Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The FCPX Magnetic Timeline is Fast and Helpful

Apple came out with a new paradigm. Video editing with a magnetic timeline. Its kind of like a SNAP feature in a CAD program, sometimes its very helpful, and sometimes its annoying if you want to precisely move things around. If so, just turn snap off.
The magnetic timeline is handy to me personally, so I don't mind it most of the time. It only requires a workaround if you depend on hanging on to established methods. Where it cuts into my previous way of thinking, and believe me, at first it did, it has since proved to be just a very convenient help to keep things together as I build a story. I can focus more on story rather than meticulous detailed placement of a clip and making sure it aligns correctly.

There is more than one way to put things together. With the FCP previous versions, the snapless aligning and tweeking of clip positions allowed for more control of effects on the bottom track, which in FCPX is magnetic. However, it is possible to emulate that in FCPX by inserting in a slug and editing clips on the second track up. The advantage of the new method is the speed at which things can get cranked out, not just the hardware speed (FCPX is much faster than FCP7 by far, being a 64 bit program that uses all available cores in the Intel chip), but in the way its possible to throw things together and have it snap magnetically. Kind of like an AUTO ARRANGE on a Mac Desktop to clean things up is quick. This kind of feature, snap, is used extensively in CAD and Graphics disciplines, so there is some great advantage to it. It can also be turned off with a single click of an icon. I really think snap is better. But this magnetic timeline is much more than snap. It is a magnetic timeline that extends through the whole project, to make sure that the whole story all ties together. It has not slowed me down, just the opposite, because now all that rendering takes place in the background in real time, I can experiment creatively and see finished results AS I GO, and that's a new and satisfying way of working.

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