app with a super-flexible timeline that also understands DATA naturally? Rather than just a linear stack of fixed state picture clips and unconnected layer clips that have to be re-built, relayed, and re-timed endlessly in order to do the same basic construction each month?

Whatever happened to xm/Edit's Traffic?


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Chris Jacek
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:29:41 am

I'm still waiting for my voucher codes, so I haven't had a chance to actually work on FCP X, but the concept of "ripple only" sounds like a real sticking point to me. I can say that I never edit in this manner, and always do "insert" style editing to borrow an old video tape term.

My question is this: If you WOULD like to edit in a more absolute time manner, where rippling in minimized (or ideally, eliminated), could you create a single clip that is the targeted length of your final program, and then reference everything to that? In essence, could this single clip be a type of proxy absolute timeline, allowing you to edit in a more traditional manner if you wanted?

If so, could you forsee a scenario where people would store generic black clips on their drives to be used to "black" the timeline, much as we would black a tape in the days of tape editing?

Professor, Producer, Editor
and former Apple Employee


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 2:36:41 am

In FCPX you can Insert, Append to End, Connect to Primary Storyline, Overwrite.
If you want to move things around if you use the Select pointer it's "magnetic" or the Position pointer so you can freely move things around (have gaps). You can Delete with Ripple or Delete and fill the space with a gap (a filler black slug).



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Scott Sheriff
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:16:42 am

[Chris Jacek] "but the concept of "ripple only" sounds like a real sticking point to me. I can say that I never edit in this manner, and always do "insert" style editing to borrow an old video tape term."

Right. Wasn't that the point of the NLE in the first place? To insert footage wherever you want, in a non-linear way?
Ripple is a linear tape function designed to keep your EDL nice and neat, and to make it easier to get match frames. All linear tape editors operate in the constant ripple mode as a default.
Do an edit, the list auto-ripples, so your old out, becomes your new in.
If you want to change an edit in the middle of a project that affects length, then the list would have to ripple from that point, or there would either be a hole, or an overwrite. And least in linear editors you had the choice to not ripple the list if you needed to.
So how is this constant ripple idea some kind of "new paradigm" when it just mimics linear video tape editing standard default mode?
I guess it's only a new paradigm if you learned to edit in the last ten years or so.

Scott Sheriff
Director
http://www.sstdigitalmedia.com


"If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur." ---Red Adair

Where were you on 6/21?


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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 11:28:29 pm

[Craig Shields] "Are you using FCPX now? If so, how much time are you spending with it? Do you have or can you create examples of the potential problems of which you speak?"

Like many, I'm currently unable to use it for client work, but I have a softer project that I'm using as a test case. Mostly I'm testing its various assumptions and behaviors and trying to understand how it wants me to work. Then I'm comparing that against things I typically do in 7 and noting which is more efficient. My next post will touch on some of this.

For a real-world stress test, I think we should all be paying close attention to what these guys find out:

http://fcpxmegatest.blogspot.com/

_______________________
David Lawrence
art~media~design~research
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facebook.com/dlawrence
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Andrew Richards
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 3:58:09 am

I don't see a distinction between the "open" timeline and the magnetic timeline in terms of time base. Both have a preset frame rate. Both are a linear time scale starting from an origin. In the old FCP timeline, even if there was infinite apparent real estate shown to the right of origin or to the right of the final clip, the playhead stopped playing when it got to the last element. That FCPX doesn't yet offer a way to set a timecode offset for the timeline is not an indicator that a whole new metaphor for time has been created. There is still a scale at the top of the timeline showing the relative scale, and that scale is always regular and scales linearly just like any traditional timeline.

The big distinction for the magnetic timeline is the default closure of gaps and the lack of defined tracks. I think it was created not to redefine the philosophy of editing, but for a much more pragmatic purpose. I think it just boils down to making a UI that doesn't require so much fiddling to get a desired result. If you are going to do a lot of editorial work in the timeline, you are more efficient if you don't have to constantly rearrange objects in space to accommodate your edit decisions. Sure, there are seasoned pros who still maintain the discipline of a linear past that results in fewer timeline edits. But I suspect a very large majority of FCP users, high end pros included, do a great deal of manipulation of complex structures on the timeline. To draw yet another analogy, think of the magnetic timeline as cutting/pasting paragraphs in a word processor versus the traditional timeline which is much more like rearranging blocks of movable type on a press.

Certainly this changes how the user must approach meeting certain editorial goals. The framework of the traditional timeline spawned conventions that matched it's behavior. Different conventions will evolve to match the behavior of the magnetic timeline. But both the traditional and magnetic timelines express a linear time scale against which media is laid out in sequence, so I don't think there is a seismic a shift as David's premise suggests.

