Friday, July 1, 2011

Novacut Artist Diaries

Jason is putting the finishing touches on Dmedia (the back-end for Novacut's video editor).  So the next step for Novacut's video editor is the design of its UX/UI.  Jason has drafted a document around Novacut's UX/UI design focus.  However, this document isn't the end all, be all for our design process.  It is a living thing that will change and grow with feedback from video editors.

So this is where Novacut needs a hand from artists. We need artists to share their everyday experiences with the tools they are using to make film and TV.  We need screen casts, sketches, notes, blog posts, etc. that are focused on how artists are using their current editing software, and how these tools are slowing down their creative process.   In short, this blog post is a call to artists - a call for their participation in the creation of the first distributed video editor.  It's a call for a record of YOUR experience.     

If you need a few ideas to help jump-start your Novacut Artist Diary, Jason (Novacut's lead developer) is particularly interested in learning about how video editors organize video files as they come in.  How do editors organize files in relation to the storyboard/storyline that the director has laid out?  He's also curious about what editors want to do with their editing software but can't.  So go nuts - transform the pain points that you struggle with everyday in your creative process into a wishlist!

When you're ready to share your literary and/or visual journal, upload your screen-casts to the Novacut Artist Diaries Group on Vimeo, and/or email me a link to a Google doc, blog post, etc.  As information rolls in, I'll consolidate surfacing themes into a public Google doc.  I'll also regularly blog about these themes, as well as information that Jason's looking for in his effort to make a silky smooth user experience for video editors.  Until the next blog post, get crazy with your wishlist and share!


  1. The biggest issue I have with my production process ... is getting a format that I know Windows users will be able to view. Not something fiddly ... such as Avidemux's default for "VCD" seems to work most of the time, but it's hit or miss on anything else. Likewise youtube, PSP, and other general output formats should be quick default selections.

    My platform is: Ubuntu 10.04, OpenShot to assemble, and Avidemux to translate into VCD. ffmpeg and mencoder are back-end software to the video editors.

    A recent issue I had was taking excerpts from a movie and I wanted to compress the data down to less than 10MB to email and I just couldn't do it (it was about 2 minutes or less of video), and output in a format my Windows viewers could watch. So something to allow easy file-size reductions would be helpful.

  2. Thanks for the input jvin248! I'll add it to the Google Doc that I'm using to collate all of the information coming in for the Artist Diaries Project.

  3. Let's turn it the other way around: Tell me what your vision of a good NLE is and I'll tell you where it will lack in real life situations. The distribution part of it (your back end for sharing over web based protocols) doesn't really interest me since a good NLE is what Linux is lacking - not back ends for sharing stuff. Linux has got that in abundance. And you should also keep in mind that most serious post production situations demands NO internet connections on NLE clients for many very good reasons.

    I have 25+ years as an independent filmmaker and industry pro. Adobe Influencer and former Apple Creative Evangelist. I'm an Avid power user since '91. FCP power user since '99. And I'm on the Premiere Pro beta testing team as well as an Adobe Partner.

    I'd love to help.

    jvin248: Exporting clips that works on Windows seems like a newbie question. Use Arista or something like that to transcode into h.264, Xvid, mp4 or something like that. Almost anything can be played back on a Windows system including Theora unless your client have never heard of VLC and you forgot to tell them. Since Silverlight and .wmv is closed proprietary formats you're not going to see them available any time soon on Linux. WebM will be your best bet for the times ahead.

  4. As you mention, Novacut needs the front-end transcoding features like Arista (I actually came across Arista separately this morning, installing to try it out, and came back here to post as a possible model).

    Noob UI _is_ my point.

    I need to shoot quick (pocket digital camera or phone camera), do some simple edits (cut/splice/transition), toss music and text on it and be able to distribute the video - and know with _100% certainty_ that my clients can watch it on their equipment. The people getting it are clients at automotive industry OEMs - engineers with locked-down corporate-issued Windows desktops/laptops (XP, Vista, and 7)... so no ability to install custom programs like VLC nor their interest/ability to search out and do so.


  5. How is the UI coming? I suspect a huge issue will be the smartphone & tablet aspect of the universal-platform video editing. There is just such a huge range of resolutions that you need to accommodate. What are your thoughts there?

    I grew up on Vegas and I always liked that you could create dissolves in audio or video just by pushing the clips overtop each other. Saved a lot of time If you do that in FCP or PPro the one you move simply trims away the portion of whatever clip it overlaps.

    Since so many people will be accustomed to the FCP/PPro system, but I feel the overlap is better, I would suggest a check-box in the Preferences somewhere.

    One feature that is essential is an audio meter that has a sustained denotation of peaking as you play back the timeline. One feature that would be incredibly helpful is a dynamic listing of the timecodes that those peaks occurred that one could click on and take the cursor directly to that spot in the timeline. It could be initialized by a "Track Peaking" toggle switch to save room when editors aren't yet to the point of worrying about audio cleaning.