Monday, 22 February 2010

Cutting Room View - new and totally redesigned

We give you a pretty good deal with Moviestorm. You can download the core software for free, and we work hard to ship regular updates and improvements. Those updates are also free. Usually, we'll give you a handful of bugfixes, a handful of new content, and a new feature or two. Some updates are bigger than others, of course, but every new release brings something shiny.

We're hard at work on the next big update right now, and it's going to be great. You see, we've made a few changes to Moviestorm's venerable Cutting Room View ... and when I say "we've made a few changes", what I mean is that we've spent months completely redesigning and improving the Cutting Room View, almost from the ground up. Here's how it looks in the current released version of Moviestorm (version 1.2.0.2):


And here's the same movie as it appears in our latest development snapshot.

There's a lot that's changed, so let's go through it one thing at a time.

The timeline
We've given the timeline more room on the screen, so it's easier to see what's going on. The way the tracks are used has changed as well, giving more prominence to the picture track. You'll notice that each item on the timeline has useful additional information. Movie footage clips now show their scene name as well as the camera name (so you'll never have to wonder "which Main Camera is this?" again). We've also added timecodes to the start and end of each clip. It's hard to describe how useful that is until you try it out, but it makes you wonder how you managed without it. The behaviour of objects on the timeline should be more logical, too, allowing you to drag objects to the timeline and have them snap into position, and allowing you to change the order of objects on the timeline without becoming hopelessly confused.

Objects on the timeline have a more logical colour scheme now. Shots from the same camera will share a common pastel colour. If you've added additional cameras, they'll each automatically get their own colour.

The preview window
Yes, it's smaller. That might seem like a step backwards, until you notice the extra button next to the playback controls. That triggers fullscreen mode (an entirely new View which allows you to watch your movie in all its glory, without any buttons and bits getting in the way).


The clip bin
Adding audio or images is easy with the new Cutting Room View. Just drag and drop from the new "clip bin" area to the timeline. The same drag-and-drop functionality is used to add your camera cuts to the timeline. The tab which contains your camera cuts was always pretty awkward. Once your movie gained more than about a half dozen shots, the list became pretty cluttered. Plus, it had those weird invisible '+' buttons. The Movie Footage tab in the clip bin contains all your camera cuts, from every camera in every scene, presented as a much more logical list of thumbnails. Each cut is timestamped so you can see exactly where it came from, and they're grouped according to scene and camera. There's no need to find the hidden button to add a clip to the timeline any more - just drag and drop.

Extra shiny bits
As well as all these improvements, we've also added some brand new features. The first is the Transitions tab, which allows you to choose from a list of different transition types for your shots. If you're like me, you'll use a straight cut most of the time. That's fine: just drag your clips to the timeline and Moviestorm will use a straight cut by default. Occasionally, though, you'll want to use a different transition - maybe a cross-fade, or a fade-through-black. For the first time, you can now do that within the Cutting Room View. Just drag the new transition onto the timeline. It'll snap into position between your two clips and will apply the appropriate transition in real-time.

Incidentally, that means that Moviestorm is playing back two pieces of action at the same time, and overlaying one onto the other (and that's real-time 3D events, not pre-rendered video clips). That's some seriously clever coding from Julian, Conor and the rest of the Engineering team.

Finally, and for the really fun eye candy, we're ready to release the filters which we've teased you with for so long. Filters are dragged onto clips, and can apply some subtle (and not-so-subtle) changes. Your external video editor might already have some filters, of course, and there's nothing to stop you using them in the same way you always have. The great thing about applying the filters within Moviestorm, though, is that we can use the 3D data from the movie to do things that a 2D filter simply couldn't achieve. Moviestorm's Fog filter, for example, will apply a stronger fog distortion the further away an object is from the camera.


So. That's the new Cutting Room View. We're still working on the final bits of tweaks and polish, but we're pretty confident that it'll be ready for the next major Moviestorm Release - version 1.3.

Big thanks - as always - to the members of the Moviestorm Pioneers Club, who have been helping us out with their opinions, suggestions and comments throughout the redesign process.

14 comments:

Moonlight Pictures said...

Looks absolutely fantastic! Keep it up guys! I cannot wait!

moviestormnz said...

Dribble.....;)

Armanus said...

That's some exciting news!

I noticed that in the last screenshot there is a button that says "autogenerate movie"....what is that for?

AngriBuddhist said...

Wow! What a glorious group of shots and a wondrous string of words. Nice job on this MSL!

Overman said...

Fantastic!

Eugene Esterly III said...

Absolutely fantasic.

Beautiful update going on there, the new cutting room view looks a much, much better than the current one.

Very good work on this.

Kate Fosk and Michael R. Joyce said...

Most exciting feature is 3d filtering, sooooo many possibilities. -Kate

johnnie said...

@Armanus - Good point. That's something I neglected to mention in my post.

As limiting as the current Cutting Room View may be, it does have a few advantages. One of the biggest is the '+' button next to the name of the movie on the clip list. Clicking that button will add your clips to the timeline with one simple click.

That's the functionality which the "autogenerate movie" button is intended to replicate. Clicking the button will add a title, followed by the Main Camera from each scene (all of its clips in order), followed by a credits list. It'll dump all of that onto the timeline with a single click. That means that, for those who are used to rushing past the Cutting Room View stage by simply clicking a single button, there's no loss of speed.

Of course, we're hoping that you'll take the time to investigate the new Cutting Room View a bit more thoroughly than that!

Armanus said...

Ha, I didn't even know about that particular feature in the current cutting room! Learn something new every day lol

Thanks Johnnie for the explanation, that's a pretty great addition :)

Armanus said...

Ha, I didn't even know about that particular feature in the current cutting room! Learn something new every day lol

Thanks Johnnie for the explanation, that's a pretty great addition :)

Butchered English Studios said...

This looks great; I can't wait to get back into Moviestorm.

A couple of questions, though:

1) Can I transfer "ownership" of my content packs from one online ID to another?

2) If i Have the latest version of MovieStorm and download Base Beta 2, will it cause me any problems?

Sorry to ask here, but I can't get any answers from the main Web site. :-/

Ben said...

"1) Can I transfer "ownership" of my content packs from one online ID to another?"
No, we dont have any way of doing that.

"2) If i Have the latest version of MovieStorm and download Base Beta 2, will it cause me any problems?"
BaseBeta2 is no longer supported, so it might cause problems. I'm not aware of any problems it is causing at the moment, though, other than making your default walls look different.

Simon said...

This looks great, something I am looking forward to seeing, great work guys.

patrick said...
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