Best,
Andy


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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 12:04:42 am

[Andrew Richards] "both the traditional and magnetic timelines express a linear time scale against which media is laid out in sequence, so I don't think there is a seismic a shift as David's premise suggests."

Linear time scale is not the issue, it's about frame-of-reference in regards to spatial representation and object/space behavior. I think it's a pretty big deal in terms of UI design change. In fact, I can't think of any application that uses it's main window quite like this. But I'll keep looking :)

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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 12:42:07 am

[David Lawrence] " In fact, I can't think of any application that uses it's main window quite like this. But I'll keep looking :)"


Smoke comes to mind.


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Andrew Richards
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 2:29:19 pm

[David Lawrence] "Linear time scale is not the issue, it's about frame-of-reference in regards to spatial representation and object/space behavior. I think it's a pretty big deal in terms of UI design change."

I completely agree with that, but that isn't what I understood your opening post to be about. This is the bit I'm referring to:

[David Lawrence] "This is where things get curious with FCPX. FCPX has changed the master clock.

FCPX changes the frame-of-reference for the master clock from what we've used for decades -- the sequence window, a fixed, external frame-of-reference defined by absolute spatial position -- to a container object inside the sequence window.

In FCPX the primary storyline is the master clock.

This is why there can only be one primary storyline. This is why connected clips only connect to the primary storyline. In object-speak, the primary storyline is the parent container for all media events in the sequence (project).

This change in itself is a big deal. It means that in FCPX, we edit the temporal frame-of-reference as we edit our piece.

And it gets more complex because FCPX's master clock has gravity. Locked in ripple mode, the primary storyline always pulls all contained objects to the singularity of 00:00:00:00. This is useful if you need help avoiding black gaps in your program, but it has a side effect of constantly changing the time position of everything else you're working on. This may or may not be a problem depending on what you're doing."


My initial understanding of your argument from that excerpt was that the media in the Primary Storyline is the base manifestation of time scale in the FCPX timeline.

I disagree.

The timeline is the master clock, just like it is in FCP7. In FCPX, you create a Project and set its frame rate. In FCP7, you do the same thing with a Sequence. Both offer the option to match the frame rate of the first clip added to their respective timelines. Before any media is added, before any Primary Storyline is created, the FCPX timeline has a "Master Clock", to borrow your terminology.

The big change, IMHO, isn't that time is rooted somewhere new. The big change is, as you put it, is with "spatial representation and object/space behavior". This absolutely forces the user to adopt new habits for constructing an edit, but the way time is framed hasn't changed, just the way it is filled with content.

Granted, a ripple edit, which is the default behavior for the magnetic timeline, will alter where on the timeline subsequent media sits, but this is true in traditional timelines as well. It just isn't the default. FCPX has a Position tool for making adjustments to the timeline without incurring a ripple, just like FCP7 has a Ripple tool to do the opposite. The default behaviors differ, but the way time is metered does not.

I get the sense your main objection to FCPX's default timeline behavior is that when you are editing, you do not want to ripple the edit because this ruins direct clip-to-timline spatial relationships you already placed further down the timeline.

I now understand your "master clock" to be not the time scale set for the timeline, but rather the spatial relationships of the clips relative to the timeline. I understand why the shift from placing disconnected objects in what is essentially a grid (traditional timeline) to stringing together explicitly connected objects (magnetic timeline) is significant, but my take on it is that any UI metaphor forces the user to adopt interaction habits based on the UI's behavior. The UI metaphor you helped invent has been used for decades by every major NLE since, so it is a powerful convention.

Breaking decades old habits and muscle memory is a shock to any user, and I think that's a huge reason why so many veteran editors recoil from the way default behavior of FCPX's timeline. I was certainly very disoriented the first time I sat down at FCPX in February at SFO waiting for my flight back from the now infamous "jaw dropping" private briefing. I didn't know what to make of it, but I they gave us tutorials to follow and I plowed through them trying to keep an open mind.

All things considered, I now like the new timeline. It needs some tweaks, well documented around here, like Precision Editor support in Secondary Storylines, persistent two-up Viewer any time Precision Editor is engaged, more consistent transition behavior, and the already-announced audio output mapping. But I love the potential in it, and honestly I feel I spent a lot of energy manually accounting for collisions in legacy FCP, and I won't have to think about that in FCPX.

I can also appreciate how others might hate the new way even after giving it a fair shake, so to each his own on that one.

