Keyframe Madness

Can it really still be true that when you trim a shot that carries a segment effect, all of its keyframes move? Presumably, the original idea was that if you have an effect on a shot and you change the shot length, then you must want the effect to change proportionately. This was probably harder to implement than the alternative — chopping off keyframes. But for me and for everybody I know, it creates hidden effects that are almost never desireable.

Keyframes are generally aligned with action and need to stay attached to the frames I put them on. Or the distance between keyframes — ie. the speed of an effect — was deliberately chosen and I don’t want it to change. So every time I trim or extend a shot with a segment effect I have to laboriously write down the positions of all its keyframes, make the trim, and then move them back where they were. A minor adjustment can cause dozens of keyframes to move.

The workaround is to use lift or extract rather than trim. This leaves keyframes where they were. But you can’t lengthen something that way.

(Transition effects are immune to this kind of thing, by the way. If you trim a shot that carries a fade, the fade length is preserved. Ditto with a dissolve.)

This “feature” can’t be that hard to fix. If lifting/extracting does the right thing, then some of the needed code is already written. If people at Avid are worried that customers won’t be happy with such a change then make it a preference. But I don’t know anybody who wouldn’t welcome it.

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7 Comments on “Keyframe Madness”

  1. Edit Says:

    I suppose it needs something similar to Boris Red’s ‘Keep Keyframe Time’ option which either extends the keyframe relationships proportionally to the new length of the clip, or keeps them fixed in time regardless of the clip’s new duration.

  2. editblog Says:

    I believe Avid calls these “elastic keyframes.” The idea that one could turn them on or off at will would be very welcome. In Final Cut Pro there is no way to move keyframes without grabbing them and dragging them and you can get very frustrated sometimes when you want them to move but of course they don’t. Give us the best of both worlds!

  3. Steve Says:

    It would also be very nice to be able to move two or more keyframes simultaneously. And it would be nice to be able to move them by a numerical amount — by typing in a number rather than by dragging.

  4. Liam Says:

    Yeah would be a great feature in FCP. Definitely need a choice in the matter though. In After Effects u select the keyframes and hold option and it spreads them evenly as u drag. An awesome feature when U decide to use it.

  5. Mike Lange Says:

    In the advanced keyframe mode, elastic keyframes can be turned on and off, in fact. Elastic keyframes will move with the trim, standard keyframes will not. You just have to right click the keyframe and choose, fixed or elastic. Also, if you hold down shift and select multiple keyframes they will move together.

    The caveat is that you must be in the advanced keyframe mode, and that’s not availabe on some 3rd party effects.

  6. Steve Says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Very interesting — but way too deeply hidden for something I want to do every day. (Hint for Mac folks — you open contextual menus via shift-control-click.) You can select multiple keyframes with shift-click and then convert all of them at once, which is mostly what I’d want to do. But heaven help you if you’ve got an even moderately complex effect. A simple title, when promoted to advanced keyframes, has 9 parameter layers. A picture in picture has 17. Seems like you’ve got to go into in each layer separately and convert. Way too complicated.

    You can also move a group of keyframes in time — but you can’t do it via dragging. You have to park the playhead where you want one of the keyframes to go. Then select the keyframes one at a time, making sure that the last one you select is the one you want to move to the playhead, then shift-control click on a keyframe and select “slip keyframes.” Very useful, but not exactly intuitive.

  7. Christian Says:

    Actually, it seems to me like you don’t have to go into each layer separately. Each keyframe on a low-level layer seems to have an equivalent on the layers that sit on top of it.

    This way, if you right-click on the top-most layer and choose “Select All Keyframes”, then right-click again to turn them into fixed ones, you can achieve your goal pretty quickly.

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