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Markers or Metadata - The Debate!

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David Lawrence
Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on Apr 27, 2017 at 11:42:02 pm

One of FCPX's great strengths is its metadata-driven organizing tools. They're so good I've built logging workflows around them, even though I like cutting in Premiere Pro. But depending on your work style, visual/spatial organizing may be just as powerful or even better.

Vashi Nedomansky is a Premiere Pro ninja who popularized the "pancake" method of stacked timelines. Check out his NAB presentation where he talks about his edit workflow for a new feature shot in 6K. At about 17 minutes in, he discusses his logging method and why tags and metadata do not work for him. It reminded me of the conversations we were having six years ago about spatial workflows vs. FCPX's metadata workflow. Seems to me Vashi falls heavily into the spatial camp.

https://www.facebook.com/premierepro/videos/10155088156505619/

h/t Simon - who started a thread on Vashi's talk here: https://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/95104

So what's more efficient? Markers or metadata?

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Michael Gissing
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on Apr 28, 2017 at 12:22:14 am

[David Lawrence] "So what's more efficient? Markers or metadata?"

The one that makes the most sense to the individual. It comes down to how we best think. Metatdata needs to start on location. At the moment I am shooting documentaries that I will end up posting but not editing. I know how difficult it is when shooting ob docs, to be on top of adding metatdata in the field. There are times when it makes no sense to be distracted by shot, take or description metatdata. Ultimately it needs to be a negotiated workflow with an editor and director and can very much depend on what their personal computer system or type is.

In grading/finishing which requires versioning, I much prefer markers. Metatdata coming in from edits can be totally inconsistent plus markers refer much more to timeline not individual clips which is where I am working. I use Smart bins in Resolve where there is useful metadata to shortcut rather than remembering which bins a shot might be in. So my answer would be both with a preference for markers.


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Steve Connor
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on Apr 28, 2017 at 6:38:11 am

The only thing that takes me back to Premiere Pro now is when I have a project that will benefit from "pancaking"


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:02:33 am
Last Edited By Simon Ubsdell on Apr 28, 2017 at 8:14:11 am

[David Lawrence] "Seems to me Vashi falls heavily into the spatial camp.
"


This seems to be the case, yes. (Thanks, David, for starting this thread. It's certainly ground that's been covered before but I still think there's a lot more to say.)

What's important to highlight here is that Vashi's use of markers is an embellishment of the all-powerful string-out method and it's fundamentally the string-out that's giving him the instant access that he wants with the markers acting as information-rich, searchable helpers.*

He also touches very briefly on the reasons why string-outs work for him creatively as well as organisationally and to me these are just as interesting to consider.

* I think in some ways the "marker vs metadata" distinction is a red herring conceptually - a marker is "metadata". It's just that we tend to use a very narrow technical definition of metadata that doesn't adequately cover the range of possibilities.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Bill Davis
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 4:03:40 am

Still very uncomfortable with this view.

Metadata gains utility when it's surrounded by a structure that encourages exploration and manipulation.

It's going to be very hard to convince me that a marker - essentially a fixed information storage point in time - will ever be able to assist the educated editor in a fashion equivalent to a system of tagged ranges that can not just "mark" - but concatenate, separate, overlap, exclude, aggregate and recall content - from a single frame( like the marker) to an entire scene capture - and let the editor tag and retrieve the groupings instantly and at will.

One of those concepts is NOT like the other.

And one, IMO is simply rationally much more flexible and powerful.

My 2 cents.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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David Lawrence
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 4:58:43 am

[Bill Davis] "It's going to be very hard to convince me that a marker - essentially a fixed information storage point in time - will ever be able to assist the educated editor in a fashion equivalent to a system of tagged ranges that can not just "mark" - but concatenate, separate, overlap, exclude, aggregate and recall content"...

I see Vashi's use of sting-outs and markers as being more than just fixed points in time. He's also creating a map in space on the timeline. This allows him to "concatenate, separate, overlap, exclude, aggregate and recall content" directly with the material on the timeline with spatial memory.

It's a different way of working then sifting thru content with tags and keyword collections, but it seems just as powerful to me.

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andy patterson
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 8:36:42 am

[Bill Davis] "It's going to be very hard to convince me that a marker - essentially a fixed information storage point in time - will ever be able to assist the educated editor in a fashion equivalent to a system of tagged ranges that can not just "mark" - but concatenate, separate, overlap, exclude, aggregate and recall content - from a single frame( like the marker) to an entire scene capture - and let the editor tag and retrieve the groupings instantly and at will."

Markers can concatenate, separate, overlap, exclude, aggregate and recall content. With FCPX a lot of the users think it is cool to apply metadata to everything prior to adding it to the timeline. Why add metadata if you don't have to? Having said that using existing metadata is cool but having to add it is not. As everyone is saying both methods work. You can also add metadata to the markers if you want to. For some TV shows markers might be quicker for some movies keyword collections might be better.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 10:51:46 am

[Bill Davis] "Still very uncomfortable with this view. "

Think of it like cooking a meal.

I learned early on as a cook that it's considerably more efficient to lay out all my ingredients on the work surface before starting, rather than each time I needed something searching for it individually in a different place - hunting for the spices in one cupboard, the pasta in another, the olive oil in another, the butter in the fridge, the vegetables in he vegetable basket, the bread in the bread bin, the meat in the freezer, sequentially going to a different "container" each time in order to add a new ingredient to the dish.

The string-out method is the same thing as laying out our ingredients on the work surface (albeit on a vastly long work surface where you can nonetheless grab anything instantly as if it were all within arm's reach). The bin method is the same thing as hunting around through your kitchen storage for each ingredient in turn as you discover you need it.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
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Bill Davis
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 4:58:19 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "The string-out method is the same thing as laying out our ingredients on the work surface (albeit on a vastly long work surface where you can nonetheless grab anything instantly as if it were all within arm's reach). The bin method is the same thing as hunting around through your kitchen storage for each ingredient in turn as you discover you need it."

Poppycock. (respectfully)

Pancakers must lay out those ingredients because they've never had a systematic facility to call up a pre-measured amount of the substance/spice you want, when they want it - instantly. If there was, pre-lining up a bunch of ingredients in "semi-bulk" form on the counter would be silly. Particularly if the "call up" system can expand or reduce the actual measure used by the cook precisely enough to satisfy their desire to adjust on the fly.

I can arrange dozens of virtual "pancakes" via keyword collections and instantly switch between them - focusing on each as I choose. I can also aggregate more than one into a new assembly. That gives me ALL the visual cuing pancakers get - but in a system that lets me adjust my visual focus as I choose, fluidly and efficiently.

Once again you're going to be hard pressed to convince me that the system based on the older style has more than a shadow of the utility of the newer system.

Both are functional, surely. One is MUCH more refined and is designed to present super-efficient previously undelivered options to the editor "in the flow" of content assembly.

IMO

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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David Lawrence
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 5:45:51 pm

[Bill Davis] "I can arrange dozens of virtual "pancakes" via keyword collections and instantly switch between them - focusing on each as I choose. "

How about a screen grab of your virtual pancakes, Bill? I'm having a hard time visualizing how you achieve the same level of spatial mapping as is intrinsic to string-out sequences and markers.

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David Lawrence
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Bill Davis
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 6:11:51 pm
Last Edited By Bill Davis on May 2, 2017 at 6:15:42 pm

[David Lawrence] "How about a screen grab of your virtual pancakes, Bill? I'm having a hard time visualizing how you achieve the same level of spatial mapping as is intrinsic to string-out sequences and markers."

On deadline today but will try to do some screen caps overnight if my schedule eases up later.

But the browser in X - after a keyword selection - set in thumbnail (not database) view and set up in a near full screen width layout presents the same information in nearly the same visual array that stringouts and pancakes manage in a traditional NLE, at least as I understand them. (granted, I've never had to peraonally pancake anything since I switched to X before that editing style became fashionable.)

And of course, each keyword collection, or smart collection can aggregate that basic view ACROSS keywords into the same visual display.

Grabbing a range in the Browser and executing an insert, connect, or append edit singe-keystroke is functionally akin to dragging a clip from the pancake into your timeline - and the visual representation is barely different. Unless there's some special magic to a pancake arrangement that I'm unaware of.