Best,
Andy


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Herb Sevush
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 2:43:57 pm

"I feel I spent a lot of energy manually accounting for collisions in legacy FCP"

Really? Can you give some examples of this and then describe how it's easier in FCPX.

Personally, this whole "clip collision" issue is something I don't get, I've never been editing in FCP and said to myself - "damm, these clip collisions are killing me, there must be a better way." But maybe I just don't get what you're talking about so an example would be helpful.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 4:11:11 pm

[Herb Sevush] "I've never been editing in FCP and said to myself - "damm, these clip collisions are killing me, there must be a better way.""

Most likely because you just intuitively maneuver your way around them. I know I do. Most often there's 2-3 "moves" to be done before rearranging clips/timing. It happens so fast that most of us probably don't even think about it anymore (tttt, slide thing out of the way, do the split cut, overwrite, insert whatever you're doing, time that out, then, tttt and slide things back in to place and reposition, trim, polish and review).

With ripple or roll in FCP7, if you hit a clip that is not linked to either the incoming or outgoing clip (say another separate audio piece or graphic that is 2-3 tracks above/below the tracks you are working on), FCP7 won't let you trim anymore. FCPx takes care of this by simply sliding the clips out of the way, but keeping them in place and the things connected to them in time, not necessarily at the same exact tc mark, but they are still together.

I find trimming and moving in FCPx way easier. I do miss the audio only cross fade, but splitting the a/v and doing two fades is pretty damn easy. Split cuts are ridiculous easy.

For the past seven months I have been working on a VO based project that consists of 10 or so videos that are VO, broll, text and graphics. In FCPx, it would be really nice as the VO would be the primary story line and I could connect everything to the appropriate sections of the VO. If things change up or down the timeline, all those connected pieces stay in place to the piece of VO and I won't have to worry about which graphics might been knocked out of place, or selecting everything and moving it making room for a new/changed piece, or manually moving graphics/broll/audio/music whatever to a new track only to find that there's something 15 seconds down the timeline that is getting in the way, so I have to create two new tracks and move everything down there and then move the music in, or rearrange the audio so that it all fits in their lanes. In FCPx they are all connected to their parts. Now, I know what I am doing in FCP7, so it's not so bad, but there are many little moves I have to do in order to make sure that everything is in sync and still relationally relevant. The magnetism of FCPx would take a bit of that handling away from my responsibility as I know that all the other relational clips are connected to certain parts of the VO. Very handy if you ask me.

I also think people underestimate the audition feature in FCPx and how the magnetic timeline is so entirely crucial to it's workings. Michael Gissing brought this up in another David L post as to how Fairlight works with audio (several clips in one track, and the top most clip always gets played) and I think the Audition function is exactly that. The nice thing is that the entire timeline will follow along depending on the length of the clip you use in audition. This also removes versioning of sequences. Hell yeah, it's different, and I think with practice, it will be more efficient for me. Others might not think so, but that's cool, you can always use the 64 bit version of FCP that is PPro.

Then there's the compound clips. Finally, nesting that can actually be used in FCP. It's funny, in AE I use nesting (precomps) all the time to keep the timeline tidy and effect whole sequences, but in FCP≤7 I don't because nesting is so weird and a pain in the ass due to shotty XML handling. Compound clips are way more efficient than nesting ever was in FCP7 (or AE for that matter). Again, Smoke comes to mind.

Jeremy


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Andrew Richards
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 4:24:14 pm

Jeremy laid it out better than I would have. I yield the floor.

Best,
Andy


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 5:18:52 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] " I do miss the audio only cross fade, but splitting the a/v and doing two fades is pretty damn easy."

Check out Alex Gollner's audio only transition:

http://alex4d.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/fcpx-transition-sound-only/

It works.

Simon Ubsdell
Director/Editor/Writer
http://www.tokyo-uk.com


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Herb Sevush
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 5:19:13 pm

"FCPx takes care of this by simply sliding the clips out of the way, but keeping them in place and the things connected to them in time, not necessarily at the same exact tc mark, but they are still together."

But once you've slid these things out of the way, don't you then still have to decide what to so with them. If I get it right, in the magnetic timeline if I extend or move a piece of audio, the already existing audio simply slides to a new track, but keep it's temporal place in the timeline, and I now have 2 pieces of audio fighting each other.

Generally I don't want the audio sliding to a new track, I want it to either be rippled down the timeline or overwritten entirely. It sounds to me like you have just delayed making the decision as to what you want to do with the 2 pieces of conflicting audio. If it's video sliding out of the way you now have 1 clip buried by another doing nothing, waiting a further decision.

