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Re: DaVinci Resolve 8.1 -- now with FCPXML roundtrip support

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Simon UbsdellRe: DaVinci Resolve 8.1 -- now with FCPXML roundtrip support
by on Oct 21, 2011 at 9:48:56 am

[Jeremy Garchow] " I see the similarities visually, but that's all we can see."

Honestly, Jeremy, this is a bit disingenuous, isn't it? You really believe that the only similarities are "visual"???

I do wonder (and I hope you won't think me rude for asking the question) whether you've actually looked at iMovie to see how non-trivial the similarities are and how deeply they relate to function as opposed to mere cosmetics as you seem to be trying to imply.

Let's just talk about the magnetic timeline - this is a very radical, never-before-seen departure for an NLE, as I don't think I need to point out! The fact that it already existed in iMovie in fundamentally the same form - there are really very few significant differences (and if you can see any please point them out) - surely has to suggest that the heavy-lifting on this concept was done during the development of iMovie.*

And if the code had to be rewritten from the ground up, this happens all the time and is not really that big a deal. To take the example I've cited elsewhere, Luxology, the makers of Modo, managed to turn around the both the PC and Mac 64-bit versions of the app (in about a year) without breaking stride on the ongoing development of what is unarguably a considerably more complex application than FCPX. The rewriting of the code did not do anything to change the app fundamentally (or even superficially) - which is not to say it wasn't also improved and enhanced at the same time. (And of course, we've seen this happen with many apps that have made the major code-rewriting transition to 64-bit - I just like this example because it shows what a small company without the massive resources of an Apple or an Adobe can achieve without appearing to break sweat.)

The fact remains that the design of FCPX - if not the code - had clearly all been worked out during the development of iMovie. To dispute this seems to me to be to fly in the face of unbelievably clear evidence. (And I think to see the real picture here it is important to look closely at what we can observe rather than draw inferences from how FCPX and/or iMovie may or may not interface with each other and the rest of the world - which will almost certainly be decisions arbitrarily arrived at by Apple rather than unambiguous pointers to the development of either app.)

* To be specific about what the two timelines have in common:

a) Rippling timeline, including the magnetic behaviour that means overlapping clips slide out of each other's way - this really is massive and unprecedented, but clearly a design idea created in all its complexity for iMovie before we ever got to see it in FCPX;

b) Connected Clips (a huge concept that ia very radical but is entirely identical across the two apps);

c) Replace Mode (this is idiosyncratically not the same as Replace mode in any other NLE, but is the same in both iMovie and FCPX);

d) Audio and Video linked by default and placed in primary storyline but can be "Detached";

e) idiosyncratic audio waveform display shared by both apps;

f) adjusting audio levels affects height of waveform (feature not seen anywhere else but shared between the two apps), also the waveform will display audio clipping (identically) when the level is raised too high;

g) handles on audio clips for interactively creating fades;

h) the Precision Editor (this is a big one, again it's quite an unusual tool but the functionality is virtually identical between the two apps is is the name!);

i) the Range Selector (this is the default selection behaviour in iMovie which doesn't the In/Out selection option, but the operation of the range selector is clearly functionally identical between the two apps).

I'm sure there are things I've missed - the similarities are so many and so deep-rooted it's hard to remember them all. (That said, there are one or two things about the iMovie implentation of these ideas that I prefer - I was really hoping to see iMovie's in-context menus in FCPX as I think these are a really elegant time-saver and oddly a much more "modern" approach than the old-fashioned Inspector model reverted to in FCPX. But this is one of the few genuine differences, apart from Secondary Storylines, which I think look to be a relatively recent and inadequately assimilated solution to one of the limitations of iMovie.)

Simon Ubsdell

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