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Asset Mgr Vs Timeline

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Oliver Peters
Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 17, 2013 at 9:18:26 pm

The statement that FCP X is an "asset manager with a timeline added", whereas previous NLEs are a "timeline with some asset management behind it" seems to be getting talked about these days. Bill is fond of pointing that out. It gets said so often that people take it to be true. But is it? I contend that it's not.

I don't see FCP X as being able to handle any greater amount of metadata than every other NLE. The fact that you can attach a lot of metadata to a specific clip is no different in FCP X than it is in Avid, for example. In order for the original statement to be true, FCP X would have to be built as a true relational database. That doesn't appear to be the case.

If it were truly relational, then changes I make to a clip - AFTER it is edited to a sequence - should ripple forward into that sequence. They don't, because clips in the sequence are copies, which like the same version in FCP "legacy", are independent references. Likewise, I should be able to match-frame forward FROM the master clip TO the sequence. That also isn't possible, yet I have been able to do that in Media Composer for years. FCP 7 and Premiere Pro CC both can tell you when a clip has been used in the timeline. (FCP 7 by way of an Intelligent Assistance app).

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with X, nor that it doesn't use a modern, cleaner, optimized code base. Merely that I don't think it's really designed all that much differently than every NLE before it, with the notable except of the timeline structure. You have clips with attributes that are tracked. A timeline is a set of pointers to the master clips and to the media. How is that fundamentally different?

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Bill Davis
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 17, 2013 at 10:23:53 pm

[Oliver Peters] "The statement that FCP X is an "asset manager with a timeline added", whereas previous NLEs are a "timeline with some asset management behind it" seems to be getting talked about these days. Bill is fond of pointing that out. It gets said so often that people take it to be true. But is it? I contend that it's not.

I don't see FCP X as being able to handle any greater amount of metadata than every other NLE. The fact that you can attach a lot of metadata to a specific clip is no different in FCP X than it is in Avid, for example. In order for the original statement to be true, FCP X would have to be built as a true relational database. That doesn't appear to be the case."


It's another easy to grasp meme. And like all those, it' combines essential truth with over-simplistic concept reduction.

This point can be argued simply because when they designed the X interface, they did something with media management that was singular in a popularly priced, general purpose editing program. They elevated that type of database driven metadata manipulation to a CENTRAL focus of the software by positioning the Event Browser permanently in the place that all western trained readers look first - upper left. You cannot edit in X, unless you START by creating an event - which IS essentially creating a database structure. This is NOT the same as a Capture Scratch creation and then trimming clips in folders as in legacy - at all. That was a disconnected repository managed by the finder. This may not be the worlds most whiz bang database - but a database it is. And a very friendly one at that. It kinda reminds me of moving from a spreadsheet to Filemaker Pro back in the day. That too was flat file, then it got more and more relational as time went on. The point was that they tried to balance robust function and flexibility with user friendliness.

I've never once argued that X is "better" at database operations than Avid or any other another NLE, or a sidecar DB such as CatDV, or anything else. The strength of X is that it presents a cohesive vision of these concepts in a very user accessible package AT A PRICE POINT that invites a much wider swath of people who can benefit from being able to manipulate modern video to do so with modern tools.

I've been excited by X, because it's allowed me the benefits of a metadata/database workflow - while saving a TON of money over the classic AVID path to expertise. Feels as comfortable to me as years ago when I looked at AVID and passed since I didn't want to be stuck buying those amazingly overpriced AVID CERTIFIED hard drives! (At LEAST most of the hardware on my shelf that's now functionally worthless today represents a whole lot less money loss than many of my peers had to endure - because I went FCP-Legacy over AVID in 1999 and never looked back.)

I'm enheartened, Oliver, that you and so many other professionals have already elevated X to the point where you're completely comfortable comparing it directly to packages that cost more and that have had tremendously longer development cycles.

And it will be amazing if X manages to continue it's development pace to become a true contender in general global editing at all levels.

But a sports car is not a limousine. And in asking X to directly compare to Avid or any other NLE is surely tempting, but it also may well be a path to self-deception. Sports cars are NOT the universal solution to driving. And limos are a terrible solution to popping to the store for groceries.

Apple may build out some exciting cargo bay that lets X compete with larger vehicles for heavier duty tasks - that would be great. But it's not the end goal for everyone.

My bet is that X will serve perfectly for many editors. That's why I'm spending a lot of time these days as an advocate for the X way of working.

Which, I suppose, gives me a chance to PLUG the virtual user's group I'm working to build around that theme.

We're looking to be a useful FCP-X ONLY resource of information.

There are other users groups out there, but the trend was to make them cross-platform and/or cross-software. I think there's a space for one that's X onlyl (So much to learn and so little time to do so, after all!)