I'll apologize if I'm being obtuse here, I haven't tried X yet because I'm strictly multi-cam and for the time being it's not an option, but ever since seeing the NAB sneak, this whole "clip collision" thing has made no sense to me.

I get the Auditions Feature, Compound Clips = Nesting improved, I get that as well. But even after your discussion, I still think most rippling, sliding, trimming operations are either too complex or too simple to need this feature. I'm not saying it would never come in handy, but I consider it a fairly trivial addition to an editors tool kit. Again, maybe it will have to wait till I actually try it, if ever.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 6:17:11 pm

[Herb Sevush] "and I now have 2 pieces of audio fighting each other. "

Yeah maybe, you might want this you might not. It's still editing and you still have to edit in FCPx. The difference is everything before or after that edit point stays where you want without sliding everything around to make room for whatever you are trying to add/replace/trim/edit. If you don't want that audio overlap, you simply trim it, which is fall down simple in FCPx, or use the volume handles, or select the range of the audio clip and adjust the volume (no more hard to find nodes, unless you want them).


[Herb Sevush] "Generally I don't want the audio sliding to a new track, I want it to either be rippled down the timeline or overwritten entirely."

You can do that too Instead of trimming the video, you control-s to split a/v in the primary storyline, and use the audio to guide your trim. You would use a roll at that point, or use the clip that needs to be trimmed as the guide.

[Herb Sevush] "I haven't tried X yet"

I will apologize for my "obtuseness" as well, but it's kind of obvious. :) There was one of those videos about the death of FCP as we know it that ended with a ripping open of an Avid MC5.5 box. You've probably seen it. The funny thing is? The creator of that video, while done very well and certainly had me entertained, hadn't even used FCPx. Not once. That's cool if you want to switch, more power to you, but I think you should at least give it a good honest spin. It is different, there's no question about that and it is certainly a work in progress.

[Herb Sevush] "I still think most rippling, sliding, trimming operations are either too complex or too simple to need this feature"

Maybe they are, I don't know. I think that would depend on your project. What is handy, everything will stay in sync even if that means I have to trim one more audio and video track to get rid of any overlapping after "the big move". But seriously, you should try it and see what you think. Auditioning is bad ass for trying different music tracks, OMG, WTF, LOL.

Compound clips can also become an organizational tool, but that's a different post. I think we are exploring the time space continuum here.

Also, I am not defending FCPx. I am pretty interested in it succeeding, though. There seems to be a lot of thought in it, contrary to what some seem to say. This is not a soccer mom or dad's NLE. Not to get too squishy, but Apple has a pretty good track record of inventing stuff that actually helps you, while taking some of the complication away.

There's also the changing of the vocabulary, but that's also a different post. The more I play, the more the new vocabulary makes sense as it really is a different way to organize a traditional "project". This brings me to:

Alex Gollner (Alex4d) has been exploring what isn't turned on or available in FCPx (or perhaps they are already old ideas that were killed). It is fascinating, no matter if you love, hate or indifference FCPx. I highly recommend checking these out, as it might (just maybe) show you something that people haven't seen or thought of quite yet for FCPx capability:

http://alex4d.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/secret-fcpx-1/

http://alex4d.wordpress.com/2011/07/13/secret-fcpx-2/

http://alex4d.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/secret-fcpx-xml-multi-user-editing/

http://alex4d.wordpress.com/2011/07/19/secret-fcpx-4/


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Herb Sevush
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 6:48:15 pm

Jeremy -

Thanks for taking the time to deal with my obtuseness. When Apple wants me back as a customer I'll take a look. I agree that this is not a product made for Soccer Mom's only, it's just that I don't think it was made for me either. They seem to have gone to a lot of trouble creating a new UI that fixes things that I didn't have a problem with, and were not very interested in coming up with solutions to problems I already had.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 6:53:17 pm

[Herb Sevush] "They seem to have gone to a lot of trouble creating a new UI that fixes things that I didn't have a problem with, "

I see it as they are building a new foundation and we just don't have the vocabulary yet. Did you read Alex4d's blog about the "Guard" function? All of a sudden, the story lines might make a little more sense.


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Herb Sevush
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 7:15:19 pm

"Did you read Alex4d's blog about the "Guard" function? All of a sudden, the story lines might make a little more sense."

Yes I had read them before. Did you remember the opening disclaimer?

"Inside FCP X there hints of features that have yet to be fully implemented, or have been dropped and never to be made available. There’s no way of knowing which is which..."