Might be fun to have someone post a "traditional pancake" arrangement in a non-magnetic timeline - and then I can try to do the functional equivalent in X. Than we we can all compare the differences? Just a suggestion.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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David Lawrence
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 6:40:31 pm

[Bill Davis] "On deadline today but will try to do some screen caps overnight if my schedule eases up later."

Great, thanks!

[Bill Davis] "set in thumbnail (not database) view and set up in a near full screen width layout presents the same information in nearly the same visual array that stringouts and pancakes manage in a traditional NLE, at least as I understand them. (granted, I've never had to peraonally pancake anything since I switched to X before that editing style became fashionable.) "

I think we're still talking about two totally different approaches. It's not even a matter of "old" vs "new". Sure, FCPX's database-driven approach is new, but even though string-out sequences have been around for awhile, Vashi's "pancake" method is driven by the unique flexibility of the Pr Pro panel UI.

[Bill Davis] "Might be fun to have someone post a "traditional pancake" arrangement in a non-magnetic timeline - and then I can try to do the functional equivalent in X. Than we we can all compare the differences? Just a suggestion."

I like it!

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David Lawrence
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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 9:33:43 pm

[David Lawrence] "Vashi's "pancake" method is driven by the unique flexibility of the Pr Pro panel UI."

Actually, the same kind of pancaking was entirely possible in FCP Legacy too.

In FCP X, perhaps not so much. But obviously Mr Davis is poised to show that I am wrong in that regard.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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David Lawrence
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 11:03:07 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "Actually, the same kind of pancaking was entirely possible in FCP Legacy too."

Absolutely, also in Avid, but Premiere's customizable doing panels makes it so much easier to actually do.

_______________________
David Lawrence
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Bill Davis
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 3, 2017 at 12:09:53 am

Just poking my head back in on the way to dinner, and curious as to why if Pancaking is such a big efficiency driver - and it appears to have been available for such a long in other NLEs (as this thread implies) - I never heard about anyone using it much until months and months after X was released?

Anyone want to speculate?

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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David Lawrence
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 3, 2017 at 4:34:06 am

[Bill Davis] "curious as to why if Pancaking is such a big efficiency driver - and it appears to have been available for such a long in other NLEs (as this thread implies) - I never heard about anyone using it much until months and months after X was released?

Anyone want to speculate?"



The technique's been around for a while, But Vashi gave it the name and made it a meme in 2013:

http://vashivisuals.com/adobe-cs6-5-editing-tips-for-music-videos/ (see tip#3)

http://vashivisuals.com/the-pancake-timeline-maximum-limit-is-24-hours/

_______________________
David Lawrence
art~media~design~research

linkedIn: http://lnkd.in/Cfz92F
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Andrew Kimery
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 3, 2017 at 4:37:15 am
Last Edited By Andrew Kimery on May 3, 2017 at 4:39:30 am

[Bill Davis] "Just poking my head back in on the way to dinner, and curious as to why if Pancaking is such a big efficiency driver - and it appears to have been available for such a long in other NLEs (as this thread implies) - I never heard about anyone using it much until months and months after X was released?

Anyone want to speculate?"


I'll speculate that you weren't aware of what Premiere could/couldn't do because you didn't use it and you didn't hang out with editors that did use it and discuss with them the finer points of editing with Premiere Pro.

And I think that goes for a lot of editors given that, prior to Apple killing FCP Legend, Premiere's user base was much smaller (especially in the film, cable/broadcast and web/digital realms) that it is now. I'm not surprised that the editing community at large wasn't talking about Premiere Pro editing techniques prior to the editing community at large starting to use Premiere Pro. It's like asking why mainstream movie goers weren't talking about Christopher Nolan before Batman Begins. Were his previous movies bad, or were mainstream audiences just ignorant to their existence?

Being able to easily stack/pancake timelines is something unique to Premiere Pro given how the GUI works. It makes seeing and referencing multiple timelines much easier than in other NLEs. You could do it with FCP Legend but the GUI really didn't lend itself to it so I don't think people really did it (they just tabbed or moused between multiple sequences in the timeline window. I don't know how you'd do it in Avid because you can only have one sequence open in Avid (the timeline window is either referencing the Record monitor or the Source monitor).

The basic process, editing from one sequence into another, is of course not new or unique to PPro, but the variation/improvement in how PPro lets you do it is what's really nice. When I first started using FCP (either v2 or v3) being able to have multiple sequences open was amazing to me and one of the biggest things I missed (and still miss) when I use Avid MC. When I first started using PPro and figured out you could stack/pancake multiple sequences it instantly became a feature I missed when working in other NLEs. I've always gravitated towards organizing via sequences and markers, and editing between sequences so I'm not surprised how much I enjoy pancake editing in PPro.

EDIT: fixed a few typos (probably more in there).


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Oliver Peters
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 3, 2017 at 1:04:10 pm

Here are some FCP7 variations from 2010.

https://digitalfilms.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/better-editing-with-custom-sc...

Look at the third image from the bottom. While not exactly pancake, the side-by-side layout accomplishes the same thing.

- Oliver

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


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andy patterson
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 3, 2017 at 2:03:34 am

[David Lawrence] "I think we're still talking about two totally different approaches. It's not even a matter of "old" vs "new". Sure, FCPX's database-driven approach is new, but even though string-out sequences have been around for awhile, Vashi's "pancake" method is driven by the unique flexibility of the Pr Pro panel UI."

New compared to what? FCPX does things a tad bit different but Premiere Pro is an awesome database with editing capabilities just like FCPX. Someone even posted a link to a plugin that gives Premiere Pro a timeline index. We can find content in our timeline without it so I won't be making use of it but obviously Premiere Pro can do a lot as far as metadata is concerned. You can even add metadata to the markers. That is not to say FCPX and Avid cannot do the same. All the NLE have metadata capabilities. Keep in mind keyword collections was introduced in Adobe's Bridge 8 years prior to the release of FCPX. Metadata from Bridge can be recalled in Premiere Pro. Premiere, AE Audition, Photoshop can all share metadata and have been able to do so prior to the release of FCPX. Also keep in mind metadata from Adobe's Story could be shared between several programs as well. I don't get how FCPX users can brag about how FCPX's metadata capabilities are anything new. Sure all the NLE will use metadata a tad bit different but Apple/FCPX did not invent metadata although many FCPX users think Apple did just that.


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Brian Seegmiller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 3, 2017 at 5:56:10 am

Yes PP can add meta data to clips and whatnot but doing it in FCP X is faster and more efficient. For example: When creating a marker in PP and then dragging it out to make a range, does the video scrub as you drag the range? Um no. I have to guess and then scrub the video itself to find where I want it, and then drag range to that point. Flimsy at best. It is the time it takes to do things in PP that turns me off. Yes there are inefficiencies in FCP X but they don't seem to affect my workflows as much.

Don't even get me started about managing tracks.


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andy patterson
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 3, 2017 at 8:14:10 am

[Brian Seegmiller] "Yes PP can add meta data to clips and whatnot but doing it in FCP X is faster and more efficient. For example: When creating a marker in PP and then dragging it out to make a range, does the video scrub as you drag the range? Um no. I have to guess and then scrub the video itself to find where I want it, and then drag range to that point. Flimsy at best. It is the time it takes to do things in PP that turns me off. Yes there are inefficiencies in FCP X but they don't seem to affect my workflows as much."

We can create subclips and add metadata real easy using Premiere Pro. We are not limited to using just markers.


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Steve Connor
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 3, 2017 at 8:31:41 am

[Brian Seegmiller] "Don't even get me started about managing tracks.
"


Did anyone SERIOUSLY have a problem with tracks before FCPX came along? Sure I prefer the magnetic timeline now we have it but I NEVER found myself stressing about track management and I still don't when I work on other NLE's, It's just part of our craft isn't it?


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Brian Seegmiller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 3, 2017 at 2:45:30 pm

We surely did not know any better so we dealt with it. I do remember being frustrated when there was the warning of a clip collision. Now that there is a better way, we can get things done faster. So when we have to edit in PP and manage tracks and somewhere down the line things go out of sync, time is wasted trying to fix it.


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Paul Neumann
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 3, 2017 at 2:53:35 pm

Actually you do get that behavior when adjusting the ins and outs for subclips and comment markers inside Prelude. I don't mark a thing inside PPro. I start every Adobe job in Prelude.


