2008.7.28 interview notes

I'll call my friend M. M. Is a 3D animator working for a gaming company, so his editing needs are somewhat different than the average videographer or editor. His duties include producing high-quality stills and shorts for promotional purposes, as well as in-game cinematics (ICG). Most of his sequences are pre-rendered, and brought in as sequenced images. In general, the sequences are rendered to their finished length and only occasionally are the sequences trimmed down.

After lunch with M, he showed me how he performed simple editing tasks in Adobe Premiere. He discussed how Premiere differed from its alternatives. For comparison he also performed similar tasks in After Effects. He commented that Premiere doesn't focus on individual frames. After Effects is much more focused on frame-accurate editing and keyframing. M. said that he actually preferred using After Effects for most editing tasks. He also showed me how Maya handles animation through two separate interfaces: the dope sheet, and the graph. The dope sheet hearkens back to traditional 2D animation as a means of timing lip movements to speech sounds. The property graph directly displays the mathematics of a property as they change over time.

M.s Comments

  • When moving one source affects all the sources after it, this is called a “ripple edit”.
  • The project's framerate and resolution are completely determined by the output media. Usually, the editor [person] knows in advance what their output format is. Changing these settings is not usually done, and when it is, a loss in quality is expected.
  • FCP tries to provide direct manipulation of more abstract editing concepts, and high degree of immediate feedback, which is what people like about it. It gets the job done, but things don't seem to feel as tactile or immediate.(*)
  • M. claims to have an intuitive feel for “numbers”, meaning numeric property values. When he sets a key-frame value on a cross-fade, for example, he has a fairly good idea of what 35% means.
  • It's rare that an editor would first move the play-head position to a point in the timeline that they wanted to see, and then make a cut or an edit.

My Observations

  • Premiere didn't render effects or transitions in real time even on a powerful machine.
  • Premiere doesn't allow sources to overlap each other in the timeline. Dropping one source onto another causes the new source to be spliced into the existing one. There's no easy way to rejoin the source, though you can always stretch the existing source back to its original length.
  • Applying a time stretch in premiere was somewhat difficult. In after effects, the time remapping feature made complicated frame-rate manipulations a fairly straightforward keyframing process.

M's Suggestions for PiTiVi

  • When moving a source, the viewer should show the frame before the source cuts in, rather than the play-head position
  • When trimming a source, the viewer window should show the start point in that source, rather than where the play-head position.
  • Put as much functionality directly in the timeline as possible, as it's often easier to manipulate.*

(*) Statements marked with an asterisk are speculations about other user's preferences, and should be taken with a grain of salt.

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