I'm a rookie and totally unschooled host, but if anyone is interestested in watching our live webcasts, we're doing our 3rd show on Sept 25 - I'll post a link in a few days when the website updates and post a notice here. Everyone feel free to stop by and gawk.

Oh, and bi-directional data flow in a relational database is certainly possible. But the sense I got talking with Phil Hodgets and Greg Clark back way when they were very patiently trying to help me understand a bit about how X works at version 1 - was that the way the metadata flows through the program in a specific direction is an important part of how the software functions. It starts in one place (Import and EB - and flows through the program such that decisions the user makes are added along the way. I'm not sure that fully expressing every user decision into a giant data pool so that everything can update everything is a smart way to handle something that most users wish to build in stages. Could be that you get the snake eating it's own tail when you try to do that? But I'll leave it to smarter brains than mine to figure out.

X works GREAT with the amount of "relationality" that it has. And whether or not Legacy or AVID or Vegas for that matter handles metadata as well or even better right now isn't the point. What IS the point is that the sportscar drives wicked fast and corners like it's on rails, it sips gas and is fun to drive.

It also fits more of the roads more editors need to drive along, IMO.

It's not wonderful for the brotherhood of long-haul truckers yet - and perhaps it never will be. But I wouldn't bet on that. Once before, Apple created small software that went VERY big. You've got to admit that the "use case" stories being posted out there these days are pretty interesting. And X is finding a nice niche in a lot of higher end projects that Legacy EVER did in year two. And I know that's true because I was using Legacy every day in year two.

This is better. Lots better.

That's enough in my book.

Oh, and one more thing. Everyone in the car business is talking about Tesla, right? It would be really simple to say, heck, it's got 4 wheels and brakes and thee are OTHER electric cars out there - what's the big deal.

The big deal is not any one thing, it's EVERYTHING. They're breaking from tradition in a lot of ways. But not EVERY way. And most critically, most of the general public could care less if Tesla screws up the car dealership monopolies. The dealership sales guys and dealership mechanics and certainly the dealership OWNERS care - but virtually nobody else.

Same with editing methnks.

Most people could care less about this stuff. Including most people who want or need to edit video.
And that's the heart of all this., really.

We're in an industry being re-invented, like it or not.

And so it goes.

Whoo, fingers tired. Enough for now! Fun to chat, tho.

Peace.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 17, 2013 at 10:34:47 pm

Agreed - a good chat. I don't see all of it the same way, but in the end, it comes back to a car analogy! ;-)

- Oliver

Oliver Peters Post Production Services, LLC
Orlando, FL
http://www.oliverpeters.com


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Mitch Ives
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 17, 2013 at 10:45:20 pm

[Bill Davis] "We're looking to be a useful FCP-X ONLY resource of information.

There are other users groups out there, but the trend was to make them cross-platform and/or cross-software. I think there's a space for one that's X onlyl (So much to learn and so little time to do so, after all!)"


I think you're on the right track there.

[Bill Davis] "I'm a rookie and totally unschooled host, but if anyone is interestested in watching our live webcasts, we're doing our 3rd show on Sept 25 - I'll post a link in a few days when the website updates and post a notice here. Everyone feel free to stop by and gawk.
"


Hey Bill, you're always entertaining, so I think you're being a little hard on yourself. I also think you're good at staying on task, so that's a good thing.

Mitch Ives
Insight Productions Corp.

"Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things." - Winston Churchill


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Walter Soyka
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 17, 2013 at 11:26:09 pm

[Bill Davis] "And limos are a terrible solution to popping to the store for groceries."

Bill, trust me. If you really think this, you are doing grocery shopping all wrong.

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: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 17, 2013 at 11:35:29 pm

[Walter Soyka] "[Bill Davis] "And limos are a terrible solution to popping to the store for groceries."

Bill, trust me. If you really think this, you are doing grocery shopping all wrong.
"


Woah,

Made me laugh. Then made me think. Then made me reconsider my entire world view.

See, with smart guys like Walter playing, the Cow will always be a serious mind expanding experience!

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Mark Raudonis
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 18, 2013 at 2:12:30 pm

[Bill Davis] "Everyone in the car business is talking about Tesla, right?"

Bill,

I drive a Tesla... does that mean I have to agree with you now?



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Bill Davis
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 19, 2013 at 4:06:34 am

[Mark Raudonis] "I drive a Tesla... does that mean I have to agree with you now?"

Uh, pretty much?

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 17, 2013 at 11:24:58 pm

[Oliver Peters] "The statement that FCP X is an "asset manager with a timeline added", whereas previous NLEs are a "timeline with some asset management behind it" seems to be getting talked about these days. Bill is fond of pointing that out. It gets said so often that people take it to be true. But is it? I contend that it's not."

Actually, I think I'm one of those people, too. It's not too often you see Bill and I agree on FCPX.