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andy patterson
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 6:39:23 pm

[Bill Davis] "Pancakers must lay out those ingredients because they've never had a systematic facility to call up a pre-measured amount of the substance/spice you want, when they want it - instantly. If there was, pre-lining up a bunch of ingredients in "semi-bulk" form on the counter would be silly. Particularly if the "call up" system can expand or reduce the actual measure used by the cook precisely enough to satisfy their desire to adjust on the fly."

Pancake editing can be done really fast and you already have a visual workflow of how the project will be from start to finish. We can use a metadata with Premiere Pro but why wast the time if you can just apply markers super quick? Having said that it might be helpful to see a quick video of your workflow. I don't edit feature films but when Vashi Nedomansky was mention using markers with ranges I think my editing style is probably about 80-90% the same as Vashi Nedomansky.

[Bill Davis] "I can arrange dozens of virtual "pancakes" via keyword collections and instantly switch between them - focusing on each as I choose. I can also aggregate more than one into a new assembly. That gives me ALL the visual cuing pancakers get - but in a system that lets me adjust my visual focus as I choose, fluidly and efficiently."

Perhaps a video tutorial of your pancake editing method might be helpful. We may all be getting lost in equivocation.

[Bill Davis] "Once again you're going to be hard pressed to convince me that the system based on the older style has more than a shadow of the utility of the newer system."

Older or newer? Adobe Premiere Pro has allowed you to add metadata and create subclips for over ten years. Keywords with ranges act like subclips. Adobe Premiere Pro has metadata fields. You can add as many metadata fields as you want and search for content in specific metadata fields but why add metadata if you can avoid it?


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Joe Marler
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on Apr 28, 2017 at 2:27:24 pm

[David Lawrence] " he discusses his logging method and why tags and metadata do not work for him"

He said he doesn't like metadata tagging because other people might not tag the right shots. That means he can't use CatDV or any other MAM, just markers that he himself applies. That might work on 6 Below which was mainly a one-camera shoot with an approx 66:1 shooting ratio. I'm not sure how scalable that is to the 200:1 ratio used on some films or the 400:1 ratio used in reality TV.

But he actually IS using metadata, as shown at 15:00-16:00 into the video. Using a dry-erase marker board and 3x5 cards, he essentially constructed a paper version of FCPX's Event Browser, with tags hand-written on each card. Instead of rejecting the clip via software, he wrote a red X on the white board.

OTOH if a film of this complexity can be done without software-assisted tags and metadata, maybe that means it's less important than often depicted. He obviously got the job done, and effectively.

However this was a scripted narrative. The script forms a pre-defined organizational backbone and he used timeline markers to quickly find scenes and takes. For observational documentary there is no tightly defined script, the shooting ratio is higher and the storyline is often discovered during the editorial process. In that case I'm not sure his method would work as well.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on Apr 30, 2017 at 6:42:45 pm

[Joe Marler] "OTOH if a film of this complexity can be done without software-assisted tags and metadata, maybe that means it's less important than often depicted ... For observational documentary there is no tightly defined script, the shooting ratio is higher and the storyline is often discovered during the editorial process..."

What he's doing is essentially the same as every NLE editor working on shows, films and docs has done prior to the introduction of FCPX and still today if they don't work on X. So why would you think that it doesn't work on other forms?

- Oliver

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


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Bill Davis
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on Apr 30, 2017 at 7:01:33 pm

[Oliver Peters] "What he's doing is essentially the same as every NLE editor working on shows, films and docs has done prior to the introduction of FCPX and still today if they don't work on X. So why would you think that it doesn't work on other forms?"

I dont recall anyone saying "it doesn't work" Oliver.

My contention has always been that it's "significantly more efficient" to deploy the tools Apple built into X to bring order to the chaos of increasing complexity in today's post landscape. Those tools were PRECISELY designed to do that. Reduce repetitive actions, eliminate unnecessary steps, and re-structure editorial thinking more in line with file-based and metadata based modern workflows - and pay less homage to the classic processes that developed during the analog era.

It makes perfect sense if someone who has been cutting on AVID for the past 15 years feels that any efficiency gain is NOT worth the pain of adaptation for them. That's totally rational.

The extra efficiency, however, may be VERY important for many types of editors - and, in fact, it may be critical for those who see the flood of complexity increasing in their practices and find themselves needing to produce more good work faster, just to keep up with their clients expectations.

From my talks with the big European producers switching to X, the reason most cited is EFFICIENCY. They value getting more work done faster. The editors enjoy switching their thinking towards less time in software operations and more time in the content.

Sure ALL NLE users are able to reach that state. But it's hard to argue that the reasons for all the design changes in X were aimed at anything OTHER than to make the creation and deployment of modern digital video and audio content faster and easier.

In this recent release, once again, one highlight - direct titling at the timeline/clip level? AGAIN, puts them closer to where X went more than 6 years ago.

Or am I missing something here?

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on Apr 30, 2017 at 11:32:31 pm

[Bill Davis] "I dont recall anyone saying "it doesn't work" Oliver."

I was responding to Joe's post. He seemed to imply that Vashi's technique would be less useful with non-scripted content.

[Bill Davis] "From my talks with the big European producers switching to X, the reason most cited is EFFICIENCY. They value getting more work done faster. The editors enjoy switching their thinking towards less time in software operations and more time in the content. "

I wasn't challenging the point in the context of "X versus others". Merely whether the same techniques would work well across the board for all types of editing.

- Oliver

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


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Joe Marler
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 1, 2017 at 2:06:50 pm

[Oliver Peters] "He seemed to imply that Vashi's technique would be less useful with non-scripted content."

I think it is less useful in those cases. The fact that documentaries have been made using traditional editing & organizational methods since 1922 doesn't change this. Frederick Wiseman edited his 1968 High School documentary by himself -- but it was shot on a single 16mm Bolex camera, and only used a 25:1 shooting ratio: http://www.zipporah.com/films/21

For Titicut Follies he shot 37 hr and his shooting ratio was 26:1, however it took him 14 months to edit: http://www.zipporah.com/films/22

When Ken Burns edited The Civil War, he said "it took more than two years of absolutely solid work, with ten or twelve of us working six days a week, ten hours a day". It was edited on a flatbed Steenbeck. Yet it was "only" 50,000 ft of 16mm film, which at 24 fps and 36 feet per min equates to 23 hours of material:
http://www.btlnews.com/crafts/post-production/technicolor-postworks-helps-r...
https://archive.org/stream/Documentary_Filmmakers_Speak/Documentary_Filmmak...

If Wiseman had access to GoPros and flash-storage cameras he'd have probably used them. In 1988, if Burns had access to a MAM he might have used it, which would have shortened the two-year edit time.

We have those today, and shooting ratios can be over 300:1 for docs, but in many cases we're still using organizational methods from prior eras.

Vashi's demonstration was really good, highly informative and a pleasure to watch. The fact he cut 6k Red Raw natively was impressive, although it took a dual-socket 40 core machine.

I just don't think this organizational method is efficiently scalable to larger productions and higher shooting ratios, esp. docs. The fact these were previously done using primitive methods doesn't validate this workflow in the modern era. It would actually be good to have more info on what asset management methods are being used today. This aspect is usually given little coverage in these "behind the scenes" accounts.


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Shawn Miller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 1, 2017 at 6:42:12 pm

[Joe Marler] "Vashi's demonstration was really good, highly informative and a pleasure to watch. The fact he cut 6k Red Raw natively was impressive, although it took a dual-socket 40 core machine. "


What's wrong with that? Dual 10 core workstations aren't exactly rare as modern workstations go. ☺

Shawn



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Joe Marler
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 1, 2017 at 9:50:39 pm

[Shawn Miller] "What's wrong with that? Dual 10 core workstations aren't exactly rare as modern workstations go."

It was a dual-socket 40-core Dell 7910, about $17,000 not including the storage and monitors. Nothing wrong with that -- in fact it's good they could afford those since he said Premiere on a Mac Pro wasn't fast enough. Of course the Mac Pro is plenty fast enough to edit Red Raw 6k using FCPX, since I can do that on my iMac.

But since everyone doesn't use FCPX, Apple must deliver the necessary hardware performance, else they are relegated to providing editing platforms that are only viable for FCPX. Vashi's case is just one example of what increasingly happens. Had the Mac Pro been fast enough (or available in a more robust configuration) he'd have probably used that. As it was Apple lost the sale and Vashi bought several Dell workstations. That's what happens when Apple doesn't update hardware for three and 1/2 years in a performance-critical market segment.


