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Old December 11th, 2009, 06:44 AM   #1
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Any NLE etc. where tweaking an Effect updates many clips ?

Is there any NLE (or compositing app etc.) where one can define an effect/filter chain in one place and reference it in several clips/events etc on the timeline, such that when the chain is subsequently changed (eg additional effects or just tweaks), all references to it (i.e. the same clips) are automatically affected or updated by that change? It's the "automatically" bit I'm interested in.

And is there anything with features even more advanced than that, such as object-oriented classes and subclasses of effect chains (to act on corresponding classes and subclasses of scenes)? I guess I'm hoping for the post production equivalent of Functions and Objects from programming languages.

Reason: I find that grading while also matching dissimilar cameras involves compromises, the nature of which only become clear through iteration, and a lot of time is spent inefficiently revisiting clips along the whole timeline, checking and re-tweaking, risking error in the process.

There's got to be a better way!
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Old December 11th, 2009, 02:39 PM   #2
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Don't know if this is what you are after, but in Final Cut you can copy an effect that you have tweaked for one clip to another clip by the "paste attributes" function. You can also customize an effect preset as a "favorite" and apply it to a whole group of clips at one go...and you can group opacity or audio levels in the same way...however, if you change the filter settings subsequently, they do not , afaik, automatically update the applied settings. Probably one would not want this, because you use the same filters multiple times and would likely have different settings for other clips and not want to inadvertantly change previous work...hth/ Battle Vaughan
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Old December 11th, 2009, 03:01 PM   #3
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Most NLEs offer a "ripple" effect like this. In Sony Vegas, you can apply an effect to a clip, a track, or a project. And you can place projects inside one another.

In this way, you can create a master project to hold all your scenes, but create sub projects per scene. You nail your exposure on a per clip basis, then apply a basic look and feel at the scene level.

You can then create overarching effects at the master project level. This way of working has great benefit for large projects. Other NLEs do it differently, but the concepts are the same.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 03:02 PM   #4
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Battle,

Thanks for your reply. I do know of those kinds of feature, and use them regularly, but am definitely looking for an auto-update feature.

As you say, there would be a risk of unintended knock-on effect, hence such a system would need to be carefully organized. The nearest equivalent I know of is MediaFX in Sony Vegas but that affects everything dependent on a given video file, not just a selected subset of clips on the timeline. If a camera is kept running (e.g. during an uncontrolled live event) it may record several types of scene to a single file, interspersed.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 03:18 PM   #5
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You can't do what you are asking for in Liquid either, for what it's worth.
It doesn't take long to copy and paste effects from one clip to many others.
Wanting to automate the process sounds like a solution in search of a problem ;-)
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Old December 11th, 2009, 03:27 PM   #6
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Can't help you but your talk of programming type editing reminds me of Macrosystems' Movieshop. It worked in Reverse Polish Notation. Admittedly, it could be a pain for regular editing but for heavy effects stuff, especially to a beat (ie. music video), it could do amazing things.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 06:02 PM   #7
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My current sub-project consists of around 375 clips on the timeline, based on footage from four cameras, existing in about 50 files. Not that that's any kind of record, but doing anything to that number of clips doesn't happen all that quickly. The easiest footage is from an EX3 camera which is one long recording (of slightly varied scene types) and I can apply FX at Media level (as Perrone pointed out), then every timeline event/clip is automatically affected. However the problem comes in respect of the 50 other files - from cameras that were either tape-based (hence need tapes changing) or which were used sporadically. All the clips are laid out on timeline as one MultiCam track.

Each time I want to try a grading change (e.g. various tradeoffs due to non-ideal footage), I go to timeline, zoom in sufficiently that I can see even the smallest clip, inspect then maybe tweak and re-inspect each clip in turn, sometimes comparing to each neighbouring clip (for continuity). This process is laborious and takes an hour or two. That's the problem that makes me want a better solution.