I'm not holding my breath waiting for the "Guard" feature to come out. Here I'm going to have to simply disagree with you. I think Apple's handling of this whole rollout makes a simple statement - we are not interested in the high end market.

Apple is out of that part of the business. They will provide the API hooks and let others try to turn FCPX into a high end tool, but they are no longer in that end of the business. They want to make a great Prius - they'll let other companies try to modify it for NASCAR if they want to, but Apple is out.

If that's not the case somebody has to come up with an explanation for their behavior. Lacking that explanation, I'll take the events to mean what they seem to mean. Otherwise I'm like the girl who says, "yeah, he punched me in the face, but I know, deep down, he did it because he loves me..."

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 8:50:37 pm

[Herb Sevush] "Did you remember the opening disclaimer?"

Well he's right. But this being a new platform, I can't imagine there's a ton of old code in there. Time will tell. But why, then, did Apple even make FCPx it at all? Why not just keep developing iMovie? Add DSLR support and you're off.

[Herb Sevush] "I'm not holding my breath waiting for the "Guard" feature to come out. Here I'm going to have to simply disagree with you. I think Apple's handling of this whole rollout makes a simple statement - we are not interested in the high end market. "

That's cool. For you it's half empty. I guess for me it's half full-ish. Either way, both valid. I can't use FCPx now, but that doesn't bother me. I have gone out on a limb to say this rollout is smart. There are very few times you get to throw out a legacy, especially in the video business. The opportunity presented itself and Apple took it. If they would have thrown everything and the kitchen sink in there and say "have at it" it would have been even more of a disaster. Just because it doesn't export an OMF doesn't mean it's not built for "pros". Using your NASCAR analogy, you have to build a strong frame first, or else the power of the engine will rip the car to shreds at the first green flag. That would be pointless. Apple always rolls brand new things out very slowly. I wish they could have gotten rid of fractional frame rates since we are throwing out legacies.

I think having the project and events separated at the Finder level is awesome. This will allow further collaboration that was never possible with FCP Classic due to everything being locked in an FCP project. You have to open the project to get a timeline out of it, now I can drag an event (the organization) or FCPx timeline (the editing) to another computer without having to open FCPx. Pretty convenient.

Also, Apple as a company has given a lot of power to the developer. They have built a platform and allow people to develop on top of it. I see this same way of thinking in FCPx. Buy what you need, don't buy what you don't need. This also allows developers to write support for FCPx rather than wait for Apple to write in support for them. This is a highly flexible model.

FCP Classic was never in the high end market when it first started. And there's a lot of trickery that needs to happen to currently get it in to the "high end" market today. It is this cottage industry that Adobe and now even more so, Avid are trying to catch up to today. If Avid would have partnered with 3rd parties 4 or 5 years ago, perhaps they wouldn't have needed this boost to get them off of death row.

[Herb Sevush] "Otherwise I'm like the girl who says, "yeah, he punched me in the face, but I know, deep down, he did it because he loves me...""

Wow.


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Herb Sevush
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 9:18:41 pm

"But why, then, did Apple even make FCPx it at all? Why not just keep developing iMovie?"

Marketing to their target, youtubers who think Imovie is for their younger brother. I have a friend with a 12 year old daughter who thinks Imovie is too un-cool to edit with. She's the bottom end of the target, with corporate in-house post as the upper end.

"Just because it doesn't export an OMF doesn't mean it's not built for "pros""

I agree here. It's the conceptual design of the UI, with it's emphasis on protecting the editor from making mistakes, that makes it a bad fit for high end post. Many of these I/O features will be added, mostly by third parties. If we had to wait for Apple to add them we would probably never see them. They can't be bothered.

"I wish they could have gotten rid of fractional frame rates since we are throwing out legacies."

It's surprising they didn't, considering their level of concern for broadcast editors. Well at least they were able to get rid of timecode readers on the timeline; timecode is so yesterday.

"If Avid would have partnered with 3rd parties 4 or 5 years ago, perhaps they wouldn't have needed this boost to get them off of death row."

The fact that after all these years I'm going to finally end up cutting on an Avid is what leaves me most depressed. If I wanted to cut with them, or Adobe for that matter, I would have switched years ago. Now I have no choice.

"I think having the project and events separated at the Finder level is awesome. This will allow further collaboration that was never possible with FCP Classic due to everything being locked in an FCP project. You have to open the project to get a timeline out of it, now I can drag an event (the organization) or FCPx timeline (the editing) to another computer without having to open FCPx. Pretty convenient."

