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Re: The Magnetic Timeline – What’s The Paradigm?

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Craig Alan
Re: The Magnetic Timeline – What’s The Paradigm?
on Jul 9, 2011 at 5:21:41 am

Other than as an anthropomorphic metaphor, software does not “understand.” It does not reason. It does not design. If a computer program is ‘intuitive’ at all, it means that it acts as we would expect it to act due to the software designer’s use of well-crafted, ergonomic, metaphoric interface. If you design media-creation-software to produce pre-patterned outcomes based on common usage/consensus, reason, and design, you have in essence dummied it down. Computer software designers are not the only ones doing this to the arts. How-to-‘write’-books have been guilty of this as well. And equally destructive to the creative process. Thus we have unnatural plot twists at predetermined IN points/marks/page numbers in order to heighten the tension in a standardized way, bring us to orgasm in a standardized way, and resolve all conflict in a predictably crowd pleasing way, and in a timely manner. A flat unexciting orgasm/resolution that satisfies a typical audience member. Not a problem – in post, you can jack the sound, quicken the rhythm, employ hypnotic quick edits that work subliminally and forcefully to get the heart pounding. Neurologically stimulating even when completely brain-dead.

More often than not, with predetermined patterns, like templates, everyone’s product will begin to feel the same. They often do anyway because fashion dictates. But in the analog world or the digital one that uses the analog as a model, a different drummer and therefore drumbeat comes to light. It’s one thing to choose a preset, or use a professionally designed template; it’s quite another to make the use of these the default and the unique a workaround. If the nuts and bolts of a system are themselves mini-templates/meta-templates, you will ease editors toward certain editorial patterns. This will assure a quicker/easier route to an acceptable product, but not necessarily the best or most creative, and certainly not the most individualized.

Pre-designing not only is a very bad model to follow in a profession application, but I would argue in an educational application as well.

I’m not predicting this will be the result of wide adoption of FCP X, but it was exactly my fear when I first looked at the new Imovie. And I do think there are more than just hints of the new Imovie in FCP X.

For FCP X to use industry standard (and even common usage) vocabulary (such as ‘project’) and have it mean something completely different than in every other NLE including FCP 1-7 is counterproductive and anti-metaphoric. Metaphor is helpful when based on historical reference. To cut ties with your own history and those of your current user base is not only counterintuitive, it is a denial of the past. If I have 10 different timelines of a show I am editing – different lengths, different endings, different formats, different compositions, I am not working on 10 different ‘projects’. If someone asks me what ‘project’ am I working on now – they mean what subject, what video, what event, what film … not what version/sequence.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz
; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.

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