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Shawn Miller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 1, 2017 at 11:16:07 pm

[Joe Marler] "Of course the Mac Pro is plenty fast enough to edit Red Raw 6k using FCPX, since I can do that on my iMac."

Wow, what level of compression and how many layers of Redcode Raw?

[Joe Marler] "As it was Apple lost the sale and Vashi bought several Dell workstations. That's what happens when Apple doesn't update hardware for three and 1/2 years in a performance-critical market segment."

That seems to be happening a lot. I'm interested in seeing what Apple will do to become competitive in this space again.

Shawn



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Joe Marler
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 10:31:09 am

[Shawn Miller] "Wow, what level of compression and how many layers of Redcode Raw?"

That was three layers of 7:1 6k from a Red Weapon. However upon further testing it seems Premiere CC 2017.1 is actually faster than FCPX on the same 2015 iMac 27 for that codec. My recollection was a year or so ago FCPX was faster. Vashi was using Premiere from a year or more ago, so maybe today he wouldn't need that many cores. Premiere seems to have gotten considerably faster over the last 1-2 years, especially for H264.

This shows how Apple cannot lollygag on performance issues, because the competition is always improving. While FCPX is generally very fast, it has less performance leeway than Premiere or any other editor. E.g, a slower version of Premiere is just a bit slower -- you can still get work done. By contrast a slow skimmer or Event Browser is almost unusable -- it essentially removes those features from the table.


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Shawn Miller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 4:53:54 pm

[Joe Marler] "[Shawn Miller] "Wow, what level of compression and how many layers of Redcode Raw?"

That was three layers of 7:1 6k from a Red Weapon. However upon further testing it seems Premiere CC 2017.1 is actually faster than FCPX on the same 2015 iMac 27 for that codec. My recollection was a year or so ago FCPX was faster. Vashi was using Premiere from a year or more ago, so maybe today he wouldn't need that many cores. Premiere seems to have gotten considerably faster over the last 1-2 years, especially for H264."


That makes sense, the last time I used Redcode in Premiere, 4k was unusable at 4:1, but 8:1 was okay on a dual, quad core 2.4 Ghz PC running Windows 8 (it was a while ago).

[Joe Marler] "This shows how Apple cannot lollygag on performance issues, because the competition is always improving. While FCPX is generally very fast, it has less performance leeway than Premiere or any other editor. E.g, a slower version of Premiere is just a bit slower -- you can still get work done. By contrast a slow skimmer or Event Browser is almost unusable -- it essentially removes those features from the table."

All good points, thanks for sharing.

Shawn



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Michael Gissing
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 1, 2017 at 11:10:41 pm

[Joe Marler]"I just don't think this organizational method is efficiently scalable to larger productions and higher shooting ratios, esp. docs"

Talking to editors over the years, it seems the ratio bloat has required more efficient organizational and technical systems but the one characteristic that I don't hear is that they want less time to consider their edits. So there comes a time when no amount of metadata or computer power is going to change that basic limit. No matter how fast you can manage footage and edit alternatives, time is needed to just sit and consider.

On the issue of ratios, I think camera crews need to have a better awareness of story and listen so they know when they can button off. 4K, 6K and 8K should give pause to just rolling the camera in hope that something vaguely interesting or relevant might happen. As I've gotten back in the saddle and shooting and producing docos after many years in post, I am very aware of thinking about story, setting up situations and not just using the camera as a notebook will make the editing more about craft and less about data management. One way is to make the director go through the rushes and mark up by whatever method. The real bloat in docos in shooting ratios based on lazy technique, not software to manage it.


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Oliver Peters
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 1, 2017 at 11:20:48 pm

[Michael Gissing] "The real bloat in docos in shooting ratios based on lazy technique, not software to manage it."

Well, not just that. Part of the problem is the relative low cost of cameras. 2 cameras or more for interviews or almost any type of dramatic production used to be unheard of for common productions. Ever since the 5D drove down the price of all high-end cameras, I commonly see camera counts per set-up reach 4 sync cameras, plus an assortment of GoPros, DJI drones, etc. Its rare that I can go directly into an edit. By the time you've copied 2-4TB of media, transcoded where needed, and then organized the footage in some manner, several days have passed.

- Oliver

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


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Michael Gissing
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 1, 2017 at 11:28:46 pm

[Oliver Peters]"Well, not just that. Part of the problem is the relative low cost of cameras"

True and the low cost of storage. However it so often needs to be questioned whether the value in shooting an interview with 2 or more cameras is paying off. On a recent doco all interviews were shot 6k and editors could reframe. This was a smart way to give framing variation without needing twice the kit, twice the data and the whole timecode lock fiddle.

My personal preference is knowing what is important and appropriate framing whilst listening. This is done with the knowledge that with 4k resolution I can punch in a bit more too. I have two cameras but rarely use both together.


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Shawn Miller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 1, 2017 at 11:32:31 pm

[Michael Gissing] "My personal preference is knowing what is important and appropriate framing whilst listening. This is done with the knowledge that with 4k resolution I can punch in a bit more too. I have two cameras but rarely use both together."

Are you still shooting with the 4.6k Ursa Mini Michael? If so, what format are you tending to capture in?

Shawn



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Michael Gissing
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 1, 2017 at 11:40:34 pm

[Shawn Miller]"Are you still shooting with the 4.6k Ursa Mini Michael? If so, what format are you tending to capture in?"

Yes plus I also have my older Blackmagic 4k brick. Mostly I am shooting UHD ProResHQ with 'film' gamma. This is to minimise editing issues with 4:1cDNG raw. I am occasionally shooting the compressed raw on footage with high dynamic range or difficult lighting conditions to get the most in post. The docos I am shooting/ producing are largely in controlled lighting so ProResHQ is fine for that. Compressed raw is not a lot more data but I'm balancing editing efficiencies and also the director can't view rushes in cDNG on her laptop but can just play UHD ProRes so I don't need to transcode rushes.


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Shawn Miller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 12:20:03 am

[Michael Gissing] "[Shawn Miller]"Are you still shooting with the 4.6k Ursa Mini Michael? If so, what format are you tending to capture in?"

Yes plus I also have my older Blackmagic 4k brick. Mostly I am shooting UHD ProResHQ with 'film' gamma. This is to minimise editing issues with 4:1cDNG raw. I am occasionally shooting the compressed raw on footage with high dynamic range or difficult lighting conditions to get the most in post. The docos I am shooting/ producing are largely in controlled lighting so ProResHQ is fine for that. Compressed raw is not a lot more data but I'm balancing editing efficiencies and also the director can't view rushes in cDNG on her laptop but can just play UHD ProRes so I don't need to transcode rushes."


Thanks for the info, that was exactly what I wanted know; if when and why you were shooting raw. ☺

Shawn



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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: Bin or Reel - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 2:38:09 am

[Joe Marler] "I just don't think this organizational method is efficiently scalable to larger productions and higher shooting ratios, esp. docs."



Joe,


Your post raises several interesting issues with which I am personally often concerned.

I’m not sure Wiseman uses GoPro (despite them being available to him). I haven’t seen anything from the past 15 years of his films (since the introduction of GoPros) but his sensibility seems to be one person, one camera. (Some might call that inefficient.) I’d be interested to know if I'm wrong, but from reading recent articles it does seem he operates all his own material from one camera which is unlikely to be a GoPro.

But, to you point, let me first say that the approach or organizational method works well on larger productions with higher shooting ratios.

I name the two methods as browser-based vs. timeline-based (or sequence-based). Personally, I’d say they both make use of meta-data (so I would not make the distinction between them on this basis).

I’m not sure why you label sequence-based organization as a “primitive method” - both are as old as film (at least). If you’ve seen film bins and reels then you have the basics of the two methods. Both have been adapted in digital NLEs and both have been developed well beyond what was possible in film or video. It seems absurd to me to call one method "primitive" and the other "advanced" - they're both well developed and contemporary.

The primary strength of sequence-based editing is the immediacy with which relationships between clips are kept and presented. (Shooting chronology would be one obvious example of this.)

To the initial example of Vashi and your added example of Wiseman, I’ll add my own. I work primarily on non-fiction for theatrical and broadcast. Commonly this means beginning with 100 to 200 hours of footage, though I’ve worked with 300 hours or more on films. Edit schedules range from 12 or 16 weeks to a year or more.