There are many features I'm sure I would be excited about if I thought this product was aimed at me. But it isn't. Hopefully I'll get excited by someone who's actually interested in the broadcast arena. Maybe Lightworks, who knows?

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Paul Dickin
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 7:23:15 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "I see it as they are building a new foundation... Did you read Alex4d's blog... All of a sudden, the story lines might make a little more sense."
Hi
Its Yottabyte ready!
With the human brain maxing out at 3.6 x 10∧19 (yottabyte = 10∧24) that means its future-proofed for direct synaptical interfacing with the whole of the workforce at Apple's new spaceship HQ and then some! ;-)



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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 7:29:38 pm

[Herb Sevush] ""FCPx takes care of this by simply sliding the clips out of the way, but keeping them in place and the things connected to them in time, not necessarily at the same exact tc mark, but they are still together."

But once you've slid these things out of the way, don't you then still have to decide what to so with them. If I get it right, in the magnetic timeline if I extend or move a piece of audio, the already existing audio simply slides to a new track, but keep it's temporal place in the timeline, and I now have 2 pieces of audio fighting each other. "


This is a very important point. FCPX's default behaviors amount to editorial decisions. When the software automatically resolves a conflict, it's making default assumptions about my editorial intent. Short of reading my mind, I don't see how it can ever get this right more often than not.

Clip collisions, etc. are just not a problem for me. No doubt because I've internalized TTT and moving things around. But even when I do encounter a collision, conflict or media limit, I consider that an editorial problem. The software can only guess at my intention and it's as likely to guess wrong as it is to get it right. There comes a point where it's more efficient to just let me handle it. I stand by my previous analogy.

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David Lawrence
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Herb Sevush
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 7:44:25 pm

"FCPX's default behaviors amount to editorial decisions. When the software automatically resolves a conflict, it's making default assumptions about my editorial intent. Short of reading my mind, I don't see how it can ever get this right more often than not."

This is one of the 2 conceptual ideas that I have the biggest problem with.

The other is related in a way, but it's the idea of "connectedness' as a virtue. It seems like X desperately wants to keep audio and video connected to each other - but that is a very limiting way of working.

The first thing I do after creating an assembly is DISconect everything - I literally hit select all and un-link the audio from the video. Now this habit may have come about because I'm normally working with multi-cam files, but I do this even when working on single camera projects. I think it enables me to be much more free with my approach to the material. And this absolutely goes against the grain of what X is trying to do, for fear inexperienced editors may much up their sync.

It's not that you can't do things in X, it's that it seems to be optimized for the inexperienced.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 8:58:00 pm

[David Lawrence] "When the software automatically resolves a conflict, it's making default assumptions about my editorial intent."

It doesn't resolve them, it pacifies them. It simply gets things out of the way of the current move without conflict, and keeping the majority of your timeline the way you intend, instead of having to drag most of the timeline around and hope you selected all the right clips. You still have to edit the edit point, because after all it is editing.

[David Lawrence] " I stand by my previous analogy."

I've only used Garage Band to make ring tones from existing tunes, so I can't relate! :)


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David Lawrence
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 7:07:50 pm

Great post, Andrew. Thanks for your clarification.

[Andrew Richards] "Both offer the option to match the frame rate of the first clip added to their respective timelines. Before any media is added, before any Primary Storyline is created, the FCPX timeline has a "Master Clock", to borrow your terminology."

Yes, true.

[Andrew Richards] "The big change is, as you put it, is with "spatial representation and object/space behavior". This absolutely forces the user to adopt new habits for constructing an edit, but the way time is framed hasn't changed, just the way it is filled with content."

Bingo.

[Andrew Richards] "Breaking decades old habits and muscle memory is a shock to any user, and I think that's a huge reason why so many veteran editors recoil from the way default behavior of FCPX's timeline."

I think there's more going on than just muscle memory habits. A good UI makes the expression of user intent natural and intuitive. My current experience with X is that it often confounds my natural rather than learned expectations in terms of both spatial and object behavior. If a UI is intuitive, changing to it should be easy because it makes intuitive sense. IMHO, the fact that so many experienced editors are having difficulty is a clue that something is off. I'll get into this more in my next post.

This is not to say that FCPX is wholly unintuitive. We're seeing many reports of how it makes certain jobs very easy, especially for novice or non-editors. I think it's highly intuitive and optimized for simple assembly. The question is how does it scale once you want to go beyond that? How does it handle the requirements of a complex production? Is it really more efficient or just different?

