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Here’s a quick run-down of the terminology that I’ll use in this discussion.

A clip is an object that represents a piece of media, such as “the first 23 seconds of video from vacation.avi” or “50,000 samples of an 8kHz sine wave”. A track is a container for clips of a certain media type (audio or video).  A timeline, then, can be seen simply as a named collection of tracks. Finally, an effect is a (length-preserving) transformation placed on a clip, such as a film grain effect, a saturation adjustment, or a volume normalisation.

In an attempt to make editing large projects easier, and to facilitate re-use of common timeline elements (bumpers, episode introductions, credit sequences, and so on), Eve takes a hierarchical approach to the timeline of a video project. Put simply, timelines can reference other timelines (and parts of other timelines). This means that you can insert the video and/or audio from one timeline into another, and have it act as a sort of black box. Timeline clips, as these are called, can reference either a particular track of another timeline, a different track of the current timeline, or the fully-composited output of a given media type from a different timeline. A good question is, where’s the use case?

Say you want to add a colour cast to your entire production: simply create a new timeline, and add in the composited audio and video tracks from your main timeline. All that is left to do is to apply the colour cast effect to the correct clip, and you’re set. Notice that because timeline clips are a type of clip, and clips must choose one specific media type, there will be both a video and an audio clip in your new timeline.

A more industry-specific example would be that you could split the workload of a long project up into several different slices of time, and define each as a new timeline. After being worked on seperately, the timelines can be added together at the very end very simply — just add each timeline to the master timeline in series, add in any boilerplate introduction or credit sequence timelines, and you’re ready to export. All this, without having to copy around and assemble hundreds or thousands of clips. You get a cleaner workflow, the ability to add transitions for free and mix up the order after the fact, as well as the semantic plus of being able to name the timelines for easier navigation. Finally, all of these last-minute decisions can be reversed more easily, allowing for more creative play.

Hopefully I’ve made all of this clear. Any criticism?

Who’s writing this?

My name is Cameron Gorrie. I'm an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, with a strong interest in Artificial Intelligence and Computer Graphics. You can read more about me, or read my CV. If you have work or research opportunities in my interest areas, please do not hesitate to contact me.
April 2021
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