If you’re not convinced that this method is valuable, productive, creative, and necessary given 3 examples of working editors using it, how many examples would it take? What would convince you? By what standard are you going to dismiss them?

The implication in your posting seems to be that Frederick Wiseman is “inefficient” is his filmmaking. My question would be this: how do you judge the efficiency of filmmaking? You will be quite able to find someone who can “finish” faster on any given project (including Wiseman’s films). Would that be “more efficient” in your mind? If not measured by simple schedule, what is your assessment of how efficient an editor or edit is?

It’s a sincere question.

I’d propose that a good measure would be making the best film possible with the time and resources available. How to judge “the best film possible”? How to judge what resources are available?

http://www.nytimes.com/1986/06/01/movies/frederick-wiseman-takes-his-camera...

There’s a quote from Wiseman. “'I got the idea as I get all my ideas: I take a lot of showers.”

I’m not sure how that would rate on your efficiency scale. We can imagine the dialogue: the tired filmmaker has the plumber over, pleading his dilemma in platonic bereavement, “This shower isn’t very efficient. It’s not giving me enough ideas.”

The plumber can only offer a few words. “Take more showers.”

Here’s another quote from the article:

“More than any technological improvements that have come about in two decades, what's changed is my deepened commitment to dealing with the complexities of a subject and resisting cultural generalizations.”

Is it question of efficient tools (“technology”) on one hand and thinking (“creativity”) on the other? Who can separate their tools from their thought process. Doesn’t a hammer and chisel suggest one way of doing something and a bit of sandpaper another? Or to put it another way (with a reference to a forum touchstone): language is analogies all the way down.

Here’s another few lines: “'Most of the year I sit in relative isolation editing alone in the dark, and then it's on television, and it's very hard for me to get a sense of what it means that a lot of people see my films … it's like throwing a pebble in the water. And the only final conclusion is you go on to make your next movie.'' Maybe there is a more efficient path to that conclusion. I’m not sure the NLE figures into that one, though. And if it doesn't, does it matter which one you use?

Is this a forum for entrenchment or are you actually asking how other people work and why?

Wiseman talks more about process here (Jackson Heights, 2015):
http://www.puremovies.co.uk/interviews/frederick-wiseman/

"Jackson Heights was 170 hours [of raw material].  The film was just a bit more than three hours, I think.  Shooting ratio roughly of 60/1.  During the shooting, I just collect sequences.  I don’t have any theme or point of view toward the material; the only assumption that I make is that if I hang around long enough, I’ll collect enough material out of which I can cut a film.  I discover the themes in the editing process, when I come back from the shoot.  I look at all the rushes and that takes me six or eight weeks and at the end of looking at all the rushes, I put aside maybe forty or fifty percent of the material and I edit sequences from the material that’s left.  That work can take anywhere from six to eight months."



Franz.


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Joe Marler
Re: Bin or Reel - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 12:58:38 pm

[Franz Bieberkopf] "I’m not sure why you label sequence-based organization as a “primitive method” - both are as old as film (at least)."

As you described, sequence-based organization is as old as film itself. They didn't have computerized asset management in 1930. Today we do. In that sense solely using sequence-based organization is primitive. This doesn't mean it should be shunned or isn't useful. However there's a difference between using sequence-based organization vs using only that. Using Premiere + CatDV or Avid Interplay or FCPX, you can mix and match whatever degree of database vs sequence-based organization you want. It's not like you are restricted to one method -- unless your product doesn't provide that capability.

[Franz Bieberkopf] "...If you’re not convinced that this method is valuable, productive, creative, and necessary given 3 examples of working editors using it, how many examples would it take? What would convince you? By what standard are you going to dismiss them?

I'm not saying using sequence-based organization isn't valuable or useful. You can do that in FCPX anytime you want. But you are not restricted *solely* to that. I don't dismiss sequence-based organization, only that rigidly holding solely to that method is restrictive given the technology now available. If that by itself was always sufficient, nobody would use MAMs.

[Franz Bieberkopf] "...The implication in your posting seems to be that Frederick Wiseman is “inefficient” is his filmmaking. My question would be this: how do you judge the efficiency of filmmaking? You will be quite able to find someone who can “finish” faster on any given project (including Wiseman’s films). Would that be “more efficient” in your mind?"

Wiseman himself now shoots digitally and edits on Avid. He admits it enables him to find content faster. He is philosophical about whether it speeds up the overall process, but in no interview has he analytically evaluated this. It's just a gut feel -- metaphysical. If he can find content faster using Avid, then *something* is being sped up, and he's productively spending that time elsewhere.


[Franz Bieberkopf] Wiseman: “'I got the idea as I get all my ideas: I take a lot of showers.”

Walter Murch once said something similar, and here is Edgar Burcksen's (LucasFilm, EditDroid) view of that (18:47):







[Franz Bieberkopf] Wiseman: "....Jackson Heights was 170 hours [of raw material].  The film was just a bit more than three hours, I think.  Shooting ratio roughly of 60/1.  During the shooting, I just collect sequences...."

Of *course* he just collects sequences. That's all his software can do. He's not going to saw wood with a hammer. Through decades of experience, he is familiar with that ingrained working style. This is why the EditDroid had a shuttle dial just like a KEM, and graphically presented tracks like a flatbed editor, because editors would otherwise have difficulty learning it:





We're now 33 years past EditDroid, and computers can do a lot more to assist than just mimicking tracks of film and mag tape.


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Franz Bieberkopf
Re: Bin or Reel - The Debate!
on May 14, 2017 at 10:43:12 pm

Joe,



Thanks for your response. I've thought and written quite a bit after your post so thanks for that, but I'll largely limit this post to Wiseman, Murch, and Editdroid (John Sinclair, Ben Burtt, Ed Burcksen) as you have referenced them. I think they actually open up some of the central tensions of discussion here.



PHYSICAL & DIGITAL

The EditDroid piece you posted largely focuses on the tremendous liberation from physical restrictions that digital NLEs afforded.

Suffice to say that while the physicality of film will continue to be important to some (even as it becomes increasingly rare), for the vast majority the medium will be digital. However, the distinction is informing some of the issues here, and Wiseman might be best on that, if only for raising the idea of craft vs. industrial production:

"There was something artisanal about handling film. Because when you're editing with film, the rolls of films are hanging on the wall. You have to find the roll, you have to thread it up, you run it down, and you look, you look at the sequences preceding or following what you're looking for. And you're thinking about it the whole time."
http://www.filmjournal.com/features/frederick-wiseman-in-the-heights-docume...



PHYSICAL ANALOGS & NEW MODELS

While not the main focus of the history, The EditDroid piece does discuss how old models - analogs of working with media - were necessary: the controller came from the KEM flatbed, the tracks from a film bench and synchronizer, the source and record monitors come from the KEM or maybe it was video editing. (Were there mixing faders in there?) But things get a bit vague when they talk about the trackball with onscreen "buttons" (or virtual commands) and how unfamiliar that was, and how some the interface was “very much like looking at a computer”.

If you’re interested in NLE history, you may want to have a look at some of David Lawrence’s posts - you can start here:
https://forums.creativecow.net/readpost/335/9060

It’s interesting and related for two reasons: the first being that Lucasfilm had more than one NLE project, and the second is that David’s take on the need for analogs contradicts the above:

“One of the project's big insights was the realization that a physical world metaphor - for example, digitally modeling the physical characteristics of a Steenbeck, as George had done with EditDroid - was unnecessary.”

What I take from this is that new technology will rely both on old familiar models and new ones - it’s not simply one or the other. What might be of interest is where the old ones are important, and where the new ones are necessary.



NON-LINEAR & LINEAR

One thing that is striking about the history of the EditDroid as told in that piece is the assumption of non-linearity. These are film people, accustomed to working in a non-linear fashion where material is available (from bins or reels) to be added to any given moment (distinctly in reels). But digital NLEs radically changed how video editors worked, restricted as they were by master timecode on the destination side. In fact the technology had to be labelled as such - radically different - and therefore "non-linear”; that’s in difference to video models.

Interestingly, as the moviola technology of 20s was replaced by the flatbed technology of the 30s, aspects of linear editing were introduced into film editing. I’ll reference Murch on this further down.

I bring these up because these distinctions again are largely conceptual - you can still work linearly in an NLE if you like and in fact I’ve been confronted by fairly linear sensibilities when working with others - the idea of shots mapped out one by one from beginning to end.

