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An problem I see with the magnetic timeline

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Greg Andonian
An problem I see with the magnetic timeline
on Apr 15, 2011 at 12:14:47 am

One of the big, exciting new features of Final Cut Pro X that has a lot of people talking it the "magnetic timeline", which causes clips to move down to the track below them if another clip is moved in, rather than being over-written. They say this will be very helpful because it will eliminate collisions that would leave a hole in your clip that has to be fixed.

In the demo Apple did, they had two video clips on the same track with music underneath each one. The music clips were both longer than the video clips that they were underneath, poking out from the right side of the video.

They moved the video clip on the left right up next to the video clip on the right, and the music underneath came with it. Through the magic of the magnetic timeline, the music clip under the second video moved down one (virtual) track to make room for the one that came with the first video. The crowd loved it.

Visually the whole thing was very impressive, but from a practical standpoint I see a problem with it.

The second music clip that moved down to make room for the first is now on another track, but it's still part of the timeline- and you're still going to hear it if you play the whole thing back- so you're going to hear both of them playing at the same time, creating a very undesirable effect.

You'll have to trim the second one back or fade it in to make sure this doesn't happen, and at that point it seems to me it would be faster and easier (though less visually appealing) to use the old paradigm. Maybe I'm missing something here- I figured J and L cuts would be impossible until I watched the demo- but I don't see how they're going to get around this, unless they automatically mute the portion of the downward-moving clip that's covered by the new one coming in. But you wouldn't always want that either...


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Chris Kenny
Re: An problem I see with the magnetic timeline
on Apr 15, 2011 at 4:27:26 am

[Greg Andonian] "The second music clip that moved down to make room for the first is now on another track, but it's still part of the timeline- and you're still going to hear it if you play the whole thing back- so you're going to hear both of them playing at the same time, creating a very undesirable effect.

You'll have to trim the second one back or fade it in to make sure this doesn't happen, and at that point it seems to me it would be faster and easier (though less visually appealing) to use the old paradigm. Maybe I'm missing something here- I figured J and L cuts would be impossible until I watched the demo- but I don't see how they're going to get around this, unless they automatically mute the portion of the downward-moving clip that's covered by the new one coming in. But you wouldn't always want that either..."


I would guess that you will have to manually trim one or the other of the music clips in a case like this. But (not having using it yet, obviously), I think the Magnetic Timeline approach is still better, because it lets you do things in a more natural order. That is, if you decide you want to move a clip somewhere you can just do it. It might result in some undesirable overlapping, but this is essentially non-descructive -- you can see exactly what happened, and you still have all the media on the timeline at the end of the move that you did at the beginning.

I think this is a big improvement on the current situation, where if you want to move a clip in a similar circumstance, you either have to sort out the collision manually prior to performing the move (which breaks your flow), or perform an edit that overwrites media on the timeline, which actually destroys information about your previous editing decisions.

From the demo, it doesn't look like there's anything you can do just by dragging clips around that has the side effect of removing media. That seems extremely valuable, especially for rough cuts and assembly edits -- you can decide what media you want to use, toss in on a timeline, and then sort of juggle it around there, without having to carefully plan edits to make sure you're not overwriting things.

Digital Workflow/Colorist
You should follow me on Twitter here. Or read First thoughts on Final Cut Pro X on our blog.


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Mark Suszko
Re: An problem I see with the magnetic timeline
on Apr 15, 2011 at 2:11:15 pm

Greg, I don;t see it as a problem, because typically the extra tracks sliping under each other are *meant* to overlap. Like music, dialog, foley, ambience, foreign language interpreter tracks, etc. And the clips have handles on them to directly scale them back and create transitions if that's what you want. Preserving or setting the general relationsips of discrete elements in time is my first step, when assembling a timeline, then determining and setting the priority of levels is the second, in the way I work.

When I cut stuff and start layering tracks like this, I'm already working in a manner something like the demo. Teh magnetic feature is just a labor saver that automates a track-moving step I used to have to do manually each time, with less precision and more opportunity to accidentally throw a track a frame or two off synch. Really, I don't see a huge issue with this new method, from my personal perspective.


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Mark Suszko
Re: An problem I see with the magnetic timeline
on Apr 15, 2011 at 3:18:58 pm

I've engaged an expert to consult with me on how magnetic timelines work in FCP-X:



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: An problem I see with the magnetic timeline
on Apr 15, 2011 at 5:59:40 pm

[Mark Suszko] "I've engaged an expert to consult with me on how magnetic timelines work in FCP-X:"

Very very nice. HAHAHAHHAHA!


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Jerry Hofmann
Re: An problem I see with the magnetic timeline
on Apr 15, 2011 at 4:41:06 pm

If it's any consolation, I think it was said that this 'feature' was defeat-able in preferences... so they give you a choice to do it the old or new way.

Jerry

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Patrice Freymond
Re: An problem I see with the magnetic timeline
on Apr 15, 2011 at 8:09:05 pm

That a lot of these new features were optional was pointed out repeatedly throughout the presentation, which should reassure those who are afraid to get an imovie on steroids.

I for one hope that I'll be able to get rid of the thumbbails, audio waves and other decorations until I need them - at the hit of a few shortcuts such as they are today: alt + cmd + w, and their sibbling alt + w for timeline adjustments of levels.

Heck, I even hope that there will be a customizable interface à la Avid. And that I'll still be able to do 90% of my editing using the keyboard.

But where they really left me hanging is with all that trackless stuff. What of track assignment? routing?

Oh well, June is just round the corner, or almost...

Patrice Freymond

Senior editor
FCP Certified Trainer

patrice@monteur.tv


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Paul Dickin
Re: An problem I see with the magnetic timeline
on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:15:31 pm

[Patrice Freymond] "...all that trackless stuff. What of track assignment? routing?"
Hi
Since we were shown you can 'range select' metadata markers as and when you choose, and drag into the 'Event Manager' (top left of the screen) I'm sure you will be able to select/drag all your, say, VO segments, or all the sync fx, or music, and (in metadata) assign them as a virtual 'track' to an audio output channel...



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Jeremy Garchow
Re: An problem I see with the magnetic timeline
on Apr 15, 2011 at 11:26:16 pm

[Paul Dickin] "or all the sync fx, or music, and (in metadata) assign them as a virtual 'track' to an audio output channel..."

I sure hope so. Or else it really is iMovie Pro. I can't imagine that things like XML, EDL, OMF, track assignment, multi-cam, multi-track, timecode, and user preferences are simply left out of this version. It would be a waste of everyone's time and money to make a version without these essential components.

I simply don't think Apple would leave stuff like this out. If so, they will lose a lot of business. My hunch is that it will be very elegant.

But, magnets, how do they work? ;-D Seriously, I cracked up for a good long while at that one, Mark S.

Jeremy


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Patrice Freymond
Re: An problem I see with the magnetic timeline
on Apr 17, 2011 at 8:26:38 am

I did not say there wouldn't be a way to assign or route tracks, just that after showing me the dazzling bits I would have liked them to answer the obvious question that said bits raised....

Like Jeremy I am sure there will be a way, for without one it will be difficult to call this a tool for the pros...

Patrice Freymond

Senior editor
FCP Certified Trainer

patrice@monteur.tv


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