Final Cut Pro X: Apple’s bet against track-based editing

alex4d: Editing Organazized by Alex Gollner

Many editors don’t understand why Apple have abandoned the track-based editing metaphor. Tracks have been Mac applications since Macromind VideoWorks in 1985.

VideoWorks (which evolved into Macromedia Director in the 90s) was an animation application that imported graphic images (into a ‘cast’ window), these images are then placed on a stage in layers. The ‘Score’ showed these numbered layers listed vertically, with animation frames shown horizontally. In the example above, there is nothing shown in layer 3 until frame 8. The current frame is 13, with the graphic in layer 2 selected.

When Avid and Adobe Premiere came along, they had timelines that represented video clips overlaying each other in layers, and this metaphor survives to this day. Here’s an example of how tracks are used in editing today:

The modern rule is that the lowest numbered track is in the background, and video clips in higher numbered layers obscure the layers below. In the example if all the clips were full screen, the final edit would start with the wide shot, followed by Actor A, then B, A, the wide, B, A and back to the wide.

Tracks can implement every editing method

The flexibility of tracks means that editors can get the same result with a different layout of clips on the timeline. In the following case, instead of using track 1 for the wide, 2 for Actor A and 3 for Actor B, track 1 if used for third takes, 2 for second takes and 3 for first takes read more...

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