Werner Penzel once told me that when he and co-director Nicolas Humbert were cutting Step Across The Border (1990), they kept coming up against frustration - not getting the film they wanted. It was only when they sort of threw away their plans and started at the beginning, choosing one piece after another, that the film came together. I’d call that something of a linear process. They describe the filmmaking this way on the DVD, perhaps referencing that kind of linear basis for the edit:

“Music and film come into existence out of an intense perception of the moment, not from the transformation of a preordained plan.”

(I love that film; essential viewing if you’re a fan of Fred Frith, John Zorn, Iva Bittová, et al), first part here:









SPEED & TIME

The main virtue Sinclair, Burtt, and Burcksen focus on is speed, or maybe it’s better described as the elimination of “wasted time”. Burcksen cites the speed contest between the EditDroid and KEM editors (though no frame of judgement is given except that it was "4 or 5 shots", if memory serves), and also says "With film material, you just don't try things out because it take up so much time." while Burtt says, “I was able to spend my time editing, not hunting and searching for things.”, repeating later that “hunting and searching” for footage was eliminated.

This idea that editing is a specific thing that happens when you’re not searching or otherwise wasting time seems to be shared by you when you speak of Wiseman using an Avid:
[Joe Marler] "He is philosophical about whether it speeds up the overall process, but in no interview has he analytically evaluated this. … If he can find content faster using Avid, then *something* is being sped up, and he's productively spending that time elsewhere."

But I’m more inclined to trust Wiseman on his on practice here - I don’t dismiss him:

””I regret not being able to work on film, because I like editing film," he says. "It's impossible now. The labs don't exist. It theoretically costs more money—but I'm not really sure it does."
"I find myself forcing myself to take the time to think," he says. "That's why this takes so much time. The fact that you can make changes more quickly on Avid isn't necessarily a good thing."

http://www.filmjournal.com/features/frederick-wiseman-in-the-heights-docume...

“ … I don’t think that that kind of speed and accessibility on the Avid is necessarily a good thing. Because when I had all the film rushes hanging on hooks on the wall it took more time. I had to find the film roll, put it on the Steenbeck, and roll down to the shot that I was looking for. But that wasn’t wasted time. First of all I was reviewing material, and second of all, I was thinking about why I was looking for what I was looking for."
http://filmmakermagazine.com/37042-an-interview-with-frederick-wiseman/

Your Edgar Burcksen bit misses the mark on the original Wiseman idea that you address it to, I think. Wiseman was saying in essence that it takes time to think about editing - he gives one example of that happening in the shower. In fact, Burcksen supports him in this idea, but in the process dismisses Murch:
"An editor like Walter Murch said that he always got the best ideas when he was winding up the film material. If they ask me if I think film is better in that way, I'd say that is metaphysical b.s. Because that has nothing to do with this profession. When you are winding up a reel and you get this great idea, you could get the same idea on the way to the bathroom.”

This moment here - Burcksen’s statement - gets to the crux of my post.



BURCKSEN & MURCH

It's unclear what statement from Murch that Burcksen is referencing, but here is probably the best known articulation:

"... the advantage of the KEM's linear system is that I do not always have to be speaking to it - there are times when it speaks to me. … I might say, "I want to see that close-up of Teresa, number 317 in roll 45." But I'll put that roll on the machine, and as I spool down to number 317 (which may be hundreds of feet from the start), the machine shows me everything at high speed down to that point … and I find, more often than not, long before I get down to shot 317, that I've had three other ideas triggered by the material that I have seen flashing by me."
- Walter Murch, In The Blink Of An Eye, p.46

(Note the use of linear storage for source material.) Further he elaborates by comparison:

"The big selling point of any non-linear system, however is precisely its non-linearity. …but that's actually something of a drawback because the machine gives me only what I ask for, and I don't' always want to go where I say I want to go. Wanting something just give me the starting point. I expect the material itself to tell me what to do next."
- Walter Murch, In The Blink Of An Eye, p.109

That relationship to the material, the idea that “the material itself’ can guide the process in some way, is a central idea to Murch’s approach to editing. (It relates to Penzel and Humbert above, too.) We could think of this as a sensitivity to “bottom up” ways of working in opposition to conceptual “top down” approaches. Of course, Murch sees value in both.

On the question of time, he talks linear vs. non-linear, but of course it's about value not just speed:

“A system that is too linear (which means that you have to spend too much time searching before you find what you want) would be burdensome. You would quickly become overwhelmed and/or bored with it. So there is a golden mean somewhere. if the system is completely random-access, that is a defect in my opinion. But if it is too linear, that's a defect as well. …
- Walter Murch, In The Blink Of An Eye, p.48

Thinking about this in terms of “browser-based” vs. “sequence-based” approaches, Murch describes his own browser-based editing:
“Random-access systems are highly dependent on the quality of the notes made at the material's first viewing, because those notes are the key to unlocking and searching the vast library of material for each film. They necessarily reflect not only the note-taker's initial opinions about the material but also about the film itself, as it is conceived at that time.”
- Walter Murch, In The Blink Of An Eye, p.107

He’s speaking of his own note and database driven approach to logging, but it’s clear that this thought applies to categorizing, labeling, tagging, or otherwise conceptually organizing material. Crucially, he goes on from this thought to emphasize that this cataloguing has the danger of calcifying and becoming a hindrance to editing, and that material needs "constant review" so that it can be discovered in a fresh way, and how the demands of the way he organized physical film had the unavoidable effect of forcing a "constant review" (the "thinking while rewinding" moment, or the "responding while fast-forwarding" moment as it is perhaps more properly described).

All of this circles back on his “ideas while rewinding” quote - derided by Burcksen who implies that Murch has claimed "film is better in that way”, and that ideas can come at any time, not just while rewinding. Ultimately, Murch is talking about a relationship to the material. If we use words, phrases, identifiers, codes to categorize material, the danger is that the material becomes thought of in those terms and nothing else. Seeing and hearing the material is a direct experience, and an editor should be open to that experience. If you've ever ended up using a shot or bit of sound against your first instincts, or as the result of an accident then you understand what this means - ideas from a direct experience of the material ("bottom up"). He’s talking about the value of systems which are always holding the material in relationship to other material, and therefor putting the material before you in a way that is at least as important as, if not more important than, our conceptual relationship to it. While I’m sure Murch has had his share of ideas in the shower, or “on the way to the bathroom”, and always went into films with conceptual frameworks and ideas (“top down”), he is speaking of something specific here which seems to have eluded Burcksen.

I'd say that is the primary value of sequenced based systems (though not the only one).



SEQUENCE-BASED & BROWSER-BASED

I don't understand your final statements on Wiseman.
"
[Joe Marler] "Of *course* he just collects sequences. That's all his software can do."

First I don’t know what software you are referring to. He'sused Avid since 2009, and you seem to imply that Avid can only “collect sequences”, so I don't understand what you mean by that. Second, I think you've conflated his method of shooting (which he describes as "collecting sequences") with editing.

And your final statement:

[Joe Marler] " We're now 33 years past EditDroid, and computers can do a lot more to assist than just mimicking tracks of film and mag tape."

Of course, the implication in your statements is that I “rigidly hold” to an old way which simply "mimics tracks of film and mag tape". I'm not sure why you would think that, so I’m interested to know what you are basing your opinion on or what you really mean when you talk about sequence-based editing, since you are clearly not talking about how I work.

As a final point on this, I think it's really important to point out that the two broad categories of organization are just that - broad. While I think I share many priorities and approaches with Murch, there are many differences. (We also share "browser based" methods such as the ubiquitous index cards, but have differences there too). And while the "pancake method' is a good example of a simple sequence-based approach, I don't use that method (or very rarely).

Sequence-based methods will vary at least as much as browser based methods (and I think probably more).



Franz.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Bin or Reel - The Debate!
on May 15, 2017 at 11:17:52 am

Great post, thank you.

I think there is a very simple way to look at this, touched on but not made explicit in what you have quoted.

Film is a sequential medium, experienced sequentially.

Sorting/sifting/reviewing/experiencing your source material sequentially helps you to think about how it is going to work sequentially.

Container-focused editing does not promote the same type of thinking.