I'm not wanting script-based editing or to program, just to borrow the key concept from "function libraries" in programming, where you just change a function and everything then uses that new version (you don't have to paste it in again everywhere it's used).

In the case of Sony Vegas (which I am now using), paste attributes always pasts all attributes (no way to select which ones) and it appends them to any pre-existing ones (doesn't replace). Also I often have to un-do some of the pasted attributes, such as settings of pan-crop, which I use extensively (SD within HD). I saved some filter chains as Filter packages that can be reapplied to other clips, which does replace any pre-existing filters/effects on them. Better than nothing, but still it's a lot to have to repeat each time. Its frustrating that I can't just change any of my defined Filter Packages and have all clips depending on them automatically update themselves, wherever they are on the timeline. I tend to name my filter packages after the project to which they apply.

I had a quick read about Combustion 4. I see it has a node-based interface and some kind of Duplicate feature that sounds a bit like what I describe, though maybe I misread it. But in any case, really I'm looking for an NLE that does this, and Combustion is not one of those.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 09:55 PM   #8
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Final Cut can have this sort of functionality through the use of exporting and reimporting XML files.

In fact, there is a third party program - Traffic I believe it is called - that works around this very principle, and creates a node based tree for your Final Cut Project.

So yeah, XML functionality in Final Cut is a very powerful solution that allows this, don't know if there is anything similar workflows for Vegas.

For grading, I also believe you can group shots in Color in a similar fashion so that you can change the grade for every shot at once, although I seem to remember hearing that it was potentially a bit buggy when working with more than one group at a time. Traditionally it's a program that is very quick to grade with (as that's it's only function) so generally once you've developed and saved a few looks it's quick to apply.

Traditional Node based compositing apps generally don't work around timelines, more just individual shots - not sure if there'll be much help there.

There MIGHT be something like this you can do in After FX with precomps etc - and it has integration with Premiere so that might work to.

I would definitely think that Final Cut's XML functionality combined with third party plugins/programs is pretty much exactly what you are looking for. I know for certain highly repetitive workflows (like subtitling programs in multiple languages etc, making dailies with differing timecode burns, or swapping out an entire programs worth of baselines etc.) that XML plugins can be a massive time saver - so maybe that's something you should look at.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 08:55 AM   #9
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I like the sound of Traffic, I just took a look at their website. Also I came across another nodal editing app for FCS, namely Conduit, though I can't tell yet how similar it really is. It also works with some other NLEs.

I suppose Avid's only equivalent is its high-end DS. Or is there some cheaper plugin for Media Composer?
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Old December 12th, 2009, 11:08 AM   #10
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Spent a little more time on Traffic's website, checked out the videos. Now I like it even more!

That's exactly the kind of automation I've been looking for to improve my productivity and consistency (and so reduce anxiety). I love the Trigger Nodes eg for conditionally triggering lower thirds (whose fonts etc can be tied together) and the ability to get text from database / spreadsheet was also on my wish-list.

When current project finished (almost there...) will try it out, maybe over the break.

Can't thank you enough for that info Craig.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 03:58 AM   #11
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Good luck with using Traffic David.
Will be interested to hear how you get on with it.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 02:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Esp View Post
Spent a little more time on Traffic's website, checked out the videos. Now I like it even more!

That's exactly the kind of automation I've been looking for to improve my productivity and consistency (and so reduce anxiety). I love the Trigger Nodes eg for conditionally triggering lower thirds (whose fonts etc can be tied together) and the ability to get text from database / spreadsheet was also on my wish-list.

When current project finished (almost there...) will try it out, maybe over the break.

Can't thank you enough for that info Craig.
Pleasure David. I've looked at Traffic myself but never tried it out as the sorts of editing jobs we do are too varied for it to be a huge productivity boost - be very keen to get your feedback on it and some insight into how it works for you.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 10:09 PM   #13
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I will indeed report back on this thread. Will be a week or two before I try it out.
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