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David Lawrence
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Geoff Dills
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 21, 2011 at 7:18:40 pm

My sense is a large number of very disappointed pros jumped on the "it's crap" bandwagon and didn't approach this with an open mind. I don't think it is that hard to figure out. But if you're expecting a shiny new toy and Santa leaves you something you won't be allowed to play with as it's still missing it's wheels, human nature is to find any reason to hate it. And it seems there are a lot of things to hate.

The non editors I've demonstrated it to get it quickly as they have no preconceived idea of how editing is supposed to work. That doesn't mean they could become top drawer editors anytime soon. But it certainly broadens the appeal of FCPX and I don't know why that's a bad thing.

Best,
Geoff


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Andrew Richards
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 22, 2011 at 1:19:00 pm

[David Lawrence] "I think there's more going on than just muscle memory habits. A good UI makes the expression of user intent natural and intuitive. My current experience with X is that it often confounds my natural rather than learned expectations in terms of both spatial and object behavior. If a UI is intuitive, changing to it should be easy because it makes intuitive sense. IMHO, the fact that so many experienced editors are having difficulty is a clue that something is off. I'll get into this more in my next post."

I forget who had it in their post or signature, but the quote jumped out at me; "The only 'intuitive' interface is the nipple. After that it's all learned."

I'll argue your intuition is strongly informed by your decades of experience. Intuitiveness in software is all about familiar analogs, since all software UIs are metaphor. If FCPX is unintuitive to an experienced editor, but intuitive to the uninitiated, that just means FCPX was successfully designed to make sense to the uninitiated. I totally understand how this is a turn-off to experienced editors, but intuitiveness isn't an absolute, it's relative to the user's experience.

From another of your posts in this thread which dovetails:

[David Lawrence] "This is a very important point. FCPX's default behaviors amount to editorial decisions. When the software automatically resolves a conflict, it's making default assumptions about my editorial intent. Short of reading my mind, I don't see how it can ever get this right more often than not."

I could argue that FCP7's default overwrite behavior also amounts to editorial decisions. We'd both be right- both apps have a default behavior the editor needs to be aware of. Both default behaviors can result in some sort of adjustment being necessary to resolve what the editor intended to do in an edit. The only difference I can see is that one default behavior has been around a lot longer, and a lot of editors are used to it and expect it. To play devil's advocate for FCPX's default behavior, isn't a non-destructive default favorable to a destructive one? (by "destructive" I mean to the existing structure of the timeline, not to anything else)

[David Lawrence] "Clip collisions, etc. are just not a problem for me. No doubt because I've internalized TTT and moving things around. But even when I do encounter a collision, conflict or media limit, I consider that an editorial problem. The software can only guess at my intention and it's as likely to guess wrong as it is to get it right. There comes a point where it's more efficient to just let me handle it."

If it is only as likely to guess wrong as it is to get it right, with either default behavior you have to handle something about half the time. In FCPX that might more often be removing more content around an edit. In FCP7 it might more often be adding it back. Again, the only difference is that you are accustomed to the latter and not the former. Naturally, you'll be more comfortable with the familiar. Wait till you install Lion and try to scroll with a trackpad!

None of this is to suggest you or Herb or anyone else is wrong to prefer the way FCP7 behaves to the way FCPX behaves, but I don't think there is any fundamental problem with FCPX's UI in this regard.

Best,
Andy


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 22, 2011 at 3:39:20 pm

[Andrew Richards] "I could argue that FCP7's default overwrite behavior also amounts to editorial decisions"

In FCP7 you decide between insert or overwrite the moment you make the edit. It doesn't default to either.


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Brad Bussé
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 4:06:39 am

David, kudos on another great post.

It was a good read while waiting on an AE render, but now I'm going to have trouble concentrating on work again because I'm sitting here pondering the fact that time can't be directly measured.


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Bill Davis
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 7:41:33 am

Well, at least it's slightly more graspable than "space/time can be folded in on itself."

"Before speaking out ask yourself whether your words are true, whether they are respectful and whether they are needed in our civil discussions."-Justice O'Conner


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Jim Cunningham
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 1:36:08 pm

This has been one of the more interesting discussions I’ve seen on the Cow. The point of this discussion (to me) seems to ultimately be whether the new FCPX paradigm is better/more efficient/more creative than FCP7. Whether we like it or not, we all have become FCP novices, and will be spending the next 6 month to a year getting up to speed on X or PP or Avid. It also means, if we switch to PP, ditching the skill sets for Motion (to AE), Compressor (to Adobe Encoder), Color (to DaVinci) etc. So, if I’m going to make that level of commitment of time, I want to make sure I’m moving to something better. The questions raised are very useful, the answers are elusive.