[Oliver Peters] "I'm not saying there's anything wrong with X, nor that it doesn't use a modern, cleaner, optimized code base. Merely that I don't think it's really designed all that much differently than every NLE before it, with the notable except of the timeline structure. You have clips with attributes that are tracked. A timeline is a set of pointers to the master clips and to the media. How is that fundamentally different?"

For me, the significant difference with FCPX is the Gmail-style "search, don't sort" mentality, with smart collections acting as saved searches.

From the user's perspective, this is a very significant difference with how they interact with their footage.

Technologically, I agree with you. People go ga-ga over metadata and databases with FCPX, but they seem to forget that every NLE ever is by definition a database that manages metadata. I see no reason why DAM style saved searches ("smart bins") couldn't be implemented on the other NLEs; they are after all already databases that track metadata.

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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Gary Huff
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 17, 2013 at 11:28:43 pm

[Walter Soyka] "Actually, I think I'm one of those people, too."

You also thought it would be impossible for Final Cut Pro 7 projects to be imported into FCPX because of the under-the-hood Voodoo it supposedly did.


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Bill Davis
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 17, 2013 at 11:38:03 pm

[Gary Huff] "You also thought it would be impossible for Final Cut Pro 7 projects to be imported into FCPX because of the under-the-hood Voodoo it supposedly did.
"


Well to be fair, they can be "translated" using the Intelligent Assistance toolset - but I'm not sure that's the same as "imported" - at least as I understand it.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out http://www.StartEditingNow.com - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.


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Walter Soyka
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 17, 2013 at 11:49:59 pm

[Gary Huff] "You also thought it would be impossible for Final Cut Pro 7 projects to be imported into FCPX because of the under-the-hood Voodoo it supposedly did."

Oh my goodness, Gary. This again?

I stand by what I said two years ago when we started this argument. FCPX encodes information about the relationship between clips in the structure of its timeline. This information simply is not present in classic open timelines, which only relate clips to absolute time and not to each other.

You and I have been talking past each other for literally years now. I have never argued with you that an importer couldn't put the right clips on-screen at the right time. My point on this has always been that from an information theory perspective, an FCP7 project (clips hanging on time) is incomplete to FCPX (clips hanging on other clips). An importer can make reasonable guesses as to how clips are related, but it cannot guarantee that it's creating a timeline with all relationships properly expressed, and any wrong guesses about relationships will require re-magnetization.

If you want to pick on me for something I was wrong about, go for PIOPs. I thought they'd make FCPX better, but it never occurred to me that Apple would damage a good FCPX workflow in the process of implementing them.

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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Jok Daniel
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 20, 2013 at 10:34:21 am

[Walter Soyka] "For me, the significant difference with FCPX is the Gmail-style "search, don't sort" mentality, with smart collections acting as saved searches.

From the user's perspective, this is a very significant difference with how they interact with their footage."


It is different, but not necessarily all that new. In some ways, it reminds me of how Lightworks operates. In Lightworks, all clips live in a database, and whatever you see in your bins are just representations of the underlying clips. In fact, in original Lightworks lingo (since abandoned), bins were called "galleries", which is actually more descriptive of their functionality and somewhat analogous to collections.

Lightworks makes it very easy to have multiple instances of the same clip living in different bins. Bins are used for everything, but they are not necessarily permanent, and you can use them as a kind of temporary workspace if you wish. Search results, imports etc are all presented to the user in transient bins that can be made permanent by renaming them. Closing a transient bin deletes it, but it does not delete the underlying clips - they are still in the database, and can be searched for and put into new bins. (Searches are not dynamic however, i.e. search result bins don't auto-update with newly added clips like they do with FCPX smart collections.)

The cool thing about Lightworks is that clips and sequences are pretty much interchangeable, and so are sequences and bins. A clip can easily be turned into a sequence, which can then be turned into a bin, populated with all the clips in the sequence. And going the other way is just as easy. Everything opens up in its own viewer (if you wish), and everything has its own timeline. You can play clips straight from the bin, or open up multiple timelines or viewers side by side. Cut sequences into other sequences, or even into other clips, which turns them into sequences themselves. The original clips are still in the database from where they can be retrieved at any time.

The result is a very fluid and malleable workspace, where you can approach each task as you see fit. You can easily edit scenes "storyboard style" in a bin, and then turn them into sequences with a few clicks. Or make a timeline of selects, which can then be turned into separate clips in a transient or permanent bin. It's a really beautiful and in some ways surpisingly modern feeling system that should appeal to a lot of creative editors. And it's all about metadata, just like FCPX.


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Bret Williams
Re: Asset Mgr Vs Timeline
on Sep 18, 2013 at 3:02:37 am

[Oliver Peters] "FCP 7 and Premiere Pro CC both can tell you when a clip has been used in the timeline. (FCP 7 by way of an Intelligent Assistance app)."

You never used the FCP legacy "find used" function? No 3rd party app needed. Although not as slick.


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