Sequence-focused editing is an ideas generator.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Steve Connor
Re: Bin or Reel - The Debate!
on May 15, 2017 at 11:47:03 am

[Simon Ubsdell] "Sequence-focused editing is an ideas generator."

Nice!


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Jeremy Garchow
Re: Bin or Reel - The Debate!
on May 15, 2017 at 3:22:07 pm

[Simon Ubsdell] "Sequence-focused editing is an ideas generator."

But then you are locked in to just that, a sequence, or more often, many sequences. All with footage in them in an order that maybe makes sense to someone, maybe not.

One of the great features of FCPX to select an Event or Events and simply peruse all of the footage.

This has generated more ideas, at least for me, than string outs.

It allows you to look for shots that may not work together in sequence, but will work together in a sequence. :)


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Steve Connor
Re: Bin or Reel - The Debate!
on May 15, 2017 at 3:33:09 pm

[Jeremy Garchow] "One of the great features of FCPX to select an Event or Events and simply peruse all of the footage.

This has generated more ideas, at least for me, than string outs.
"


On a lot of projects in FCP I do both, I really miss FCPX's browser when I work in PPro


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Bill Davis
Re: Bin or Reel - The Debate!
on May 22, 2017 at 6:37:57 pm

I'd also suggest that if the state of the expected raw materials of a film today, always mimicked the state of the raw materials that were expected when the films being discussed were being assembled, I'd have a bit more attraction for the (...lest you miss that unique trigger moment of creativity) idea.

I can easily see the potential magic it can hold.

But there's also the reality of today's shooting style.

Hanging strips of celluloid above the Steenbeck is charming when the edit bay is 10x10 or even 20x20. Not sure it's as charming when you need a room 1000' x 1000' square - just to hold all the clips.

And that's increasingly the rule now. More cameras, more coverage, more options. Logrhytemically more, sometimes.

So do you restrict coverage to allow the editor to bathe in the raw materials deeper and longer? Or do you seek systems that impose a bit more order onto the increasing chaos?

If you "pre-winnow" successfully, does that return more time to steep your brain in what's left?

Big questions. No simple answers.

Creator of XinTwo - http://www.xintwo.com
The shortest path to FCP X mastery.


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Simon Ubsdell
Re: Bin or Reel - The Debate!
on May 22, 2017 at 8:14:55 pm

[Bill Davis] "Hanging strips of celluloid above the Steenbeck is charming when the edit bay is 10x10 or even 20x20. Not sure it's as charming when you need a room 1000' x 1000' square - just to hold all the clips."

Not actually how it worked.

Simon Ubsdell
tokyo productions
hawaiki


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Oliver Peters
Re: Bin or Reel - The Debate!
on May 22, 2017 at 11:23:32 pm

[Bill Davis] "I'd also suggest that if the state of the expected raw materials of a film today, always mimicked the state of the raw materials that were expected when the films being discussed were being assembled,"

They actually still do.

[Bill Davis] "But there's also the reality of today's shooting style. "

You should work with RED or Alexa files - or for that matter, most other pro cameras. The concept of maintaining the structure and organization of cards throughout the life of the media, beyond just recording, is very much like camera rolls of film negative in the film days. That structure is maintained in part, because no higher-end production is an all-in-one/one-man-band post operation. You have to send projects to audio post and/or grading, so mainly the integrity of media linking is essential. That's what this sort of media organization enables, regardless of whether or not it mimics film.

[Bill Davis] "Hanging strips of celluloid above the Steenbeck is charming when the edit bay is 10x10 or even 20x20. Not sure it's as charming when you need a room 1000' x 1000' square - just to hold all the clips."

What does that mean? What do you mean by 1,000' x 1,000'? Makes no sense.

[Bill Davis] "And that's increasingly the rule now. More cameras, more coverage, more options. Logrhytemically more, sometimes. "

Which means you have to adhere to a very strict and rigid system of media management - just like with film.

[Bill Davis] " Or do you seek systems that impose a bit more order onto the increasing chaos?"

I would suggest those systems have existed since the start of NLEs.

- Oliver

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


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 5:41:41 am

[Joe Marler] "I just don't think this organizational method is efficiently scalable to larger productions and higher shooting ratios, esp. docs. The fact these were previously done using primitive methods doesn't validate this workflow in the modern era. It would actually be good to have more info on what asset management methods are being used today. This aspect is usually given little coverage in these "behind the scenes" accounts."

On the reality shows and large (in terms of footage) docs I've worked on the workflow is fairly similar to Vashi's with regards to using a wall of index cards to outline the story on a macro level and Google docs/spreadsheets to track things at the micro level and the minutiae. Looking a wall of index cards is a totally different experience than looking at a screen and I think this change in physical perspective can help facilitate a change in mental perspective about the project at hand.

And the nice thing about using Office 365 or Google Docs is easily accessible and up-dateable by anyone that's part of the production. For example, on one doc I worked on we had a huge spread sheet that tracked everything from shoot dates to status of exports to whether or not the director had finished a paper cut of a specific interview. The spreadsheet also had links to other documents like field notes, transcripts, logged 'scenes' (verite as opposed interviews), logged broll, releases, etc., that were in Google Docs.

Jumping back to reality TV for a second, in my experience with that the editors rarely start from raw footage. Typically story producers are taking notes during production and start building the story during the shoot. They'll then create a stringout for the editor (maybe 8-10min of footage for a 3-4min scene). Usually if editors went back to the raw footage themselves it was for somethings specific. For example, one time I was working on a scene of someone making an upholstery pattern for chair. As I started building a small montage of him working I got the idea to do it in such a way that of the craftsman's motions would fluidly chain together (as opposed to having a chop-chop-chop feel) so I went back to the raw and looked for footage that had the movements I was looking for. There's no way anyone, including myself, could have key-worded for that prior to editing because I didn't know what I was looking for until I'd after I'd started editing and the idea came to me.

I think deep and thorough asset management is more useful in some instances than others. For example, on reality TV shows I don't think it's that paramount because the lifespan of these projects is so fast. In a matter of months it goes from nothing to finished product so it's easier to get away with having lots of info only living in people's heads. Sure, a few months after wrap people would have forgotten things, but a few months after wrap the show's season is probably over. It's just not really a thing that's ever green.

On the flip side, for someone like NFL Network, who has decades of game film with thousands of different players, yeah, you need top tier asset management if you are ever going to keep it all usably accessible. Especially since editors and producers are going to be cycling in/out on a somewhat regular basis so you can't depend on institutional knowledge to get you by. Places like this usually have dedicated media asset management programs because their needs eclipse what can be done inside of an NLE.


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Joe Marler
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 11:49:52 am

[Andrew Kimery] "I think deep and thorough asset management is more useful in some instances than others. For example, on reality TV shows I don't think it's that paramount because the lifespan of these projects is so fast. "

Avid thinks it's very important for reality TV, and pitch their Interplay MAM for this: 'The high shooting ratios and multiple camera angles of Reality TV and unscripted programming pose enormous challenges in managing and logging more media than ever before,” said Chris Gahagan, senior vice president of Products and Services at Avid."' http://www.avid.com/fr/press-room/2013/04/avid-interplay-production-simplif...

So the debate is not between FCPX and Premiere but between using an asset manager vs not using one. Does Vashi's demonstration mean that feature films can be always be efficiently made without an asset manager? Does it mean that much larger projects with higher shooting ratios can always be efficiently made just using timelines and bins? Then who is buying and using Interplay, CatDV, etc. and for what?

I'm not saying media asset management must be used, but it's just a logical progression. Over the decades as the data management burden has grown, we first used paper, then index cards, then spreadsheets, and finally databases. This is in many fields, not just film & video production. In the 1960s, Boeing designed the 747 on paper and kept track of the six million parts using file folders. Today they design new airliners with CAD which is linked to a component database.

If it's not beneficial to tag, keyword and organize content, then why does Adobe Lightroom support this? Why not just keep all the photos in named folders (ie bins), and make collections (ie stringouts) for various groups of interest? We widely accept the benefit of database tagging and keywording for stills, so why not video?


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Oliver Peters
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 12:51:03 pm

[Joe Marler] "Avid thinks it's very important for reality TV, and pitch their Interplay MAM for this:"

FWIW - The community of Avid editors is not enamored with Interplay (now called Media Central UI, I think). It's routinely disparaged. Interplay works best for hard news set-ups.