One common thread in all of the posts is that FCPX is incomplete at present time. I started playing w/ FC at version 1.5, it wasn’t until version 3 or 4 that the software was comparable in functionality to Avid MC; so, will we be waiting for FCP12 or 13 for a somewhat mature product/work-flow?

Of course, these are questions only Apple can answer, and they are a black hole of communication. Perhaps an open letter to Apple in the NY Time and WSJ expressing our collective concerns might provoke some serious road map insights from Apple?

In the meantime, I’ve upgraded to CS5.5. I’ve upgraded to Colorista II. I can certainly work effectively with FCP7 for the next 6 months. By then, hopefully, I will have some idea of how this will all shake out. Thanks to all for your thoughtful insights. While in this limbo like state it’s comforting to read your collective constructive rhetoric.

Cheers,



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Brad Bussé
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 5:02:22 pm

I up the ante; quantum entanglement.


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Don Walker
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 5:42:26 pm

I have read much and commented little, now this old school "Linear Editor" has one simple question; While it is obvious that the magnetic timeline is geared to a ripple edit workflow, is it a simple task to do an "overwrite edit" where existing footage is replaced by new footage, with no change in timeline length?
Or is this "old school"?
I don't mean to sound ugly, I am waiting and watching to see if I want to upgrade to CS5.5 or dive in with FCPX

don walker
texarkana, texas

John 3:16


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Andrew Richards
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:04:08 pm

[Don Walker] "While it is obvious that the magnetic timeline is geared to a ripple edit workflow, is it a simple task to do an "overwrite edit" where existing footage is replaced by new footage, with no change in timeline length?"

One keystroke will do it: "D".

Best,
Andy


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Craig Seeman
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:05:46 pm

And if you just want to move things around without "magnetism" you can use P, the Position tool.



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:07:47 pm

[Andrew Richards] "One keystroke will do it: "D"."

Exactly. You can still do three point edits as well with the range, or you can replace the edit which is essentially an overwrite with the timing in place, have to mark an in on the incoming clip (which will also mark an out, but with replace, the timeline clip's timing is honored).


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:19:27 pm

Yeah, right. But they split it in two flavors, D and Shift-D and you cannot set an IN without the app setting out so it is a mess.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:28:19 pm

[Michael Aranyshev] "But they split it in two flavors, D and Shift-D and you cannot set an IN without the app setting out so it is a mess."

A mess? It's just different. If you want to simply overwrite, then don't set a range on the timeline at all.

If you need it specifically timed, set a range on the timeline, or use a replace edit, or better yet, use the audition feature to test it and see if you like it. This is where the magnetic timeline shines.


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 6:53:53 pm

Yes. It is a mess. Replacing IN in OUT with "Ranges" forced them to create two "Overwrites" instead of one and still you have to constantly look for unwanted ranges because they will mess your edit. Very bad design.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 7:02:18 pm

[Michael Aranyshev] "Yes. It is a mess. Replacing IN in OUT with "Ranges" forced them to create two "Overwrites" instead of one and still you have to constantly look for unwanted ranges because they will mess your edit. Very bad design."

If that's how you feel, cool, although I am missing your point about two overwrites.

It's definitely different, but 3 point edits still work.


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Michael Aranyshev
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 7:30:06 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "although I am missing your point about two overwrites."

Backtimed Overwrite is a separate command in FCPX. And it doesn't work if you have some ranges selected both in source and record. And it's rather hard not to have ranges selected unless you're working exclusively with the mouse and by throwing everything on the timeline first and then just trim by dragging edits.


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: The Magnetic Timeline - Time, Space and One Clock To Rule Them All
on Jul 20, 2011 at 7:55:35 pm

[Michael Aranyshev] "And it doesn't work if you have some ranges selected both in source and record."

Yes, the skimmer or playhead becomes the in or out point so you don't need the timeline range. Then you can choose to forward time or back time in relation to the playhead.

Here's the keystrokes for FCPx:

'i' on incoming clip, 'o' on incoming clip (or drag out a range on incoming clip).

Place playhead/skimmer on in point if it's not already placed and 'd' OR place playhead skimmer on outpoint and 'shift-d'.

For FCP7, load clip in viewer, 'i', then 'o'.

Command 3 for timeline, mark 'i' (or mark 'o'), choose track patch or auto select, then f10.

It's about the same, no?

You can then reverse this, if you have a range selected in your timeline, you can then place the playhead/skimmer on the incoming clip in browser and d or shift-d.

I don't find it messy at all, but to each their own.

Jeremy


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