What would a new editing interface be like?
At the most recent meeting of the Editor’s Lounge (held at Keycode Media) Steve Cohen – blogger and author of Avid Agility – expanded on some of his blogged thinking on the possibilities of a new, more fluid editing interface. An interface that didn’t stop every time you did something!
And that got me thinking about how Apple might change up the interface, riffing on some of what has been rumored.
One rumor is that the new interface design does away with a dedicated “Viewer” (Source) window. This has caused not a little “freak out” from some people. Now I’m not a big user of the Viewer, but even I realize that there is functionality there that can’t go away.
That’s a dilemma: how would the functionality be implemented? What functionality? Clearly trimming clips would be number one functionality. Now iMovie (in all its forms) has various mechanisms to trim clips, but they seem somewhat more suited to a consumer interface. What about manipulating the settings that are grouped in the current Motion Tab, or the Filters tab?
One way would be to “redo” the Media 100 (and iMovie ’11) approach of simply using one window that swaps function between trimming clips and viewing a timeline. While I never found that a limitation in my Media 100 days, I do note that the modern version has an option for the more traditional two-up display! So much for the success of that experiment. (Or it could simply be that Boris gave in to Media 100 users’ demands to be like other NLE’s?)
I’ve already asked for Quickview functionality in a Bin/Browser and while that would be nice, it’s not a replacement for a Viewer’s functionality. I fully expect that any clip will play from its icon – that’s in the Finder even – but (perhaps) tap it and it enlarges to a preset size with JKL shuttle, i/o to set In and Out, the ability to expand the pseudo timeline view or enlarge the “player” with a pinch multi-touch. Click again to reduce in size back to default bin size; or use keystroke – or click and drag – to add to a timeline.
As for the functionality needed for Motion Tab, Filters and Audio? Well, the last major interface rethink that happened within the Pro Apps group was Motion, so I’d say that suggests some form of Heads Up Display (HUD) will cross over.
Or they’ll think of some other way. Perhaps using only one Timeline instead of a Sequence Timeline and Clip Timeline (effectively) in the Viewer. Or they could borrow the timeline concept from Shake, where a timeline was only accessed for a clip when it was needed.
The fact that a dedicated Viewer window may not be there doesn’t mean that the functionality can be lost, so I’ll be most interested to learn how exactly they’ve implemented the functionality. I suspect it will be something that seems odd at times, but when you start using it, becomes very obvious and very fluid. (By fluid, I mean that the interface gets out of the way when you’re working.)
I think we’ll be blown away by the interface. Remember this is the first time Apple have designed a professional NLE, and they’re likely – as someone else said at the Editor’s Lounge event – to “Skate where the puck will be” not where it is now.
That same panelist referred back to my quoting of Henry Ford, which suggests that what Apple are doing may not resemble what’s gone before.
Personally I can’t wait.
While I generally welcome comments, if all you’ve got to say is how a professional NLE can’t exist without a “Viewer”, don’t bother. On the other hand, if you have ideas of how the NLE interface might evolve (Minority Report style? Brain waves?) let’s hear them. Or you might be like Zak Ray and have some seriously new thoughts on interfaces.