- Oliver

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


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Andrew Kimery
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 2, 2017 at 5:36:54 pm

[Joe Marler] "Avid thinks it's very important for reality TV, and pitch their Interplay MAM for this: 'The high shooting ratios and multiple camera angles of Reality TV and unscripted programming pose enormous challenges in managing and logging more media than ever before,” said Chris Gahagan, senior vice president of Products and Services at Avid."' http://www.avid.com/fr/press-room/2013/04/avid-interplay-production-simplif....."

If productions find that it's worth the cost they'll use it, but that hasn't been my experience on the reality shows I've worked on (including one that shot 250hrs of footage a day). Every project has a deadline and a budget which means everyone settles on what's 'good enough' to get their project out the door on time, on budget and at the expected quality level. In my experience people don't meticulously log all the footage on reality shows because there isn't enough time, there isn't enough money and it's just overkill to do so.

For example, if I'm working on a home renovation show I don't need a break down of every time Bob swings a
hammer in the kitchen on episode 604. "CU Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", "WS Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", "crane shot Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", "CU rack focus Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", "MS pan down from ceiling Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", "WS whip pan Bob hammer kitchen 16d nail", etc., etc., etc.,. If I'm editing a scene where Bob is hanging new kitchen cabinets it's a foregone conclusion that there will be footage of Bob hammering in the kitchen. A shot-by-shot breakdown of a camera that's repositioning every 10-15 seconds is a waste of time. Scrolling through the selects I've been handed will be faster and once that scene is locked that footage is never needed again (yes, yes I know the joke about nothing ever being locked). All I really need to know is what the important beats of the scene are, along with the best broll shots, and that's easy enough to get via stringouts, and/or markers. Story producers and AEs only have some much time so time in a day so it's a matter of triage.

Coming up I worked as a vault/library manager and then later as an Assistant Editor so I certainly know the power of organization, but one of the first things I realized about workflow development is there is usually a big difference between what would be an 'ideal' workflow and what's realistically achievable given time, money and human nature. There's always room for improvement, but perfect is the enemy of good, as they say.


[Joe Marler] "We widely accept the benefit of database tagging and keywording for stills, so why not video?"

Tagging/keywording for video is nothing new though. To be honest, I've never worked anywhere where editors haven't used markers, placed subclips into categorically named folders/bins, given media descriptive file names and/or added keywords/tags into a notes/comments field.

[Joe Marler] "Then who is buying and using Interplay, CatDV, etc. and for what?"

Why do some people use Ford F-350 Super Duty pickup trucks while others use Honda Accords while still others use Vespa scooters?

Again, I think the MAMs are most useful for companies/productions that deal with lots of evergreen footage and for archiving (basically situations where institutional knowledge isn't a viable option). For example, I used to work for a website that covered the video game industry (sorta like ESPN but for video games) and we reused footage on a regular basis so I setup a system that made it straight forward to find and retrieve game footage, event coverage and interviews (even if it had been archived offline). The metadata wasn't very detailed (basically game name, event name, date, location, people on camera, etc.,) but it was enough that if someone asked "Hey, can we pull up all the times we interview Joe Blow at E3" we could easily find all that footage.

Another, and more rudimentary example, is I use NeoFinder as a poor mans MAM for my computers and backup HDDs (I've looked at CatDV, but it's just overkill for my needs at this point in time). I used to be able to keep everything straight in my head, but I eventually got to a point where I kept asking myself "What's on this drive again?" and that's when I grabbed NeoFinder.


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Tony West
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on Apr 28, 2017 at 4:48:02 pm

[David Lawrence] "So what's more efficient? Markers or metadata?"

For me it isn't either or, but both.

I use the metadata in the browser as I log and create favorites. I then write into the favorites notes about the clip and why I chose it.

I use markers in the timeline for notes like "get rights to this photo" and check them off as they are completed. I can search those out in the timeline index quickly.

I really enjoyed his presentation. He is old school with those hand written notes.

I prefer as much of the clients notes in email form as possible. Them "I don't remember saying that" Me "here is your email" : )

I can paste their email right into a marker in the timeline. I prefer it there, instead of on my desk. I don't like clutter.

Like he said, when that client wants to see something as long as you can get it fast it doesn't matter how you do it.


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Mark Smith
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on Apr 29, 2017 at 12:34:31 am

I agree with Tony, the note card/ marker in the time line dichotomy is a litte odd. We are fortunate to have so many options to choose from in creating methods to organize our work. I painted a wall in my office with White board paint so I can write out big picture notes on the wall and change them as necessary. Other than that I try to keep notes, metadata, "programmer's comments " in electronic form unless I'm building something in 3 dimensions and then I use lots of masking tape and magic marker for comments.


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Bret Williams
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on Apr 29, 2017 at 8:31:13 pm

I'll often get into lots of detail in the email diatribe back and forth for that very reason. There's an electronic trail. But sometimes they get frustrated and the phone rings.

_______________________________________________________________________
http://BretFX.com FCP X Plugins & Templates for Editors & Motion Graphics Artists


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Oliver Peters
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 5, 2017 at 5:47:48 pm

Unfortunately this thread got derailed, but the edit session I am doing today brought me right back to the concept. I'm cutting in Premiere and, yes, using the "pancake" method.

What folks miss is that due to Premiere's ability to tab sequences, you can, for example, have one window of the "pancake" loaded up with a bunch of tabs for various cutdowns and then your target sequence in the second timeline window of the "pancake". In this case, I've got about 50 hours of footage, which I boiled down to about 2 dozen cutdowns/stringouts. From these I'm cutting a 2 min video.

I've found it infinitely faster to use this method than X's keyword/collection/smart collection process. For one thing, I find it faster to quickly scrub through a cutdown sequence than through favorites in a collection. Plus when I go from one tab to the next, the options instantly pop up. When I go between collections in X (each with a bunch of thumbnails), it takes a long time for each to load.

Obviously, to each his own, but it just seems faster to me.

- Oliver

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


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Brian Seegmiller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 5, 2017 at 8:04:50 pm

One cool feature in FCP X is the ability to range select your clips in custom order. While holding down your "command" key and then range selecting your clips, they will be put on the timeline in the order you selected your clips. Even though the clips are not in the order you want them to begin with in a favorite or keyword collection you can easily and quickly lay them on the timeline in the order you want. You can have your pancakes. Just sayin.


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Shawn Miller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 5, 2017 at 9:32:29 pm

[Brian Seegmiller] "One cool feature in FCP X is the ability to range select your clips in custom order. While holding down your "command" key and then range selecting your clips, they will be put on the timeline in the order you selected your clips."

You can do that in Premiere Pro...

Shawn



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Brian Seegmiller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 6, 2017 at 2:52:23 am

No you can't.


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Shawn Miller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 6, 2017 at 3:11:22 am

[Brian Seegmiller] "No you can't."

So... you're saying that I can't select a range of clips and automatically lay them out on the timeline in the order in which I selected them in Premiere Pro?

Shawn



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Gabe Strong
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 6, 2017 at 3:21:46 am

I think he is talking about selecting a range within each clip.....and
doing it for several clips....

Gabe Strong
G-Force Productions
http://www.gforcevideo.com


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Shawn Miller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 6, 2017 at 5:01:34 am

[Gabe Strong] "I think he is talking about selecting a range within each clip.....and
doing it for several clips...."


Ah, that makes sense then. He only mentioned selecting clips.

Shawn



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Brian Seegmiller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 6, 2017 at 3:24:28 am

You can't select multiple in and outs on one clip and then insert them in the time line in the order you selected the in and outs from the clip. I am not talking about selecting multiple clips in the browser and inserting the in the timeline. I am also not talking about creating subclips.

https://support.apple.com/kb/PH12533?locale=en_US&viewlocale=en_US

https://larryjordan.com/articles/fcpx-select-ranges/


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Shawn Miller
Re: Markers or Metadata - The Debate!
on May 6, 2017 at 5:03:24 am
Last Edited By Shawn Miller on May 6, 2017 at 5:05:04 am

[Brian Seegmiller] "

You can't select multiple in and outs on one clip and then insert them in the time line in the order you selected the in and outs from the clip. I am not talking about selecting multiple clips in the browser and inserting the in the timeline. I am also not talking about creating subclips.

https://support.apple.com/kb/PH12533?locale=en_US&viewlocale=en_US

https://larryjordan.com/articles/fcpx-select-ranges/"

'
I get it now, thanks.

Shawn



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